CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija: A ranking bank official and a businesswoman were freed by their abductors unharmed after prompt police operation resulted in the arrest of a man who was to pick up ransom money at about 2 p.m. on Thursday here.
Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, Nueva Ecija police director, said Aurelio Villaflor, 62, executive vice president of GM Bank Cabanatuan City branch, of Samson Subd., Barangay Sumacab Este and Evangeline Urgente,37, of Talavera, Nueva Ecija were billed in good physical condition when freed by their captors.
Nieves himself led the operation of a team composed of the provincial police’s intelligence branch and criminal investigation and detection branch after receiving information from Jesus Lazo, 45, chief of the bank’s security department, of his suspicion that Villaflor was in danger.
Lazo told probers he received a phone call from Villaflor at about 8 a.m. on Thursday asking him to prepare P3.5 million “for his emergency use,” but the line suddenly went dead.
Lazo said he became suspicious when Villaflor called again after a few minutes in a grumbling voice.
Villaflor also reduced to P400,000 the money and asked him to deliver to the parking lot of a mall within the city and hand it over to a man who will identify himself as Aurel.
Police operatives managed to arrest the man who was later identified as John del Rosario, 36, of Barangay Imelda Valley, Palayan City while receiving the money from Lazo.
Del Rosario, during police investigation, disclosed the name of two of his companions.
Villaflor told police investigators that they were on their way to Barangay La Torre, Talavera in a Honda CRV (RLB-279) when a blue Toyota Revo with seven armed men blocked their path in the vicinity of Barangay Dinarayat.
Besides handcuffing Villaflor, the suspects reportedly blindfolded them and their hands “wrapped with tape” then traveled for about one hour until the suspects demanded P5-million.
They later asked Villaflor to negotiate with bank employees.
The suspects, however, took one Apple laptop, one I-phone 4s, a wristwatch, a ring and spare tire of Honda CRV amounting to P125,000 from Villaflor and from Urgente, P40,000 cash, three bracelets, three rings, one necklace, two pendants and two mobile phones amounting to P350,000.
Nieves said a case of kidnapping for ransom has been filed against the suspects even as a continuous manhunt drive is being waged against those at large.