Rolito Go: Escapee or Kidnap Victim?

Article excerpt

Did murder convict Rolito T. Go escape from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City or was he kidnapped as his sister reported?

Citing initial reports, NBP Superintendent Richard Schwarzkopf Jr. said Go, who was scheduled to be released in 2013, and his nephew, Clemence Yu, went missing Tuesday night.

Following Go's disappearance, President Benigno S. Aquino III ordered a thorough investigation of the incident, while Director General Nicanor Bartolome, chief of the Philippine National Police, ordered all police commanders to intensify intelligence-gathering to expedite his recapture.

Prison authorities must also take "corrective measures" to enhance security in the facility following the alleged abduction of Go, said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

Go and Yu's disappearance was first noticed while jail guards were conducting a routine headcount of prisoners inside the minimum security compound of the state penitentiary at around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Go, who has been in prison for almost 19 years, is suffering from colon cancer diagnosed in July, 2010. Yu serves as his nurse.

The report said that Go was last seen at Ina Ng Awa Church in the jail compound as part of his living out responsibilities, as well as to have his health checked.

"Dun lagi siya nagde-dressing ng surgical wound kasi may sakit, kaya everyday kailangan siya mag-dressing ng wound. He is also a church worker sa Ina Ng Awa Church," the NBP official said.

As a living out prisoner, Go lives in a hut at the back of the Ina Ng Awa Church within the NBP reservation camp. He lives near the huts previously occupied by former Rep. Romeo Jolosjos and Claudio Teehankee Jr.

Yesterday morning, Schwarzkopf said prison officials were informed by Go's sister, Julie, that her brother was reportedly abducted by still unidentified men who are demanding a P1-million ransom from the family.

"Nakausap pa daw nung sister yung si Clemence informing them that they were kidnapped," he said.

With this development, the NBP official said Go is now considered as an escapee from the penitentiary and is the subject of efforts to bring him back though he did not provide additional details on their move.

"We now consider him an escapee," he said adding that investigations are also ongoing to find the persons responsible for his escape.

Jail Officials Relieved

Schwarzkopf said he has already ordered the relief of minimum security compound jail warden, Senior Officer 1 Gabriel Magat and jail guard Serafin Geronimo while the probe is underway.

Upon receiving the information, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters that she immediately tapped the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), through Director Nonnatus Caesar Rojas, to immediately verify the kidnapping claim of Go's sister.

"I ordered NBI Director Rojas to find out what happened in the NBP and why Rolito Go went missing inside the NBP compound. We don't know if he's really abducted or staged," she said in an ambush interview.

"If this is staged, what is the objective na naman? He is on living out status. The NBI will check muna if this is a genuine kidnapping case or bona fide case of kidnapping. Next answer will be nag-kulang na naman ba ang NBP?" she added.

Rojas said that at least five divisions of the bureau's intelligence services, headed by Deputy Director Ruel Lasala, will be mobilized to search for the missing prisoner.

The teams assigned to verify the alleged abduction of Go were the Counter Intelligence Division, Counter-Terrorism Division, Criminal Investigation Division, Research and Analysis Division, and Technical Intelligence Division. …