Justice Secretary Remulla to Revisit Kidnap-for-Ransom Cases

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Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has pledged to investigate the long-standing kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) cases that have been awaiting action at the Department of Justice. In a recent press briefing, Remulla was made aware of a complaint that has been discreetly monitored by the Fil-Chinese community, some of whom have allegedly been victims of KFR incidents.

Upon learning about these cases, Remulla expressed his willingness to delve into the matter. He stated, “Why don’t you provide me with the details, and I will instruct Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano to look into this.” This proactive approach from the Justice Secretary demonstrates his commitment to addressing these unresolved cases.

One of the mentioned cases involves a Chinese businessman who filed a KFR complaint against his former business partner. This particular complaint has been pending for the past six months, awaiting necessary action. According to records, on July 7, 2023, Eric Lim, the Chinese businessman, lodged a complaint of kidnapping and serious illegal detention against Richard Lim, also known as “RL” within the Fil-Chinese community. The incident allegedly took place on August 19, 2022, while Eric was vacationing at a beach resort in Batangas.

This incident stands out as one of the earliest kidnapping cases reported during the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Eric claimed that armed individuals forcibly took him and his driver at gunpoint, using his own luxury van to transport them away from the beach resort. Throughout the journey, Eric and his driver were subjected to physical abuse by their captors, who were disguised as civilian policemen. The captors demanded a ransom of P4 million for their release.

After negotiations, Eric managed to lower the amount to P2 million. However, the payment process encountered complications when the two employees he contacted to deliver the money failed to follow the instructions of the abductors. Subsequently, Eric and his driver found themselves at a police station in Taguig, where they were detained until his eventual release on September 14, 2022.

It was during their time at the Taguig Police Station that Eric realized their abductors were operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) dressed in civilian attire. Additionally, it was at the police station that his employees delivered the demanded P2 million ransom. Despite the payment, Eric was not immediately freed.

To his dismay, Eric discovered that his business partner, “Linjin/RL,” was the cause of his ordeal. Linjin/RL claimed to have influential connections not only within the PNP but also with other national government agencies. Allegedly, RL demanded P100 million for Eric’s safe release and even threatened to harm Eric and his family through a “death squad.”

Eric’s complaint includes a chilling excerpt: “They kept repeating to me the same line of demand: If I give P100 million, I can go free immediately. If not, they will see to it that I will be killed inside this prison.” Desperate to secure his release, Eric was coerced into relinquishing the contents of his personal metal safety deposit box, which contained valuable documents such as car registrations, immigration papers, blank checks, land titles used as loan collaterals, and various currencies.

Furthermore, Eric was compelled to surrender all his shares in an online gaming company, in which he and Linjin/RL were partners. With the assistance of his brother, Tony, they managed to raise the demanded P100 million by borrowing from their friends. The money was delivered to RL’s residence by Tony’s personal driver on September 7, 2022, and the driver provided an affidavit confirming the substantial sum delivered in support of Tony’s claim.

Finally, after a week-long ordeal, Eric was released on September 14, 2022. The process of recovering from this traumatic experience took him nearly a year, highlighting the lasting impact of such incidents on the victims and their families.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla’s commitment to investigating these pending KFR cases is a significant step towards providing justice for the victims and holding the perpetrators accountable. By addressing these unresolved cases, the justice system can demonstrate its dedication to upholding the rule of law and ensuring the safety and security of all individuals within the country.

Source: The Manila Times

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