Kidnappings on the rise?

Philippine National Police chief P/Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. has ordered an investigation into the reported increase in abduction cases in the country based on social media videos that have gone viral. One such incident caught by a closed-circuit television camera showed a young man as he was abducted at a gasoline station in Taal, Batangas. He was later found dead in Sariaya, Quezon, with his hands bound and his body bearing gunshot wounds.

PNP spokesperson P/Col. Jean Fajardo earlier allayed fears of rampant kidnapping in the country, as she said the reports of the two children reported missing in Bulacan turned out to be a case of one staying in a friend’s house and the other running away from home after being scolded.

Azurin added that many of the abduction reports and videos being sent to the police involved older cases that have already been acted upon by their investigators.

“Actually, we checked the videos forwarded to us using different media platforms and we saw they are past crimes; (that) these happened in the past as early as 2021,” the PNP chief said in a press conference Monday.

The problem with kidnapping is that it’s not even included in the PNP’s so-called eight “focus crimes” — murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft, and carnapping (both of motorcycles and motor vehicles).

Kidnapping statistics only make the PNP’s public list of index crimes when it is “complexed” or is committed with other crimes like murder, like in the case of the Batangas-Quezon abduction-murder case.

It’s high time that the National Police Commission overhauls anew the PNP’s list of focus crimes to already include abduction, so it would be easy for citizens to immediately check the actual number of kidnappings being reported to the police. This may surprise readers, but as late as 2009, cattle-rustling was still part of the so-called index crimes under Napolcom’s Letter of Instructions 02/09.

Presently, the index crimes list — which serves as a barometer of the state of criminality in the country — is composed of the eight focus crimes and the complex crimes of robbery with homicide, robbery with rape, kidnapping complexed with serious physical injury, kidnapping with murder or homicide, and rape with homicide.

So, where does the country stand when it comes to criminality? How would the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. compare with that of his predecessor, former president Rodrigo Duterte and his campaign against criminality and illegal drugs? That’s a question that will take some time to answer as it’s still too early in the Marcos presidency.

Meanwhile, for the first month of this new government, a total of 2,798 focus crimes had been reported broken down as follows: murder, 324; homicide, 89; physical injury 335; rape, 413; robbery, 444; theft, 1,048 and carnapping, motorcycles 125, and motor vehicles 20. The PNP has claimed that of the 2,798, 81.56 percent or 2,282 had been “cleared,” and 1,739 or 62.15 had been “solved.”

By cases “cleared,” the PNP under the Napolcom guidelines refers to those cases in which at least one of the suspected perpetrators had been identified; and by “solved” that the suspect/s had been arrested and charged before prosecutors or the courts.

If there’s one thing going for General Azurin, it’s that his leadership seems to be one anchored on transparency as he, along with his spokesperson Colonel Fajardo, has gone out of his way to explain to the public through mass media what the police have been doing to fight criminality.

It helps, too, that the PNP was quick to sack two police colonels over an apparent attempt to cover up a fatal hit-and-run incident in Quezon City. The investigation of the police officers gives the public the confidence that the PNP would not tolerate shenanigans committed by its members.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *