The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday belied claims that the number of kidnap-for-ransom cases in the country, particularly in Mindanao, increased last year from 2009.
In fact, the number of kidnap-for-ransom cases nationwide went down from 57 in 2009 to 41 in 2010, according to PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr.
“We noted a downtrend in so far as KFR cases [are] concerned,” said Cruz, contradicting a report from the Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO), which is chaired by anti-crime crusader Teresita Ang-See.
Cruz said kidnap-for-ransom cases perpetrated by organized crime groups in Luzon went down from 25 cases in 2009 to 19 last year. In Mindanao, similar cases also decreased from nine in 2009 to just one last year.
Cruz said it was only in Visayas where an increase in kidnap-for-ransom cases — zero in 2009 to one in 2010 — was recorded.
In a radio interview on Tuesday, Ang-See said their tally of kidnap-for-ransom cases in the country for the first half of 2010 was higher than that of the PNP for the same period because the police did not count cases committed by terrorist groups.
Ang-See said the PNP listed some kidnappings as “terrorist activities” and not kidnap-for-ransom cases.
But according to the PNP, even the number of “terror-related” kidnappings staged by terror groups like the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group dropped last year to 20 from 2009’s 22 cases.
Cruz said the PNP would be holding dialogues with Ang-See’s group to work out the discrepancies between their tallies.
“Atin po siyang kakausapin kung bakit po siya na-alarma… [Sana] malilinawan kung ano ang discrepancy kasi hindi magkatugma yung binabanggit na ilang insidente (We will talk with her to find out the reason for her alarm and to thresh out the discrepancies in our tallies),” Cruz said.
Cruz insisted on the accuracy of their records, saying they are based on every item entered into police blotters nationwide.
He, however, admitted that there might have been some instances where the cases were not recorded, but he quickly added: “Pagdating sa ganito kase sa KFR, bibihira po ang hindi humihingi ng tulong sa mga authorities (When it comes to kidnap-for-ransom cases, very few people will not ask help from the authorities).”
Cruz also said the PNP continues to hunt down kidnap-for-ransom groups in the country but refused to identify them or how many they are to avoid compromising police operations.
Cruz said PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo had issued instruction to intensify efforts not only against kidnap-for-ransom activities but other criminal acts as well.
“Dapat paigtingin ang ating kampanya vs KFR. Hindi po dapat mag-rest sa laurels at tumigil ang ating kapulisan sa pagsugpo ng KFR (There should be no let-up in our campaign against kidnap-for-ransom groups),” he said.
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