Suspect in kidnapping BIR officials killed in Bulacan police operation
A suspect involved in kidnapping of Bureau of Internal Revenue ( BIR) officials was killed in an encounter with police in Bulacan province early Thursday morning.
The National Capital Region Police Office ( NCRPO) identified the fatality as Leo dela Fuente, 41, of Quezon City.
Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar, NCRPO head, said they conducted five different operations against alleged members of a kidnap for ransom syndicate known for victimizing businessmen and BIR officials.
“On this particular target, an armed encounter occurred (and) one of the main players was killed in a firefight. He was identified as Leo dela Fuente,” Eleazar told reporters.
He said it was a joint operation by the NCRPO, Central Visayas police, Philippine National Police- Anti-Kidnapping Group and PNP-Highway Patrol Group.
“We have been monitoring this group for over a year and this is what we mentioned the syndicate involved in kidnapping BIR officials,” said Eleazar.
The NCRPO chief admitted they had a hard time with this case as there are no reports received by the police.
“It took us time before we got information and conduct appropriate police action which includes applying for search warrant,” he said.
Police conducted the operation in different places where they served search warrants against five suspected members of the syndicate.
Dela Fuente died in an armed encounter with police at Barangay Loma de Gato in Marilao, Bulacan.
“He is included in the group who abduct (victims),” NCRPO chief said.
Eleazar said they have target personalities. The evidence they got during their raids will be used in filing of cases against them.
“This is the start of our manhunt and crackdown on this syndicate so we believed that with the joint efforts of these operating units we can say that what we found today is very big and we will continue this until we neutralize the group involved,” he said.
“Based on our intelligence gathering, the information we obtained coming from our different sources is a big help on our legal offensive against them,” he added.
Eleazar said this group accost the victims and asked them or their families to pay for their freedom.
However, the group's kidnapping activity takes only one day.
“They won’t make it too long, no long negotiations,” he said.
Eleazar revealed that some AWOL (absent without leave) police officers, active police officers and even former military men are involved in this operation.
“We were able to recover police uniforms but you can see that it does not have serial numbers,” he said.
On his part, Police General Oscar Albayalde said there is a possibility of an “inside job”.
“We got information that there is involvement inside because there is a tipster. There is indication that someone is giving a tip… I’m not saying it’s true but it’s not far that there is (an inside job),” he said.
The PNP chief said he believes this syndicate has different members they have yet to identify.
On speculations that the reason BIR officials do not report these cases to authorities due to their alleged involvement in corruption, Albayalde said it’s up to the BIR to cleanse their ranks. Ella Dionisio/DMS