When a Grab driver was accompanied by police anti-kidnapping operatives for a case conference over the kidnap-slay of a female online seller from Cavite, he accidentally glanced at a group picture of policemen that was posted at the Sta. Rosa Municipal Police Station in Nueva Ecija.
The Grab driver, whose name was withheld for security reasons, could never forget that face—it was one of the armed men who forcibly took him and his client, online seller Nadia Casar on July 20 in Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija.
“He immediately informed our operatives that he saw one of the suspects at the group picture of policemen. That policeman was later identified as Police Staff Sgt. Benedict Reyes,” said Brig. Gen. Rudolph Dimas, director of the police’s Anti-Kidnapping Group.
Reyes was immediately arrested right inside the Sta. Rosa Municipal Police Station on July 29, according to Dimas.
The identification of Reyes as one of the kidnappers of Casar, whose burned body was recovered from a shallow grave in Palayan City on July 23, gave the policemen a hint that there could be more cops involved in the kidnap-slay.
They were right. The Grab driver positively identified two more policemen from the file photos of policemen assigned to the Nueva Ecija Police Station.
They were identified Police Staff Sgt. Drextimir Esmundo, of the Cabiao Police Municipal Police Station, and Corporal Julius Alcantara, a member of the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit of the Nueva Ecija police.
The follow-up investigations led to the arrest of another suspect, Police Staff Sgt. June Malilin, assigned to the Palayan City Police Office, who admitted his participation in the killing, burning and burying of Casar at around 4 p.m. on July 23 in Sitio Pinagpala in Barangay Imelda Valley in Palayan City.
Police Corporal Alcantara, on the other hand, was forced to surrender and tagged Police Master Sgt. Rowen Martin, of the Cabanatuan City Police Station 3 and Police Staff Sgt. Esmundo as the ones involved.
On July 20, the Grab driver was booked by Casar for a travel to Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija to meet a certain Kelly for a discussion for a business venture. The meeting ended at around 2 p.m.
But on their way back to Cavite, the vehicle was blocked by a pick-up and a motorcycle. Armed men then alighted and forcibly took both Casar and the Grab driver and were taken to a safehouse in Palayan City.
The Grab driver told the police that he overheard one of the suspects instructing the 35-year old Casar to inform her family that she had to pay a huge amount of money in exchange for her release.
The Grab driver was later released the following day in the area where they were abducted.
The relatives of the victim, on the other hand, sought the assistance of the AKG.
The meeting appeared to be part of the modus to lure Casar since the certain Kelly that she met was tagged by the police as involved in the kidnap-for-ransom plan.
That Kelly was later identified as Franklin Medina Macapagal whose driver’s license was found inside the house where Casar was held captive. Police suspect that he was the one who was able to run away when the cops went to the area for investigation.
The caretaker of the safehouse, identified as Dario Aligan Robarios, was the one who was collared at the safehouse.
He later disclosed that it was Malilin, Martin and Esmudo who ordered him to place the cadaver of Casar inside a sack and bury it nearby.
Investigators suspected that the relatives of Casar was not able to pay the ransom the reason why she was killed.
Dimas said manhunt was already launched against Martin, Esmundo and Macapagal.
Appropriate criminal charges are now being prepared against the policemen and Macapagal whom police said was also involved in the kidnapping.