January 29, 2023

All three children who were kidnapping are now safe with their family after  they were rescued from their alleged abductor, who was also arrested by police authorities in Itogon, Benguet on May 19.

The suspect was identified as 48-year-old Rogelio C.  Fernandez, single, and a construction worker. He was charged with kidnapping and violation of the Anti-Child Abuse Law.  

Parents and relatives of the victims, aged seven to eight years old and are cousins, posted on social media that they went missing in the afternoon of May 18. The post, which has was deleted after the police operation, stated that the minors were earlier seen playing and later with the suspect, who lured them to go with him.

Itogon Municipal Police Station Chief Maj. Rommel Sawatang said they received reports from Barangay Gumatdang  residents who heard the children crying.

After hours of searching, authorities found the suspect and the children along a grassy creek in Barangay Gumatdang around 11 a.m. with the help of the victims’ family, volunteers, and barangay officials.

The police arrested the suspect while the children were reunited with their families. The children underwent debriefing by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

The suspect told police investigators that he committed the deed because his employer failed to pay his salary. The children, however, are not related to the suspect’s employer.

The Benguet Provincial Police Office reminded parents to keep an eye on their children and not to easily trust strangers.

“Iligtas ang mga anak laban sa mga kriminal at mapagsamantala. Ugaliing alamin kung sinu-sino ang mga nakakasalamuha nila. Maging alerto, ligtas, at mapagmatyag,” the police stated. – Ofelia C. Empian