PNP says disappearance of 7 people might be drug-related

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

AUTHORITIES are looking at the possibility that the disappearance of seven people in Pasay City last month were drug-related.

Colonel Bernard Yang, Pasay City Police chief, said on Tuesday, December 3, that based on initial investigation, the seven missing people, not nine as earlier reported, were involved in illegal drugs trading.

He said the information was based on the accounts of the community as well as the relatives of the missing persons.

"Tinutukoy namin ano ba talaga ang involvement ng mga taong ito. May nagsasabi sa kanilang community na involved sa droga 'yung mga kabataan na 'yun pero naghahanap pa po kami ng mga additional na magbibigay ng salaysay para lalong mapatunayan ano ba talaga ang involvement," Yang said.

(Some people in their community said these missing youth were involved in illegal drugs. We are still looking for additional witnesses who can provide evidence.)

"'Yung isang magulang, nagsabi na involved 'yung kanyang anak sa droga at 'yung isa namang kapatid ng nawawala, ganoon din ang sinabi. Involved ang kanyang kapatid sa paggamit ng iligal na droga," he added.

(One parent said his/her child was involved in illegal drugs. Another said the same of his/her sibling.)

The missing persons are aged 16 to 22.

Yang said three of them were involved in online selling. He was not certain whether this involved illegal drugs.

"'Yung apat, magkakakilala, 'yung tatlo din, magkakakilala. Involved 'yung tatlo sa sinasabi nilang online selling. Hindi po natin alam ang binebenta nila online," Yang said.

(Four of them know each other. The other three also know each other. These three are involved in online selling, but we don't know what merchandise is being sold online.)

"Base sa kapatid ng isang nawawala, makikipagkita lang 'yung kaniyang kapatid doon sa isang kaibigan niya at noong matapos silang mag-meet-up, hindi na po umuwi ang kaniyang kapatid," he added.

(According to the sibling of one of these missing persons, the victim failed to come home after a meet-up.)

Meanwhile, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) acting director Brigadier General Debold Sinas lashed out at reports that the abductions were staged by syndicates involved in selling internal organs.

He said all reports particularly those circulating online are fake news. Reports of abductions carried out by people in a white van are circulating online. The kidnappers allegedly harvest the internal organs of the victims.

Sinas said the police have yet to receive a formal complaint on such abductions.

"What is certain is hindi totoo 'yung balita na ina-abduct dahil kinukuhanan ng body parts. Fake po ang mga pictures noon. Kung saan-saan po kinollate 'yun," Sinas said.

(What is certain is that these reports about harvesting body parts are not true. The pictures are fake. Those were collated from various sources.)

"'Yung mga pictures na kuwan eh luma na po 'yun. It has nothing to do, siguro may nagcollate-collate lang din ng data just to make news," he added.

Sinas said the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group is already taking over the matter to identify the people behind the viral posts which are spreading fear. (SunStar Philippines)