- Category: Nation
21 Feb 2013
- Written by Zaff Solmerin / Correspondent
THE Chinese drug lords who were “rescued” on Wednesday by 20 armed men in Trece Martires City may have already escaped to Taiwan using a boat through the Manila Bay, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said on Thursday.
“Malayo na ang signal ng kanilang cell phone, nasa gitna ng Manila Bay. Ang hula namin, sumakay ng isang vessel papuntang Taiwan dahil ang tracking ay nasa gitna ng dagat nung hinahabol namin,” Remulla said.
Remulla was with a team of policemen and jail guards who tracked down the three Chinese and their “rescuers.”
“Ang coastline ng Cavite…mula sa pinagkunan sa kanila, mga 20 minutes lang po makakasakay na ng bangka,” he said.
Li Tian Hua, Wang Li Na and Li Lan Yan alias Jackson Dy were onboard a vehicle and being escorted by four personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) were on their way to a court hearing when three vans blocked their path.
Men armed with high-powered weapons disarmed the jail guards, who were ordered to get off their vehicle and lay face down on the road. The other armed men whisked three drug suspects onto a waiting white van and sped away.
The police said only two of the four BMJP escorts were armed with pistols. The other two did not have guns.
Remulla said the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections prevented the jail personnel from carrying firearms.
However, Remulla said the BJMP could have requested more escorts from the National Police since the escorted suspects were high-profile personalities.
Remulla said the BJMP personnel would also be investigated amid reports that a gun-for-hire group was allegedly contracted by the suspects to “rescue” them for P50 million.
According to Chief Insp. Roque Merdegia, investigator of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, the three Chinese were arrested and detained in 2003 for the manufacture and sale of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
Meanwhile, Chief Supt. Benito Estipona, Calabarzon (Cavite-Batangas-Laguna-Rizal-Quezon) police commander, said pursuit operations were ongoing against the three Chinese and their rescuers.
“Maganda na po ang mga leads na ating pinu-pursue sa ngayon. Actually simula kahapon, hot pursuit pa rin ang ginagawa ng pulis Cavite,” Estipona said.
The incident happened just a few hours after the National Police chief, Director General Alan LM Purisima, flew to Thailand to attend to the Association of Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Police Chiefs conference.
The snatching came amid the intensified checkpoint operations of the police in connection with the gun ban that started on January 13.
Based on the latest National Police data, arrested violators of the gun ban have reached more than 1,000.