Press Release
October 9, 2010


Senator Chiz Escudero today scored the military and police forces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for its failure to a stop a new kidnapping incident that left two people dead in Cotabato City last Friday.

Conchita Tan, a businesswoman was abducted near her house in Brgy. Rosary Heights by six armed men whom police later tagged as members of Pentagon gang, a Mindanao-based criminal group known for kidnapping wealthy locals.

Reports said that Tan's bodyguard, Edward Doruelo tried to foil the kidnapping but was shot and killed along with the driver identified as Richard Emberga.

Escudero, who chairs the Senate committee on national defense and security, said the apparent poor police and military intelligence work to monitor the activities of different lawless elements has allowed these criminal groups to strike and sow terror among local residents.

"Reports have reached me that residents are once again faced with persistent fears and threats due to this new kidnapping incident. It is a concern shared by residents not only of Cotabato City but also of Mindanao per se because if reports are to be believed that the perpetrators are indeed from the Pentagon group, then we can also surmise that they have reactivated to pounce on their unsuspecting targets. Such would again cause local traders and residents sleepless nights, fearing for their own safety," Escudero said.

The senator urged the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to step up their visibility in the area and improve their intelligence gathering to counter insurgency and banditry.

"The region has been plagued with atrocity, banditry and insurgency problems for how many decades now. With a renewed hope in the new government, I hope our people in uniform also do their best to renew confidence and a normal way of life for the people in Cotabato and its neighboring towns. Crack down harder on these shenanigans and really run after them. Let us share not only in putting back peace and order in the area but also in keeping it," he said.

Escudero added that monitoring of criminal elements like the Pentagon gang should proceed uninterrupted to ensure peace and order prevail at all times.

"Our security forces only need to be up on their toes all of the time. Terror knows no time, in the same manner that peace and security knows none either. Peace and security should reign all the time, let no one disrupt it. I urge our uniformed personnel and officers that there should be no let up in running after the kidnappers of Mrs. Tan and at the same time protect the locals from getting harassed and victimized by these bandits," he said.

Escudero said as chairman of the committee on national defense and security in the Senate, he will do what he can to help the military secure what it needs for its budget to confound its counter-insurgency activities in the country.

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