PNP identifies group behind kidnap-slay of two car traders

January 20, 2011 11:51 am 

MANILA, Jan. 19 – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has already identified the group behind the brutal kidnap-slayings of two car traders, a ranking police official announced on Wednesday.

At a press briefing in Camp Crame, PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) deputy head Chief Supt. Benito Estipona, said police authorities are now hot on the trail of the group.

Estipona also heads the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Lozano created to dig deeper into the killing of Emerson Lozano.

”We have identified the suspects,” announced Estipona but refused to release further details so as not to compromise ongoing police operations.

”They have previous criminal records. We are hunting them down,” added Estipona.

Earlier, PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo created two SITGs to thoroughly investigate the kidnap-slayings of Emerson Lozano, son of lawyer Oliver Lozano, and Venson Evangelista, who are both engaged in buying and selling of luxury vehicles. The two went missing one after the other last week.

Estipona was tapped to head SITG Lozano while Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Chief Supt. Benjardi Mantele as chief of SITG Evangelista. PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) director Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina was also tapped in the SITGs.

On Tuesday, Mantele said they will asked Bacalzo to merged the two SITGs after noting similarities in the two incidents.

Lozano, along with his driver Ernane Sensil, went missing on January 12 after meeting a prospective buyer of his Kia Carnival van with licensed plate numbers QAE-333 somewhere in Quezon City. Last Thursday, Sensil’s burned body was recovered in Lapaz town, Tarlac.

The following day, Lozano’s burnt body was also discovered dumped at a portion of the Megadike in Porac, Pampanga.

On Wednesday, police authorities recovered the burnt Kia Carnival of Lozano in Dinalupihan, Bataan.

On the other hand, Evangelista was last seen alive on January 14 after allowing a prospective buyer of his Toyota Land Cruiser to a test drive also in Quezon City. On Tuesday, a burnt body recovered in Cabanatuan City was confirmed to be that of Evangelista.

Evangelista’s vehicle is yet to be recovered.

Estipona earlier noted similarities in the Lozano and Evangelista cases – from the manner they were abducted to the way they were brutally killed. All the three victims bore gunshot in the head.

”They burned the bodies to hide evidence,” stressed Estipona.

However, it was not clear whether there is connection between the two cases.

Estipona assured that all angles are being considered by police investigators. (PNA) LAM/MM

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