Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kidnap for Ransom, Second Quarter of 2011: Jinkee Lim Yap

Starting off the Second Quarter KFRs (Kidnaps for Ransom), at 645PM on April 01, 2011, Tsinoy (Chinese-Filipino) businesswoman Jinkee Lim Yap was sitting down after a long day of work in her Cotabato City supermarket, "ALY General Merchandise" when she was suddenly grabbed by 2 young men who had entered the establishment posing as customers. The 2 men began literally dragging Ms.Yap out of her store, guarded by 2 gunmen on the crowded sidewalk in the heart of the downtown shopping area. As horrified shoppers watched Ms.Yap was shoved kicking and screaming into a blue Kia Besta passenger van idling in front, on the corner of Pansacala Street and Sinsuat Avenue. The van then peeled out and quickly made its way to Barangay Poblacion #9 as authorities began scrambling MBLT-7 (Marine Battalion Landing Team 7, the Marine element recently deployed to the city as a dedicated anti-KFR force) in am effort to cut off the van before it reached the Kakar River, the usual escape route in Tsinoy KFRs (Kidnap for Ransoms).

MBLT-7 reached the riverside and began a careful search of all known jump off points, finally locating the van in a landfill abutting the river. As expected the van was empty except for a lone white slipper belonging to Ms.Yap and some rounds for a 45 caliber pistol. The assailants had tried to burn the van but in their haste only managed to ignite the engine compartment and the fire had petered out before it could spread and consume the rest of the van.

Like all landfills in the Philippines the dump in Poblacion #9 was filled with scavengers, many of whom call the landfill home. Likewise, like most such places in the Philippines the locals had nothing to offer investigators. Not one person admitted even knowing how the still smoldering van had arrived in the midst of their small community. Later, residents in Kabantulan, Maguindanao Province would reveal that just a in most Tsinoy Kidnappings originating in Cotabato City, Ms.Yap had been taken to Kabantulan by pumpboat (local description of a small motorised vessel used for inter-island travel). Kabantulan serves as 1 of several municipalities offering an entrance into the Ligusan Marsh.

Ligusan serves as a no-man's land in Central Mindanao where escaped criminals, Islamic Insurgent groups and of course...KFR outfits all find safe haven. The Philippine Government prefers to leave it alone, rarely even performing aerial operations above it for fear of having a helicopter gunship take a nosedive into incognito. In 2003 during operations against KFR organisations inadvertantly sparked a fullscale conflict with the MILF ("Buliok Complex War") and so the authorities pretty much let the inmates run the asylum there.

A new and very commendable innovation is the AFP's utilisation of its 4th Special Forces Battalion in the Anti-KFR push taking place in and around Cotabato City. The deployment of MBLT-7 is somewhat well known in Central Mindanao. At the end of the Summer of 2010 the Tsinoy Community in the city began loudly demanding the deployment of a Marine Battalion to try and at least give the beleagured business community some much needed breathing room. Some may recall that several years ago a similar deployment practically stopped all KFRs against Tsinoy. Still, it wasn't until the Archbishop of Cotabato jumped on the bandwagon that the government actually did something. Pulling MBLT-7 off of Basilan Island, the elemwnt's re-deployment saw the end of Basilan's Fleet-Marine Doctrine as the AFP shifted gears and re-oriented its Basilan Campaign on a Special Forces heading.

Not long after the Marines came to Cotabato City the AFP went one better and pulled a company from its 4th Special Forces. Battalion as well. While those familiar with the Philippine Military have probably heard of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion, Airborne, not many outside of the AFP have ever heard of the 4th Battalion. The 4th is the AFP's Riverine Battalion, specialised amphibious units who stick to mangroves and estuaries. I have posted a bit about them in one of my more recent AFP entries if anyone cares for a bit more background.

On Saturday, April 09, 2011 the Riverine Company was doing low-level interdiction along the Kakar River, concentrating on pump boats since these are ones utilised more often than not for nefarious activities. Pulling over 2 such boats travelling in tandem they quickly found each was being operated by a man listed in the Order of Battle (a listing of ascertained viable targets). Taking the 2 men into custody,:

1) Abdul"Tru"Kadil Jacaria

2) Bensar Guiamalon

the soldiers soon found that Guiamalon was packing a loaded 45 caliber pistol and a hand grenade. More over, in checking with IS-AFP, Military Intel, Guiamalon is the son in law of MILF sub-Kumander Dino"Mino"Esmael. Esmael happens to be point man on Tsinoy KFRs, the man who receives the orders from the "Brains," and then deploys teams to do the actual snatch and grab. The AFP then deployed a K9 Team to search the homes of both men. In the Jacaria home, in Kabuntalan, Maguindanao Province, the dog registered a hit for Ms.Yap, showing that she had spent some time there in recent weeks.

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, realising that they better make a discount deal on the Ransom, Ms.Yap was released to a contingent of Cotabato City officials (extremely ironic when one realises that the city's Vice Mayor has been charged, with several other city officials in being the brains behind the Tsinoy KFRs there, an issue I covered in a First Quarter 2011 KFR entry). At 230AM in Barangay Balanaken, Datu Piang, Maguindanao Province (Datu Piang being another municipality bordering Ligusan Marsh), Ms.Yap walked across National Hiway and into the "loving embrace" of the afore mentioned city officials led by City Counsel, Cynthia Guiadi Sayadi.

Mrs.Sayadi it may be recalled was the official Legal Counsel for the ARMM, or "Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao." After marrying into the infamous Ampatuan Clan she had been taken into their confidence and in fact played a central role in the aftermath of the "Maguindanao Massacre," where the Ampatuan Clan murdered 58 people in a single incident (November 23, 2009). It was non other than Mrs.Sayadi who helped concoct clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr's "escape plane" (taking an ambulance in which he had an oxygen tent over him as Mrs.Sayadi sat holding his hand and screamed at any soldiers trying to ascertain the identity of the "sick patient"). When the governor of ARMM, Zaldy Ampatuan (son of Andal Sr) was imprisoned for the Massacre she simply moved her office down the street from the ARMM Capitol Complex to the "People's Palace", the sickening hypocritical name attached to Cotabato City's municipal hall.

Ms.Yap, feet still covered in the black mud of Ligusan arrived at People's Palace shortly before 4AM. Everytime a person is kidnapped their municipality wastes taxpayer funds to create a task force. Therefore, after being given the pre-requisite medical exam by physician, a released victim almost always makes the rounds, thanking their useless task force for working for their release, etc. At this bit of media grandstanding MBLT-Z CO (Commanding Officer) Col.Doroteo Jalandoni actually claimed that military and police pressure led to her release...yeah, THAT and 1.5 Million Pesos but whose counting?

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