Terrorizing debtors-A A +A
Saturday, October 27, 2012
ONE of the three suspects who were arrested while trying to withdraw money from the ATM account of a Korean whom they had earlier “fetched,” along with his girlfriend, from their apartment, denied that they kidnapped the pair. “We did not do that because we know that it is a serious offense,” he reportedly said.
Oh yes, they merely gave them a joy ride from Lahug, Cebu City to Toledo via the trans-central highway, then back to Cebu City via Carcar. Whether or not the passengers enjoyed the ride (they were reportedly handcuffed when found) is not important because what matters, insofar as the suspects are concerned, is their intent which was to make sure the victim was available when the Korean, who hired them, landed at the Mactan airport.
It would be interesting to see if this “holding pattern” theory holds up in court, assuming that the incident goes that far. The nation’s police chief had opined that all the elements of the crime of kidnapping are present in the case of Jun Hyung Chung and Charisse Santiago. It is fair to expect then that the police will file criminal charges against the three Filipinos, their Korean employer and his middleman, also a Filipino.
But for the complaint to have any chance to succeed, the “victims” have to cooperate. If Chung and Santiago declare that they went along voluntarily with their supposed abductors, the case is finished. I have this funny feeling that this is exactly what is going to happen. Chung is claimed to owe a lot of money to the other Korean. Six million pesos is a very good reason to keep quiet.
Chung’s case is not the first time we have had a peace and order problem where both the victim and the suspect are Koreans. And it certainly is not going to be the last. There are just too many of them around.
The case also brings to light the gangster-like collection operations that are taking place in Cebu as well as in many parts of the country. Creditors, who do not have the patience to wait for the wheels of justice to grind oh so slowly in these parts, hire musclemen to enforce their rights and I am told that the success rate is quite high.
The collection agencies are catching up, I am told. They no longer just send demand letters that are signed mostly by phony lawyers (they can’t afford the services of real ones) and accompanied by mimeographed copies of a criminal or civil complaint that is supposedly ready to be filed. They now hire moonlighting policemen and soldiers to terrorize debtors to pay.
I have heard of at least one case where the house of a “hard-headed” debtor was strafed. He immediately paid the following day.
The quarrel between the moderate and the extreme Left appears to be approaching the boiling point. After being accused by Bayan Muna of consorting with the Aquino administration, Akbayan has struck back by alleging that congressmen belonging to Bayan Muna and its allied party list groups are channeling their pork barrel funds to the New People’s Army. Of course, we’ve heard the same claim before but no one has offered proof of its truth.
Former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, who is again running for the Senate under the Liberal Party, could benefit from this bitter exchange of words between the two rivals. Her 2010 campaign was hampered by public perception that she was a communist. That perception could change with Bayan Muna’s strident denunciation of her as an Aquino lackey.
She placed 13th in the last elections, trailing 12th placer TJ Guingona by less than a million votes. She probably should thank Bayan Muna’s negative campaign against her and Akbayan if she finally makes it next year.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 28, 2012.