MANILA, Philippines - The wife of an American businessman and her driver were kidnapped in Makati City on Tuesday and freed several hours later in Marikina City after payment of P6.1-million ransom and expensive imported watches.
Aiko Moore, 27, a student, and her driver, Benjalin Norido, 23, were dumped at a vacant lot in Barangay San Roque shortly after their captors got hold of the money.
Acting Makati police chief Superintendent Jaime Santos said Moore was on board a white Honda Civic (TKI-325) driven by Norido when a motorcycle hit them from behind at the corner of Pasong Tamo and Amorsolo streets at 8:30 a.m.
Santos said Norido alighted from the car to check the damage caused by the motorcycle. When he went back to the car, the armed suspects forced their way inside the car and blindfolded Moore.
The suspects then commandeered the car and sped off. The victims were brought somewhere in Green Meadows, Pasig City, police said.
Santos said the suspects later called up Moore’s husband, James Edward Moore, 31, and demanded a P15 million ransom.
The Makati police said the American is an executive of a call center company here.
The ransom demand was later lowered to P6 million.
Moore and her driver were released in Green Meadows Subdivision in Pasig City where the ransom was delivered along with two Rolex watches and a Breitling watch worth P3.2 million.
Police recovered Moore’s car at the Marikina River Bank, said Eastern Police District (EPD) director Chief Superintendent Miguel Laurel.
Laurel said they are now coordinating with the Southern Police District (SPD) for a joint manhunt operation against the suspects.
Meanwhile, police still have no lead in the abduction of a 27-year-old manager of a local shipping firm who was snatched along Daang Hari Street in Almanza 2, Las Piñas City last Saturday morning.
City police chief Senior Superintendent Romulo Sapitula told The STAR they have yet to establish the motive behind the kidnapping of Vicente Cordero III, manager of a Makati-based shipping company engaged in transporting petroleum products.
“We are working on the case,” he said.
Sapitula declined to elaborate on the ongoing police operation so as not to compromise the safety of the victim.
Reports said that Cordero was biking in Versailes Subdivision in Las Piñas City when a Mitsubishi Adventure with plate number WBF-237 blocked his path.
At least six men armed with M-16 Armalite rifles and caliber .45 handguns suddenly alighted and dragged the victim into their vehicle.
Witnesses told investigators that the gunmen clad in police uniform fled toward Alabang, Muntinlupa City.– With Perseus Echeminada - By Non Alquitran and Mike Frialde