Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, November 21, 2003


The leader of a criminal gang and three of his cohorts were killed and two others were captured yesterday during a police raid in their suspected safehouse in Dinalupihan, Bataan. The encounter also resulted in the death of PO1 Joselito Esguerra of the Angeles City police.
Senior Supt. Jimmy Restua, chief of police, was wounded together with Chief Insp. Florentino dela Cruz, and PO2s Emerito Ramos and Emmet Nunag.
Chief Supt. Vidal E. Querol, Central Luzon police chief, identified the fatalities as Roberto Obeles Yap, the ring leader, a Filipino-Chinese medical doctor by profession and a resident of Olongapo City; a certain Ar-ar, and two still unidentified suspects.
Wounded were as Vida Dorina Nicdao of Barangay Sto. Rosario, Magalang, Pampanga, who is now confined at the James Gordon Hospital in Olongapo City, and one Aling Abad of Misamis City.

Querol said the killing of Yap came after months of surveillance by the Angeles City police.
Querol said the alleged kidnappers opened fire as the Angeles City police were closing in on the suspects holed up in Apartment No. 9 along the national highway in barangay Bangal, in Dinalupihan town at around 5:30 a.m.
"Nagpaputok sila ng M-203 grenade sa mga pulis kaya may namatay na isa sa atin at ikinasugat ng iba," Querol said.
The policemen returned fire, hitting Yap and the others.
Recovered from the suspects' lair were two M-79 grenade launchers, an M-14 rifle, a baby Armalite rifle, an ingram-sub-machinegun, a .45 cal. pistol, three M-16 Armalite rifles, bonnets, and a burned Nissan Sentra car and plates with various numbers, including "XDH-777" believed used in the November 5 kidnapping of Pilar Pelayo in Angeles City.
Pelayo was abducted by the group in front of the Blue Gen Pawnshop in Plaridel, Angeles City. They were paid P985,000 for her release.
Records gathered from the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response said Yap's group was responsible for the following kidnapping for ransom incidents:
* Gonzalo Go, snatched on Yakal street, Tondo, Manila, Aug. 13. Ransom of P1.97 million was paid.
* Baby Ungson, May 17, on Taft avenue in Pasay City; P1.4 million ransom paid.
* Evaristo Kho, snatched April 13 at "Prima Uno at Dos" in Pasig; P1 million ransom.
Angelo Reyes, chief of the National Anti-Kidnapping Task Force, said the Yap group was the No. 1 KFR gang in the country. It was also responsible for the November 2000 kidnapping of Filipino-Chinese student Florliz So in Pasay City. Reyes also said that Yap, aside from being a physician, was also a sugar trader.

Reyes said he considers the Yap group now neutralized.
Asked if Yap's group has links with scalawags in uniform, he said: "We are still investigating that but previous reports say that he might have some influence with some members of the authorities."

Teresita Ang-See of the Citizen's Action Against Crime said the group was behind at least nine KFRs in Metro Manila.

She said Yap had victimized a number of Filipino-Chinese. "Pati mga kamag-anak niya pina-kidnap na niya," she told a radio interview.
Ang-See said Yap was convicted last year by a Pasay City Regional Trial Court for kidnapping but was out on bail. Since then, Yap has masterminded at least five more kidnappings.

Ang-See said aside from KFR, Yap was also into hijacking and financed bank robberies. At one time, Ang-See said, their witness to a kidnapping case against Yap was harassed by the Western Police District, saying that the witness was into the illegal sale of volatile substance, including rugby.
She said the witness was a hardware store owner.
"How can he be selling rugby illegally ... our witness owns a hardware?" Ang-See said.
She said she has information that Yap was protected by police officials.
"The police should dig deeper into his (Yap) involvement in hijacking and bank robberies," she also said.

Ang-See said Yap should have been arrested as early as last January but for some reason managed to elude authorities.

"Kung hindi pa nakaabot kay President Arroyo ang reklamo namin dito ay hindi pa magiging puspusan ang follow-up operation kay Yap," Ang-See said


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