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Missing 17-year-old girl found safe

The family of missing Ica Policarpio would be celebrating their “best Christmas ever” after the 17-year-old girl was finally found “safe and sound but stressed out” in San Pablo, Laguna Sunday, a day before Christmas.

Chief Superintendent Tomas Apolinario Jr., Southern Police District (SPD) director, said Policarpio was “finally found safe and sound” after three days. She was found by concerned citizens around 6 a.m. near a street eatery (carinderia) on Leon Guinto Street in Barangay II-B, San Pablo, Laguna.

Barangay hall officials were immediately alerted, who relayed the information to the Philippine National Police (PNP) 4A and then to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) ICA.

Policarpio, niece of Jimmy Policarpio who served as the chief of Presidential Legislative Liason Office under the administration of now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, went missing on Thursday night in a cafe in Sucat, Muntinlupa. Police said she went out to have her P1,000 bill changed but never returned.

When her father, lawyer Rufino, went to the cafe to bring her home, she was nowhere to be found and only her things left on a table were discovered – an indication of a possible kidnapping incident.

A social media post made by the teen’s elder sister, Bea, immediately spread, triggering a massive call for search for her, including celebrities and politicians.

Senior Superintendent Dante Novicio, Muntinlupa police chief, said in an interview that Policarpio seemed to just have ran away since she was scolded by her parents.

“Walang indikasyong ng kidnapping so mas malapit na naglayas talaga ‘yung bata. Safe naman siya pero medyo haggard at disoriented lang dahil ilang araw na siyang naglalagalag,” Novicio said.

“Sinabi naman ng tatay niya na napagalitan nga ‘yung bata. May pinapagawa daw pero ‘di nagawa pero pinagsabihan lang naman daw so baka ayun ‘yung nag-trigger,” he added.

Rufino, was quoted as saying that it was an unforgettable experience for their family but he expressed gratitude to the public, especially the netizens who shared information on social media, and authorities for their immediate response. (Martin A. Sadongdong)

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