By AARON RECUENCO
A police colonel, a businessman and several lawmen are being hunted by authorities for their involvement in the kidnap-slay of a casino junket operator last week.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa identified the official as Superintendent Johnny Orme, assigned at the Southern Police District (SPD).
Dela Rosa also named two other suspects as Alex Gozum and a certain Entong who served as tipster in the kidnapping of Oscar Tan.
“As of this morning, officials of the SPD have been calling Superintendent Orme, but he could no longer be contacted,” Dela Rosa said yesterday.
Tan, who brings foreign casino players here, was abducted with his driver while on their way to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Oct. 21. The driver was released later that day.
Dela Rosa said the initial ransom demand was P50 million but was later reduced to P10 million.
Three days after the abduction, Tan’s body was found near a bridge in Tagaytay City.
Follow-up operations resulted in the death of four people linked to the kidnap-slay in Carmona, Cavite on Oct. 27.
Killed following a shootout with the Anti-Kidnap Group (AKG) were PO2 Rodel Estonaktok, assigned at the Quezon City Police District; dismissed PO1 Ramil Opulante, formerly assigned at the Rizal Provincial Police Office; ex-PO1 Rolando Albios, formerly assigned at the QCPD; and, an Iloilo civilian Erwin Escobido.
The identities of other persons behind the Tan kidnap-slay were also known after the surrender of SPO1 Benjamin Paguirigan, also of the QCPD on Oct. 27.
Senior Supt. Glenn Dumlao, AKG director said, Orme was supposed to be at the Holding Unit of the SPD following his relief as intelligence officer of the Parañaque City police.
“His relief was because of a buy-bust operation that gone bad at the Batangas port,” said Dumlao.
A member of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Class of 1997, Orme used to be assigned to the Maritime Group based in Batangas.
“It was during his assignment in Batangas where he made an unholy alliance with Alex Gozum. They were engaged in oil pilferage operation in Batangas,” said Dumlao.
Gozum is reportedly the financier of the Tan kidnapping. He reportedly owns two gasoline stations in Paranaque City and Rizal.
“Both are always seen in Resorts World and Solaire in the guise that Superintendent Orme is a casino financier,” said Dumlao.
Police are eyeing the angle that Orme is just using his being a casino financier, or lending money to losing gamblers, as a front to look for target, particularly junket operators.
Based on the intelligence report, Orme has been encouraging his upperclassmen and underclassmen at the PNPA to invest on his casino financing business.
But Dela Rosa was quick to clarify that the investment made by other PNPA graduates on Orme does not mean that they are also involved in the kidnapping.
“It is just one way to earn money, as business investment. We are focusing on this case and if at the course of the investigation some of their names would crop up, then we will include them,” said Dela Rosa.