Rolito Go, Went Out, Gone Back by Ace Esmeralda The Kidnapping Angle In July 1991, Mr Rolito Go, blinded by very bad mood, entered a one-way street in upscale Greenhills and found himself blocked by another car driven by a young engineering graduate. In a fit of rage, Mr Go, fresh from a fight with his girlfriend, vented his negative emotions toward the driver of the other car, Eldon Maguan. Go’s murder case has been more of an emotion-driven one at a time when texting was not even a fad yet. Go, a Chinese businessman, shooting point-blank a young person, became a rallying point by several crusaders then and until now.
Rolito Go went to face the consequences of his action with efforts to escape. He fled after the road rage but was identified by a snappy security guard. Go surrendered after six days. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on murder charges after two years of trial. In 1993, he escaped from prison and hid from authorities for three years. Once captured, he was sent to the maximum security facility at the National Bilibid Prison. Media coverage plunged him to the limelight from time to time, from the crime scene to his trial and recapture.
He became a high-profile person, which worked to his disadvantage. Justice is not vengeance and personal transformation is received with cynicism in this only Christian country in Asia. His name became synonymous to road rage that involves shooting another driver. He became a victim of being stereotyped. Lives Out, Went Out In March 2009, Rolito Go was qualified to be transferred to the minimum security facility of NBP. He stays in a nipa hut near a church. He was given a live-out status that allows him to walk around the prison compound without security escorts.
Just like other live-out inmates, he is required to report to the minimum security facility every 5 p. m. for accounting. When I visited Rolito Go in his live-out hut in early 2011 for a story on Philippine Prisons, Prisoners and Reformed Lives for SecurityMatters, I met a sharp and calm person. He was interested in the magazine and on the topic. While waiting to be accommodated, I scanned the environment of his daytime abode which is just beside the main road out of the NBP fortress. I saw several plastic bottles of medicines and supplements on top of his shelves.
There is a bamboo fence around to keep stray dogs out. The gates are welcoming to anyone. He can be visited. He also can simply take a ride on a pedicab or a SUV if he wants to. He doesn’t need a blast and daring rescue like those who recently escaped the jails of Maguindanao and Basilan. Anyone can also fetch him for daylong joy ride around Metro Manila or for a refreshing spa. Anyone includes wardens, family, friends, or kidnappers. He doesn’t live his day behind bars except probably when the mass media or some parties throw him back into the limelight. Gone Missing: The Kidnapping Story
The kidnapping tale is very difficult for most people to understand especially if their perception and understanding of kidnapping and escape from prisons came mostly from news, TV shows, or Hollywood movies. I understand the emotional reaction of the Maguans and the general public if they quickly jump to conclusions based on stereotyped notions and prejudices. I understand, in fact, expecting the natural reactions from the Bureau of Corrections, which is in a Catch-22 position. Whether it’s a kidnap or an escape case, it still involves an inmate gone missing. My Take.
From my perspective then as company commander of an army unit of Task Force Kutawato in the mid-90s, my fellow TFK officers and I classify the potential kidnap-for-ransom victims into “kidnapable” and ransomable”. Almost everyone, including live-out inmates, is kidnapable but only a few are ransomable. Rolito Go is both kidnapable and ransomable. The kidnappers of Rolito Go know that getting ransom money could be quick and easy. But they failed to factor in their plans that their victim was suffering from colon ailment and carries a colostomy bag. I watched Go narrate his story in a PNP press conference.
I believe him, for now. When Director General Bartolome’s stated that the police “deal with facts”, the more I believed the kidnapping story. Granting his kidnapping story is a scripted alibi, we should get acting lessons from Go and his nephew. Why would Go stage his escape when he is due for release next year? He knows very well the implications of another escape to his records. Could he been “escaping” time to time and it was only this time someone squealed? Why would he bring another person into his caper? He is intelligent and caring enough not to get his nephew, who is also his caregiver and nurse, into trouble.
Getting another person to corroborate a scripted event poses the risk of being found lying under intense cross-examination by a seasoned interrogator. The NBI and other agencies will definitely interview the prison chaplain, his sister, his wife, dozens of other inmates. Why would he script such story when he knows that it is difficult for a prostitute to cry rape? Why go to the extent of inflicting wounds upon himself and his nephew for a short freedom–to be with his sister or to gamble in Resorts World? The tales woven by others are more illogical than Go’s kidnapping story.
The police may soon reveal that the struggle or defensive wounds of Go and his nephew are not self-inflicted and that both passed the polygraph test as telling the truth. I hope that no one will say that they passed the polygraph because Go is a criminal and therefore an expert liar. Could the kidnappers assumed that asking a measly ransom of P1M assures quick release and that Go could be accounted for before 5 p. m.? Several tingi-tingi kidnappings have been happening in North Luzon since last year. Fast, quick, efficient, these kidnappings go unreported by victims and victims’ families for obvious reasons.
Could Go’s kidnappers have thought that no one will believe the kidnapping story of fugitive Rolito Go and his family anyway? They probably did not consider that many government agencies would be just eager to recapture a high-profile fugitive. From the looks of available information, it seems the alleged four kidnappers of Go are bad actors since even Go suspected them immediately. They are also amateurs in terms of planning and execution. I believe that they are not really for the money but for the media impact on the missing high profile inmate. NBI’s Role, De Lima’s Dilemma
Some people said that the National Bureau of Investigation might not be the independent body to investigate the case since suspected kidnappers were allegedly NBI agents. More so that the NBI, like the BuCor, is under the Justice Department and the Justice Secretary is now the OIC of BuCor. I believe that the new NBI Director will not risk whitewashing or covering up in case there are scalawag NBI agents involved. Secretary De Lima will side with the truth while she ponders on the political implications of this incident. Casualties, Victims Rolito Go, his nephew, and their families are the victims in this kidnapping case.
The knee-jerk reactions of the BuCor will cost other live-out inmates their little privileges. The other victims in the latest episode in the life of Rolito Go are not only the three jail officers but also the head of the Bureau of Corrections himself. Whether this episode is a staged cover story for an escape or real kidnapping, Director Pangilinan finds himself a victim of a demolition job. After several attempts to get his throat because of the reforms he instituted inside the BuCor, this case is the biggest mud thrown at him so far. The kidnappers, or say, the abductors of Rolito Go were successful in their mission.
With the multi-agencies investigating the escape of Rolito Go, let’s hope that truth will not be another victim and that justice will not escape those who deserve it. Rolito Go kidnap has ‘semblance of truth’ —De Lima It looks like there is a “semblance of truth” to the claim of high-profile inmate Rolito Go that he was kidnapped last week by men inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who was quick to add that this has yet to be confirmed. De Lima made the statement as she disclosed that she has also found cases of “hulidap” involving wives of inmates there.
Hulidap is a Filipino slang word coined from huli (arrest) and hold up. It is usually used to describe police who make illegal arrests then extort money from their victims in exchange for their freedom. Based on evidence De Lima conceded she initially did not want to believe Go’s abduction story. “Based on the evidence, it looks like it has a semblance of truth but I’m not confirming it,” De Lima said. The justice secretary told reporters she was meeting with National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Nonatus Rojas on Wednesday to get an update of its investigation of Go, who went missing with his nephew Clemence Yu on the night of Aug. 4. NBI sources told the Philippine Daily Inquirer their findings give credence to Go’s claim that he did not escape but was abducted by armed men. “It was a case of abduction, but who took him we do not know yet,” the official privy to the investigation told the Inquirer on the condition that he would not be named for lack of clearance from his superiors. “We have validated his statements and we say Go was abducted,” the official said. De Lima earlier directed the NBI to investigate the disappearance of Go from the minimum security prison of the NBP in Muntinlupa. Stories jibed
The NBI source said the narration of Go and his nephew about how they were abducted from the minimum security prison compound and brought to a safehouse in Batangas had jibed. He also added that Go’s statement that they were released by their abductors and did not pay any ransom money also sticks. The source clarified reports that Go’s abductors posed as NBI agents. “In the interview with Go, it showed that from the start he knew his abductors were not NBI agents and they also did not pose as agents,” the source said. Go said he was kidnapped late afternoon on Tuesday last week by at least four men who allegedly asked for P50-million ransom.
He was taken into police custody after he was supposedly released by his abductors the following day. De Lima said she intended to call a “case conference” with the NBI, Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigative Detection Group and the Antikidnapping Group next week to compare notes on the Go case, including her own investigation of incidents of “hulidap” in the NBP. “I was able to confirm in my three… successive days going to the BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) during the weekend recorded cases of hulidap,” she said.
She said a possible scenario was there was indeed a syndicate operating at the NBP where the kidnappers were from the “outside” but they have “spotters” on the inside. Possible scenario Victims so far were wives of inmates who were forcibly taken after they visited their husbands inside the NBP, De Lima said. “The abductions did not happen inside the reservation but outside, after their visits,” she related. But she said not all of the victims wanted to cooperate with authorities on their experience. De Lima underscored the need to look deeper into these hulidap cases inside the NBP.
She said she will tell Rojas to organize a “dedicated team of trusted NBI agents to dig deeper into it. ” Even if it was validated that Go and his nephew were abducted, De Lima said there was still a need to determine “whether they were victims of a hulidap syndicate or if there was another motive or another group involved. ” De Lima said she welcomed any Senate or House investigation into Go’s disappearance but in aid of legislation. Go was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing student Eldon Maguan in 1991 over a traffic altercation. He is scheduled to be released in June 2013.
While in prison, Go has undergone surgery for colon cancer. Rolito Go Kidnapping Confirmed Rolito Go has indeed been kidnapped from the New Bilibid Prison, SecurityMatters sources have verified following initial investigations. Kidnappers are now under pursuit. Go, at a press conference yesterday, narrated that he and his nephew-nurse, Clemence Yu, were forcibly taken by armed men who identified themselves as agents from the National Bureau of Investigation last Tuesday, July 14. Initially, a P1-million ransom was demanded by the kidnappers. But eventually, Go and his nephew were released.
The two returned to police custody by 11 p. m. of Wednesday, July 15. There were doubts regarding whether Go was really kidnapped or tried to escape. SecurityMatters sources earlier said that the physical check-up done on Go and his nephew revealed signs of struggle which were not self-inflicted. The two have also undergone lie detector tests that showed they were telling the truth. An in-depth, multi-agency probe has been ordered by Malacanang regarding the incident. Meanwhile, Bureau of Corrections Director Gaudencio Pangilinan went on indefinite leave pending the result of the probe.
Go was convicted for the murder of Eldon Maguan, an engineering student, in a 1991 road rage incident. He is serving his sentence in Bilibid and is set to be released next year. NBI investigation to Rolito Go Tuloy ang pagkilos ng National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) sa kabila ng pagkakabalik sa kostudiya ng mga otoridad ni convicted murderer na si Rolito Go. Magugunitang kaninang madaling araw ay napasakamay na ng pulisya ang umano’y dinukot na bilanggo, base na rin sa kumpirmasyon ni PNP Chief Nicanor Bartolome. Ayon kay Justice Sec.
Leila de Lima, layunin ng pagkakaroon ng hiwalay na pagsisiyasat ng NBI na matingnan kung may iba pang personahe na maaaring madawit sa pagkakalabas ni Go sa bisinidad ng New Bilibid Prisons (NBP). Bukod kasi sa PNP investigation, may automatic na pagsisiyasat din ang Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). Giit ni De Lima, hindi siya magdadalawang isip na irekominda ang pagsibak sa sinumang matutukoy na nagkaroon ng kapabayaan kahit ang matataas na opisyal ng BuCor at NBP. Sa ngayon ay lalo pang naghigpit ang mga otoridad sa loob at labas ng national penitentiary upang matiyak na hindi na mauulit ang umano’y pagdukot kay Go.