MANILA -- Three persons of interest and a witness may yield leads on the abduction of a businessman who once served as aide to slain Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili of Batangas, the National Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday.
The victim Allan Fajardo used to oversee the infamous "Walk of Shame" in which crime suspects were paraded around Tanauan, back when he was still chief of Halili's anti-criminality group, media reports earlier said.
Fajardo was abducted by around 30 people in full battle gear who stormed the restaurant of a hotel in Sta. Rosa, Laguna last week, investigators earlier said.
A certain alias "Cardo," an aide of Fajardo, hid under a table during the incident and evaded the abductors, said NBI Special Action Unit chief Atty. Emiterio Dongallo.
Cardo, he said, is now considered as a vital witness and tucked away at a safe house.
Investigators have also identified 3 persons of interest, one of whom is a friend of Fajardo that he was supposed to meet at the restaurant, Dongallo said.
The friend reached out to the NBI last Tuesday and said he was talking to Fajardo on the phone during the abduction, said the official.
Dongallo did not give details on the 2 other persons of interest, but Fajardo's lawyer Ferdinand Topacio earlier said they were identified through Fajardo's cellphone that was left on the crime scene.
"'Pag nag-cooperate po itong 3 persons of interest saka iyung witness, malamang po makakuha tayo ng mga vital na impormasyon kung sino ang may kagagawan po dito kay Mr. Fajardo," said Dongallo.
(If the 3 persons of interest and the witness would cooperate, we would probably get vital information on who did this to Mr. Fajardo.)
HISTORY UNDER HALILI
Fajardo last year reported to the NBI that he had received death threats, Dongallo said.
The businessman had filed complaints against several policemen and "big personalities" when he was still Halili's aide, he noted.
Dongallo echoed Topacio's observation that Fajardo's abductors seemed to have had tactical training.
"Ordinaryong tao lang po ang manood e makikita naman po sa CCTV na talagang organisado ang galaw at mukhang may mga alam ito sa operation," he said.
(Even if an ordinary person watches the CCTV, it would show that their movements were organized and they seem to have knowledge on operations.)
The kidnappers, after entering the restaurant, immediately fanned out towards strategic locations that "neutralized whatever threats there may be" and prevented Fajardo from escaping, Topacio earlier said.
Clad in full battle gear, Fajardo's armed abductors fled towards Tagaytay on board 5 vehicles, said Dongallo.
It was not yet clear if Fajardo's driver was also abducted because he was not seen in the CCTV clips or by witnesses, said the official.