Overview on Kidnapping-for-Ransom

The crime of Kidnap-for-Ransom (KFR) is not only a serious crime; it is also a critical, life-threatening incident, violating the victim’s freedom and it undermines human rights. By nature, it is a heinous crime that has become a social menace due to its adverse effect to the peace and order and security.  It raises fears and doubts to the general public and discourages investments when kidnapping is prevalent which also affects the political and economic stability of the country.

Kidnap-for-ransom has become one of the most high-profile crimes the Philippines, owing to its lucrativeness.  Kidnappers undertake activities which bring in millions of pesos with each successful operation at relatively lower risk. 

The archipelagic configuration of the country works to the advantage of the kidnappers, as they hop from island to island, making it difficult for the government forces to detect and pursue them. Hence, Kidnap-for-ransom incidents have occurred in various parts of the country, particularly in Greater Manila area and Mindanao.

Though most of the victims belong to families in the upper income bracket, kidnappers also consider the following important factors in the selection of a potential target (Source: AKG’s Anti-KFR Prevention Tips):

  • Capacity to pay huge ransom (e.g. Involved in business transactions, import/export manifests, real estate transactions, always hosting big celebrations where many guests are invited; obviously rich lifestyle)
  • Ability to pay fast
  • Refusal to cooperate with the authorities
  • Not keen on reporting the incident to the police authorities

Kidnappers scout for a potential victim through an informer or spotter whose work is to locate targets for the group. To facilitate the operation, a group member is sometimes made to seek employment such as driver or household help to gain access and control of the victim. When a possible victim is eyed, the group then conduct thorough study of the background of the would-be victims, such as, capacity to pay as well as the daily routinary activities. Surveillance is also conducted to the victim to establish route and movement pattern.

In coordination with their “inside man”, the group snatches their victim in a manner that would not catch attention or suspicion from the public, hence, kidnapping takes place.

Evolution of Anti-Kidnapping Group

The evolution of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group emanated from different task forces to address criminality in the country. Foremost is the creation of Executive Order No. 3 on July 7, 1992 which created the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) with the principal task of directing and coordinating the activities of the various law enforcement agencies. This was during the time of then President Fidel V. Ramos appointing Vice-President Joseph Estrada as the head of PACC.

After six years, Executive Order No. 8 was created on July 22, 1998 under the administration of President. Joseph Estrada appointing PCSUPT PANFILO M LACSON as the head of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) to investigate and prosecute criminal elements in the country. PAOCTF is under the office of the President and supervised by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.

On September 28, 2000, Executive Order No. 295 was issued amending Executive No. 8 and creating Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC). While on April 16, 2001, Executive Order No. 10 was issued abolishing the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) and activation of Special Task Group (STAG) under the command and supervision of Deputy Chief PNP for Administration, then PDDG HERMOGENES E EBDANE JR. Barely three months after, Executive Order No. 23 dated July 6, 2001 was issued creating the National Anti-Crime Commission (NACC) and other purposes such as formulation of policies and develop modes for coordination and monitor implementation with regards to effort in preventing and combating crime. Two months later, Presidential Pronouncement was issued on September 8, 2001 appointing PDDG GERMOGENES E EBDANE JR. as Chief, Anti-Kidnapping Task Force (NAKTAF).

On July 15, 2002, PNP Letter of Instruction LOI 12/02 was issued setting forth the operationalization of the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER) and elaborates its functions and operational thrusts. PACER was headed by PSSUPT ALLAN LM PURISIMA.

On October 26, 2003, Executive Order No. 248 was issued creating the Office of the Anti-Kidnapping Presidential Adviser appointing SEC. ANGELO T REYES as the Adviser secretary which led to the organization of the National Anti-Kidnapping Task Force (NAKTAF).

On September 23, 2005, Executive Order No. 463 followed with the creation of Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC). Under the said Order is the creation of National Anti-Crime Task Force (NACTAF) then headed by PDG EDGARDO B AGLIPAY.

Six months after, Executive Order No. 522 was issued on March 3, 2006 directing the Abolition of the National Anti-Crime Task Force (NACTAF) while PACER remained under the Office of the Chief, PNP.

Following EO 522, was the creation of PNP Letter of Instruction (LOI) 50/09 (PACER ALPHA) on January 27, 2010 prescribing the enhancement of actions to be undertaken by Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER) to address the kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) problem. The LOI was signed by CPNP PDG JESUS A VERSOZA and the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Task Force.

LOI 50/09, PACER ALPHA is the last phase of AKG’s evolution as this is the period where paper works and other documentation were prepared for PACER’s justification into its activation to (PNP AKG) as a National Operational Support Unit (NOSU).

Since its creation on July 15, 2002, PACER has significantly reduced the KFR incidents in the country from the highest of 99 KFR incidents in 2001 to the lowest of 3 KFR incidents in 2011, this effort is the result of various anti-KFR operations which justifies PNP AKG as a National Operational Support Unit with specific functions that enables it to be more responsive, reliable and stable in carrying out its mandate. In addition, there will be an expansion of coverage up to regional areas where adequate deployment of personnel during kidnapping and hostage crisis situation can be carried out immediately.

In line with the recommendation of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) dated March 4, 2011, PNP AKG functions broadened from addressing kidnap-for-ransom to all forms of kidnapping and hostage situation.

On January 19, 2012, Resolution No. 2012-027, that PACER is activated into a regular national support unit of the PNP to be known as the PNP-Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG). Further on February 19, 2012, PNP G.O. # DPL-11-01, Activation of the “PNP AKG” as the primary unit of the PNP in addressing kidnapping menace in the country and in handling hostage situations.