By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Authorities have identified persons of interest (POIs) linked to the abduction and murder of two Chinese business executives in Camarines Sur province, a ranking police official said Wednesday.

In a phone interview, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the Chinese Embassy has coordinated with the Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) regarding the case.

“Ang pakiusap ng AKG (not to mention how many POIs) pero in-assure tayo ng director mismo ng AKG na meron silang mga tinututukan lalong lalo na yung mismong mga nakausap na sumundo sa ating mga biktima nung sila ay dumating dito sa ating bansa (The AKG’s request is not to mention how many POIs we have now but the AKG director personally assured that they are looking into some individuals, especially those who fetched the victims when they arrived in the country),” Fajardo told reporters.

Initial investigation showed the two victims – a Chinese national and a Chinese-American — arrived in the country on June 20 to meet with other Chinese nationals for a business venture.

However, the victims were fetched by a still unknown group upon their arrival.

Fajardo said the victims even managed to contact their families on the same day before they disappeared.

“The following day (June 21), the wife of one of the victims received demands for ransom asking for 5 million yuan. There were negotiations until the amount was lowered to 3 million yuan. Accordingly, the money was sent but the victims’ families did not hear anything from the suspects again,” she said in Filipino.

On June 23, a lawyer of one of the victims reported the matter to Chinese authorities, who then relayed the information to the PNP.

On June 24, the remains of the two victims were found beside a cliff in Sitio Rawis, Barangay Patitinan, Sagñay, Camarines Sur.

The victims’ remains were then taken to a funeral parlor, where they were positively identified by their families who flew from China on June 28. They were cremated on the same day.

“Now, the direction of our investigation is to find the people whom the victims are supposed to meet when they arrived here in the country. Sa ngayon ay maaga pa para mag-speculate tayo but lahat ng anggulo ay titingnan natin (For now, it is too early to speculate but we are looking at all angles),” Fajardo said, when asked on the possible motive for the crime. (PNA)