Beware: Kidnapping modus operandi in Metro Manila

An incident about a modus operandi where kids are being used to kidnap kids in Metro Manila was posted by a certain Honey Santiago on her Facebook page recently.

Beware: Kidnapping modus operandi in Metro Manila

The post which is about her friend's experience is now viral online as it gives warning to the public to be vigilant and pro-active for their little ones.

Here's the full story, a repost:

July 20, 2014 around 2PM.

My husband and I were together with our almost 5 years old boy were having coffee and dessert in Sugarhouse Alabang Town Center. While having our tete-a-tete and our son galloping around us, a girl about 6 or 7 years old suddenly appeared and holding our son’s hand saying, “Come, let’s play.” Good thing my son was standing between me and my husband when this happened. Perhaps, sensing something strange, my son, instead of being his usual friendly self, came closer to us looking at me as if asking for permission if it’s ok to play with this girl.

I stared at the girl while she was holding our son’s hand and inviting him to come and play. I interrupted and asked, “Where are you going?” So she just pointed to the direction where the exit is (if you are familiar where Sugarhouse ATC is located, it is pretty much near one of the mall’s exit where commuters have easy ride access and is also near a barangay of squatters).

So I spoke to the girl in English telling her to play where I can see them, asked her questions about her parents or nanny, etc but she just stared at me blankly repeating to my son, “Come, let’s play” while tugging him to join her. It then dawned on me that this girl probably doesn’t understand English and suspicious thoughts started racing in my head so I translated my instructions and my questions turned into interrogations in Tagalog but this time with a stern and authoritative voice since her expressions, answers seems scripted and uncommon for a child. I also looked around and the girl with her age seems to be unsupervised within reasonable distance.

I asked both of them to sit in front of us so I could observe further instead of just going away, my head wrestled with my instinct refusing to believe that a child can be used as an accessory to a hideous crime such as kidnapping. The child sat but was uneasy and can’t keep still. She was just staring at our son not saying a word or anything. I can’t remember if my son tried to talk to her since I was too engrossed in observing the girl and putting pieces of the events that unfolded together.

Here are my observations:

Physical: The girl was presentably dressed in denim shorts, sandals, and a headband. But her legs are full of scars and her front teeth are mostly decaying.

Behavior: Uneasy and can’t keep still; staring at our son while raising her legs seemingly showing off her legs (which is why I noticed the scars).

Conversation: Pretends to speak English when it seems that come, let’s play are the only words she knows. The rest are in Tagalog which can be concluded as scripted.

No adult supervision around. Odd that I asked her to sit near our table with our son and until we left, no one came to pick her up. I offered to bring her to her parents but she just stared at me and pointed towards the exit again. I really looked long and hard but there is just no one visible.

To parents and adults, please be very vigilant in looking after your precious little ones. If you know you have the tendency to zone out or be absent minded or your kids tend to wander off or get friendly, take necessary precautions – talk to your children about strangers, kidnapping, and food poisoning/drugs the way they can understand. Also, be mindful too of other children as we may have to opportunity to save a child or a parent from great torment.

To ATC and other mall management, may you orient the guards and security to also spot suspicious children activities as they are being used as accessories to the crimes.

Most of all, may we increase our prayer life for protection, guidance of our families and children; conversion and repentance of the predators.

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