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Pedicab driver taken by 'cop' still missing.

A week after his abduction by armed men - one of them dressed as a policeman - in broad daylight in front of a barangay outpost, the family of pedicab driver Nestor dela Cerna remains hopeful he will turn up safe and sound.

'We are still looking for him, we don't know where he could be,' Dela Cerna's 12-year-old daughter, Marian, told the Inquirer. 'We don't know who could have done this to him. He is a good man.'

On March 5, the 52-year-old Dela Cerna was forcibly taken by three armed men as he was riding his pedicab on San Guillermo Street in Barangay Karuhatan, Valenzuela City, around 6:40 a.m, said PO2 Regor Germedia, case investigator.

Footage taken by the barangay's closed circuit television camera showed the victim dropping off a passenger near MacArthur Highway before making a U-turn back to Guillermo Street.

As Dela Cerna passed by a white Honda Civic parked near the barangay outpost, three men got out of the vehicle and grabbed him.

The video showed a man wearing a police uniform dragging Dela Cerna off the bicycle seat and pinning him facedown on the ground while handcuffing him.

Two armed men dressed in black civilian clothes kept passersby away as they pushed the victim into their vehicle before driving away.

'It was such a brazen act; it was done in broad daylight. They kidnapped him near the outpost, near the highway at 6:42 a.m. At 6:45 a.m., he was already inside their car,' Dela Cerna's live-in partner, Maritess Casipit, told the Inquirer on Saturday.

Wild goose chase

She said they went on a wild goose chase while looking for him. 'We looked for him first in the Valenzuela police [station], then in Camanava [Northern Police District], in Caloocan and in Camp Karingal [in Quezon City]. We even checked [the headquarters of the] Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency,' Casipit added.

Germedia confirmed that Dela Cerna was not on the Valenzuela police's watch list. Neither was there an operation conducted by the city police with the victim as the target on the day he went missing.

He said they were still checking if Dela Cerna could have been arrested by other police stations.

Marian admitted that her father was jailed in 1985 for murder although she did not know the details.

'But it's unlikely that this was related to that. My father does not have any enemies. He is not a user; he even hates drug addicts,' she said.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Mar 12, 2018
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