Kidnapped Coca-Cola executive found dead

By Christian V. Esguerra and Margaux C. Ortiz

THE VICTIM of "the worst abduction case so far this year" was found dead early Tuesday, apparently from blood loss, after what police suspect was a botched kidnap attempt.

The body of Betti Sy, 32, a Coca-Cola executive, was found wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a black plastic trash bag near the seafront in Parañaque City.

She was shot twice in her right leg and apparently bled to death, said Philippine National Police Director General Hermogenes Ebdane.

Sy was commercial finance director of The Coca-Cola Export Corp. and summa cum laude graduate of the University of the Philippines, according to Teresita Ang-See, president of the Citizens' Action Against Crime, an anti-kidnap watchdog group.

Ang-See called Sy's kidnapping and murder the worst abduction case so far this year.

A kidnap a day

She also said the kidnapping situation in the country now was the worst in about 10 years, with one stretch in August to September averaging a kidnapping a day. There have been more than 100 abductions so far this year, she added.

"This case would be our test case (for the authorities). It's time they keep their promises," Ang-See said.

A security guard found Sy's body on Pacific Avenue, Marina Bay Homes, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Boulevard in Barangay Don Galo at around 4 a.m.

Sy was a resident of Sitio Capri, Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, Quezon City.

She bore four puncture wounds on her right thigh aside from the injuries on her left hand, according to the police.

Inspector Glen Tigson said police had yet to confirm with Sy's family if the suspected kidnappers asked for ransom money.

He added that Sy was brought to the Mesina Funeral Homes where her family identified her body.

Last sighting

The victim's brothers Walter and Winifredo Sy told police they last saw their sister around 7:15 a.m. on Monday when she left for work on board a Toyota RAV 4 sports utility vehicle, with license plate XHZ-210.

JB Baylon, public affairs director of Coca-Cola Export, said he was the first to identify Sy because he arrived at the funeral parlor ahead of her brothers.

"We are appalled at what happened to Betty," Baylon told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

He added, "She had no enemies we were aware of. She was such a sweet girl."

The Inquirer tried calling Sy's home but the family declined to talk to reporters.

The victim was still wearing her dark blue blazer, gray shirt, black skirt and sneakers when she was found by security guard Albert Dinusa.

Senior Inspector Emma Galero of the Southern Police District's Scene of the Crime Operations unit said Sy sustained four puncture wounds in the right thigh and an injury on her left hand.

Senior Superintendent Ronald Estilles, Parañaque police chief, said the victim had been killed somewhere else before her body was dumped in the city.

According to the report of the Quezon City police, Tigson said, Sy was abducted by unidentified suspects in Biak na Bato, Quezon City, at around 9:45 a.m. on Monday.

Witnesses said two men riding a white Toyota Tamaraw FX van parked beside Sy's SUV and then entered the victim's vehicle.

They emerged minutes later carrying an unconscious Sy, witnesses added.

Police later recovered the abandoned RAV 4, with bullet holes and a pool of blood on the floor, at the boundary of Manila and Quezon City.


"It is very unfortunate that this thing happened," Ang-See told the Inquirer. "I hope that the Philippine National Police would really fulfill its promise of a breakthrough against kidnapping syndicates. We do not need another death for this to happen."

Acknowledging the country's growing kidnapping problem, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last month appointed former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes to coordinate various government agencies trying to battle the crime.

At the end of October, Ang-See said, a total of 110 cases had been reported, involving 165 victims. About 60 percent of the cases were in Manila.

31.7-percent jump

Her figure is slightly higher than the 83 abductions Reyes' agency had tallied. But the official figure already reflects a 31.7 percent jump in kidnappings from January to October last year.

Ang-See said that relatives of victims almost always paid ransom of about one to two million pesos.

She said the ethnic Chinese community members had banded together to form support groups, giving advice to families of kidnap victims and helping them drive down the ransom.

"The criminals know that they can get away with it because the police are distracted" attending to other security problems such as street protests and military rebellions, she added.

Lieutenant Colonel Danilo Servando, a spokesperson for the anti-kidnapping task force, said the situation had improved since the new body was set up in October.

"Kidnapping cases had gone down to only three cases since the task force was created last month," he told Reuters. 

With reports from Inquirer wires


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