PAGADIAN CITY – Police on Thursday said gunmen abducted the son of southern Philippine town mayor who is also a businessman and that security forces were dispatched to track him down.
Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, a regional police spokeswoman, said the 28-year old Jelster Ed Tiu Quimbo was seized by 6 gunmen in downtown Labason in Zamboanga del Norte province late Wednesday. Quimbo, whose father Eddie, is the incumbent mayor of Labason town.
Galvez said the abductors dragged Quimbo to a waiting van and sped off towards the neighboring town of Gutalac where the vehicle was recovered near the shoreline in the village of Usukan.
“It was empty,” she said. “The PNP elements of Labason Municipal Police Station in coordination with the 42nd Infantry Battalion of Philippine Army in the area are now conducting hot pursuit operation for possible rescue of the victim and eventually arrest the suspects.”
Chief Superintendent Billy Beltran, commander of police forces in Western Mindanao, has appealed to the public “to immediately report to the PNP or to any other proper authority about the presence of the victim their area.”
He also alerted security forces in the Zamboanga Peninsula, which is composed of the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte, on Quimbo’s abduction, so police and military commanders can coordinate in the search for the mayor’s son.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the abduction, but the Abu Sayyaf and other rebel groups are actively operating in the peninsula.