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Police say some ‘abducted’ youths only went on dates; some cases unverified

MANILA, Philippines – Rumors that teenagers are being abducted are most likely fake news or unverified reports, several police officials said on Tuesday.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Acting Director Brig. Gen Debold Sinas and Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo said that several of the alleged missing minors have already been found.

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Both also noted that the reason for their disappearance was not by force, but rather due to their personal decisions.

“Na-alarma rin ang Quezon City, may mga nawawala daw, ‘yon lang pala nakipag-date lang ng tatlong araw, gano’n, tapos bumabalik, pagkatapos hindi naman pinost.  So syempre nag-gegenerate ng false or fake news,” Sinas said in a press briefing.

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(Quezon City was alarmed because some minors are allegedly missing, but it turned out they just went on a date for a three-day date, and then came home but was not reported.  So, of course, it generates false or fake news.)

Montejo meanwhile cited several cases where children, as young as 13 years old, were reported to have eloped with their lovers — hence being missing from their families for weeks.

“Pina-verify po namin itong reported na sampu na missing minors.  Napag-alaman din, pinuntahan talaga namin sa mga bahay-bahay ito (para malaman) kung ano talaga ang real score.  Marami, iba-iba ang dahilan,” Montejo said.

(We verified reports that 10 minors are missing.  So we went to their houses to know the real score.  There are various reasons.)

“Si alias Mae, female, 13 years old, nakatira sa West Avenue, Barangay Bungad, Quezon City.  Date reported missing, on or about 12:30 a.m. of August 26, 2019 […] no’ng pinuntahan ng mga pulis natin, accordingly eloped with boyfriend at Tandang Sora,” he explained.

(One alias Mae, female, 13 years old, who lives near West Avenue in Barangay Bungad, Quezon City, was reported missing at 12:30 a.m. of August 26, 2019.  When police searched for her, they discovered that she eloped with her boyfriend to Tandang Sora.)

The reports that teenagers were missing came about from claims that at least seven Pasay youths were abducted by white vans roaming the said city.  Several groups speculated that they might have been abducted so that syndicates can harvest their organs and sell them.

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However, Sinas said that there are no reports yet of such schemes, saying that the NCRPO’s anti-cybercrime division is probing who started such discussions.

“Now what is certain is hindi po totoo ‘yong balita na ina-abduct at kinukuhanan ng mga body parts, fake po ang mga pictures doon, kung saan-saan lang po kino-collate.  We have also our cybercrime who investigated this mga pinagpopost, mga luma na po ‘yon,” he noted.

(Now what is certain is that news saying that minors were abducted for the harvesting of body parts are not true.  The pictures used in social media are fake, it was collated from unverified reports.  We also have our cybercrime investigate the posts and it appears old photos were used.)

Police also said earlier it was possible that missing young persons in Pasay were not abducted, as there was no resistance when they willingly stepped into the vehicle.  Authorities are now looking at other angles, including they might be linked to the illegal drug trade.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperson Bernard Banac labeled such rumors as fake news, as these are coming from unverified reports.

“Nais po natin pabulaanan ang mga kumakalat na fake news na ito. Wala pa pong basehan at hindi ito validated,” Banac told reporters in Camp Crame.

(We want to clarify that these rumors are fake news.  It does not have a basis and these reports are not validated.)

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