On the morning of November 29, “Pasay” wound its way to the trending topics nationwide. It was because the alarming reports of missing youth in Pasay City, particularly around Pasay Rotonda area, finally caught the attention of social media. Here’s what we know about the situation so far:
There were 9 reported disappearances between November 20 and 22
Nobody is talking about the MISSING YOUTHS OF MANILA. This week at least 9 youths went missing in Pasay. Nobody noticed the trend bc people were only using social media to report it. Now ppl are saying the number might be 20. It’s a crazy story that needs international attention. pic.twitter.com/2UUtmStfOM
— trinnie (@mixielot) November 27, 2019
According to Pasay City police, there were nine youths allegedly abducted in a span of 2 days at Pasay City, one female and eight males with ages ranging from 18 to 23 years old.
On November 20, a pair of boys were waiting in front of a fast-food chain by Taft Avenue when they were taken inside a five-seater car, a couple went missing on the same date. Early morning of November 22, three boys were last seen around Barangay 14 while during the night, one boy was seen taken inside a van in Barangay 28.
This string of abduction and alleged kidnapping reached social media and caused great alarm. Were these people just “missing” or were they really abducted?
The CCTV footage
On Tuesday, November 26, police have released CCTV footage showing a van that parked on Villaruel St. past 6PM on Friday. Four men got out and after a while, two more men in caps were leading a certain Sebastian Montoya into the vehicle. It sped away on to Leveriza St. and Montoya was declared as one of the missing persons.
Some family members think that the abductors were cops working for the anti-narcotics campaign
Please tell the world of these disturbing development in Pasay City about abduction of youths. Sketchy reports say the kidnappers posed themselves as police and ‘invited’ these youths in the name of ‘war on drugs’. https://t.co/9YctMKs5E0
— Hederilro (@hederilro) November 28, 2019
Sebastian Montoya’s aunt, Emilita Gonzales, said during an interview that police officers came to their house before, asking Sebastian to surrender as part of the administration’s drug war campaign. Both Sebastian and Emilita denied that the boy was involved in any dealing but at the police station, people were telling Emilita it might have been cops dressed as civilians who took her nephew. Later, police have confirmed that no one among the missing persons was in any drugs watchlist.
The police have already assembled a task force
felt 5% safer than before after seeing 2 pasay city police cars roaming the area (Libertad)
— jannics ᗢ (@_JLcortez) November 28, 2019
There have been reports circling around the internet that the actual number of youth abducted is actually 20, most just haven’t been reported. Since this case is obviously alarming and it’s gaining attention, Pasay City police have already assigned a task force to investigate. What they have found out so far is that the plate number of the Toyota Hi-Ace that took Montoya was fake and belonged to a Toyota Vios.
Knowing that the police are exerting their efforts to get to the bottom of this and are actually launching patrols provide comfort for those scared.
Locals fear the worst: syndicates
— A (@GuiangAndrea) November 28, 2019
In the bustling, congested, and rugged streets of Manila, nothing is impossible. A syndicate abducting young people even in broad daylight is most certainly possible. The fear that’s echoing in everyone’s mind is wondering what happened to these kids. There have been scaring that the abductors are sex traffickers or they take young people to harvest their organs. While the authorities haven’t confirmed anything yet, we wouldn’t put anything past the dark minds of men who will do anything for money.
Reports of attempted kidnappings surfaced on the internet
MAG-INGAT KAYO GUYS!!
SA PASAY HERITAGE MAY LALAKING HIHINTO SA INYO AT PAGMAMASDAN KAYO
— ali (@denzil_laoyonII) November 27, 2019
After the news broke, people kept sharing their own stories of attempted kidnappings around the area. There were creepy men stalking girls that were alone, there were shady vehicles circling the area, reports of somebody they knew who almost got kidnapped but successfully escaped, and a lot more than our scared minds could process.
Some public officials have spoken out against the spread of fake news
Remember: Just because it’s on Facebook doesn’t mean that it’s real.
Enough fear-mongering, but be vigilant
ok but these pasay kidnapping incidents made me alarmed though hindi ako taga pasay. no city is safe now. i feel like, everyday, walking home alone is a battle, thinking that something will happen to me.
— ༄ (@iluvchixken) November 29, 2019
The bottom line is, even if the stories might be blown up, at its core there remains the truth that it started somewhere. Kids disappeared, people saw vans with men forcing people in it, relatives had similar stories, and now nine people are missing. It’s true we should stop scaring each other but we should remind each other to remain vigilant. Don’t text while walking, avoid listening to music while on the street (it’s a distraction), and always let people know where you are (turn on location sharing on Google Maps). It’s a jungle out there and if we can’t fight back or if the police can’t crack this case, we have to look out for each other.
Got anything else to add? Sound off in the comments below!