Kidnapped Fil-Chinese Surigao Banker’s sister appeal to authorities: “Find my brother dead or alive”

by Ben Serrano

     January 21, 2011


            CAMP RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ, Libertad, Butuan City-   A representative of the sister of missing Surigao del Norte Filipno-Chinese Banker and businessman Johnson Cuiting appeared at the office of Caraga PNP regional director yesterday and relayed the appeal of the missing Filipino-Chinese trader’s sister based in Hongkong for Philippine authorities to act now because she wanted to see her brother, dead or alive.


            Private Investigator Maximo “Loy” Ocampo, representative of Mrs. Josefa Cuiting-Lam , sister of missing for more than two years now Fil-Chinese Banker Johnson Cuiting told Chief Supt. Reynaldo S. Rafal that his client, Mrs. Lam only wanted to know where her brother is and if already dead as assumed by authorities, can be buried properly.


            Ocampo, in a meeting twice with regional head of Caraga Police, said that Mrs. Lam  also wanted to help her brother if indeed he is still alive as assumed by some, on rumors that her brother was in hiding to hide allegedly from debts due allegedly from gambling.


            Ocampo who is general manager of Didymus, a business proprietary support service office based in Manila told Police General Reynaldo S. Rafal that he was hired as private investigator by Mrs. Lam for nearly two years now just to look, search, know the whereabouts and what really happened to his younger brother Johnson. 

            Mrs. Lam according to Ocampo, is the eldest among six children of the late Candida Custodio-Cuiting, mother of Mrs. Josefa Cuiting-Lam and Johnson who is Candida’s only son among six children. 

Their mother, Candida was the founder of Rural Bank of Placer, Inc. since it was really a family business and at the time he was kidnapped, Johnson was then the Bank’s president.

            When the Filipino-Chinese banker was kidnapped by four armed, bonnet wearing kidnappers on that fateful evening of January 7, 2009, Johnson’s late mother witnessed the kidnapping because she was inside and staying at Johnson’s house with her two caregivers attending her.

            The Cuiting matriarch died in Manila sometime in November last year without seeing her son again.

            Official police report from Surigao City Police office claimed Johnson was kidnapped from his home in Ceniza Heights Subdivision, Surigao City evening of January 7, 2009 by four armed kidnappers who used his vehicle, a white Toyota Hi-lux double cab pick-up bearing plate number KDL 969 as get-away car. 

            Cuiting’s vehicle was later recovered in Barangay Silop, Surigao City few hours later because allegedly Cuiting called his driver named Dodong in his mobile phone to get the vehicle in said barangay afraid that it might got lost.

            Then Surigao City Police Chief P/Supt. Ramir Perlito Paradino Perlas accompanied by Surigao del Norte Board member Nilo Aldonza who is close friend of Johnson Cuiting and driver Dodong with police escorts fetched the abandoned vehicle. 

            Perlas in his report claimed the kidnappers carted away from Cuiting’s home some P500,000 worth of assorted jewelries, P400,000 cash money, mobile phones of Cuiting’s wife, Dr. Bliss Dingal-Cuiting and two caregivers of Johnson’s mother and Johnson’s service firearm, a .40 cal. Pistol ARMSCOR made. 

            Initially, the kidnappers’ allegedly demanded P10-M ransom money from Cuiting Family with the use of Johnson’s mobile phone subscribed with mobile phone provider Globe with Manila-based PACER leading the government negotiating team thus handling the kidnapping case. 

            The Cuitings according to Mr. Maximo Ocampo raised P6-M ransom money with P3-M coming from Mrs. Josefa Cuiting-Lam and the rest provided by other members of the Cuiting siblings and the bank. 

            As negotiations for lower ransom money progresses, contacts with kidnappers suddenly stopped and the Globe subscription of Johnson’s mobile phone was cut off.

            After having no contact with the kidnappers, there was progress report then of the Johnson kidnapping incident from authorities. 

            At the time, Johnson was kidnapped then Surigao del Norte Police Provincial Director Senior Supt. Dave Ombao boasted the Cuiting kidnaping case will be solved 101 percent. Ombao was transferred to the Caraga PNP Regional Intelligence Office and become the office’ head without Cuiting Kidnapping case solved until now.

            When Police Senior Supt. Gilbert De la Cruz Cruz took over as Surigao del Norte Police Provincial Office Director, intensified police investigation on the Cuiting kidnapping case started again. Cruz even personally headed some field operations with his men. 

            But Cruz short stint as Provincial Director also stopped the enthusiasm for the search of the missing kidnapped Fil-Chinese banker. 

The new Caraga Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Reynaldo S. Rafal has recently ordered revival for intensified investigation of the Cuiting Kidnapping Case now considered as the longest unsolved kidnapping case of the country today. (-30-)


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