DIPOLOG CITY, Zamboanga del Norte -– The police in coordination with the military have launched pursuit operations to track down the whereabouts and possibly rescue a former Italian priest abducted by seven gunmen early Wednesday night in this city.
Supt. Ranie Hachuela, local police chief, identified the victim as Rolando Del Torchio, 56, an Italian national and a former priest.
Del Torchio, 56, owns and manages “UrChoice” Italian pizza outlet in Barangay Miputak, this city.
Hachuela disclosed the victim was seized around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at his pizza outlet by seven unidentified gunmen, four of whom have even bought and ate pizza as they pretended to be customers.
Hachuela said investigation showed the suspects seized Del Torchio when the victim stood up from the counter and went to the comfort room.
He said the suspects dragged Del Torchio and forced him to board on a waiting white van that sped off towards the boulevard area also in Barangay Miputak.
The boulevard is barely a kilometer away from Del Torchio’s pizza store.
Hachuela said the suspects abandoned the van and transferred Del Torchio to a motorboat and sped toward the high seas.
He said they recovered inside the pizza store a jacket, two sunglasses and carton boxes used by the suspects to conceal their Armalite rifles.
He said investigation is being conducted to unmask the identities of the suspects.