Her kidnappers were already convicted but Sofia is still missing.
Maybe, Sofia Faith Fernandez Deocadin is enjoying her online classes as a kindergarten pupil, exchanging smiles with her new classmates and learning new things from her teacher.
Maybe, she is now playing with a new gadget inside her colorful room filled with toys, dolls and princess dresses and stuff.
And maybe, she has already adjusted to a new life with a new name in a new home with her new parents who bought her from her kidnappers three years ago. The joy she probably brings to her new family, however, is still causing pain and suffering from her real parents in Misamis Oriental.
“She is still missing as of this time and we in the Anti-Kidnapping Group still consider her case as unresolved until she is found and returned to her real family,” said Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, director of the AKG, Philippine National Police.
Estomo said that three of Sofia’s kidnappers were convicted by a Cagayan de Oro City court for kidnapping with ransom and serious illegal detention and were sentenced to life imprisonment with no eligibility for parole on August 18. They were Maxima ‘Normie’ Alastra-Maraasin, Erlinda Tapayan and Esperidion Alastra.
They were ordered to pay a total of P300,000 as damages to the victim’s parents.
Three other co-accused, however, were acquitted—identified as Quenie Caliso, Cesar Ian Tapayan and Brian Tapayan.
Sofia, then one-year and seven months, was kidnapped on February 22, 2017 in Buguac, Sta. Cruz, in Tagaloan, Misamis Oriental.
Estomo said the case was referred to the AKG Mindanao Field Office the following month as the kidnappers have been demanding money in exchange for her release.
“A series of negotiations took place to secure the release of the victim. But it only resulted in the arrest of six people during follow-up operations,” said Estomo.
In the course of the follow-up investigation, Estomo disclosed that they came across another person of interest behind the kidnapping who is now detained at the New Bilibid Prisons.
The name of the convicted felon at the NBP cropped up during the investigation and trail of the case involving Sofia.
Based on the interrogation, Estomo said the convicted felon told AKG operatives that the victim may have been sold by her kidnappers in Cavite and Laguna areas.
The reason? The kidnappers wanted money to buy shabu.
“We have already conducted a series of operations, raids and inquiries but all of them did not yield positive results,” said Estomo.
“The kidnapped victim is still missing as of this time and is still considered as a live case of this group,” said Estomo.