MANILA, Philippines – After more than 24 hours of searching and a talk with the family of missing 17-year-old Ica Policarpio, policemen are looking at the possibility that she might have just run away after being scolded by her parents.
"Kagabi nando'n kami sa bahay nila na-confirm namin itong bata pinagalitan ng parents bago nangyari...Mukhang naglayas ang bata na ito kaya lang hindi pa rin umuuwi," Muntinlupa Police chief Senior Superintendent Dante Novicio told Rappler in a phone interview on Saturday, December 23.
(We were at their place last night, and we confirmed that she had been scolded by her parents before this happened...It seems like the kid ran away, but just hasn't come home.)
Novicio, however, said they are not completely ruling out kidnapping in their investigation. Criminals also abduct people out of anger or political reasons, he said.
Initially, he said, "Hindi ito kidnapping, hindi kidnap-for-ransom, kasi hanggang ngayon, lampas 24 hours na nakalipas, walang humihingi ng demanda."
(This is not kidnapping, not kidnap-for-ransom, because until now, more than 24 hours have passed, there's still no one calling to make demands.)
Ica's father, Rufino Policarpio III, refused to comment on the police update, saying, "It's very speculative."
Novicio said they had reviewed CCTV footage from the coffee shop and Lakefront Sucat mall where Ica was last sighted.
"Tumawag 'yung father na, 'wag kang aalis diyan. Pagkatapos ng usapan tumayo ang bata," Novicio said. (The father called and told her not to leave. After the call, the kid stood up.)
That was when, police surmised, she left the place after learning her parents would be fetching her, leaving her gadgets at the coffee shop.
Ica was seen asking the coffee shop cashier to break her P1,000 bill, but the cashier did not have change, so she went to a convenience store.
"Hindi siya makapagpalit kaya ang ginawa niya bumili siya ng isang maliit na bote ng tubig, P1,000. Kaya ang obvious, kailangan niya ng barya," Novicio said, citing the CCTV footage they got.
(She wasn't able to get change, so she bought a small bottle of water with her, P1,000. It's obvious that she needed change.)
From there, Novicio said, she walked away.
Novicio said that Policarpio was reportedly spotted late Friday night in Novaliches. A few hours later at dawn on Saturday, they were informed that she was seen in Lucban, Quezon. They have tapped teams to check out the locations.
'Come home, Ica'
Ica's sister, Bea Policarpio, posted on Facebook that she wished Ica was safe wherever she was, and assured her the family loves her "more than [she] can imagine."
"Everyone is storming the heavens to find you. Come home and I promise we'll have the best Christmas ever," the older Policarpio said.
She reached out to the public for their support in sharing her post, in the hopes of Ica seeing the post to "find [her] way home."
The family has also begun printing missing posters of the teen, and starting a searching hashtag, #FindIca. Filipino celebrities have also jumped in to help.
*If you have information on Ica Policarpio, you may reach her family at 0917-894-6893.