Aquino ‘likely’ to talk to Trudeau on ASG’s beheading of Canadian
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III is likely to speak to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, following the beheading of a Canadian national by his Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) captors, the INQUIRER learned.
The President cancelled his trip to Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte scheduled today, where he was supposed to attend to governance activities followed by a campaign sortie for administration presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and his running mate Camarines Sur Representative Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
Malacañang did not issue an explanation for the last-minute cancellation of the trip, except to say that the President’s official schedule for the day comprises of “monitoring and paper work.”
Sources from Malacañang and the Defense Department said that Aquino is to hold a security cluster meeting within the day.
“It is likely the President and Prime Minister Trudeau will talk today,” one of the sources said.
In a press conference, Trudeau confirmed the beheading of kidnap victim John Ridsdel, 68, of Calgary, Alberta and expressed outrage at what he called an “act of cold-blooded murder.”
Trudeau said the governments of Canada and Philippines, as well as international partners, would work together to pursue those responsible for Ridsdel’s death.
In a statement, Malacañang said Aquino “has directed the security forces to apply the full force of the law to bring these criminals to justice.”
“There will be no let-up in the resolute efforts of the joint PNP (Philippine National Police)-AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) task group in pursuing intensive and wide-ranging military and law enforcement operations to neutralize these lawless elements and thwart further threats to peace and security,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said
“We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Canadian government and to the family of Mr. John Ridsdel who died in the hands of the ASG bandits,” he said.
Ridsdel’s decapitated head was found in front of the Jolo municipal hall inside a sack. It was then brought to the Camp Teodulfo Bautista Hospital in the village of Bus-bus in Jolo.
Authorities identified Ridsel’s captors as headed by Abu Sayyaf leader Almujer Yadah.
They beheaded Ridsdel at around 3:45pm on Monday after his family failed to give them the ransom money they demanded.
Ridsdel was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf from Samal Island in Davao del Norte in September last year along with fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Hall’s Filipino girlfriend Marites Flor and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.
The group earlier demanded a P300-million ransom for each of the victims by April 25. RAM
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