Duterte mum on beheading of Canadian hostage
DAVAO CITY—President-elect Rodrigo Duterte was silent on the beheading of another Canadian hostage by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
“Sa kanya I think the concern about the Abu Sayyaf should be addressed to the present administration dahil hindi pa naman siya presidente,” incoming presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters at Marco Polo Hotel.
(I think in this case, the concern should be addressed to the present administration because Duterte is not president yet.)
“Wala pa naman siyang sinabi sa akin, nag-usap kami kagabi. Hindi napag-usapan,” Panelo said.
(He hasn’t said anything yet, we talked last night. It was not discussed.)
The Abu Sayyaf on Monday announced that they had beheaded Canadian mining consultant Robert Hall as the deadline for the payment of a P600-million ransom lapsed. A severed head, found in Jolo, Sulu hours after the announcement, was brought to Manila for DNA testing.
Asked about Duterte’s comprehensive plan to solve the ASG problem, Panelo said he supposed they would discuss it “when he (Duterte) assumes the presidency.”
“Basta ang alam ko (All I know is that) President-elect Duterte will not tolerate or condone ang illegality in this country. He will do everything in this power to stop all these… That’s his commitment, to stop all this criminality,” Panelo added.
Armed men seized Hall, Canadian John Ridsdel, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Maritess Flor from a marina in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte province on Sept. 21 last year, and handed them over later to the ASG in Sulu. The kidnappers beheaded Ridsdel on April 25 after failing to get a P300-million ransom.
Flor’s mother Flordelisa told Inquirer that they were leaving their daughter’s life in Duterte’s hands.
Panelo said he was not aware of Duterte’s efforts to reach out to the Filipino’s family and save the remaining hostages.
“I’m not aware of the efforts but I will not be surprised kasi President Duterte always helps those who are in need. Hindi ko lang alam exactly (I just don’t know how exactly),” he said.
“We haven’t talked about it, ang alam ko lang ‘yung style niya nung mayor pa siya, pag merong (all I know is his style when he was still mayor, that when there’s a) kidnapping he has backdoor negotiations then suddenly nare-release ‘yung mga tao (the captives are released),” Panelo added.
Malacañang condemned Hall’s “brutal and senseless” execution as it vowed to go after the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers and rescue the hostages without paying ransom. CDG/rga
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