Sotto on beheading of Canadian hostage: ‘Act of cowardice’
An “act of cowardice” was how Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III described on Wednesday the latest atrocity perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
“I condemn it. It’s an act of cowardice,” Sotto said during the Kapihan sa Senado.
“Matatapang lang yun kasi sila ang may mga baril at saka nakatali. Wala akong bilib sa mga pumapatay na nakatali yung mga kamay. Di yun ang matatapang,” he added.
(The [ASG] are only fearless because they have guns and [the hostages] were tied up. I don’t think that people who kill those who are tied up are fearless. That is not fearlessness.)
The senator was apparently referring to the ASG’s beheading of Canadian Robert Hall, one of four people abducted by the bandits in September last year.
Sotto also backed the decision of the Canadian government not to pay ransom to the bandits in exchange for Hall’s release.
“It’s a national policy, it’s an international policy also not to negotiate with terrorists. So paying ransom is an act of negotiating,” he said.
Sotto expressed confidence that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte could neutralize the ASG, saying the Armed Forces of the Philippines was just waiting for an order from their commander-in-chief.
“I have met and have known Mayor Duterte since 1988. What I can say is, palagay ko (I think) he believes in the saying that I believe in also which is ‘Run silent, run deep,’” he said of Duterte’s silence on the beheading of the Canadian hostage.
Asked if Duterte could neutralize the bandits, the senator said: “Yes, I think so. This is only my personal opinion. Ang Philippine Army o ang Armed Forces of the Philippines naghihintay lang yan ng pagkakataon (The Philippine Army or Armed Forces of the Philippines is only waiting for an official order). Believe me. Naghihintay ng pagkakataon na bigyan ng go signal ng chief executive (They are waiting for the chief executive’s go-signal).”
Asked then if the Armed Forces would not act without a go signal, Sotto said: “Walang mananagot, eh. Hindi sila sasagutin. Bakit sila gagawa ng kusa nila? Mahirap naman yun pero kung may go signal, may command go ‘all out,’ iba yun. May back up eh.”
(No one would be accountable. No one would be held liable [over their actions]. Why would they act on their own? That would have no assurance but if there is a go signal or command go “all out,” that would be the time for them to act. There would be a backup.) RAM
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