‘Don’t give up on Ces’


By Jaime Laude
Sunday, June 15, 2008

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The families of abducted ABS-CBN broadcast journalist Ces Drilon and cameraman Jimmy Encarnacion appealed to authorities yesterday to sustain their rescue efforts a week after they were kidnapped in Sulu.

“Please don’t give up. We are counting on you and are praying for your efforts,” Drilon’s family said in a statement.

“We are grateful beyond words to all the people who are helping us get Ces and Jimmy back. We would like to thank the government, the authorities and the local government of Sulu for their persistent efforts to secure their release,” they said.

The appeal was made yesterday as authorities said negotiations are still ongoing for the release of Drilon, Encarnacion, and Mindanao State University professor Octavio Dinampo, who were kidnapped in Sulu last week by Abu Sayyaf extremists.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police director Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao belied reports that the kidnappers had cut off communication with the negotiators.

“There’s an ongoing negotiation. The negotiators will intensify their efforts for the release. There is no truth to reports that the abductors dropped communication with the negotiators. The communication lines are still open for negotiations,” Goltiao said.

There were reports that negotiations to secure the release of the hostages were being overshadowed by vested political interests.

But the family said they are not giving up, even on the people who continue to hold Drilon, Encarnacion and Dinampo captive.

“We have already tried our very best to have them released. Now, we can only hope and pray that the kidnappers have a change of mind and heart and see the good that will come out of releasing Ces and Jimmy,” the family said.

Almost a week after the kidnapping, the Abu Sayyaf released assistant cameraman Angelo Valderama last Thursday.

Though authorities denied paying P2-million ransom to secure Valderama’s freedom, sources in Sulu disclosed the pay-off was even higher at P5 million.

“There was a sudden twist in the already agreed amount, with the kidnappers jacking up the ransom from P2 million to P5 million,” two Sulu-based sources said in two separate telephone interviews.

One source said the kidnappers threatened to behead Valderama if the ransom was not raised to P5 million.

Because of the urgent situation, one of the negotiators personally shelled out P2 million while another unnamed donor gave P1 million in the effort to save Valderama.

“The initial agreement was P2 million in exchange for the release of Encarnacion and Valderama. But along the way, kidnappers jacked up their demand and later released only Valderama,” the source said.

There were reports that the Abu Sayyaf had passed Encarnacion to a kidnapping group to get the money.

But the Sulu police said they don’t have any information to confirm this.

Another source privy to the efforts to rescue Drilon and the two other hostages warned the P5-million ransom paid to the kidnappers would only prolong the situation.

“We have been advising them (negotiators) to negotiate for a one-shot deal and not on installment basis,” he said.

The source claimed Indanan Mayor Isnaji Alvarez, one of the negotiators, unwittingly prolonged the crisis by agreeing to give the ransom money.

“The ransom money only sustained the financial needs of the kidnappers,” the source pointed out.

The source said Alvarez’s son brought Valderama out but could not recall who among the kidnappers took the ransom money from him.

There were reports that Drilon had spoken with her ABS-CBN bosses and told them her captors are demanding P10 million in ransom money.

Mayor Alvarez, for his part, said he was able to convince the kidnappers not to separate the hostages and not to tie them up. He was also able to arrange the delivery of medicine to Dinampo who suffers from arthritis.

According to Alvarez, the kidnappers were different from previous Abu Sayyaf bands that held people in the island.

“These are young people, maybe about 30 years old. This is a new group. This is the second generation of Abu Sayyaf,” he said.

As this developed, police have detained a former rebel commander who served as the group’s “guide.”

Anti-terror Task Force Comet chief Major Gen. Juancho Sabban said former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) commander Juamil Biyaw surrendered and agreed to cooperate with the rescue operations.

Biyaw served as the guide of the kidnap victims, who were on their way to the lair of the Abu Sayyaf supposedly to pursue a story.

Sabban said Biyaw went into hiding after the kidnapping.

“Natakot siya kaya nagtago (He feared for his life so he hid),” Sabban said.

Biyaw denied allegations that he was a military agent and had lured Drilon and her group into a trap laid out by the Abu Sayyaf.

Biyaw said he served as assistant of Dinampo in his peace advocacy group.

Sabban said Biyaw gave details of the incident to belie allegations of his participation in the kidnapping.

According to Biyaw, he did not go with the group when they walked off because of severe leg pains and cramps.

Biyaw went on to describe the kidnappers as being in their early 30s, bolstering military intelligence reports that recruits are flocking to the Abu Sayyaf.

“So (the Abu Sayyaf) decided to let him (Biyaw) go back,” Sabban said.

Sabban said authorities would get Biyaw’s full statement on the incident before conducting a full investigation.

Sabban said the possibility of filing criminal charges against Biyaw would not affect the ongoing negotiations to secure the release of Drilon and her group. – With Roel Pareño, Pia Lee-Brago.(Philippinestar)

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My Take:

It doesn’t make sense still.  Media reports identifies the abductors as the ASG and yet they cannot put some credibility to this particular claim.  Bakit di maglabas ng statement ang ASG, samantalang it is a part of their tactics.

I am insistent on this particular point because it is very important, as Sun Tzu said, to know ur enemy.  Im wondering still why the military is convinced that this is an ASG handiwork.  Para ba mashrtcut ang kanilang imbestigasyon?  O baka may itinatago silang baho.

I still insist that with the “finesse” acts of this KfR group, they are far too intelligent and knowledgeable to be the ASG.  I hope the media stop throwing us garbages being fed to them by the AFP.  Nagiging bahagi sila ng korapsyon ng media eh.

One Response to “‘Don’t give up on Ces’”

  1. addie Says:

    i don’t understand why a news blackout is necessary. is it because drilon is an employee of one of the biggest companies in the philippines? is that how powerful the lopezes are? if so, then i am more sorry for our country than ever. they take command over everything.

    to make myself explicit, this is a tragedy. kidnapping has always been a tragedy. and i feel for ces drilon and her crew. i feel for their anxious families.

    but how are their lives more important than those priests, children and everybody else that are kidnapped here in the philippines? remember reverend bossi? wasn’t his case made VERY public in 2007, especially by abs-cbn???

    barangayrp:

    addie,

    this case is not a simple case of kidnapping wherein the victim is a simple, low-profile, “item.” this case is the kidnapping “of ces drilon.”

    it equates to free publicity, free publicity, free publicity.

    ces et al is a victim here… of the kidnapper, and the negotiator. the kidnapper used them (ces et al) to milk money needed for the upcoming ARMM elections, and “payola’s” to military protection (i presume, i hope im wrong). and the negotiatior’s uses them (ces et al) to gain more political ‘pogi points’, and free media publicity, in preparation to the fast coming national elections.

    i still don’t believe this is an ASG handiwork.

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