Manila, Philippines, 17 Sya’ban 1437/26 May 2016 (MINA) – The government “continues to exert determined efforts” to bring about the safe release of Abu Sayyaf hostages, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the hostages would be rescued through “a combination of law enforcement and military operations.”
He made the statement as President Aquino met with the Cabinet security cluster and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces gave him an update on the security situation in Mindanao.
It was not an emergency meeting, Coloma said.
The Abu Sayyaf continued to release videos of hostages pleading that ransom be paid or they would be killed, Philstar reported, as quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
They even threatened Aquino in one video that they would also behead him if they were able to capture him as they showed how they decapitated Canadian hostage John Ridsdel.
Those present in the meeting were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas, presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Deles, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia, acting Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda and representatives from the Department of National Defense and PNP.
Last May 10, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group arrested an Abu Sayyaf member identified as Sakur Mustakin, 44 – with aliases “Junior Mustakim” and “Junior Asarani Sawadjaan” – along Bayani Road in Taguig.
Mustakin, who has a P900,000 bounty on his head, and other Abu Sayyaf bandits were supposedly deployed in Metro Manila early this year to bomb shopping malls to sow terror and chaos during the election period. (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)