DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 June) –The lone Filipina among four victims kidnapped from a resort in the Island Garden City of Samal was freed by the Abu Sayyaf early Friday morning in Jolo, Sulu and will be presented to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte this afternoon.
Freed after nine months and three days in captivity, Marites Flor was dropped off by her captors in front of the residence of Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan II in Barangay Asturias at around 4:30 a.m. Friday, Bong Abing, Sulu Provincial Information Officer told MindaNews.
Returning Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza fetched Flor in Jolo, Sulu at noon and will present him to Duterte at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) here.
“We’re here, we’ve landed at the Central Bank (Davao City) and are on our way to the DCPO) Dureza told MindaNews in a telephone call at 2:13 p.m.
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the Davao City Police Office parade grounds for the turnover of command of the city police. Freed kidnap victim Marites Flor will be presented to him shortly, by returning Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza. Dureza fetched Flor in Jolo, Sulu Friday noon. MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas
Duterte, who will take his oath as President at noon on June 30, arrived at the DCPO parade grounds at 2:34 p.m for the turnover of command rites from chief of police, Sr. Supt. Vicente Danao, Jr. to Sr. Supt. Michael John Dubria.
Days after the kidnapping, Flor’s parents appealed to Davao City Mayor Duterte to help them secure the release of their daughter. Duterte was not yet a Presidential candidate then.
Armed men on board two pumpboats stormed the Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort in Barangay Camudmud, Babak, Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte at 11:30 p.m. on September 21, three foreigners and Flor. .
Abducted were Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56, a Norwegian, and Canadian nationals John Ridsdel, 68 and Robert Hall, 50, and Hall’s Filipina partner, Marites Flor.
Hall was executed on June 13 and Ridsdel on April 25 after failure to pay the Abu Sayyaf’s demand for ransom of 300 million pesos.
Hall was executed by the Abu Sayyaf after the 3 p.m. June 13 deadline for payment of ransom lapsed. His severed head was recovered near the Cathedral of the Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu that evening and was brought to the headquarters of the 2nd Marine Brigade.
Hall was the second Canadian beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf in two months. On April 25, mining executive Ridsdel, was executed, his severed head also thrown that evening by motorcycle-riding men towards a group of basketball players near the municipal hall.
Day of reckoning
President Benigno Aquino visited Jolo two days after Hall’s beheading and vowed that the government will not stop until the threat posed by the Abu Sayyaf ends.
“The full resources of the State are being brought down on the ASG. Our primary objective is to rescue the hostages and ensure the safety of our civilian population. We will leave no stone unturned and are studying every instrument, both military and legal, to ensure success in our areas of operations and wherever else required,” he said in a statement.
On June 21, Duterte warned the Abu Sayyaf of the day of reckoning soon.” He told business leaders in Davao City that while he cannot do it immediately, “there will be a time, there will be a reckoning.’
When it comes, “I will just say ‘Surrender unconditionally. Release all prisoners, hostages or we fight.”
Justice, however long it takes
In a statement on June 13, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is holding the Abu Sayyaf “fully responsible for this cold-blooded and senseless murder” of his nationals and vowed to work “with the Philippine government and international partners” to pursue the perpetrators and “bring them to justice, however long it takes.
“The vicious and brutal actions of the hostage-takers have led to a needless death,” Trudeau said.
“We are more committed than ever to working with the Government of the Philippines and international partners to pursue those responsible for these heinous acts and bring them to justice, however long it takes,” Trudeau said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas and Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)