Father Bossi was freed Thursday night in Sultan Naga Dimaporo (formerly Karomatan), Lanao del Norte to former mayor Hajarim Jamil of Tuburan, Basilan, who negotiated for his release.
Jamil “was also instrumental in rescuing a kidnap victim from Western Mindanao University (WMU) at the municipality of Picong (formerly Sultan Gumander in Lanao del Sur). He is also a former leader of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) based in Basilan Island,” said Ladie Marohombsar of Pagsabua sa Kalasan or Care for Nature.
The priest, held captive for 39 days, wanted to return to his parish in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay, immediately but had to go through presentations before military and police officials and the media in Zamboanga City before he was flown to Manila for presentation before President Arroyo and the Italian ambassador.
Father Bossi told reporters the kidnappers, who identified themselves to him as “Abu Sayyaf” brought him to Lanao. “It had always been Lanao,” he said.
Fr, Nazer Zaragoza, a parish priest in Lanao del Norte said, “we hope that after this, there will be no more kidnapping incidents.”
Daniel Conejar, Mindanao coordinator of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines said “the release of Bossi will ease the pressure on the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) because somehow the latter has something to do with the incident. This also means the soldiers based in Basilan have weak intelligence force or they were just picking a fight.”
“That kidnapping was just a post-election diversionary strategy. Father Bossi became prominent in Italy though he was a quiet personality here as a missionary in the Philippines. Media has wide scope; government is happy and everything was a script,” he said.
“The (kidnap) incident is also a slap to the administration of Lanao del Norte,” said lawyer Emmanuel Salibay of this city.
“This means that the Dimaporos knew all along that Bossi was here. Nothing happens in the second district of Lanao del Norte without them knowing it. Or, it’s a sign of incompetence on their part,” Arthur Abundiente, law professor of Mindanao State University-IIT, said.
The Dimaporos could not be reached for comment.
Timuay Fernando Mudai of Peksalabukan Bangsa Subano said Fr. Bossi “was just a test-case for the implementation of Human Security Act that also pointed illegal detention or kidnapping as a terrorist activity.”