Father Bossi freed

The priest said ransom was demanded but he did not say how much was asked.

No ransom was paid, according to Local Governments Secretary Ronaldo Puno, who answered the question for the priest.

Since his abduction on June 10 in Zamboanga Sibugay, he was brought to Lanao. “It had always been Lanao,” Father Bossi told a press conference in Zamboanga City, covered live by ANC (ABS-CBN News Channel).

Fourteen Marine troopers who were pursuing Father Bossi’s kidnappers in Basilan, following military intelligence reports the group had brought the priest there, were killed on July 10 in an encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Tipo-tipo town. The MILF claimed the Marines entered their area without informing them.

The 57-year old priest wept when he said he felt responsible for the death of the 14 Marines.

Father Bossi said he could not remember all the names of the kidnap group but said he told them he “memorized” their faces and if he saw them again, he would report them to the police.

The priest lost a lot of weight as food often served him consisted only of salt and rice. His  39-day captivity, however, got him to stop smoking. He said he made the decision when they were climbing a mountain and he was breathing heavily. He said he realized he would not survive on the food served him and he needed energy so he decided to quit smoking. 

The priest's release came the evening before the July 20 launching of the implementation of the anti-terror law, RA 9372 or Human Security Act, and just a few days before the July 23 annual State of the Nation Address of President Arroy (MindaNews)