ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/02 April) – The kidnappers holding captive a businesswoman for nearly a month now have sent the vice governor of Basilan a memory card containing a recorded video of the victim.
The recorded video, received by Basilan Vice-Gov. Alrasheed Sakkalahul, is the first proof of life of the captive sent by the kidnappers. Sakkahalul, however, did not say when the video was recorded.
Olivia Barredo, 37, was kidnapped in front of her residence evening of March 4 in Sitio Lawingan, Barangay Labuan, 36 kilometers west of downtown Zamboanga City.
The kidnappers snatched Barredo just after she alighted from a family-owned vehicle from the commercial center of Labuan where the family runs a pharmacy, hardware and grocery businesses.
The gunmen shot Barredo’s husband, Kenneth, who was driving the vehicle, but missed when he tried to help Olivia.
Sakklahul said he received the memory card last week. He said it was mailed to his office through a commercial courier.
But Sakkalahul revealed he received Barredo’s recorded video only last Friday, when he handed the copy to Mayor Celso Lobregat, chair of the local Crisis Management Committee (CMC).
In the video, Sakkalahul said Barredo is asking the authorities to help her and that she mentioned she is pregnant.
The Lobregat-led CMC has yet to issue a statement concerning Barredo’s recorded video.
“Maybe they sent the recorded video to me because I am the CMC chairman of Basilan,” Sakkalahul said.
He said the sending of the video to his office could be a tactic of the kidnappers to mislead the authorities tracking down the whereabouts of the captive.
But Sakkalahul said he already coordinated with the police and military to verify whether or not the captive is in Basilan province.
Meanwhile, Labuan Barangay chair Ronald Maravilla said they have no information on the fate of the captive as the Barredo family has remained silent about the incident.
Earlier, Lobregat said the Barredo family had requested the CMC to give them the freedom to negotiate with the kidnappers.
Lobregat said he reminded the family of the existing “no ransom policy” of the government. (MindaNews)