Priest held by Maute asks Duterte to stop Marawi offensive

Fr. Suganob in the viral video posted in the Facebook account “Native A Mranao,” who credits it to Datumasa Khalid. The video had over 161,000 views and 3,527 shares as of 9 p.m. Tuesday (30 May 2017).

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/30 May) — A Catholic priest who was kidnapped along with other persons by the Maute Group in Marawi City has appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the offensive against their abductors in order to save the hostages and stop the further destruction of the place.

In a video message, Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob, vicar general of the Prelature of Marawi, asked Duterte to consider the lives of the hostages who still wanted to live.

The video showed the priest wearing a black polo and standing before ruined houses in Marawi.

He said that his fellow hostages include a female professor of Mindanao State University, two female church workers, seven Dansalan College teachers, and about 200 other people.

He asked the president “to withdraw your forces away from Lanao Sur and Marawi city and to stop the airstrikes, air attacks, and stop the canons.”

Evacuees from Marawi City gather around government relief workers at the covered court in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte for the validation of their identities on Tuesday, 30 May 2017. MindaNews photo by H. Marcos C. Mordeno

“Mr. President, (sound of gun fire) please follow your heart, please consider us. You know it’s hard. Mister President, from time to time we hear the outburst of guns from your ground of enemies; heavy firearms from your side. It’s hard. They don’t ask for anything. They just ask that you to leave this place peacefully. Don’t give so much attack. The city in my background is ruined like this.

“And Mr. President, if you are in our place, you will really consider us because you hear the outburst of gun fires and everything and, bombs, cannons. We are victims. And Mr. President, if you have the good heart for us considering… Mr. President, there are about to 240 prisoners of wars,” he said.

“We are asking your good heart. Please consider us. We want to live another day, we want to live another month, we want to live few years, and in your generosity. Mr. President, in your heart, you can make something. They don’t ask anything, Mr. President. After all, this is their place. Give them the time,” he said.

Suganob said “your enemies” (Maute Group) are “ready to die for their religion.”

“Mr. President, we are asking for your consideration,” he added.

The video lasted for five minutes and was posted on social media. (Violeta Gloria/MindaNews)