Fr. Chito still alive – military

Fr. Chito Soganub (2nd from left) bonding with friends. Photo from Fr. Chito’s Facebook page

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 8 June) – A top military official said on Thursday that Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganub is still alive 16 days after he and several of his parishioners were taken hostage by the Maute Group last May 23.

Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, chief of the Army’s 1st “Tabak” Division, said emissaries brokering a deal to free trapped civilians in the embattled city told them they are sure Fr. Chito is still alive.

Bautista said the priest may be among the more than 100 hostages held by Maute gunmen somewhere in barangays Banggolo, Lilod Madaya and Marinaut, all in Marawi.

He said the three villages are the last strongholds of the gunmen, whose number the military claims is down to 230.

“We are trying to set up four strongpoints but the presence of the hostages are slowing us,” Bautista told reporters.

The last time Fr. Chito was seen was on a viral video posted of Facebook last May 30.

In the video, the priest appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the offensive against his abductors.

Fr. Chito heads the Prelature of Marawi at that time he was taken hostage. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)