Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ces Drilon relates ordeal under captivity

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 2) A “sobering experience” was how a television reporter who was freed late Tuesday night by her Abu Sayyaf captors described her nine-day ordeal as she thanked friends and colleagues who prayed for her and apologized to her network for causing a “headache.”

In a press conference after arriving in Manila from Zamboanga City Wednesday, ABS-CBN’s Ces Drilon expressed relief anew at her safe release and that of her cameramen, Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama, who was abducted with her last June 8, along with Octavio Dinampo, Mindanao State University professor.

But at the same time, Drilon admitted that she had been stubborn and ignored warnings about the danger that she was putting herself and her crew into.

She also said that ABS-CBN only knew “to a certain extent” what story she was pursuing in Mindanao.

"I want to make it clear na [that] my office to a certain extent knew what my story was. [But] may mga [there were] instructions na sinuway ko kasi naging matigas ulo ko [that I ignored because I was stubborn] at one point and I disregarded some warnings. I put the lives of my team in danger, it was a sobering experience," Drilon said upon her arrival shortly after 2 p.m. at the domestic airport.

She also apologized to Encarnacion and Valderama, saying being part of the team, she felt a sense of accountability if anything had happened to them.

"I would like to extend my deepest apologies because as a reporter and my team, I am accountable if anything would happen to them, first to Angel, and then to Jimmy who was about to be beheaded,” said Drilon in Filipino.

Drilon was quoted as telling Legarda in reports that Encarnacion was about to be beheaded at one point during their captivity.

But Drilon said through it all, “we remained solid, we did not blame each other, and we were strong.”

Encarnacion admitted however that the experience was horrible.

“"Marami akong naiisip...na katapusan ko na ito, nakakatakot na experience pero maraming salamat sa inyo, sa dasal niyo, pinakingggan ni God [A lot of things crossed my mind … I thought this was the end, it’s a frightening experience but thanks to you, your prayers, God listened to you]," said Encarnacion.

Encarnacion also said there were about 20 kidnappers.

At one point in the press conference, Drilon broke down and cried as she recounted her ordeal. But she added that they were "generally" treated well although they shared only a small serving of noodles and were tied at one point.

Drilon recalled that she was slapped when the deadline set by her abductors for authorities to deliver the P15 million ransom drew near.

Drilon also defended Dinampo, their guide, saying they were both “naïve.”

She said Dinampo was interested in her pursuit of a story on the supposed surrender of an Abu Sayyaf leader since the professor has been conducting a study on Mindanao.

Drilon apologized to her children, mother, brother, sister, and to Encarnacion’s children, saying she felt “so irresponsible.”

Drilon reiterated her appreciation to friends and colleagues, especially to Senator Loren Legarda, whom she described as her “lifeline” because it was the lawmaker that had sought her “unconditional release” from her abductors who initially demanded a P15 million ransom.

Drilon also thanked Indanan Mayor Alvarez Isnaji and his son Jun, who had negotiated with the kidnappers from day one.

Drilon admitted that she had no inkling that she would be kidnapped and alleged that someone had betrayed her. She however refused to elaborate because she said she was cooperating with the police in their investigation.

"Thank you for the prayers...and to my ABS-CBN family, sorry if I caused you a headache," Drilon said in Filipino during an interview in Zamboanga City earlier Wednesday.

The victims were brought to Medical City in Ortigas for check-up. (Thea Alberto; INQ.net)

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