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.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Drilon's family paid P5M but mayor kept P3M--officials

The family of a television reporter who was abducted by alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf paid P5 million to her captors although only P2 million reached them, police and justice officials disclosed Friday.

In separate press conferences, Philippine National Police Chief Avelino Razon and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said that the family of ABS-CBN’s Ces Drilon gave the ransom to Indanan Mayor Alvarez Isnaji, who was negotiating for her release, along with her crew and a professor, after they were abducted last June 8 in Sulu.

The kidnappers initially demanded a P15-million ransom.

"The initial payment was P5 million, however P2 million lang naibigay sa [only P2 million was given to the] kidnap for ransom group and the P3 million was kept by Mayor Isnaji," said Razon.
Razon showed a picture of Isnaji and several others counting the money.

Razon also said that based on intelligence information gathered, the leader of the kidnap gang was identified as “Larin-Larin,” an alleged alias of Isnaji.

Gonzalez confirmed this separately, saying it was former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Nur Misuari who identified “Larin-Larin” as Mayor Isnaji, being a member of the Moro National Liberation Front’s (MNLF’s) central committee that signed the peace agreement in 1996.

Gonzalez said during the de-briefing of the victims, they claimed that they heard their abductors mention "Larin-Larin."

Gonzalez also said that based on witnesses’ accounts, Isnaji allegedly pocketed P3 million and gave the balance to the abductors.

Gonzalez said the money was divided in the house of Isnaji.
Razon said an intelligence officer, Senior Superintendent Winn
ie Kidato, was sent to Jolo to "observe" Isnaji.

Chief Superintendent Raul CastaƱeda, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief, also noted the inconsistencies in Isnaji’s statements.

CastaƱeda cited that in a previous media interview Isnaji mentioned a P100,000 “board and lodging fee” that was given to the kidnappers in exchange for the release of Valderama, one of two cameramen of Drilon, but which the mayor never mentioned during the interrogation.

Isnaji and his son were charged with kidnap for ransom at inquest proceedings at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group office at the PNP that began late Thursday and ended early Friday. (By Thea Alberto, Tetch Torres, INQ.net)

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