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.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Datus’ help sought in kidnap case

COTABATO CITY, Philippines -- Police authorities here are seeking the help of traditional and religious leaders in Maguindanao in a bid to safely recover the father and daughter abducted by alleged Pentagon Gang gunmen on February 18.

Senior Superintendent Willie Dangane, Cotabato police chief, said the help of datus and Muslim clerics might actually work.

Maguindanaons are known to hold deep respect for members of royal families and clerics.

"They are well respected and we hope they can help us convince the captors to release their captives," Dangane said.

Wilson Tan, 50, a local hotelier and owner of a fish trading company, and his 10-year-old daughter were snatched in front of their house in the village of Rosary Heights 4 here. Tan's wife was injured in the scuffle.

Dangane said that even as the help of local leaders was being sought, police and military operations against the kidnappers were continuing.

"We have conducted a house-to-house search and rescue operation in the nearby marshy areas of Kabuntalan, where they were last seen," he said.

Dangane said the kidnappers, led by one Musa Ali, have not attempted to contact the family again.

"The contact was only on the first day, when they asked our troops to halt the rescue operation," he said.

But Dangane said the authorities believe that the kidnappers and the victims were still in the areas they have been watching.

"We believe they are still in the marshy area of Kabuntalan (in Maguindanao)," Dangane said.

The operation against the Pentagon gang in Kabuntalan has caused fear among residents, who have just returned home after having been displaced by military operations against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last year.

"There will be war again, and we will again evacuate," said Elias Mabang, a farmer.

Mabang said he was hoping that the Tans would be released soon to spare residents from more trouble.(By Edwin Fernandez, Jeoffrey Maitem)

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