Agusan del Sur vice governor denies saying rebels wanted P25 M for hostagesBy Frinston Lim
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The vice governor of Agusan del Sur denied Thursday an Inquirer report quoting him as saying the New People’s Army had demanded P25 million for the release of three mining company executives the rebels abducted during a raid on a mine site in Agusan del Sur last week.
Vice Governor Santiago Cane said he was “very disappointed with the story” as it endangered his life.
“I never told you that there was a demand of P25 million,” Cane said in a text message to the Inquirer. “I only texted you there were unconfirmed reports about it.”
In a July 7 report, the Inquirer reported Cane as saying by phone that the rebels had asked for P25 million in exchange for the freedom of Christopher Ocite, Gani Altaya and Joel Jayuma, but dropped reference to the ransom report being unconfirmed.
The three officials of VTO Mining Inc. were snatched by communist guerrillas in an early morning raid in Bayugan 3 village on July 5. They were released late the following Saturday.
Cane said he was bothered by the Inquirer report as it placed his life in danger.
In a statement, Jorge Madlos, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao, also denied that the rebels had asked for any ransom for the mining executives.