ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A public school teacher kidnapped five weeks ago was freed in Sulu Monday morning, a military official said later in the day.
Major Franco Alano, spokesperson of Western Mindanao Command, said Flordeliza Ramones Ongchua, 48, was freed in Barangay (village) Sto. Nino in Jolo town.
Ongchua was kidnapped by armed men from her home in the coastal village of Labuan, some 36 kilometers away from the city center, on November 13.
Mayor Celso Lobregat said Ongchua’s family negotiated for her release.
Lobregat could not say if the family gave ransom in exchange for the victim’s freedom.
Immediately after the kidnapping, the family opted not to speak to journalists.
Labuan village chief Ronald Maravilla said he was the main target of the kidnapping, but was out of his home when the suspects arrived.
With Maravilla nowhere to be found, the suspects then went to the next house, which was Ongchua’s, Lobregat said.
The kidnapping had caused the relief of the entire police force of Labuan, including its head, Chief Inspector Roberto Marcos.