Bishop, military lose contact with priest held by Maute men
ILIGAN CITY—Marawi City Bishop Edwin dela Peña said he continued to pray for the safety of Fr. Teresito Suganob after he and military officials had lost contact with the priest’s captors following the release of the video in May appealing to President Duterte to stop the aerial strike in the Lanao del Sur provincial capital.
Suganob and several church workers were seized by Maute gunmen inside the Marawi City cathedral compound on May 23 when the conflict began. He was last seen in an undated video footage appealing to the President to heed the Maute group’s demand to stop the bombardment in the city.
“Please give what your enemies are asking for,” Suganob, in a broken voice, asked Mr. Duterte in a video footage released by his captors on May 31. “They simply are not asking for anything, just withdraw your forces away from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, stop the airstrikes and the carnage.”
Dela Peña said he relayed the appeal to the military.
“We have no more contact with [Suganob and his companions] but we are praying for their freedom,” he told the Inquirer.
Except for some accounts by survivors who had seen Suganob about two weeks ago, the military said soldiers had no more information about the priest.
“Some civilians (rescued earlier) said he was still alive,” Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesperson for Joint Task Force Marawi, told the Inquirer by phone.
Herrera said they lost track of what happened to Suganob and other hostages but said they were trying their best to get updates and find them, especially those being held inside the main battle areas in the villages of Raya Madaya, Marinaut, Bangolo and Lilod. —JEOFFREY MAITEM AND ALLAN NAWAL
Inquirer calls for support for the victims in Marawi City
Responding to appeals for help, the Philippine Daily Inquirer is extending its relief to victims of the attacks in Marawi City
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