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‘WHO CAN HELP HIM?’

Wife of kidnapped engineer turns to Cebu gov, mayor

/ 08:03 AM June 07, 2011

The family of the Cebuano engineer who was kidnapped in Lamitan City, Basilan is appealing for assistance from Cebu officials to facilitate his release from his Abu Sayyaf kidnappers.

Shirley Fernandez, wife of Engr. Virgilio Fernandez Jr., said she would  approach Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez for assistance.

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The mayor is her husband’s second degree cousin, Shirley said.

She said she is worried for her 60-year-old husband who takes  medication for his diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Missing his daily medications would worsen his condition, she said.

Shirley, who learned about the kidnapping last Saturday,  said the family has yet to receive communication from authorities on her husband’s plight.

Her husband was supposed to arrive in Cebu City for his son Pierre’s birthday this week.

Shirley said the company that her husband worked for, Mace Construction, has not yet  update the  family about her husband’s whereabouts despite her phone calls.

She said she was disappointed with the company considering that the owner is a family friend.

Instead, Shirley said she asked a friend in Basilan to get updates on her husband’s kidnap case.

She said she  wants to take the next available flight to Basilan but is worried about her safety there.

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For this, she is hoping to get assistance from Governor Garcia to ensure her safety and stay in Lamitan City while awaiting word for her husband’s condition.

As a policy, the national government does not negotiate for ransom of kidnap victims.

Nevertehless, Shirley said she is asking the governor to communicate with the Basilan government to rescue her husband.

The couple no longer live together, but Shirley said they still maintain a good relationship for their children and grandchildren.

She said he was supposed to arrive in  barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City,  last Saturday when the kidnapping occurred.

Shirley described Fernandez as a  kind-hearted, soft-spoken man.

She said she is praying that her husband’s captors are treating him well.

For his part, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he will look into what assistance the city  government can  give . He said he wasn’t aware of the full details about the kidnapping.

Councilor Jose Daluz III, chairman  of the budget and finance committee said they don’t have standby funds for such an emergency.

“I don’t even know if we will be allowed by the Commission on Audit (COA) to spend government funds for ransom,” he said.

Earlier, police authorities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), told the Inquirer by phone that the police were certain it was the Abu Sayyaf that was behind Fernandez’s kidnapping.

Chief Supt. Bienvenido Latag, chief of police, said witnesses identified the leader of the gunmen  who pulled  Fernandez from a company dump truck around 3:30 p.m. from Sitio Libi in Barangay Bulanting  as a certain Mosama Jamiri.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman  of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said Jamiri is a follower of notorious Abu Sayyaf leader Nurhassan Jamiri.

It was not immediately known if the two were related.

Chief Supt. Felicisimo Khu, head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, said Fernandez traveled on board a company dump truck from Muhammad Ajul town when he was snatched.

The kidnappers, he said, first disabled the truck by shooting one of its tires before forcibly taking the victim.

They then fled on a  motorcycle with the engineer, Khu said.

“Intelligence units were also tasked to monitor and support other operating troops in the area,” Cabangbang said. Carine Ma. Asutilla and Doris C. Bongcac, With an Inquirer report

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TAGS: Abu Sayaff, Crime, kidnap, Local authorities
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