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Freed engineer: Abu Sayyaf sought P9.8 million, threatened to behead me

/ 07:36 AM June 23, 2011

HE is already free from bandit group Abu Sayyaf but Cebuano engineer Virgilio Fernandez still needs to be extra cautious.

Fernandez yesterday revealed that his family received a call from a man who said he was a member of the Abu Sayyaf.

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“Let him be careful lang,” the man said before hanging up.

Fernandez said, “Maybe that was an advice. If you treat him as Abu Sayyaf, that’s a warning.”

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Fernandez was at the office of Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña to convey his thanks to her husband, Rep. Tomas Osmeña of the city’s south district.

Fernandez said the congressman “pressured” Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo to rescue him.

Fernandez, who was held for almost two weeks by the Abu Sayyaf, said his family was asked to pay P9.8 million in exchange for his life.

The bandits threatened to behead him if the family didn’t show the money.

Fernandez told Councilor Osmeña his struggles as he walked through mountain trails for about seven hours after he escaped.

He fled the house where he was held when he found that the rear door near the kitchen wasn’t locked and his captors were sound asleep.

He said he made 11 attempts to break free, once by breaking a toilet window.

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He said it was his presence of mind that kept him alive during the ordeal.

Fernandez is staying in a hotel in Cebu City for his safety and was advised by the Central Command to have two to three companions whenever he goes out.
When asked if he would return to Basilan, Fernandez said, “No. Maybe I would go back if there will be negotiations.”

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, Kidnapping, Virgilio Fernandez
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