Kidnaps linked to 2016 polls as teacher is released by Abu Sayyaf
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—A school teacher who was kidnapped in Zamboanga Sibugay province was freed in Sulu on Thursday morning.
Col. Allan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu, said Regnadeth Bagonoc Silvano, 31, and a teacher in Talusan town in Zamboanga Sibugay, was freed by her captors in Jolo, Sulu, on Thursday.
Silvano is the head teacher of the Tuburan Elementary School in Talusan. She and her brother, 22-year old Russel Bagonoc, who is also a school teacher, were kidnapped by suspected Abu Sayyaf men in Talusan on March 5.
“She was brought to the trauma hospital in Jolo by a concerned citizen,” Arrojado said, adding Silvano would be brought Zamboanga City after a medical checkup.
Her brother, however, remains in the hands of their captors.
Earlier, Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, the city police director, said his experience working under the Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) made him believe the recent rash of kidnapping cases in the Zamboanga peninsula and the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi was perpetrated by dubious individuals set to run in the 2016 elections.
Kidnapping, Casimiro said, was also rampant during his PAOCTF days whenever an election drew near.
“The usual motive of kidnapping is money. With the forthcoming election and if we go back to the previous elections, it’s one source of money for political purposes,” Casimiro told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
May was barely on the second week and at least 10 kidnapping cases had been recorded in western Mindanao and in nearby northern Mindanao.
These included the May 3 kidnapping of a mining executive Priscillano Garcia and his driver, Almatrapy Gua, in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi; the May 4 abduction of Rodolfo Boligao, coast guards members SN2 Gringo Villaluz and SN1 Rod Pagaling in Dapitan City and the May 6 kidnapping of Guan Lim Maujon in Siasi, Sulu. Maujon had been rescued while the other victims remained in the hands of their captors, as of Thursday (May 14).
Casimiro noted a rise in kidnapping activities “where there are armed bandits and guerillas.”
“Some individuals in areas, where there are armed groups, must be planning to run for political position and they need the money,” he said.
But Casimiro did not name any politician suspected to have links with kidnappers or armed groups such as the Abu Sayyaf.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.