‘Village chief slain by Abu Sayyaf, PCG man should have been freed 2 weeks ago’
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Beheaded Abu Sayyaf captive Rodolfo Boligao, the barangay (village) chair of Aliguay in Dapitan City, and one of the two Coast Guard personnel abducted with him in May were supposed to have been freed two weeks ago.
Their families had raised the ransom demanded by the bandit group, P500,000 for Boligao and P1 million for the other victim, whom sources would not identify, and had entrusted the money to an emissary.
Two weeks later, Boligao turned up dead in Maimbung, Sulu. His severed head and body were recovered on Tuesday with a note bearing his name and designation.
Boligao and Coast Guard personnel SN2 Gringo Villaluz and SN1 Rod Pagaling were abducted from Aliguay by heavily armed men on May 4. The bandit group initially demanded P10 million for each of them and eventually lowered it to just P1 million.
Sources, who requested anonymity, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the Abu Sayyaf had further settled for a lowered ransom of P500,000 for Boligao.
“We understood from information that the money for him and another victim was sent through an emissary,” one of the sources said.
Another source, a Dapitan City official, said the ransom money was raised through contributions from “families, friends and relatives.”
“We are aware of the no-ransom policy, but at the same time, we cannot just say no to the worries, the miseries felt by the families, we helped in other ways,” the official said.
Navy Commander Roy Vincent Trinidad, the chief of staff of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (Navforwem), said the military also received information from negotiators tapped by the victims’ families that Boligao and another hostage would be released because ransom money had been raised.
He said the families negotiated with the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Yasser Igasan.
But instead of being freed, Boligao was killed. The fate of the two other victims remained uncertain as of Thursday, he said.
Trinidad said something must have gone wrong along the way but the military was not privy to this.
“What went wrong along the way, we still don’t know,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Boligao family retrieved the slain village chief’s remains at the Navy headquarters here at brought it to Dipolog City.
“The family’s request is justice for (Boligao),” Trinidad said.
With Boligao’s death, Trinidad said the military would further intensify its anti-Abu Sayyaf operation and also increase its efforts to rescue 13 more kidnap victims still being held by the bandit group. They included such foreign captives as Ewold Horn, who was abducted by the bandit group in 2012.
“We are hoping for the best, hopefully the intensified military operations would pressure the group and abandon their victims,” he said.
Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao urged the military to conduct a massive manhunt to put an end to the Abu Sayyaf’s atrocities once and for all as he condemned Boligao’s beheading.
“The perpetrators must be hunted down and be brought to justice and these attacks must be stopped immediately,” Hataman said in a statement.
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