Aquino: Suspects in Samal kidnapping may be a ‘new group’
The still unidentified armed men who held hostage three foreigners and a Filipino woman in the Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte on Monday night may be a new group, President Benigno Aquino III said on Wednesday.
Citing initial reports of ongoing operations, Aquino said a review of how the kidnapping incident transpired was already being conducted.
“Mukhang sa initial na mga report sa atin parang bagong grupo, ano. Siyempre, mag-a-account ulit ang ating intelligence services, ano. Bakit nawala sa radar ito? O baka naman talagang bagong-bagong buo itong grupong ito,” Aquino told reporters in Luna Apayao.
(From the initial reports, it seems that this could be a new group. Of course, the intelligence services will take this into account. Why was this not on the radar? Or maybe this group was just newly formed.)
The abduction style used by the suspects was reminiscent of past attacks by Abu Sayyaf bandits, who have been known to kidnap locals and foreigners in Mindanao for ransom since the 1990s.
But Aquino maintained that the motive for the abduction is still unknown.
“Hindi natin alam e. Pati ‘yung motivation hindi pa rin ganoon kaklaro. Ano ba itong pakay nila sa pagkikidnap?” he said.
(We don’t know. Even the motivation behind it is not clear. What is their purpose behind their kidnapping?)
Aquino also assured the public that government security forces, both police and the military, will remain vigilant as they conduct search operations for the two Canadian tourists, a Norwegian business executive, and a Filipino woman.
But the President said he could not elaborate the details of the ongoing operations for security purposes.
“As usual, hindi ko pwedeng sabihin sa inyo ‘yung ongoing operations in details. Baka naman malapit na nating matukoy, baka lumalapit tayong matukoy kung nasaan sila, ‘pag bibigyan ko naman ng clue ‘yung mga kumidnap sa kanila baka biglang lumipat ng puwesto,” Aquino said.
(As usual, I cannot divulge the details of the ongoing operations. We might be coming near to finding out where they are, but if I give out a clue, the kidnappers might suddenly move their location.)
“Kailangan kong i-preserve ‘yung operational security doon. Basta asahan po ninyo na hindi tumitigil ang ating security sector ng pagtugis dito sa mga taong ito,” he added.
(I need to preserve the operational security. Rest assured that the security sector will continue to pursue these people.)
Asked about his directive to men on the ground, Aquino said he did not have to give orders as the government forces themselves were the ones directly giving their detailed reports on the incident.
“Hindi ko na kailangang i-direct. Sila na kaagad ang nagsabi sa kanilang report nitong insidenteng ito at ibinigay lahat ‘yung mga detalyeng tangan nila,” he said.
(I don’t need to direct them. They are the ones who reported the incident, and they gave me all the details they have.)
While saying that he will not make any promises, Aquino added that the government will continue to follow-up and act on previous kidnapping incidents involving rebel groups in Mindanao.
“Mataas ang kumpiyansa ko na hindi tumitigil ang ating kasundaluhan at kapulisan sa pagtugis sa lahat nitong mga elementong ito,” Aquino said.
(I have confidence that our army and police won’t stop hunting down these elements.)
“Kung mahahanap ba? Hindi naman ako nangangako na, ‘di ba, bibigyan ng deadline tapos mag-produce na lang kayo ng maski sino—hindi. Kailangan matukoy at madakip ‘yung tunay na salarin sa lalong madaling panahon. Alam na nila ‘yon without being reminded,” he added.
(Will they be found? I’m not promising that I’d give a deadline and then haphazardly produce just anyone–no. We need to ensure and arrest the real criminals as soon as possible. They know that without being reminded.) Yuji Vincent Gonzales/JE
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