‘Abduction’ of 3 Zambo del Sur fishers puzzles authorities
ZAMBOANGA CITY – The reported abduction of three fishermen from Zamboanga del Sur on February 14 has puzzled authorities here since two of the supposed victims claimed their boat had actually capsized and they were rescued by fellow fishermen off Patikul town in Sulu.
Maj. Gen. Demy Tejares, deputy commander of the 1st Infantry Division (Tabak) and head of the Joint Task Force Zambasulta, said Winnie Pandiag, 42; and Romeo Rubio, 54; both residents of Pitogo town “were safe and they were not kidnapped.”
Tejares said Pandiag and Rubio showed up at the Coast Guard station in Jolo after they were reported kidnapped in the high seas off Basilan.
The duo, he said, claimed that their fishing boat – MBP Kyle Gian – sank amid strong waves off Siasi town on February 12.
Their companion, Ronnie Bancale, had not been seen since, they said.
On Monday afternoon, the police released a report of three fishermen abducted off Basilan on Valentine’s Day.
Chief Insp. Rogelio Alabata, information officer of the Western Mindanao Regional Police Office, said the “abduction” was reported by Bancale’s wife, Marilou.
Alabata said Bancale had supposedly told his wife by phone on February 15, that they were abducted by unidentified armed and that the kidnappers were initially asking P50,000 in ransom money. The demand was later changed to P1 million, he said.
But Pandiag and Rubio, who said they were fished out from sea by Parang fishermen on February 14 and were brought to Jolo had denied that they had been abducted, Tejares said.
“We are very confused. The wife said they were kidnapped on February 14 when the boat capsized on February 12. The husband made a call on February 15 when his companion declared him missing February 12,” Tejares said.
He said that when authorities traced the call made at 7:46 p.m. of February 15, probers traced it to Barangay Pintasan in Mohamad Ajul, Basilan.
Tejares said they were investigating the case but as far as the authorities were concerned, nobody had been kidnapped. SFM
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