Aquino cancels event appearance as gov’t verifies Sayyaf hostage’s death
President Benigno Aquino III on Monday decided not to attend a business event following the reported execution of a Canadian national held by the Abu Sayyaf, Malacañang said.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. clarified that the government has yet to verify the news despite an announcement made by the bandit group.
“President Aquino canceled his appearance at the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry)-sponsored event this afternoon to receive updates from the field pertaining to the status of foreign hostages in Sulu which the AFP and the PNP are still in the process of verifying,” Coloma said in a text message to media.
Aquino was supposed to attend the launch of a contact center facility at the Mall of Asia. His speech was instead delivered by Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal.
Shortly after the 3 p.m. deadline set by the Abu Sayyaf, its spokesperson Abu Raami told media that they had killed Robert Hall.
Raami said the body would be dumped in Jolo town by Monday.
The group earlier demanded a P600-million ransom for release of Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor. One of their companions, John Ridsdel, was executed in April.
The Philippine government has a no-ransom policy. Before the alleged execution, Malacañang assured the public that the military was doing everything to rescue the captives.
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