PH gov’t upholds no ransom policy—Palace exec
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Malacañang on Sunday said the government did not pay any ransom to the Abu Sayyaf bandit group for the release of Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad.
“We maintain a no-ransom policy,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in an interview on state-run dzRB radio.
The Abu Sayyaf on Saturday released Sekkingstad in Patikul town in Sulu.
Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Abu Ramie said the Norwegian hostage was supposed to be freed on Friday night but they were just waiting for the delivery of the P30-million ransom.
Asked about the reported ransom money, Andanar said he was not aware of any ransom in exchange for Sekkingstad’s freedom.
“I would like to reiterate that the government maintains the no-ransom policy,”
“Kung nagbigay man ang pamilya, hindi namin alam iyan. Kung meron mang third party na nagbigay, hindi namin alam iyan (If Sekkingstad’s paid the ransom money, we are not aware of that. If a third party gave a ransom money, we are not aware of that),” he added.
Sekkingstad is one of the four people taken by the Abu Sayyaf from a marina in a Samal resort here last year.
Two of his companions, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, were beheaded while Filipina Marites Flor was freed earlier./ rga