Gov’t negotiator rejects Maute offer to swap priest for parents
MARAWI CITY—Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza has turned down the offer of one of the leaders of the Islamic State-inspired terrorists to release a Catholic priest in exchange for his parents and relatives who are now in government custody.
“It’s not possible. We do not negotiate with terrorists,” Dureza, presidential adviser on the peace process, told the Inquirer by phone.
A source earlier told the Inquirer that Abdullah Maute, one of the leaders of the militants fighting government soldiers in Marawi for more than a month now, said he was willing to free Father Teresito Suganob, the vicar general of Marawi, if government released his parents.
On June 9, Ominta “Farhana” Maute, the mother of brothers Omarkhayyam and Abdullah, was arrested by the police in Masiu, Lanao del Sur. On June 7, the Maute patriarch, Cayamora, and his second wife were arrested in a checkpoint in Davao City. Several other relatives and suspected supporters of the group have been arrested by authorities.
But Dureza said Abdullah’s parents “have to undergo judicial process.”
“If we will give in to their demands, it seems they are also terrorizing us. So negotiation is not possible,” he added./rga
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