Amnesty for Abu Sayyaf slammed

Teodoro: All-out war vs criminals.

MANILA, Philippines—No way, Jose!

After saying Malacañang is open to Sen. Richard Gordon’s proposed amnesty for the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), officials are now backing down in the face of increasing bipartisan outrage.

The amnesty was broached a day after Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro declared an all-out war against the bandits after they freed on Sunday Italian Red Cross volunteer Eugenio Vagni whom they held for six months in the jungles of Jolo Island.

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Abu Sayyaf wants something from gov’t, Sulu exec says

MANILA, Philippines – Before the release of Red Cross worker Mary Jean Lacaba Thursday night, her abductors said they wanted something apparently from the government, according to Sulu Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidulla.

Sahidulla, however, refused to elaborate on what the bandits wanted and only said that Lacaba would be the one to reveal what the bandits asked for.

“Nag-usap kami kung ano kailangan nila. Ganon pa din. Gusto lang talaga nila, ah may konting ano sila. Pero alam ko si Jean ang nakakaalam noon kung ano man ang gusto nila,” said Sahidulla, to whom Lacaba was handed over by her abductors at about 8:30 p.m.

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Abus, hostages desert hideout

No report of beheadings, say military, governor.

MANILA, Philippines—Abu Sayyaf kidnappers have slipped out of their Indanan forest hideout on Jolo Island under cover of darkness with their three Red Cross hostages in tow, local authorities said Wednesday.

Still, officials on Wednesday sought proof of life from the abductors following reported sightings of the hostages late Tuesday. The military also deferred any rescue operation.

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Abus, hostages desert hideout

MANILA, Philippines—Abu Sayyaf kidnappers have slipped out of their Indanan forest hideout on Jolo Island under cover of darkness with their three Red Cross hostages in tow, local authorities said Wednesday.

Still, officials on Wednesday sought proof of life from the abductors following reported sightings of the hostages late Tuesday. The military also deferred any rescue operation.

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Pope urges Abu Sayyaf to free hostages

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI Monday urged the Abu Sayyaf group to free three Red Cross workers they kidnapped 10 weeks ago, the Vatican said in a communique.

The pontiff “wants to raise his voice and urge that humanitarian sensibility and reason prevail over violence and intimidation,” the statement said.

It followed a threat issued by their captors to behead one of the hostages unless Manila ceded control of the island of Jolo.

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Abducted ICRC worker scores military offensives

MANILA, Philippines — Andreas Notter, one of the three abducted Red Cross workers in southern Philippines, has expressed dismay over what he perceived as the government’s failure to negotiate for their release. This, as Notter admitted during a radio interview Tuesday that the situation is becoming difficult for him and his fellow hostages, Eugenio Vagni and Mary Jean Lacaba, as a result of the military offensives launched to free them.

Interviewed by Arlyn dela Cruz over radio dzEC, Notter said he could not understand why the government would rather resort to military operations than enter into a negotiation with the kidnappers.

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Gordon: No ransom demand for release of ICRC workers

Philippine National Red Cross chairman, Senator Richard Gordon insisted on Sunday that there is no demand for ransom in exchange for the freedom of three Red Cross members kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

“I just talked with them about half an hour ago, the latest. And there is still no demand for any ransom. walang katotohanan na nananghihingi na sila ng pera, wala akong naririnig na ganoon,” Gordon said in an interview over Prime News ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) Sunday night.

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PNRC hits rude handling over workers’ release

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) is getting the “second-class citizen” treatment in efforts to free three Red Cross workers abducted last month, Sen. Richard Gordon complained Friday. Gordon, who chairs the PNRC, said he was being treated as if he knew nothing about the situation, while his suggestions were quickly dismissed.
“Pag nakakausap ko ang PACER, LGU at national defense pag may sina-suggest kami ang tingin sa amin para kaming hindi nakakaintindi [When I talk to the Police Anti-Crime Emergency Response, local government units and national defense, our suggestions are quickly dismissed, and we are treated as if we know nothing about the nature of the case],” he said in an interview on dzXL radio.

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Troops can’t back off: AFP

The military said Monday that it cannot unilaterally decide to stop its rescue operations to recover the three Red Cross workers abducted in the island province of Sulu last week.

The reaction came after Senator Richard Gordon, who chairs the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), announced that the victims made a fourth call to their colleagues Monday, saying they were together and in good health but their abductors want the military to stop pursuing them.

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