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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ces Drilon's Kidnapping - What's the Real Score?

Ces Drilon (Photo from abs-cbnnews.com)

ABS-CBN has finally admitted the abduction. The popular Ces Drilon of their news department, together with her crew, Jimmy Encarnacion and Angel Valderama, and Mindanao peace advocate and MSU professor Octavio Dinampo was going to the Abu Sayyaf lair in Maimbung, Sulu for an exclusive interview with Radulan "Kumander Putol" Sahiron. Sahiron, 55 (some intelligence websites say 75) is assumed to be the spiritual leader and possibly the overall leader of the Abu Sayyaf bandits after the reported death of Khadaffy Janjalani.

He carries a very tempting $5 Million reward for information leading to his capture. Nevertheless, Drilon and her group was pursuing a possible scoop as Tribune says her group was invited there for a special event.

DOJ's Gonzales claims he has a letter he received three months ago purportedly byRadulan Sahiron a.k.a Kumander Putol the "one-armed bandit" which states Sahiron's demands in exchange for surrender. Could this be the special event Ces was about to cover?

Reports of her group's kidnapping came out Saturday but it only hit the headlines yesterday, Monday. It's stupid though that Executive Secretary Ermita is dishing unintelligible gibberish in media that Drilon should have coordinated her activities with the police or military! If she did that, of course she won't be kidnapped. But she won't scoop that story/interview, too. Instead, she will be assassinated by the Abu Sayyaf or she could just be another statistic under the column "Collateral Damage". Once Sahiron's location if positively identified, the shooting will commence whether Ces is there or not. Any information of them meeting with the Abu Sayyaf leader will definitely send the security forces, both local and foreign, and bounty hunters, into a surveillance frenzy.

But even that statement of Ermita is not true. In Tribune's report

At the Senate, it was learned that Drilon and companions were offered security men to guard her and her television crew, but that she refused this offer made by the military.

Major Gen. Juancho Sabban disclosed this during his confirmation hearing before the Commission on Appointments (CA) yesterday along with several other military officers up for promotion.

“In the case of Ces Drilon we offered (her) security. But of course we cannot deny media from pursuing freedom of the press. We don’t know the reason she wanted to go to that place,” he told Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, vice chair of the CA committee on national defense, who inquired into the matter.

Sabban, commander of the Joint Task Force Comet which is assigned in Sulu, the mission of which is to hunt down the Abu Sayyaf Group and other lawless elements in the area, was stopped short from further disclosing the alleged handlers of Drilon so as not to compromise the safety of the journalist and her companions.

Initially, it appeared, the AFP was not aware of the fact that Drilon went to Sulu on the invitation of Mindanao State University professor supposedly to cover a special event.

“We checked Dinampo’s background a long time ago. But we didn’t know that he was the one who invited her and (that) the purpose (of the visit) was in an unclear area.

“We did offer her security. From Zamboanga, she boarded a plane with one of my brigade commanders. He offered security but she declined,” he said, under grilling from Sen. Richard Gordon.



Is Ermita now blaming journalists for the continuing lawlessness in many parts of Muslim Mindanao and throughout the country? Instead of hunting down rebels, government is now actually telling us our right to travel has been impaired especially in rebel strongholds, and that comes from a lousy ex-general.

While some bloggers are hitting hard against media for the news blackout, this one will not (yet?) venture into that arena of trivial pursuits, but neither will it engage in wild speculations until the issues are clearly settled.

Which leads to the questions :

-Was Ces and her group victims of a sting concocted by Sahiron and her abductors, if indeed these were Abu Sayyaf, for ransom and/or political purposes?

-Was the kidnap group, whether from the rebel or the state, preventing Sahiron from revealing to media something very critical they wouldn't let it happen? Could it have been done to prevent his surrender?

-Was the kidnapping an attempt to force Ces to reveal the location of Sahiron for the purpose of his capture, either by security forces, both local and foreign or by headhunting mercenaries considering the five million dollars bounty Sahiron's head is worth?

-Is this a publicity stunt of the Lopez-controlled network to to further enhance its underdog image in the mafia vs. Meralco intramurals?

-Is it a handiwork of the mafia to deal a serious blow to the Lopezes in retaliation for the severe beating it got from media?

-Is this a genuine "accidental" kidnapping by a group outside of Abu Sayyaf which grabbed it when the opportunity presented itself?

-Is this a manifestation of the general policy of the other non-Abu rebel groups to keep ARMM inaccessible to outsiders?

-Is Abu Sayyaf really a ragtag collection of savage beasts who have no respect for anyone including those of its own recognized religious and political leaders, like Radulan Sahiron?

-These questions are all valid, and unless somebody starts talking now, the situation invites more speculations.

Today is our Independence Day, and it pains me to post this ironic event. I condemn this despicable act in the strongest terms and I invite all my blog visitors and subscribers to pray for the early and safe release of Ces Drilon and company.

(Note: Photos courtesy of ABS-CBN website and the US Treasury website)

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11 Comments:

At 11:32 PM, June 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Five million dollars on Sahiron's head is big business. The experts on this kind of money-making endeavors are working again.

chi

 
At 12:28 AM, June 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted a comment this morning, it didn't register.

Angelo Valderama was released late Thursday night. I seriously doubt about the "no ransom" policy.

But anyway, what is important is they all come home unharmed.

Did you check your e-mail?

Ellen

 
At 12:28 AM, June 13, 2008, Blogger Tongue's Wrath said...

The driver who took Ces Drilon to Maimbung is now saying they were abducted by military asset, not by Abus! It's in http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20080612-142325/Driver-claims-military-agent-not-Abus-seized-Drilon-team

 
At 1:17 AM, June 13, 2008, Blogger Tongue's Wrath said...

Ellen,
I just checked now. Thanks. I have not checked my emails for 3 days now I have 4 pages of unread mail, hehe.

 
At 1:41 AM, June 19, 2008, Blogger bEb said...

hi! everything is business in the kidnapping world and everyone involved were benefited, i think. after all, we were talking of huge amount here.. its difficult to end something that was culturally started hehe

 
At 9:13 AM, June 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tongue, please check your email.

Ellen

 
At 1:02 AM, November 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bro, suportang blog post para sa kinakaharap nang isa nga kasama blogista, isang Pinay mommy na nahaharap sa isyung demolisyon sa Tarlac na isasagawa ng NOLCOM. Tama na ang madugong Hacienda Luisita.

Maraming salamat.Mabuhay ka.

http://pinaykeypoint.wordpress.com/

 
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