By Francis Wakefield
The commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Joint Task Force (AFP-JTF) Sulu on Thursday appealed to the families of the two female cops and their two male companions who were kidnapped in Sulu on Monday not to pay their captors any ransom.
In an interview, Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said paying ransom to the kidnappers will only further entice them to conduct kidnappings as this will become a lucrative venture for them.
Sobejana said as far as the military is concerned, it will stick to the “No Ransom Policy” position.
“We are discouraging them and ask them to trust us in our effort to rescue their loved ones safely,” Sobejana said.
“Kami naman manatili kami sa aming posisyon na no ransom policy kasi nga the more we give ransom the more na magkaroon ng kidnapping kasi nagiging lucratice venture ang kidnapping dito kung may magbabayad kaagad (On our part we will be sticking to the no ransom policy because the more we give ransom the more there will be kidnappings as this becomes a lucrative venture for them),” he added.
Sobejana earlier said that the four victims were abducted by armed men in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday.
He identified the victims as Jakosalem Ahamad Blas of Brgy. Gandasuli, Patikull, Sulu; Faizal Ahidji and the two policewomen identified as PO2 Benierose Alvarez and PO1 Dinah Gumahad, both assigned at the Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) (Zamboanga City) Crime Laboratory.
Sobejana said the abduction took place in the vicinity of Brgy. Liang, Patikul, Sulu at about 12:40 p.m. Sunday.
It was learned that the victims were on board a red tricycle with body number 1899 and markings “Igasan Family” when they were flagged down by more or less 11 armed men led by one Mujir Yada.
Sobejana said the four were then forcibly taken towards the south direction.
Since the kidnapping took place, there were unverified reports circulating that the kidnappers were reportedly demanding P5 million for the release of the lady cops and P150, 000 each for the release of the two men.
Sobejana said although they do understand the families that they want their loved ones to return to them safely, the AFP is doing its best to safely rescue them.
“Just the other day there was an encounter, so we are doing our best (to rescue them) that’s the assurance that I can give to them,” Sobejana said.