By Martin Sadongdong and Nonoy Lacson
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is conducting a hot pursuit operation to rescue a doctor who was kidnapped by four unidentified gunmen inside his clinic in Jolo, Sulu on Tuesday night.
Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana Wednesday identified the victim as Dr. Daniel Moreno, a medical internist and a resident of Jolo town proper.
The military said Moreno was forcibly taken at gunpoint from his clinic by at least four fully armed persons wearing police and military uniformed at about 7:19 pm, Tuesday.
Moreno was taken from his own clinic located at the Walled City village in Jolo, which is just a few meters away from the Jolo Police Station, the military report said.
The suspects, who reportedly wore police and military uniforms, took the doctor at gunpoint and fled with him onboard a maroon Tamaraw FX towards KM3 in Indanan town.
Indanan is one of the known strongholds of the ASG and other criminal groups operating in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa) area.
Report said Moreno practiced his profession in Hawaii prior to his return, a few years ago, to Jolo where he established the Moreno Medical Clinic.
Moreno is a board certified internist in Honolulu.
Accordingly, Moreno established the clinics to help the suluanons in their medical needs considering that most of his town and province mate are poor and could hardly afford to seek medical attention coming from a private medical clinic in Jolo.
Observers said Moreno’s medical clinic in Jolo has made the medical needs easy for the people in the province.
Prior to the establishment of Moreno’s medical clinic in Jolo, sick people in the province had to take a ferry all the way to Zamboanga City for medical attention.
Sobejana said ground troops are coordinating with the local police to identify the suspects and determine the motive behind the kidnapping.
In a related development, Major Arvin Encinas, spokesperson of WestMinCom, said the Metro Jolo Inter-agency Task Group has been mobilized to rescue Moreno and apprehend his captors.
The task group, Encinas said, is composed of military and police personnel.
“All units [established] checkpoints and [blocked] possible ingress and egress points as of press time,” Encinas added.