Military: Jordanian journalist, 2 others 'only missing'

MANILA -- The Jordanian journalists and his crew are missing but not kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf bandits in southern Philippines, the military insists Sunday.

“Our intelligence is that they are only missing but we have information on where they are and they are very mobile at the moment,” said Naval Forces in Western Mindanao Deputy Commander Colonel Jose Johriel Cenabre.

He declined to give specific details on moves they will make to safely recover Al Arabiya journalist Baker Abdulla Atyani and his two Filipino crewmen, Ramelito Vela, 39 and Rolando Letrero, 22, who have been declared officially missing after failing to return to their room at the Sulu State College Hostel where they checked in at 11 p.m. of June 11.

Cenabre said they had information that the three were still conducting interviews with the Abu Sayyaf leaders.

Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said Sunday, however, that the Jordanian journalist and his crew are now considered hostages of the al-Qaeda–linked Abu Sayyaf.

He said the three are now being held against their will.

Robredo was also quoted in a television interview as saying that the three men were possibly prevented from leaving after reports went around the public that they were missing.

An official said one of the Filipino cameramen reportedly called his wife to seek help from his employer, although this same official did not name who among the two made the communication.

Malacañang, meanwhile, failed to elaborate on Robredo’s disclosure at this point, which came after the Jordanian government released a statement last Friday that Atyani and his crew have been kidnapped.

“We continuously coordinate with Secretary Robredo. There are certain instances when we defer to the Cabinet secretaries to explain what has happened in a particular situation or in a particular issue,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview with state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

During the interview, Valte insisted that the Palace is not in the position to detail about the factors that led to the abduction.

She also left it to the DILG to check if there is a need to conduct a search-and-rescue operation.

"We don’t quite agree that it’s abduction because the information we have is that he went there voluntarily. Now it seems that he’s not able to leave. So that is something that we want Secretary Robredo to explain on what have led to the change in circumstances,” she said.

Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan also said the incident was not really a kidnapping, as they voluntarily went to the terrorist two weeks ago.

"No kidnap. How can you say that it was kidnapping when there was no force or coercion employed?" Tan said during the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao Convention on Good Governance in Watertfront Insular Hotel Davao last week.

Reports said Atyani and his crew failed to return to their rented rooms at the Sulu State College Hostel located on Martirez Street in the capital town of Jolo last June 12.

Witnesses said the three were fetched around 5:45 a.m. of June 12 by a man driving a multicab and have not returned since then.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said whether Atyani and his crew were kidnapped or not, there is no information as to the motive behind the incident.

PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome said police units in Sulu are still looking for the three even as their alleged captors have not given anyone a ransom note.

“Without a ransom note, it is hard to say that they were kidnapped,” he added. “We have monitored some movements but I cannot elaborate on this.”

Authorities said Atyani may have traveled to Jolo's mountainous jungles to seek an interview with Abu Sayyaf bandits and some of their foreign hostages as part of a TV documentary on the southern Philippines.

Atyani and his crew arrived Monday in Jolo, a hotbed of bandits notorious for bomb attacks, kidnappings and beheadings about 950 kilometers (590 miles) south of Manila.

Atyani is a veteran Middle Eastern TV reporter who had interviewed Osama bin Laden months before the September 11, 2001 attacks. He is Al-Arabiya's TV bureau chief in Southeast Asia. (Virgil Lopez/Antonio L. Colina of Sun.Star Davao/PNA/Sunnex)

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • 15 wounded in 2 explosions in restive southern Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — At least 15 people have been wounded in two separate blasts that hit a police camp in a restive southern Philippine province where Muslim militants operate, police said Saturday. …

  • 15 wounded in mosque attack at Philippine police camp
    15 wounded in mosque attack at Philippine police camp

    Fifteen people including 10 police officers were wounded in an attack on a mosque at police camp on a remote Philippine island long plagued by Islamic militancy, officials said on Saturday. Successive blasts targeted the mosque inside Camp Kasim on the island of Jolo early evening Friday -- an initial grenade attack followed by a bomb explosion less than 10 minutes later that was intended to target police who rushed to the scene, local authorities said. "It seems the (first) explosion was set …

  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

  • Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe
    Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe

    President Aquino is expected to raise the West Philippine Sea dispute during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan next week. However, there is no word yet if the Philippines will specifically ask Tokyo to join calls for China to stop its massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. Aquino will leave for Tokyo on June 2 for a state visit until June 5. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options