Malacanang orders manhunt vs. Sinnot's kidnappers–Remonde

November 11, 2009 11:27 pm 

Manila, Nov. 12 —- Malacanang ordered on Thursday a manhunt against the abductors of Irish priest Fr. Michael Sinnott in Pagadian City after the 79-year old Columban priest was released by his kidnappers Thursday dawn in Zamboanga City.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said despite the safe release of Fr. Sinnott from his abductors, however, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to launch an intensified manhunt operations.

“There should be no let up in the manhunt operations against those responsible,” Secretary Remonde said in statement issued after the release of Fr. Sinnott.

President Arroyo and Irish Ambassador Richard O’ Brian met Fr. Sinnott at the Kalayaan lounge in Villamor Air Base around 10:30 a.m. before proceeding to another Presidential engagement in Tagaytay City.

Sinnott was aboard a Philippine Air Force F-27 plane and was accompanied by Lt. Gen. Benjamin Delorfino of Western Mindanao Command and GRP peace panel chairman, Ambassador Rafael Seguis.

The President said she welcomes the safe release of Fr. Sinnott following a month-long captivity. He was earlier kidnapped in Pagadian City.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita told a radio interview this morning President Arroyo is very thankful that Fr. Sinnott was released unharmed.

Following his release, Fr. Sinnott was turned over to the government representatives around 4:25 a.m. in a Muslim community in Zamboanga City.

The Irish priest was abducted by armed men last October 11 in the Columban Center in Pagadian City.

Secretary Remonde said in a statement that the Palace is thankful to all those responsible for the safe release of Fr. Sinnott especially the soldiers and policemen, the members of the local crisis management committee and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who helped carry out the negotiations for the release.

”We commend Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr., Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno and Ambassador Rafael Seguis for their respective roles. There should, however, be not let up in the manhunt operations against those responsible. Father Sinnott will be warmly received by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this morning,” Secretary Remonde added.

Government peace panel chairman Seguis, in a separate radio interview, said that the abductors turned over to him Fr. Sinnott in a Muslim community in Zamboanga City without paying any ransom.

Sinnott was released by his kidnappers hours before United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to make a visit to the country.

Fr. Sinnott was met by the President at the Kalayaan Hall in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City around 10:00 a.m. before she proceeded to Tagaytay City to attend the opening ceremonies of the 36th top level management conference of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP)in Taal Vista Hotel.

Meanwhile, in a separate television interview hours after his release, Fr. Sinnott said that after the incident he still wanted to stay in Mindanao but this would depend on his superiors in the Columban Missionaries.

“I hope to stay in Mindanao. I have to see my superior yet. My plan is to continue as usual. I don’t know if that’s possible," Sinnott said in news television interview.

Sinnott added he is good health condition and that he is feeling very well despite "hiking and traveling" last night.

He also identified his abductors as MILF lost command allegedly headed by Abu Jandal.

But MILF vice-chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar, in a separate radio interview, said that their help in securing the priest’s release was for humanitarian reasons.

The MILF leader refused to discuss who Sinnott’s abductors were and insisted that MILF has nothing to do with the kidnapping.

”The MILF did help for humanitarian reason and as a government partner in the peace process in Mindanao,” Jaafar added.

Jaafar also said, the MILF has nothing to gain from abductions and some sectors only wanted to make the MILF look bad before the international community. (PNA)

V3/rudyma

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  1. Malacanang orders manhunt vs. Sinnot's kidnappers–Remonde | balita … Wheat Blog on November 13th, 2009 10:10 am

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