Legarda: Ransom and rescue ‘unacceptable’

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Loren Legarda said on Thursday that paying a ransom or mounting a rescue operation for three kidnapped workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are both “unacceptable.”

“The MNLF [Moro National Liberation Front] leadership’s take that the government can either pay ransom or attempt a rescue of the kidnapped Red Cross workers are both unacceptable,” Legarda said in a statement on Thursday.

On Wednesday, MNLF chairman Muslimin Sema, who is also mayor of Cotabato City, and Abdul Sahim, secretary general, said the only options left for government to secure the release of Italian Eugenio Vagni, Swiss Andreas Notter and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba were to either pay a P50-million ransom or mount a “very dangerous” rescue mission.

“The government, as it should, has a no-ransom policy, while a rescue entails endangering the lives of the kidnap victims,” she said.

Legarda said negotiations for the release of the victims must continue, but paying a ransom should not be in the agenda of such talks.

“Aside from the fact that kidnapping is a crime, which has no place in civilized society, those behind the abduction of the Red Cross workers must be told that their victims have been, in fact, working for the good and welfare of the people of Mindanao,” she said.

For his part, Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said the Armed Forces have no choice but to “pulverize” the kidnappers.

“They [military] should try everything to save the hostages. It’s up to the Armed Forces to do everything to save the hostages,” Pimentel said.

Maila Ager, INQUIRER.net

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 9:25 pm  Comments Off on Legarda: Ransom and rescue ‘unacceptable’  
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