‘Hostages in clear and present danger’

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Richard Gordon on Saturday lashed out at Press Secretary Cerge Remonde for questioning his sense of patriotism and responsibility in helping secure the freedom of his three colleagues at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from the hands of their captors.

“I was compelled to intervene because the lives of our colleagues have been put in clear and present danger when the military troops have irresponsibly attacked their captors’ lairs. In fact, we were able to stop their executions,” said the chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross in a statement.

“I shall hold the President and his minions responsible if anyone of our three colleagues have been killed in any irresponsible attempt to rescue them. I always pleaded to hold their guns and resume talks, but they ignore,” he added.

Gordon, who is also vice chairman of the Senate national defense committee, issued the warning after Remonde has questioned his patriotism and responsibility in dealing with the hostage crisis involving the three ICRC workers.

“It is my very sense of patriotism and responsibility that moved me to intervene and averted the threat to behead our colleagues. Our three colleagues have been in the jungle of Sulu living in fear and exhaustion every day,” he said.

According to him, the three ICRC workers have been calling him up almost every day pleading to save them from the crossfire in firefights initiated by the government military troops led by Brigadier General Juancho Sabban.

Gordon said Sabban had directly put the lives of the three ICRC workers at great risk when he proceeded with attacking their captors, in the process botching the release of an ICRC worker and killing three soldiers and wounding 19 others in clashes that broke out in Sulu early this week.

“For more than two months now, the government has not secured their freedom. We refuse to just sit down in helplessness when our three ICRC colleagues are now threatened to be beheaded if the military would not pull back,” he said.

“We were able to secure a just offer to release one of our colleagues. Blaming one another now would not bring us anything, instead would prolong this national nightmare,” he added.

Gordon also said that Remonde should not fault him for his intervention because the government has miserably failed to forge a resolution of the incident, and much less, protect them from being kidnapped in the first place.

“While we are one with the government in finding a just end to this senseless cycle of violence, the freedom of the three ICRC workers is a paramount concern,” he said.

INQUIRER.net

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Published in: on March 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm  Comments Off on ‘Hostages in clear and present danger’  
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