Gordon to hold Arroyo responsible if ICRC hostages get killed

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Richard Gordon is holding President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and “her minions” responsible if the Abu Sayyaf should execute the three Red Crosses workers that it has been holding hostage in Sulu since Jan. 15.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Gordon said he feared that the government might a launch an “irresponsible attempt to rescue” Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba – all volunteers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“I always pleaded to hold their guns and resume talks, but they ignore,” Gordon said.

Gordon, who is also chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, made the statement after talks with Abu Sayyaf collapsed.

Earlier last week, Albader Parad, commander of the rebel group, threatened to behead one of the hostages if the military got too close to ther lair.

Also last week, the rebels clashed with the Marines who hab been cordoning off the area as they tried break out of the encirclement. That resulted in the death of three Marines and the wounding of 19 others.

Gordon said he had secured a commitment from Parad that one of the hostages would be freed if the troops would reposition themselves farther away.

“Sabi ko sa kanya, paatrasin ko na yung mga sundalo, ibigay mo na sa akin yung isa. Pumayag [I told him I would make the troops move back if he would give up one hostage. He agreed.],” Gordon said in an interview with reporters.

According to Gordon, the three ICRC workers are alive. They were seen running with their heavily armed captors shortly after a clash in Parang, Sulu, last Tuesday.

Gordon is disappointed at the failed military operations to rescue the hostages and blames the decision of Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban to attack.

“Biglang sinugod. I understand kung may threat, wala eh. Nalagay sa alanganin yung ating mga kasamahan [They suddenly attacked. I would have understood if there was a threat. But there was none. Our colleagues were put in danger],” Gordon said in a radio interview on Sunday.

He said Sabban abruptly withdrew his troops which took away the bargaining power of the government.

Gordon also lashed out at Press Secretary Cerge Remonde for questioning his sense of patriotism and responsibility in helping secure the freedom of the ICRC workers.

Gordon said Remonde had no right to do that because it was his intervention that the hostages were saved from execution.

“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,” he said.

According to him, the three ICRC workers have been calling him up almost every day pleading to be saved them from the crossfire initiated by the government military troops led by Sabban.

“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. “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.


Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm  Comments Off on Gordon to hold Arroyo responsible if ICRC hostages get killed  
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