2 solons join Sulu kidnap negotiations

MANILA, Philippines—Two lawmakers have joined negotiations for the Abu Sayyaf to release three Red Cross workers the extremist group has been holding hostage for three months and threatened to behead, a Malacañang official said.

At the same time, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said that the deadline set by the Abu Sayyaf for government troops to pull out from Jolo Island was extended from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

“That is an initial information we are getting from the filed, there was an extension because [Sulu] Congressman [Yusop] Jikiri and [Anak Mindanao party list] Congressman [Mujiv] Hataman are coming in to talk to some contacts,” Esperon told reporters at the Palace.

“While personal ties may at times help in the end we should not rely on, we should not look at the Abu Sayyaf as a trustworthy organization. They can always back out from any agreements,” said Esperon, a former military chief.

A crisis committee led by Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan is leading negotiations with the Abu Sayyaf for the release of three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers – Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, Swiss national Andreas Notter, and Italian national
Eugenio Vagni.

Tan declared a state of emergency in the province past 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Joel Guinto, INQUIRER.net

Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 6:45 pm  Comments Off on 2 solons join Sulu kidnap negotiations  
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