Gordon vows open line to Abu Sayyaf even after kidnap crisis

MANILA, Philippines – Should the Abu Sayyaf release the three abducted International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers, Sen. Richard Gordon on Wednesday assured that he will still keep the communication lines open with the al-Qaeda-linked bandits.

Gordon, who also chairs the Philippine National Red Cross, said he last had an exchange of text messages with two Abu Sayyaf leaders, whom he declined to name, at 8 p.m. Tuesday – hours after the deadline for the massive military pullout demanded by the group expired.

“Ngayon nakikiusap ako, kung pwede palayain nila. Mag-uusap pa naman pagkatapos. Di naman ako magsasawang kausapin sila .Kahit palayain na yung tatlo, pwedeng ituloy ang pag-uusap [I am still appealing for the workers’ release. Besides, I will still talk to them should they be freed. I will not tire in speaking with Abu Sayyaf],” Gordon told dzBB radio in an interview.

Gordon said this is to assure that the group could still air their concerns even without holding captive Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni, and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba.

Gordon also said that in the exchange of text messages, the Abu Sayyaf did not indicate the present condition of the three hostages.

In a separate radio interview, the senator said he wants the group to show proof that the three Red Cross workers – who it threatened to behead if the military pullout demand is not met – are still alive.

“Gusto kong makausap ang tatlo, confidence building na naman yan [I want to talk to the three. It is a measure to rebuild confidence],” Gordon said on dzXL radio.

In the dzBB interview, Gordon said that as long as Notter, Vagni, and Lacaba remain captive, their lives remain under threat. “They will always be in danger.”

‘First time in history’

The senator also noted that in conflict areas in other parts of the world, some Red Cross volunteers have also been abducted but were released immediately.

“May international humanitarian law, kaya makikita mo [may Red Cross volunteers] sa Gaza, sa Rwanda, sa Chechniya. Pero sa Taliban, may nakidnap sa amin, pero sinauli kaagad. Sa Gaza, nakidnap pero sinauli. Walang nakikidnap na Red Cross na ‘di sinasauli. Dito lang [sa Pilipinas], for the first time in history,” Gordon said.

[We have international humanitarian laws that guarantee the safety of Red Cross volunteers. So you can see aid workers in Gaza, Rwanda, and Chechnya. The Talibans even kidnapped a Red Cross worker, who was freed immediately. A volunteer in Gaza was kidnapped and was released in no time, too. There are no kidnapped Red Cross volunteers who are not released immediately. The case in the Philippines, however, is the first in history.]

Gordon was referring to the conflict in Gaza Strip in the Middle East, in Rwanda in Africa, and in Chechen Republic near Russia, and the Taliban movement also in the Middle East.


Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 10:46 am  Comments Off on Gordon vows open line to Abu Sayyaf even after kidnap crisis  
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