ICRC ‘shields’ Mary Jean from public

Philippine National Red Cross Chairman and Sen. Richard Gordon described as a “special day of thanksgiving” after the release of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) worker Mary Jean Lacaba in Sulu Thursday night.

However, he said it cannot be called a day of celebration yet as Eugenio Vagni and Andreas Notter are still in captivity.

Gordon reported that Lacaba is now with her husband Manny and son Christian in Manila, but he did not disclose where the Lacaba family is. He said Mary Jean was being examined by an ICRC doctor, Sigiriya Aebischer Perone, who flew in from Geneva.

Mary Jean’s critical stress debriefing has also commenced to check for signs of fright, anxiety, distrust, irritation, anger, and fatigue, among other physical, mental and emotional stresses she has been through after 77 days in captivity.

Gordon said the PNRC is leaving it up to Mary Jean to decide when to “come out” and to which person or entity or organization she wants to talk to.

He also stressed that the ICRC is a very conservative institution that does not expose its people, especially those who went thru trauma, to the public.

Gordon thanked the people responsible for Lacaba’s release, especially Sulu Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidulla.

Release recalled

In the same press briefing, Sahidulla recounted the events that led to Lacaba’s release.

Shortly before 5 pm Thursday, Sahidulla said a girl with a message was sent by someone to her Jolo residence.

The girl asked Sahidula to go to a specified place in Indanan town where certain people, presumably from Al Bader Parad’s group, wanted to talk to her.

Sahidulla asked the girl to proceed to the place and that she would just follow, but the girl insisted “there was no more time to lose.”

Sahidulla and her team went to the specified location, where Lacaba was released to her without any negotiations.

Sahidula said she was able to see and talk to Al Bader Parad, who had small, minor wounds on his leg.

She was told that Lacaba’s release was a gesture of goodwill.

She was also told that if and when the military pulls out of the four remaining towns in Sulu that the Abu Sayaff is asking the AFP to vacate, negotiations for the release of the remaining two ICRC members will once again be opened.

Sahidula emphasized that no ransom was paid.

Meantime, Mary Jean is said to have lost a lot of weight.

Even as Lacaba was reunited with her family in Manila Friday afternoon, Gordon said Mary Jean is very much concerned with Notter and Vagni, and asked the government to do everything it can for their release.


Published in: on April 3, 2009 at 5:43 pm  Comments Off on ICRC ‘shields’ Mary Jean from public  
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