‘Phone call to kin, noodles for Mary Jean’

MANILA, Philippines — A phone call to her family, some noodles and warm water were the first three things that Mary Jean Lacaba asked from authorities that picked her up in a village in Indanan, where her kidnappers released her Thursday night, a military official said.

Lacaba had to borrow the cellphone of Lieutenant General Nelson Allaga, Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command chief, to call her family, recounted Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo, military spokesman for the hostage crisis team based in Jolo.

Then she asked for lukewarm water and noodles, he added.

“She said she was happy she was alive and that she never lost faith as she showed us the source of her strength,” said Arevalo, referring to the rosary a friend got her from Rome.

The military said on Thursday night that Lacaba’s release was a welcome development but the release of two of her colleagues Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni remained an urgent concern.

“Mary Jean Lacaba is a testimony of countless efforts and attempts by nameless and faceless individuals for a negotiated release of the victims,” said Arevalo in a statement.

“We attribute this success in part to Sulu Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidulla and in part to our security forces who have caused continuing pressure to exhaust the kidnappers,” he added.

He said Lacaba was released to Sahidulla at 8:30 p.m. — (reports are varied based on accounts from various sources, ranging from 6 p.m. to past 7 p.m.) — at Indanan town where acting Task Force Comet commander, Colonel Eugenio Clemen, met them.

No ransom was paid, said the military, quoting Sahidulla

Jocelyn Uy, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Published in: on April 3, 2009 at 6:00 am  Comments Off on ‘Phone call to kin, noodles for Mary Jean’  
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