Gordon hits back at Defense chief over ‘careless’ remark

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Richard Gordon lashed back at Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. who tagged as “destructive attempts” the senator’s efforts in ensuring the safety of the two remaining hostage International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers.

“The words used by [Teodoro] to describe our efforts to help save the lives of the hostages in Sulu are careless and unfortunate,” Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), said in a statement Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Teodoro slammed Gordon for supposedly meddling in the hostage crisis in Sulu by placing the fate of Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni in the hands of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The Defense chief said Gordon’s statement would only strengthen the hand of the Abu Sayyaf bandits holding captive the two foreign aid workers, now on their 80th day of captivity.

Teodoro also said that by putting the blame on President Arroyo, Gordon had virtually cleared the Abu Sayyaf of any liability should anything happen to Notter and Vagni.

But in his statement, Gordon said that Teodoro’s accusations would not stop him from communicating with the Abu Sayyaf.

“I will not cut off communication with them just to avoid being described as a meddler. At this point, talk is a lifeline in this extremely dangerous situation,” Gordon said.

He added that he was merely carrying out his “personal and institutional responsibility” to ensure the safety of the ICRC workers.

“If I have expressed concern about government and military policy or action in Sulu, it is because of the danger they, both the military and the Abu Sayyaf, pose to the lives of the hostages,” he added.

Sophie Dedace, GMANews.TV

Published in: on April 5, 2009 at 6:38 pm  Comments Off on Gordon hits back at Defense chief over ‘careless’ remark  
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