Palace: Gordon’s statement on Sulu crisis ‘illogical’

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday branded as “illogical” Sen. Richard Gordon’s claim that the safety of the abducted Red Cross workers in southern Philippines lies in the hands of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“What kind of logic is that?” Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

“Those are very unfair… the statements that say the safety of the hostages are in the hands of the President. We should not forget that the ones responsible for this are the bandits who kidnap and take people hostage,” Remonde added, referring to the Abu Sayyaf bandit group.

The hostages, Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagani, are still in the clutches of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu province. Another hostage, Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba, was released last Thursday after 77 days of captivity.

Gordon said over the weekend that the fate of Notter and Vagni lies on the hands of President Arroyo.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Sunday said Gordon’s statement was “destructive” since it seems to be absolving the Abu Sayyaf from any liabilities should something bad happened to the European hostages. He also accused Gordon of meddling with the Sulu crisis.

Remonde said statements such as Gordon’s could embolden other lawless groups to conduct more atrocities.

Gordon, who is also chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, defended himself by saying he was just carrying out his “personal and institutional responsibility” to ensure the safety of the hostages.

Gordon also said that Teodoro’s accusations would not stop him from communicating with the Abu Sayyaf.

Remonde, despite his claims that he is not backing Teodoro, said he agreed with him when he said that the Sulu situation would be best handled by the local crisis management under Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan.

Remonde also warned personalities from using the situation for their personal gains.

“And in a crisis situation like this, dapat iwasan natin ang pamumulitika [there should be no politics involved], trying to gather brownie points because that will not help the cause of freedom and justice. It can only help the cause of terrorists who just want attention,” he said.

Asked if he was referring to Gordon, the Palace official said: “I don’t want to give conclusions because I still would like to believe that Senator Gordon is acting and speaking on the basis of the best of intentions and motivations.”

“So even if we have good intentions, let’s be more circumspect,” he added.

Aie Balagtas See, GMANews.TV

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 5:30 pm  Comments Off on Palace: Gordon’s statement on Sulu crisis ‘illogical’  
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