Defense chief ends word war with Senator Gordon

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. ended Tuesday his word war with Sen. Richard Gordon over efforts to secure the release of two International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers from the hands of Abu Sayyaf bandits.

In a radio interview, Teodoro asked the public to stop pitting him against Gordon, who chairs the Philippine National Red Cross, after their word war last weekend.

“Sinabi ko na ang lahat na kailangan kong sabihin, nasabi na rin siguro ni Sen. Gordon ang lahat, so palagay ko hayaan natin matulog ang insidente na yan, let’s move forward [I have said all I need to say and so has Sen. Gordon. So let’s leave that incident behind. Let’s move forward],” Teodoro said in an interview on dwIZ radio.

He said the dispute between him and Gordon should now be put to rest.

Teodoro last weekend scored Gordon for broadcasting the demands of the Abu Sayyaf, and that the senator’s statements that the hostages’ fate is now up to President Arroyo are “destructive.”

Gordon defended himself by saying he was just carrying out his “personal and institutional responsibility” for the safety of the hostages.

On the other hand, Teodoro dismissed as a diversionary tactic a reported demand by the Abu Sayyaf that he and Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno talk to them for the release of two Red Cross workers.

He said it will take a “very good reason” to convince him and Puno to talk to “terrorists.”

“Very improper sa Secretaries of National Defense and Interior and Local Government makipag-usap sa terorista. Kailangan may matibay at mabigat na rason na maibigay sa akin, palagay ko kay Sec. Puno ganoon din, na makiusap sa mga ito. Kung ano ang raason na yan di ko ilalahad,” he said.

[It is very improper for the Secretaries of Defense and Interior to talk to terrorists. They have to have a very good reason for us to talk to them. Whatever that reason is, I will not tell you.]

Until then, he said he will treat the demand as another squid tactic to mess up the picture.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding on to Eugenio Vagni and Andreas Notter after releasing Mary Jean Lacaba last April 2. The Abu Sayyaf seized the three in Sulu last Jan. 15.

“Palagay ko paraan lang ito ng Abu Sayyaf na guluhin ang picture at para magdagdag ng karagdagang problema sa gobyerno [I think it is just a ploy by the Abu Sayyaf to muddle the picture and to add to the problems of the government],” Teodoro said.

GMANews.TV

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Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 7:57 am  Comments Off on Defense chief ends word war with Senator Gordon  
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