SEVENTEEN days after suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) kidnapped three foreigners and a Filipina from a resort on Samal Island in Davao del Norte, government forces are still on a wild goose chase because the information that are coming in remained unconfirmed and unverified.
“The information that has been circling around on the location of the hostages to date remains unconfirmed and unvalidated until certain information that we are looking for exist. But at the moment both the police and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) cannot make a categorical statement regarding the location of the kidnap victims,” said Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman.
Padilla said they received information on the location of the kidnappers and their hostages Canadians John Ridsdel, and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marites Flor, but these could not be confirmed.
The four were snatched from the Holiday Ocean View Samal Resort on September 21.
“Hanggat hindi po nasa-satisfy yung ating requirements para sa mga pag-validate ng information na nagsasabing nandun sila hindi po natin ganap na masasabi na talagang nandun sila sa isla ng Jolo (Until the requirements for validation has been met we cannot categorically say that they are in the island of Jolo),” Padilla pointed out.
On the announcement of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on arrest of two suspected abductors, Padilla said their arrest in the province will not necessarily pinpoint the location of the hostages.
“It’s hard to second guess but sometimes the presence of participants or accessory to a crime may have arrested in a certain, specific area but will not necessarily pinpoint to where the hostages are. So it could be a rouse or it could be intentional that they divided themselves into small groups or groups of two or individuals while the hostages were kept somewhere else,” the AFP spokesman said.
Duterte had refused to give further details of the investigation, leaving it to the appropriate authorities to talk on the incident.
While security forces appeared in the dark, Padilla said there will be no let-up in the operation to rescue the victims and arrest their abductors.