• Malacañang cannot confirm ransom demand

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    Malacañang on Friday said it has not received any reports concerning the ransom demand of gunmen who kidnapped two women from a resort island off Sabah last week.

    Contrary to what Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed on Thursday that the kidnappers were asking for P500 million as ransom, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said they were unaware of this.

    The victims—a 28-year-old Shanghai woman and a 40-year-old Filipina—were kidnapped April 2, allegedly by Abu Sayyaf militants, from the Singamata Reef Resort in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah.

    Authorities believe the women were taken to Simunul Island in Tawi-Tawi, the country’s southernmost province.

    Hamidi said a team has been dispatched to negotiate the release of the two women.

    But Coloma said in a news conference that the Palace has not received any reports about this.

    “There is no confirmation,” he answered when asked about the ransom demand disclosed earlier by Hamidi.

    Coloma said they would ask the Philippine National Police (PNP) for updates or more concrete reports.

    “We continue to receive updates from the PNP because they are doing everything possible to track the perpetrators [down]and to rescue the victims,” he added.

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