New tack to rescue remaining hostages


President Benigno Aquino 3rd led a top-level meeting of security officials in Jolo, Sulu on Wednesday to “refine” a military strategy to rescue all the remaining hostages from the hands of the militant Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

The Commander-in-Chief flew to the south on Wednesday and presided over the security meeting with officials led by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento.

In a news conference after the meeting, Aquino said he went to Jolo to get a “complete picture” of the situation.

“Napagkasunduan ngayong hapon kung paano ire-refine ‘yung ating operations para successful nating ma-rescue ‘yung lahat ng mga natitirang hostages [We agreed this afternoon how to refine the operations to successfully rescue all the remaining hostages],” he told reporters.

“We hope we are more focused and, therefore, increase the chances of resolving the situation successfully,” Aquino said.

The President, however, refused to disclose details of the operations.

“I’m very limited with what I can say. I’m sure they have sympathizers who will watch you and will give them tips,” Aquino said.

The President admitted that he considered the possibility of declaring martial law in Sulu three weeks ago as part of the government’s intensified efforts to rescue the remaining hostages.

He, however, decided to drop the idea because it may earn public sympathy for the Abu Sayyaf.

“Yes. In Sulu in particular,” Aquino also told reporters when asked if he considered declaring martial law in areas where the Abu Sayyaf is known to operate.

“May assessment na ang daming puwersa gagamitin just to implement martial law here.
Walang guarantee na magkakaron ng positive results. Baka magkaron pa ng negative results. Baka magkaron pa dagdag simpatya sa mga kalaban [There was an assessment that we need to use a substantial number of forces just to implement martial law here that would not guarantee positive results. There could even be negative results. The enemy may also gain sympathy],” he said.

Aquino, who will step down on June 30, had given a standing order for the military forces in Sulu to pursue Abu Sayyaf rebels and safely recover all the hostages.

The ASG is holding at least seven hostages — Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Robert Hall’s Filipina girlfriend Marites Flor, Dutch Ewold Horn, and locals Joshua Bani, Araji Maani, Antonio Tan and Ronnie Bangcale.

Hall was executed by the rebels on Tuesday.

Another Canadian, John Ridsdel, was beheaded on April 25 after his family and the Canadian government refused to pay P300-million ransom.

Hall, Ridsdel, Sekkingstad and Flor were taken from Samal Island resort off Davao del Norte on September 21, 2015 and brought to Sulu.

Horn was abducted on February 1, 2012 in Tawi-Tawi.

The other local captives were separately abducted in the Zamboanga peninsula.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Napagkasunduan ngayong hapon kung paano ire-refine ‘yung ating operations para successful nating ma-rescue ‘yung lahat ng mga natitirang hostages

    “We hope we are more focused and, therefore, increase the chances of resolving the situation successfully,” Aquino said.” he told reporters.

    Now lang ni-refine and maging more focused? Hinitay pa na may ma beheaded ulit? Galing talaga. Ipadala kaya frontline ang mga generals na yan na great strategist kuno at di lang drawing sa papel at mesa ang gawin para maranasan nila ang realidad and maybe then and only then maka strategize sila ng mabuti

  2. He decided to drop the idea bec. it may earn public sympathy for ASG? da hell, sino nman kaya ang mag sympathy sa kanila. You don’t have the balls Mr. Aquino. Dapat matagal ng pinulbos yang mga yan.

  3. Mga walang silbi. Para saan ba yung mga F-50 na binili from South Korea??? Pang EDSA anniverssary lang pala yun, puro practice. Bakit di nyo gamitin para bombahin na lahat ang mga Abu Sayyaf tutal pinapatay din naman nila mga hostages nila. O kaya hiramin nyo muna kay Kris AQUINO yung chopper para lagyan ng machine gun at magamit sa operation.

  4. April 25 pa yung unang beheading ngayon ka lang pumunta dyan? kung si bimby o kris yan, malamang sa sulu kana tumira. Pag upo ni Duterte lalo makikita kung ano pinagkaiba nila ni Pnoy. Lalo mahahalata kung gano ka hina at wlang diskarte c Pnoy

  5. Favorite terminolgy ni Pnoy for the last 6 years. Re-refine at Fine tuning. Lintek puro porma lang. Kumbaga last 2 mins na lng, bokya pa din. Tagal mong naka upo, ngayon mo lang pupuntahan yan. dapat dati pa

  6. Juan T. Delacruz on

    The ASG have political connections because they are asking too much ransom money, and they are trying to compensate the amount that will be given to the government “guys” who are protecting them. During GMA administration, his first attorney general or DOJ Secretary was involved. The cell phone conversations between this official and the ASG was intercepted by Italian Intel personnel, and some of the evidence were pointed to Gen. Reyes as well, who was then the Commander of the Task Force Mindanao. These criminals cannot confidentially operate without Padrinos in High Places.

    President Duterte needs to clean up all the Government Agencies because most of them, if not all, are full of corrupt leaders and officials, this to include AFP and few Congress people and Senators. The public should not be surprised when a captured drug lord(s) start pointing their fingers to these people in high places. Any law enforcement operation, especially related to drugs should protect the suspects for further interrogations, and hopefully, it will point to a bigger manufacturer, importer, wholesaler, retailer, politicians, Judges, or anybody in government who are protecting these criminals. The interrogator should be a well trained, like myself (lol), that can make these people sing, or confess.

    The ASG in Mindanao should be eliminated completely, and put an end of their existence. There is another method in doing this, without declaring Martial Law.

  7. Rescuing the remaining hostages , before he steps down as President , would somehow be a chance for BS Aquino III to prove that he is NOT TOTALLY an ineffective and worst President the Philippines ever had !

    Good luck Mr. President III