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Ces Drillon Abduction

A new twist seems to be developing in the Ces Drillon abduction with conflicting reports so confusing that no one seems to know exactly what is going on. As this lingers on the fate of ABS-CBN journalist Ces Drillon and prominent peace advocate Mindanao State University Prof. Octavio Dinampo together with television crew member cameraman Jimmy Encarnacion are uncertain . If the story of the driver is taken into account and proved to be reliable then it appears that this is not the handiwork of the dumb and dumber group Abu Sayyaf.

It surely does not make sense that the rebel group Abu Sayyaf will abduct Prof. Octavio Dinampo. He is closer to the rebel groups than the military and a very credible peace advocate with established relations with NGOs particularly the donor community. Why will the rebels if they are indeed rebels and not just some criminal terrorist kidnap for ransom syndicate abduct a person that serves as their link to the outside world?

This really does not make sense but in the Philippines nothing makes sense so when new development crops up nothing comes as a surprise anymore. Here is the account of Julie Alipala of the Mindanao Bureau of Inquirer, Driver claims military agent, not Abus seized Drilon team:

Senior Superintendent Julasirim Kasim, Sulu police director, said driver Maramma Hasim, the man hired by Drilon and her team to chauffer for them in Maimbung on the day of their disappearance, claimed that one Juamil "Maming" Biyaw was the "missing link" to knowing who was behind the abduction.

Biyaw, a resident of the village of Sandah in Patikul town, is known in Sulu as a military agent, Kasim said.

Kasim said Hashim, who is now in police custody, claimed Biyaw was with the group Sunday when Drilon, cameramen Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama, and their guide, Mindanao State University Professor Octavio Dinampong went to Maimbung.

They went missing after an armed group reportedly intercepted them along Kulasi, town of Maimbung while on their way to meet Abu Sayyaf leaders “to cover a special event.”

Quoting Hashim, Kasim said Biyaw ordered the driver to stop somewhere in the village of Labbah at around noon Sunday.

"The passengers, including Madame Ces, thought there was problem with the car,” Kasim quoted Hashim's account.

"All the passengers casually went down from the vehicle and this Biyaw guy invited the four to join him in a walk towards Mount Mabusing (interior of Labbah). So there was no scuffle. Madame Ces and the rest walked casually," Kasim added.

Hashim was reportedly surprised when the five left him on the highway.

"But he waited until 4 p.m. and this Biyaw returned alone instructing the driver to leave the place. The driver, apparently disturbed, followed the orders," Kasim added.

"Because of fear, the driver didn’t even show up readily and he is now in our custody. Right now, we are looking for this Biyaw and we are checking further his background and how close he is with the military as he being reported as an agent," Kasim said.

In the meantime one of Ces Drillon’s crew, cameraman Angelo Valderama was released to Sulu Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidula, but someone paid (allegedly coming from the campaign funds of 2 negotiators) a P2-million "board and lodging fee" in exchange for his freedom. That is just great and at least Angelo Valderama is out of harms way and the government together with ABS-CBN can still claim that they never wavered on their stance of no ransom. Yeah right, so typical of shallow ridiculous posturing of hypocrites, well for one the accommodations are not your typical 5 star hotel and with guns pointing to your head one click away from blowing your brains off is not exactly board and lodging fee but basically a ransom.

The sad news is there are unconfirmed reports that Prof. Octavio Dinampo may have suffered a mild stroke and whoever is holding him should release him now for medical and humanitarian reasons or at the least get a physician attend to him.

Lying indeed has become an art form in the Philippines and the play of words to cover up nefarious activities surely makes this place a haven for hypocrites, board and lodging fee in place of ransom surely is one for the books. Then upon the release of Angelo Valderama which according to Indanan town mayor Isnaji Alvarez, the chief negotiator, in Sulu the kidnappers told him that Valderama was being set free as a "gift." A gift, Alvarez claims he was told, really? Well, a gift will surely not cost you anything so what’s up with the P2million board and lodging fee?

Speculations and rumors are going the rounds and with a government with credibility problem it can only get worse, the sad thing is the victims are the ones that suffer and not these grandstanding officials and all those involved in this racket. A former MNLF sub-commander now working with the Maimbung Mayor Najib Maldisa dispatched several people to the ASG camps of Abu Sayyaf leaders Albader Parad and Gafur Jumdail both of whom denied having a hand in the kidnapping and was even “shocked” at the news. Maldisa’s group are doing their investigation and it appears that MNLF and ASG are not "aware" of the abduction of Ces Drillon and company but this report is being dismissed as “pure speculation” by Lieutenant General Nelson Allaga, chief of the military's Western Mindanao Command.

Then there are some reports that Ces Drillon and company was being held by Zulkifli bin Hir a Malaysian Jemaah Islamiyah bomb maker wanted by the United States with a $5million tag on his head to which the Philippine military refused to comment. So while the confusion is going on the ransom demand of P10 million just went up to P20 million ($454,000) but no one knows exactly who are the group behind all these. Really?

So who is really holding Ces Drillon and company?

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