Jun 10

Ces Drilon, 2 others abducted by Abu Sayyaf Terrorists

Police have confirmed that Philippine TV broadcaster and newswoman Ces Drilon together with her two other news crew were abducted Sunday in the southernmost province Sulu by armed men believed to be members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group. ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., a local top TV network, issued a brief statement saying their 3-man news team were sent to Mindanao upon the request of Mindanao State University Professor Octavio Dinmapo to cover an event, but have since gone missing in Sulu. Police Chief Joel Goltiao from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao said the newsmen were intercepted in Maimbung, Sulu by armed men believed to be Abu Sayyaf members.

Goltiao says that the media group were supposedly picked up by Dinmapo in a university hostel but, “Along the way in Kulasi, Maimbung, Sulu, they were intercepted by an armed group and now they are held in captivity”. He said the group was brought to Indanan town in Sulu. He named the abductors as Albader Parad, an Abu Sayyaf member, and Gapur Jundain, a former member of the erstwhile separatist Moro National Liberation Front who recently joined the extremist group.

ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. said in a statement that Drilon, Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama were “missing in Sulu” and that “all efforts are underway to find them and bring them home.” The broadsing network likewise requested “other media to report on this matter with utmost consideration for the safety of our news team. ABS-CBN News is in touch with the families, and asks that their privacy be respected.”

Goltiao said officials of the airplane Drilon and her team boarded had offered her security but the broadcast journalist refused, allegedly citing that the trip to Sulu was “confidential”. No demand for ransom has yet been confirmed. Meanwhile, President Gloria Arroyo has already ordered police and the AFP to exert all efforts to track down the abductors and identify the location of the missing news group.

Ces Drilon is a veteran news anchor and has been fielded to cover various dangerous news assignments in the past such as the Glorietta Mutiny and coup d’etat lead by armed military men.

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