by Lilian C. Mallejor, Philippine News Agency | Wednesday, 15 June 2016
The incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will deal with all lawless elements including the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu Province but will clearly uphold a “no ransom policy” of the government on kidnapping.
This was emphasized by incoming Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in an interview with the media at the Marco Polo Hotel on Tuesday when sought for the stand of Duterte with regard to the ASG.
”President-elect Duterte will solve problem on criminality and illegality – that is his commitment, to suppress all these,” Panelo said, adding that he is sure Duterte will solve that kind of problem.
“He will solve the problem and other problems of equal magnitude and I don’t see any problem knowing him.. marami siyang style hindi natin alam (he has many style we do not know) but very effective,” he told reporters.
“I am not sure how he will deal with but I am sure he will deal with it and he will be effective in dealing with it,” he added.
But Panelo said the beheading of Robert Hall, the second Canadian killed by the ASG reportedly to taunt Duterte, must be addressed to the current administration of President Benigno Aquino because Duterte is not yet president.
“If they do that during the administration of Duterte, then that could be a challenge to him but not now,” he said.
Panelo said he has not discussed with Duterte his stand on Hall’s beheading and if the incoming president is willing to help to save the remaining hostages in view of the recent appeal from the family of Hall’s girlfriend Marites Flor. Hall was beheaded after the deadline to pay the ransom demand of P300 million lapsed on Monday.
“Wala naman siyang binanggit, nagkita kami kagabi (He did not mention it when we met last night [Monday night]. I did not also ask him. But I will not be surprised as Duterte always helps those in need,” he added.
The ASG beheaded Canadian national John Ridsdel on April 25 after government refused to pay the P300-million ransom. Ridsdel and Hall were two of the four people abducted from Holiday Ocean View Samal Resort in Camudmud, Babak District, Island Garden City of Samal around 11:30 p.m. on September 21, 2015. Still held hostage by the ASG are Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Flor.
According to Panelo, in incidents like kidnapping, Duterte’s style is always backdoor negotiation. “I am sure he will discuss this when he assumes,” he said.
“Basta alam ko (All I know) he will not tolerate or condone any illegality in this country. He will do everything in his power stop all these,” he added. (PNA)