wtf?!?!? CES DRILON has been KIDNAPPED in SULU?!??!?!
By Thea Alberto
Associated Press, INQUIRER.net
Well-known television reporter Ces Drilon and two of her crew have been abducted while pursuing a story in the southernmost province Sulu by armed men believed to be members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group, police officials said.
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.”
Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao, police regional director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Drilon and the two crew members were intercepted Sunday in Maimbung, a township in the Sulu capital Jolo, by armed men under Albader Parad, an Abu Sayyaf leader in the area.
Goltiao said the TV news team flew to Mindanao on Saturday on the invitation of Mindanao State University Professor Octavio Dinampo "to cover a special event."
Drilon was to interview the Abu Sayyaf, Philippine National Police Director General Avelino Razon told INQUIRER.net.
Goltiao said that Dinmapo picked up Drilon and her crew from a university hostel and that armed men, identified as being under Parad's command, intercepted them as their vehicle passed through Kulasi village.
"Along the way in Kulasi, Maimbung, Sulu, they were intercepted by an armed group and now they are held in captivity,” said Goltiao. He said the group was brought to Indanan town in Sulu.
He initially identified 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.
"We are closely monitoring with ABS-CBN as well as the military commander and the PNP Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Regional director," said Razon.
"We are assisting them for the safe return of Ces that's why we don't highlight the situation," he added, noting that they had no idea yet of Drilon's whereabouts.
Goltiao said ABS-CBN management would not say why Drilon and her crew went to Sulu. He added, “Outsiders must coordinate with police for security."
Goltiao said officials of the airplane Drilon and her team boarded had offered her security but the broadcast journalist refused, citing the "confidentiality" of the trip.
Goltiao said he was not aware of any ransom demand. He said he was trying to reach ABS-CBN in Manila for more details.
The ABS-CBN statement said, “Until we learn more details, ABS-CBN News requests 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.”
The Abu Sayyaf is estimated to have 380 fighters, compared with more than 1,000 eight years ago. It has been weakened by US-backed military offensives that have led to the killing and capture of many of its leaders and members.
Police say the militants have continued to plot attacks, including against US soldiers who have been giving counterterrorism training to Filipino troops in Jolo and nearby provinces.
Washington has blacklisted Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist group for bombings, kidnappings and beheadings, such as the 2001 abduction from a resort island of 21 people who included three Americans.