Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has revealed the alleged attempt to kidnap Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao or one of his children by the terror group Abu Sayyaf.
In an official statement that Aquino released condeming the beheading by the Abu Sayyaf of Canadian hostage John Ridsdel, Aquino said the kidnapping attempt was not only for Manny Pacquiao but also for presidential sister Kris Aquino.
The Philippine president said the kidnapping plot was part of the terrot group’s effort to gain favor with ISIS.
He also revealed that one of the ASG leaders, Isnilon Hapilon, through his cohorts in prison, has tried to convert other prisoners in New Bilibid Prison to their cause and establish ties with remnants of the Rajah Sulayman Movement purportedly in an attempt to embark on a bombing campaign in Metro Manila.
“They allegedly even hatched plots to kidnap Manny Pacquiao or one of his children, as well as my sister Kris or one of her children, with the plan to use them in bargaining for the release of their cohorts. Threats against my own life have been investigated,” said Aquino.
Meanwhile, the Department of National Defense (DND) strongly condemns the Abu Sayyaf Group for its brutal beheading of Canadian hostage John Ridsel on Monday.
“We strongly condemn this brutal act by this barbaric extortionist group,” DND spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez said.
“This further fuels our resolve for the continuous operations until all remaining hostages are rescued and they are neutralized,” he added.
On Monday, unconfirmed reports came out claiming that the ASG has beheaded one of its three foreign captives after governments of the latter refused to give in to the bandits’ ransom demand.
The brigands earlier demanded a PHP1-billion ransom from each of the three foreign captives and threatening to kill them if the ransom is not paid.
The ASG earlier set an April 8 deadline for the ransom but this was moved to April 25, hence the brutal beheading of Ridsel somewhere in Sulu.
Hostages still held captive by the ASG clutches are Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingtad and Filipina Marites Flor, Hall’s girlfriend.
“There will be no let up in the determined efforts of the joint AFP-PNP task group’s intensive military and law enforcement operations to neutralize these lawless elements and thwart further threats to peace and security. The full force of the law will be used to bring these criminals to justice,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla earlier said. – BusinessNewsAsia.com