Duterte confirms arrest of two suspects in Samal abduction incident

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has confirmed the arrest of two suspected abductors of three foreigners and a Filipina from the Holiday Ocean View Samal Resort last September 21. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte named one of the arrested suspects as one Bandahar Adona, also known as “Banon”, who was identified by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) as one of those who forcibly took one of the four victims, as seen on the CCTV footage.

“I was privy to that…I was invited to the briefing to listen,” Duterte told reporters on Monday in an interview in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur. He said he was invited by the ISAFP.

However, Duterte refused to further reveal the details of the investigation, leaving it to the appropriate authorities to talk on the incident. He said it took time for the intelligence authorities to pick up and trace signals from cellular phone calls suspected to be coming from Bunawan District, this city.

Earlier, sources point to a certain Tanum group from Patikul, Sulu as responsible for the abduction. Tanum is reportedly a village in Patikul, the main base of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). The same sources said the group arrived onboard a white speedboat in Barangay Kaunayan in Patikul around 12:30 pm on Tuesday, September 22.

Duterte has already appealed to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) not to harm the hostages. He even expressed willingness to go to Talipao, Sulu to appeal for the safe release of Canadian nationals John Ridsdel, and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marites Flor.

The Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Ocean View however refused to comment on the mayor’s revelation as it is still completing its investigation. Philippine National Police (PNP) XI spokesperson, Antonio Rivera said probers are focusing on some personalities but would not say anything until SITG will complete everything.

He said if there is a report on the arrest of suspected abductors, he does not know about it yet or SITG might not have received any report yet from the military. When asked how much time is given for SITG to complete its investigation, Rivera said it would be soon because authorities are still verifying all information.