After nine days of captivity in the hinterlands of Sulu province, Ces Drillon, a senior ABS CBN correspondent, and companions Jimmy Encarnacion (TV cameramana) and Prof. Octavio Dinampo of the Mindanao State University were finally released on Tuesday at Talipao, Sulu around 11 p.m. They were flown by military helicopter to Zamboanga where they were debriefed and underwent medical examination. All were in good health according to PNP chief Avelino Razon who himself was informed by the doctors who examined them.
Betrayed, that’s how Ces Drilon described the reason behind their abduction on June 8, 2008 at the Indanan town.
“I’ve been in and out of Mindanao in all my years as a journalist. Ang gusto ko lang gumawa ng istorya tungkol dito. Sa kasamaang palad, there was some betrayal involved kaya kami na-kidnap,” she said without elaborating it.
However Drilon only had herself blame for the kidnap crisis that stemmed from her desire to pursue a story in Sulu province.
“I didn’t think of my family that I put through a really terrible ordeal in the past 10 days. It made me realize the value of life, of your family, of your colleagues,” she said. Drillon also expressed her sadness for keeping it secret to her mom about the Sulu coverage which could have been featured in the network’s news program “Bandila” and “Prime News.”
Earlier Drilon expressed her gratitude for their release before media men as she boarded a military chopper to Zamboanga. “I want to thank everybody. Words are not enough to thank those who prayed for the professor, Jimmy, Angel, and myself.”
She specially thanked Indanan town Mayor Alvarez Isnaji who negotiated with the kidnappers for her release and the media people who prayed for their release. She also thanked Senator Loren Legarda for being a “life line to them” during their ordeal.
Meanwhile the military and police have already launched a pursuit operation against the kidnappers whose identity are yet to be determined.
The police chief said the abductors are Abu Sayyaf members. He added that the two suspects — Sulayman Patta alias Abu Harris and Walid alias Tuan Wals – are members of the bandit group that kidnapped Drilon.
Razon also clarified that as of this time, Dinampo and Isnajis and son are not yet treated as suspects.
While there is no evidence that directly link them to Ces Drilon’s kidnapping, others can not be prevented from making their own speculations hence the perception of possible involvement. Also puzzling to many is Ces Drilon’s statement, “there was some betrayal involved.” And who betrayed them?
“Razon said the pieces of evidence and the results of the debriefing on the victims will be used by policemen to identify and arrest the abductors”
Likewise Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome (PNP spokesman) also disclosed that more than 10 personalities are being validated if they could be included in the charge sheet.
Right now the PNP has started investigating into the “alleged betrayal” that led to the abduction of the ABS-CBN news crew and their guide in Indanan Sulu on June 8, 2008.
“They were suppose to go there to interview a personality” but then all of a sudden they turn out to be kidnap victims, Razon said.