Sayyafs set P15-M ransom for gov’t mechanic

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Monday, August 18, 2014

The remains of Sulu provincial motorpool assistant mechanic Dante Avilla, 29, who was killed by the Abu Sayyaf bandits, lies in state at the residence of his father, Angelberto, in Zamboanga City. (Bong Garcia)


THE Abu Sayyaf bandits have demanded a P15-million ransom in exchange for the release of a Zamboangueño government mechanic they seized in the province of Sulu.

The bandits seized Ronald Pelegrin, the chief mechanic, and killed his assistant, Dante Avilla, after they stormed the provincial motorpool around 10:30 p.m. Saturday in Patikul, Sulu.

Pelegrin, 38, and Avilla, 29, are cousins and are residents of the villages of Salaan and Pasobolong, this city, respectively.

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Angelberto Avilla, the father of Dante, said the ransom demand was relayed to Pelegrin’s wife, Emily, through a cellular phone call on Sunday.

Pelegrin’s family has asked the intercession of the government to help them secure the safe release of the hostage.

Rizalina, the mother of Pelegrin, said they don’t have money to pay ransom. She is the elder sister of Angelberto.

As this developed, Mayor Ma. Isabelle Cliamco-Salazar said she has coordinated with the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) to help secure the safe recovery of Pelegrin.

“Our request is to assist in rescuing kidnap victim, Pelegrin,” Salazar said during her Monday regular press conference at City Hall.

Salazar said she also requested Westmincom chief Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero to help retrieve kidnap victim Joselito Gonzales.

Gonzales, along with a relative, Remigio Lingayan, was kidnapped last June 5 in Indanan, Sulu.

Lingayan was freed last July 27 while Gonzales was reportedly killed after he was hit in the crossfire during a clash between government forces and the Abu Sayyaf bandits last June.

Salazar, however, said there is no confirmation yet whether Gonzales was indeed killed.

“We cannot really confirm although there have been reports he has been killed,” she added, citing the family has asked their help for the recovery of Gonzales’s body.

Meanwhile, the mayor said they will allow the Anti-Kidnapping Group to take the lead in the efforts to recover the Zamboangueños kidnapped in Sulu and the City Government can supplement the recovery efforts.

She said the City Government will also adhere to the National Government’s “no ransom policy.” (Sunnex)

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