OFFICIALS who worked for Nuraldin Yusoph's release have already answered questions on when and where he was released and if his family gave ransom money, but many refused to believe including Cagayan de Oro Mayor Y. Vicente Emano.
But the most aggrieved among the skeptics is congressional candidate Salic Dumarpa, who accused Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong of trying to link him to the kidnapping.
Dumarpa expressed disbelief that Yusoph, 22, was freed Monday afternoon at a crowded junction in Cagayan de Oro, saying this was "unlikely" because there are "many residents in the area, including Muslims."
What made this claim dubious, he said, was that Adiong was interviewed 30 minutes after Nuraldin's purported release, considering that "travel time from Marawi takes about three hours."
Dumarpa is running for the post vacated by his term-limited wife Faysah against Hussein Pangandaman, an Adiong ally, in the first district congressional seat in Lanao de Sur.
Yusoph's release was "stage-managed to evoke political mileage for Adiong and destroy me as a politician," said Dumarpa in an email to Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
Adiong, head of the Crisis Management Committee (CMC), who negotiated for Yusoph's release, cannot immediately be reached.
Dumarpa said he and his family felt alluded to with Adiong's earlier statements that the kidnapping of Nuraldin, son of election commissioner Elias Yusoph, was the handiwork of losing politicians in Lanao del Sur.
CMC officials had earlier said that the kidnappers had demanded Comelec to annul the election results in the towns of Masiu and Taraka, part of the areas contested by Dumarpa and Pangandaman.
Elections in at least 12 barangays in the contested district had yet to be held after the Comelec declared failure of elections.
The demolition job against him, Dumarpa said, may have hurt his chances of winning in these areas.
Meanwhile, Dumarpa's claim that Nuraldin may have been freed somewhere other than Cagayan de Oro got the backing of Mayor Emano.
Citing information from his "sources," Emano asserted that Nuraldin was freed by his captors in Marawi City and not in Cagayan de Oro.
"Sa Marawi City ra man gibuhian ang biktima ug dili tinuod nga dinhi sa dakbayan sa Cagayan de Oro. Mao kana ang sulti kanato sa akong sources (The victim was released in Marawi City and not in Cagayan de Oro. My sources told me this)," said the mayor, who in past has helped negotiate for other kidnap victims.
Citing the same "sources," Emano also claimed that ransom had been paid to secure Yusoph's release.
"Would you believe that no amount was given-not even for board and lodging-in order to secure his freedom?" Emano said.
CMC officials and the Yusophs have fervently denied any ransom given.
No local official was invited during Tuesday's media presentation of Yusoph in Cagayan de Oro. (ALR/DVA)