PH condemns 'senseless' murder of Canadian hostage
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines on Tuesday, June 14, condemned the Abu Sayyaf's “brutal and senseless” murder of another Canadian hostage as it vowed to end the group’s “reign of terror and banditry.”
“We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past 9 months. We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to his bereaved family,” Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a statement.
The Abu Sayyaf confirmed on Monday that it had beheaded Hall after the lapse of its deadline for a P600-million ransom payment for the Canadian and two other hostages, Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad and Marites Flor, a Filipino.
In April, the group killed Canadian John Ridsdel after a ransom deadline passed.
Ridsdel, Hall, Sekkingstad, and Flor were abducted in September 2015 from a resort on Samal Island, hundreds of kilometers from the Abu Sayyaf's traditional strongholds.
Coloma said that for the last two months, military and police operations against the Abu Sayyaf "have degraded the capability of our enemies and limited their movements."
"This latest heinous crime serves to strengthen our government’s resolve to put an end to this reign of terror and banditry," he said.
Malacañang thanked the Canadian government and people "for their steadfast support and understanding which has been extremely helpful in our determined efforts to end this decades-old problem."
"We truly regret that our people’s cherished tradition of extending gracious hospitality toward foreign nationals has been marred by a small band of criminals whose despicable actions have been abetted by the extortion of ransom from their previous victims," Coloma said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also condemned the incident and relayed its condolence to Hall’s family.
“This type of execution by evil groups on innocent people is very unfortunate and deserves the condemnation of civil society and every peace-loving citizen,” PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said in a statement.
Mayor reiterated that the PNP and the Armed Forces are doing “their best to eliminate such evil doing through intensive military and law enforcement operations that are underway to neutralize these lawless elements and thwart further threats to peace and security.”
He said the PNP’s Sulu provincial office confirmed the recovery of the decapitated head of the “Caucasian-looking person” believed to be Hall at 9 pm Monday, June 13.
Mayor said that a concerned citizen relayed the information on the head in a plastic bag found at Mount Carmel Cathedral in Barangay Walled in Jolo, Sulu. It was turned over to the Trauma Station Hospital in Kampo Heneral Teodolo Bautista for proper disposition, he added.
The Abu Sayyaf is in the United States list of terrorist organizations. It is blamed for the Philippines' worst terror attacks, including the bombing of a ferry in Manila in 2004 that killed more than 100 people, and the kidnappings of dozens of foreigners. – Rappler.com