ABS-CBN has confirmed reports on the abduction of ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs host Ces Drilon, cameramen Jimmy Encarncion and Angelo Valderama, and their guide, Mindanao State University Professor Octavio Dinampong.
Ces Drilon and her companions went missing on Sunday, June 8, in Sulu after being confronted by an armed group in Kulasi, a town of Maimbung.
Rumors about an abduction were discussed as early as yesterday, June 10. ABS-CBN neither confirmed nor denied the rumors until today. What the network confirms, however, is that Ces and her cameramen are missing in Sulu. The statement does not mention abduction.
A statement sent by the Kapamilya Network to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) earlier this afternoon, June 11, confirms that Ces and two cameramen were kidnapped for ransom. But ABS-CBN will not pay any ransom because it may push other kidnap-for-ransom groups to target journalists.
With the help of authorities in Mindanao, especially ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) police director Joel Goltiao, Ces and her companions may be freed through negotiations. In addition, Goltiao confirmed reports that negotiations had begun with the abductors of Drilon and her team. But Goltiao rebuffed news about the perpetrators demanding an astronomical amount of ransom money ranging from 227,000 to 454,000 U.S. dollars.
Though Goltiao said that they are enforcing a no-ransom policy, it can’t be helped to include such an option during negotiations. “Hindi maiwasan,” he said in a separate interview in a daily newspaper.
Police say that the abductors are members of the Abu Sayyaf Group, led by Albader Parad and Gapur Jundain.
Here’s the complete statement of ABS-CBN:
“ABS-CBN News journalists Ces Drilon, with her crew Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama have been kidnapped for ransom. ABS-CBN News is doing everything it can to help the families of its kidnapped journalists through this harrowing ordeal.
“However, ABS-CBN News will abide by its policy not to pay ransom because this would embolden kidnap for ransom groups to abduct other journalists, putting more lives at risk.
“We ask the nation for your prayers and request our colleagues in media to join ABS-CBN News in condemning this unconscionable attack against journalists.
“We thank everyone for the outpouring of support we have received in this most difficult time.”