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Jun 11

The embargo

Only regained DSL last night, hence the hiatus (further delayed by the downpour and intermittent brownouts this afternoon!).

20080611_ces.jpgAs you can imagine, I’m one of those quite worried over the fate of Ces Drilon, who I personally like very much indeed. She’s a gutsy lady.

But the story of her kidnapping has become hopelessly intertwined with that of the news embargo, upon ABS-CBN’s request, that took place for much of Monday.

The self-censorship among media outfits actually stretched from Sunday to nearly all of Monday. According to Ding G. Gagelonia (blogging on June 10),

This running story first broke on the news wires of the Associated Press and is being carried both by the International Herald Tribune, with at least two local broadsheets bannering the report despite a news blackout clamped by police authorities and, in journalistic parlance, a story embargo requested by ABS-CBN, a practice normally honored by all journalists.

The embargo no longer being tenable, he briskly provided the details as they initially emerged:

However, with the AP having broken the embargo first and both Tribune and SunStar Daily Cebu running it, along with IHT, this writer is sharing these details, apart from having confirmed the same from my own sources in the mainstream working press in Manila:

Ces Drilon and her two-member news crew went missing Saturday, June 7 but our sources confirmed they had actually been “abducted” after ABS-CBN network receIved the ransom demand. The story was also broken to media by the ARMM police chief Joel Goltiao. A text message is making the rounds quoting a ransom price considerably higher than that being reported by the Daily Tribune.

It remains unclear but it is reported that a certain Mindanao State University Professor Octavio Dinampo was in touch or was travelling with the ABS-CBN team of Ces. My sources tell me Ces herself decuded last Saturday to go on the coverage based on the tip that an unnamed ASG personality was “going to surrender.”

From the media reports now emerging, on Sunday morning Dinampo picked them up from the Mindanao State University hostel, and armed men identified as being under a certain ASG commander Albader Parad intercepted them as their vehicle passed through Kulasi village, ARMM police chief Joel Goltiao said.

My own understanding is that is that it was the government station, NBN-4, and not the wire services that broke the story. It was the government that forced an end to the embargo by reporting the kidnapping of Ces Drilon and Co. on its Monday evening news program. Since news on a government station has an official nature to it, it’s logical to assume that it was then that the wire services, which I understand had been unable to obtain a statement from ABS-CBN up to that point, could run with the story.

So let me say first of all that government appeals for “restraint” are pure, unadulterated bullshit. You have a rare instance where media exercised prudence (not altogether altruistically, as I’ll explore in a bit) but government, always eager to appeal for “restraint,” jumped the gun… The reasons for this could range from malicious glee (no love lost either for the network or Drilon on the part of officialdom) to a general interest in beating the war drums in Mindanao to provide a distraction for economic issues and expand the President’s political and military (one and the same) options.

Still, for a time, an embargo was asked for, and respected, while ABS-CBN tried to downplay the story. This explains the befuddlement experienced by bloggers like AlternNation101 whose hackles were immediately raised by the network’s (uncharacteristic) discretion:

So is this true? If it is, then why is it not on the headlines? If it is not, then why is abs-cbnnews.com not denying it?

I may be wrong but if asked to bet, I will bet on this NOT being true. I suspect that ABS-CBN is doing some story on the Abu-sayyaf and would like to use some opportunity to sensationalize it. Perhaps even the Abu-sayyaf is in on it to have some publicity too..

Well, wrong. There was a kidnapping, but I don’t know if I entirely agree with Gagelonia (in a subsequent, and thorough, roundup on emerging details on the kidnapping) who says it’s this sort of speculation that discredits citizen journalism. I’m not so sure. It only points to media having to once again confront the insistence in some quarters that media not get any brownie points for the hazards that accompany the job for those in the field. That, and and the general confusion surrounding kidnappings. This inevitably fosters speculation which will be rife when news embargoes are in place. And it’s also true that confusion was fostered by the embargo.

I’ve been looking at various blogger’s reaction to the kidnapping of Ces Drilon, and considering how antagonistic non-media bloggers tend to be, I’m surprised they haven’t seized on the embargo issue more ferociously.

Splice and Dice raises three issues raised by the kidnapping: personal culpability; the fragility of the peace process; and media’s handling of the kidnapping of one of its own:

For one, Drilon resisted the security offered by the military before entering the den of the terrorists. There’s a reason there that, perhaps, only Drilon knows and can explain better, although it’s tempting to say that it may have something to do with lack of trust, or with the very reason why she had to trouble herself of venturing into hostile land. She perfectly knew the harm that could most probably come their way, and I suspect she could easily see that with half an eye, but she continued physically unprotected. Which is ironic because she’s been with the military and the Abu Sayyaf in separate occasions for a number of times already, which is enough to compel her to call upon the hand of God or of man to stand by her side half of the way.

But some say the circumstance that the “missing” folks now have is a win-win plot: they get to have an insider scoop into the heart of the renegades while the renegades get free publicity. There’s even a theory linking the government with the abduction. But I leave the reader’s imagination to go into those depths.

Two is that Octavio Dinampo, a professor and MNLF senior Shura member who convenes the Bantay Ceasefire, was also kidnapped, which is ironic in the sense that he’s been entangled in the mesh and mess he’s been trying to mediate. It may not be a sufficient premise to say that even the messenger gets to be shoved into dire circumstances at some point, but Dinampo would have expected the day that he will soon be skimmed and fried in his own fat long before somebody else could tell him. That is so especially in a country where mitigation through mediation has rarely succeeded entirely.

And three, the media which has sworn to protect the public by informing us in many ways is now the same media, or a portion of it, which has sought to withhold information about Ces Drilon and others while the rest of us grope in the darkness. It’s the same issue that has stirred a mild storm among the members of the media themselves, which is patent enough in a democracy divided in both flesh and substance. Some say it’s a matter of balancing public interest with private interest – public interest being the public as it is, and private interest being the family, corporate and genetic, of Drilon and her crew – in cases where the delicate balance between life and death or harm is as thin as impoverished limbs.

But of these, it’s the last that concerns us, here. As smoke noticed,

I was also struck by this unintended but no less blatant exercise of power to control what the public knows.

Both echo, ironically, what journalist Vergel Santos said was objectionable about the embargo: it was an effort by ABS-CBN to “manage” the news. It could only do so, by means of a fraternal appeal to rival news organizations.

Here’s the network’s party line: ABS-CBN explains news blackout on Ces Drilon. And here’s Why Inquirer didn’t run big story:

Ressa phoned the Inquirer on Monday to appeal for a news blackout until 6 a.m. Tuesday while negotiations for the release of the ABS-CBN team were ongoing.

She told Magsanoc that reporting the abduction would pose a danger to the lives of Drilon, Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama.

Ressa said the news blackout was important because the network was afraid that other extremist groups in the area might take advantage of the situation.

In response to Magsanoc’s reservations about the news blackout, Ressa said she had also appealed to other newspapers, ABS-CBN’s rival network GMA 7, the wire service agencies and the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines to observe a news blackout.

The Inquirer editor in chief initially suggested that the blackout last only until midnight of Monday, but Ressa appealed for up to 6 a.m. of the next day. She said one of the network’s news executives would be flying to Sulu to help in the negotiations.

So is the issue the actual embargo? To me, the issues are:

1. Why did government intervene to break it?

2. Whether the partially successful embargo provides a precedent for future embargoes.

3. Why were media outfits, none of whom have any love for each other, willing to accede to ABS-CBN’s appeal?

Regarding the first: having been in some crisis situations myself, I can appreciate how difficult it is to balance the public interest with the need to safeguard your own, and this is particularly so when you’re trying to figure out how to keep the Abu Sayyaf from going berserk, while at the same time not adding fuel to the fire: an AFP and PNP humiliated by the recent bombings in Mindanao might be tempted to substitute blundering about for real sleuthing, and cause more harm than good.

After all, from the point of view of the military and the Abu, journalists are expendable.

Still, a reflection on when a personal tragedy involves a public crime: the embargo is ultimately only justifiable, in this instance, if it sets a precedent for all media to impose a news blackout in the first, say, 24-48 hours of a kidnapping –any kidnapping. That is, unless the family of a victim or the institution the victim is associated with (preferably, both) specifically authorizes the media to report on the case. There may be a justification for an abduction being reported from the get-go: to prevent the kidnap victim from being liquidated (for example, Lozada) but in other cases, where the kidnappers are well known and have a track record, reticence may be in order. This is what one journalist (who happens to be President of NUJP) has suggested.

Which makes the illogical behavior of the government logical only if you assume (as I do) that there are hawks in the administration happy over any mayhem in Mindanao.

Concerning the second issue, see Arlene dela Cruz’s They kept asking about ransom, TV journalist recalls which points to the debate that must have taken place in many a newsroom in the country, and where dela Cruz’s views must have been echoed time and again as editors pondered on whether to go for the story or respect Maria Ressa’s appeal:

A journalist following his or her instinct would file that story right away. But remembering what had happened to me, my unsolicited advice at this stage is to keep pertinent details of the negotiation confidential – if indeed there’s already one – to ensure the safety of Ces and her crew.

Institutionally, I’m assuming media won’t let the hunt for a story extend to actually jeopardizing the safety of hostages: as the Peninsula caper proved, it would not only be condemned by the authorities, and the victims’ families, but the public, too (And an individual, and not just institutional level, there’s also the sobering “there, but for the grace of God, go I,” moment experienced by Julie Alipapa, see her How Inquirer correspondent eluded abduction).

And as for the third, was it just a matter of journalists being clubby?

More of a case of solidarity in adversity, methinks. For one thing, they know what it’s like to have one of their own kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf, who are not, shall we say, cuddly people. For a taste of things to come for Drilon, let’s return to what Arlene dela Cruz recounted:

One day, they blindfolded and interrogated me regarding the text messages I was still getting on my mobile phone. Later in the night they pushed me into a shallow pit – and then someone pissed on me.

In the next few days, they kept asking me about the ransom. The torment only subsided when they turned me over to another group around the first week of February.

The uneasy calm allowed for some conversation between me and a man named Lakandula, one of their leaders.

“When will you, reporters, stop writing stories about the fighting in Sulu? Is that all what you reporters are after?” Lakandula then wondered aloud. “You write your report and that’s it. It’s all just work for you. Is that it? Just another ‘scoop’ from Sulu?”

I remember the two of us having this exchange inside a hut, and outside we could see a group of women passing by.

“Do you see those women, their children? Every day they have to walk for several kilometers to draw water from the river. Why? Because they don’t have a source of water near their homes.”

(Revision to my original comment re: Philippine Commentary: he denies he thinks Drilon had it coming.)

I hope Ces will be OK. But there are many who would want things to turn out otherwise.

Postscript: Coffee With Amee points out,

One does not venture out into uncharted territory without knowing full well the risks involved. It wasn’t like the previous coverage of the Peninsula takeover incident where we saw Drilon running around in heels wearing a headband to get to interview Trillanes et al. That one was unplanned supposedly. This one, they knowingly went to the territory where it is known that kidnappings do happen.

Having said this, the conundrum is, you know what you’re getting into and now you’re faced with the worst case scenario. What to do? There’s no simple black or white answer (Like the New York cookie. Okay, bad insert, but I saw it on “Ugly Betty” last night and I realized how much I missed it even if it’s a hit-or-miss depending on where you buy it.) It’s a bit of a gray area.

Even what ABS CBN did on their behalf regarding the news blackout request is strictly off the textbooks and one where a journ professor will most probably tell his students that it depends on the situation.

If I were the editor, if I chose to honor the news blackout request, it would be for the reason that I personally know the journalists being held captive and that I’m personally concerned. But c’mon, given a nameless, faceless person in their stead, I would highly doubt that media would hold on to the news knowing full well the important value of the story.

On the other hand, if I were ABS CBN and there were indeed ongoing negotiations, would I have asked for a news blackout from colleagues? It would be hard to say. But most probably, no. Rather than have another news outlet report the incident with inaccurate information, I believe it would be best to release a statement from the network involved. That is, if it is indeed true that they will not be paying ransom to give in to the demands of the kidnappers.

A brief addendum, based on a conversation I had with a colleague yesterday.

1. Coming at the heels of the Peninsula Caper, the embargo will inspire the network’s critics to reassert their resentments and antipathy against journalists.

2. Having asked for a favor, ABS-CBN now owes the other networks and media outfits. Not a good situation, pragmatically to say the least.

3. The embargo as I said above, is only acceptable if it is taken, industry-wide, as laying down a precedent for all future coverage of all future kidnappings. Otherwise, it will simply reinforce the contempt of the network’s critics.

And, as The Warrior Lawyer asks, the dilemma now is, to pay or not to pay ransom? The government’s hands, in this case, are tied: it established giving in to ransom and other demands as government policy in the case of Iraq. Since it’s government that serves as the best deterrent to the natural instincts of private entities to ransom hostages, there isn’t any incentive for ABS-CBN to do otherwise.

133 comments

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  1. UP n student

    Just minor detail…. it does not look like it was some random thing and “… they spotted Ces”. It appears that Ces was lured into a trap and that a certain Mindanao State University Professor Octavio Dinampo was in touch or was travelling with the ABS-CBN team of Ces. My sources tell me Ces herself decuded last Saturday to go on the coverage based on the tip that an unnamed ASG personality was “going to surrender.”

  2. grd

    Interesting separation of categories you’ve made i.e. between ‘Filipinos’ and ‘Muslims’. Don’t these categories overlap? Or have you bought into the idea of an independent Bangsamoro?

    too quick to pounce on djb’s statement. as if muslims exist only in the phils. think again… think global.

  3. leytenian

    In terms of risk and prevention, insurance will help with ransom but will not guarantee full safety. It wil also not guarantee payment if insurance policy was not followed accordingly.
    The last sentence of by The Cat, “I think this safety precaution was ignored by Ces and company.”
    Might be the reason why insurance or insuring company will not pay.

  4. UP n student

    leytenian: that’s assuming Ces employer has K&R policy and the policy had covered Ces. [k&R – kidnap and ransom]

  5. BrianB

    “Prince Harry’s tour of duty in Afghanistan.”

    That’s why CVJ, I said Ces Drilon is our new Queen and the media is her majesty’s reporters.

    The embargo. I think it is the absolute in unethical behavior that it took a fellow journalist and a famous one at that for the media to reconsider their SOP. Don’t you think two innocent kidnapped kids would have been a more apropos turning point?

  6. BrianB

    “The PDI editorial reeks with insincerity when it suggests a total embargo. Sensational scoops are their be-all and end-all (remember the ZTE non-witness they libeled recently?)”

    It’s not just this, but more to the point: lawsuits. They said, case to case basis. Imagine on the case they chose to report early the victim died. How can they defend themselves. In fact, in light of this recent change in SOP, former kidnap victims who have not been given due consideration by the papers and other media should sue these people for billions. It’s not as if recent events have been especially catastrophic. What made them change their minds?

  7. BrianB

    This change of S.O.P., and I’m addressing this to Manolo and other journalists, is insupportable and unsustainable. You simply cannot do it.

  8. DJB Rizalist

    cvj,
    GRD has it right: what is going on in MIndanao is not about Bud Dajo or Bud Bagsak anymore, but part of a global jihad led by Al Qaeda and its imitators. I am fairly certain that mass murderers like the Bali Bomber Dulmatin and his good friend Zulkifli Abdhir aren’t in Mindanao just to enjoy the local, uhmm, flora and fauna. WRT ABSCBN, it is entirely possible that they’ve a got a hard-on to do Maria Ressa in, since her journalistic career has been spent exposing the seamy underbelly of the terrorist networks in Indonesia, Malaysia and the rest of Southeast Asia. Since those countries certainly don’t want these homicidal maniacs running around in their backyard, it suits them just fine to be mediating “peace talks” that can only encourage the bombers and beheaders to stick around here and spin ancient yarns about the past glories of the Bangsamoro, i.e., the long centuries of their brutal rule that made the Spanish Taliban look so attractive to the women and children of this archipelago that they actually converted. For which act of historical self-defense, Chief Justice Puno and the Supreme Court has designated only non-Catholicized ethnic groups as “indigenous peoples of the Philippines” who theoretically own one third of the archipelago. According to those geniuses, Tagalogs, Pampangos, Ilocanos, and all Visayans and all Catholicized indios are not really indigenous Filipinos–only those who “successfully resisted” Spanish rule, like the slave traders and pirates of the Maguindanao Confederacy. (Look up the decision on IPRA, look at the list of indigenous peoples).

    Our problems are definitely mental.

  9. UP n student

    Wouldn’t you hate to be the other two crew-members?

  10. The Equalizer

    Terry Anderson, former Associated Press Beirut bureau chief, who was held hostage for nearly seven years in Lebanon, has said: “Always, constantly, constantly, every minute, weigh the benefits against the risks. And as soon as you come to the point where you feel uncomfortable with that equation, get out, go, leave it. It’s not worth it. There is no story worth getting killed for.”

    Let’s pray for the safety and immediate release of Ces Drilon and her companions.

  11. [splice]

    Now this on Inquirer:

    Driver claims military agent, not Abus seized Drilon team

    Here’s the link:

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20080612-142325/Driver-claims-military-agent-not-Abus-seized-Drilon-team

    This whole debate thing going around here might need some tweaking..

  12. cvj

    brian, how can an embargo be ‘unethical’ if it helps safeguard the kidnap victims’ life? granted she’s not royalty (unlike Prince Harry), i can’t fathom your begrudging Drilon this precautionary measure. even if you believe (contra-DJB) that it’s all about the money and that this will end well, i think it’s prudent not to take any chances.

    grd, the categories ‘Filipinos’ and ‘Muslims’ are not mutually exclusive because there are, after all, Filipinos who are Muslims. DJB’s sentence construction betrays his ‘Clash of Civilizations’ frame where the Muslims are, by definition, on the opposing side.

  13. supremo

    ‘GUANGZHOU, May 12, 2004 (SinoCast via COMTEX) — The China Mainland’s first Kidnapping insurance has emerged in Guangzhou recently, which was presented by AIU Insurance Company (AIU). The company is going to take the lead in promoting the insurance in the Pearl River Delta.

    China Insurance Regulatory Commission has ratified AIU to promote the insurance, but the business is limited in Guangzhouand Foshan city in Guangdong province.’

  14. d0d0ng

    DJB on, “I cannot imagine anything more foolish and silly than “kidnap insurance” because it contemplates paying ransom. Those suggesting it seriously ought to have their heads examined.”

    It is just sensible business practice and the final co-insurer is Lloyds of London. Consider the MNCs and the foreign expats operating in Mindanao (such as Dole to provide bananas and other produce globally). US military and foreign policy will not negotiate with terrorist. True. To protect US MNCs interest, US military base known as CSL in US Congress was established in Western Mindanao. However, the priority is always the rescue of kidnap victims. Hence, the kidnap insurance to provide for the ransom money initially. Once rescued, the military can enforce its policy on the perpetrators.

    So, the no-negotiation with terrorist is usually a government position. But private companies are given time and leeway to secure the kidnap victim alive for fees. Hence, you will hear of negotiators.

    ABSCBN can certainly afford one.

  15. BrianB

    CVJ,

    It’s unethical because it happened with her and not earlier and with other people. The rationale hasn’t changed has it? Safety of victims? It shows just how much other people are worth to journalists, which is less than the value of a story. But a fellow journalist’s life, especially a dear one, is more.

  16. d0d0ng

    mlq3 on, “i think muslim mindanao has gotten heaps of attention -it’s just, the wrong kind, they bet on the warlords and an ex-mnlf faction and they haven’t delivered. just as ramos bet on misuari. and the peace process was not given the priority attention it required because there’s the camp of the hawks in the cabinet.”

    The usual quick clannish (bandaid) solution used by Philippine government empowering a family to political office and hopefully control the region as another fiefdom. It never truly address the problems of Muslim populace. So, terrorism as act of desperation continues.

  17. d0d0ng

    BrianB on, “It’s unethical because it happened with her and not earlier and with other people.”

    Ethics is a formality and can easily dispense when faced with life threat. In addition, individuals are not equal. Each is valued according to ones contribution. To put an analogy, a company pays more salary and benefits to its key officers that to its common workers.

    In real world, a judge can price 20,000 pesos to indemnify a common dead victim but not the high profiled personalities.

    Ces is not an ordinary person.

  18. The Ca t

    as of press time, one of the crew was released in exchange for the payment of 2 million…not as ransom but as board and lodging.

    and the money came from “negotiators”.

    Whatever you may call it, it is still ransom for me.

    nakatawad. 4 captors for 10 million is 2.5 million each.

    or baka naman 2 million para sa tatlo, the 2 crew members and the professor guide which makes it a total of 6 million. 4 million siguro para kay ces.

    just thinking and counting.

  19. d0d0ng

    BrianB on, “It’s not as if recent events have been especially catastrophic. What made them change their minds?”

    The world operate on who has greater impact. Two unknown kids you mentioned as samples hardly printed in length at newspapers. Besides kidnapper choses high valued target.

  20. d0d0ng

    The Cat on, “as of press time, one of the crew was released in exchange for the payment of 2 million…not as ransom but as board and lodging.”

    It is just euphemism. Supporting ransom is bad company image and publicity. Board and lodging is definitely an upgrade as use of actual services.

    Funny really.

  21. mlq3

    was chided by a colleague this evening who works at a news desk.

    it seems that embargos are far more common than we think, in terms of kidnapping stories. unless the kidnapping takes place in broad daylight, there have been quite a few cases where media won’t report it immediately. one case was apparently that of a kid whose kidnapping was reported only two days after the event.

    a review of the various papers and seeing how much later reports of kidnappings are from the actual kidnapping date, can verify this colleague’s assertion or not.

    also, according to my colleague, this was a case where one media outfit appealed to others, which was unusual, but the response of other outfits was precisely because this isn’t something new.

    but it was case-to-case judgment call; what could possibly happen now is for it to become a rule of thumb.

    and the latest report is that drilon’s driver was released and says she was abducted by a military agent.

  22. BrianB

    Has SOP changed or not? Will it be limited to kidnapping? What about terrorist threats like bombs. Will media cooperate with military and police authority? If you make a judgment call and situation goes awry, wouldn’t you be liable?

  23. leytenian

    UP N Student,

    Not sure what benefits ABS-CBN has for its employees. Yes I was assuming that CES is covered.

    Typical Kidnap/Ransom and Extortion Insurance coverage highlights include:
    Broad coverage for extortion threats against the company’s merchandise, property, proprietary information, computer systems or its employees
    Broad expense coverage for hijackings, wrongful detentions or political threats
    Reimbursement for ransom or extortion payments
    Broad expense coverage such as:
    Access to a public relations firm Medical, cosmetic, psychiatric, and dental services
    Rest and rehabilitation costs
    Reward payments to informants
    Salaries of employees and temporary replacement employees
    Accidental death or dismemberment coverage
    Optional emergency political repatriation expense coverage
    Access to the crisis management

    Actual coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.

  24. leytenian

    Annual totals for kidnappings grew more than 100 percent from 1995 (830 kidnappings worldwide) to 1999 (1,728). The combination of political unrest, poverty and lawlessness are the main reasons that kidnappings have increased.

  25. d0d0ng

    Leytenian on, “The combination of political unrest, poverty and lawlessness are the main reasons that kidnappings have increased.”

    That is the picture of Philippines – increasing political unrest, deepening poverty and widespread lawlessness.

    Where the global price of oil and rice have wiped out the average family disposable income, there is little left than to resort to desperate measures – anarchy is real.

  26. KG

    “KG,
    Was that the GMA takeover incident led by Col. Rey Cabauatan? I have inside info on that one, it’s a fake.

    Tongue,
    I think they were all fake,but that is only me.The incident was led by Canlas btw, and I might have my facts mixed up.and those court martials were fast backed then,lahat pala naresolve agad in less than one year so it was not only the gma incident,pati manila hotel,black sat, etc. yun nga ang tinatanong ni erpat bat ngayon they are prolonging the agony eh sya wala pang isang taon.You know what they say about hindsight.

    Ngayon,
    pasintabi na I am glad the others were released from campaign funds of the local executive.
    If you check the sec, I can bet you will notice that on election years,company’s expenses get bloated,dahil ang mga kompanya di lang naman isang candidato ang biniigyan,I am talking only of presidential elections.ngayon tuloy I am thinking that campaign donations of conglomerates goes to local elections as well.

    This may be a viscious cycle alangan sabihin ko na itigil nyo na ang ransom para tumigil ang viscious cylce.

    why, did the death penalty stop the viscious cycle of the nature of the beast in man?

  27. Rob' Ramos

    Military Agent as abductor? Hmmm… we have a new twist to this issue, it seems. Or maybe not a new twist. I’m hitting my head on a wall for not thinking about THIS scenario sooner.

  28. The Ca t

    It is just euphemism. Supporting ransom is bad company image and publicity. Board and lodging is definitely an upgrade as use of actual services.

    They can call it by any name but who are they fooling, the kidnappers ? No way. Except for the leader or leaders, this is a bunch of unschooled young people who will see this as payment in exchange of the freedom of the victims.

    I remember one statement of the wife of the missionary who was abducted together with the husband at
    Dos Palmas. The young “rebels” were mostly talking of what to buy, what to eat when they get the money, to go abroad.

    Funny indeed, the giver hands the money as payment for “Forced board and lodging” and the receiver
    gets the money as part of the RANSOM.

    Whether to pay or not to pay is not a question then.

  29. Bencard

    ah, now terrorist kidnappers are into ‘bed & breakfast’ business. maybe they should name their jungle hideout as ‘hotel abu sayyaf’ – a resort with tight armed security and a sumptuous daily menu of nfa rice and dilis, at basement-bargain prices (only 100 thousand pesos for a few days, discounted from 20 or 10 million).

    military agents as abductors? why do i have a feeling this has become a standard speculation? then again, this is the philippines. anything goes.

  30. d0d0ng

    The Ca t on, “Whether to pay or not to pay is not a question then.”

    Yes. To certain extent, it is encourage to tilt the balance in favor of the kidnap victims.

    Bencard on, “military agents as abductors? why do i have a feeling this has become a standard speculation?”

    I hope you are right. My relatives are in the military. I am proud of few but equally despised others. One is particularly involved in kidnap for ransom and bank robbery, was able to evade both NBI and the military because one of my uncle was in the intelligence unit. Blood is thicker than water.

  31. The Ca t

    That statement, “we’re asking for Ces and they gave us Angelo instead” is giving me a wrong impression”.

    Why CES only? Are other crew’s lives not as important as Ces’?

    Sheesh

  32. bogart

    she’s looking for trouble and “scoop”.. right? well.. she definitely found what she’s looking for. problem is, this group is not like the military who has the moral values not to “really hurt” them. masyadong matapang eh..tignan na lang natin ngayon. too bad everybody who’s not thinking enough is still blaming the government. but for me..no body else is to blame but ces, her crew, and their vanity for their work. they forgot that there’s no such thing as “journalist’s immunities” with criminals and terrorists.

  33. bong

    ah, there you have it ; when you violate the basic principle of journalism in serving your self interest there goes your credilibility ; these people are quick to fault the government at the same time. C’ mon be fair and truthful and its thats should be the NEWS is all about

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