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Kidnappers give deadline for hostaged teachers in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The kidnappers who held hostage three teachers in Basilan have set an ultimatum until the end of the month, or they will harm their captives – three public school teachers, according to a military official source.

The ultimatum even came earlier when the kidnappers beheaded its hostaged carpenter Sunday morning in Akbar town, Basilan.

The military source disclosed that the ultimatum was issued since Friday after the Zamboanga City crisis management committee rejected payment of ransom amounting to P4 million from its original P6 million demand.

“The ultimatum was relayed by one of its leaders Ben Mungkay until May 30 but was moved back to May 29,” according to the official referring to the warning against hostages Janette delos Reyes, Rafael Mayonado, and Freires Quizon.

The three teachers were abducted off Landang Gua in Sacol Island off this city on Jan. 23 and brought to Basilan where they have been held captives for more than four months now.

The source said Mungkay is a member of the rogue rebels Special Operations Group (SOG) and linked with a kidnap syndicate operating in Basilan and Zamboanga peninsula.

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On Sunday, the kidnappers beheaded its captive, 61-year-old Doroteo Gonzales, a carpenter, after the family failed to pay on time the P500,000 “board and lodging” from the original P25 million ransom.

The authorities recovered Sunday night the decapitated head but the headless body of Gonzales remained missing, according to Basilan Vice Gov. Al-Rasheed Sakalahul.

“We are still searching for the missing body,” Sakalahul said.

Mayor Celso Lobregat could not confirm nor deny the reported ultimatum against the hostaged teachers but vowed to continue all safe means in the recovery of the victims.

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