Tired and emotional, former Italian priest Rolando del Torchio sat in a hospital, finally free after his captors were paid a 29-million peso ransom.
Del Torchio said he wants to set aside his experience with the Abu Sayyaf – he arrived in Zamboanga City onboard a navy attack craft from Jolo where he was freed Friday night.
Escorted by the Philippine National Police – Anti-Kidnapping Group, Del Torchio was brought to the Western Mindanao Command for a medical check-up.
After his check-up revealed he was in stable condition he was flown to Manila aboard a private plane to meet up with his family.
Though the ransom amount was not confirmed by local police, a source on the ground confirmed that the Abu Sayyaf demanded 30 million pesos for Del Torchio’s release. A sum of 29-million was agreed upon and he was set free in Jolo.
Del Torchio was kidnapped in Dipolog City on October 7 at his pizza house by a group known as ‘Muloc Group’ – he was then handed on to Abu Sayyaf.
Meanwhile those kidnapped in Samal Island and the 10 Malaysians onboard a ship, have not been heard from in recent days – however a report from the Abu Sayyaf threatened the lives of the two Canadians kidnapped on Samal.
The military official said Westmincom continues its military operation for the safe recovery of the victims.
In a related development, President Aquino said yesterday he met with Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi to tackle the Abu Sayyaf Group’s kidnapping of 10 Indonesian fishermen.
“We want to keep the very good relations between the Philippines and Indonesia,” Aquino said during a campaign rally of the Liberal Party in Makati City.
The President said the meeting took place at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City because he was on his way to Carmona in Cavite to turn over a school building donated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and in Kawit for a campaign rally last Friday.
Aquino said he wanted to brief the foreign minister on everything about the incident and the condition of their nationals.
On April 1, Aquino said the security cluster of his Cabinet had a long meeting because of the kidnapping of Indonesians as well as the arrival of the Indonesian foreign minister.
The 10 crewmembers were kidnapped from the Brahma 12 tugboat and the Anand 12 barge carrying 7,000 tons of coal last March in Tawi-Tawi.
Abu Sayyaf was also reported to have seized four Malaysian boat crewmembers off Sabah earlier this month.