The Abu Sayyaf Group reportedly executed the second of its four Samal hostages after the ultimatum for the payment of a P600-million ransom expired yesterday afternoon.
Reports said that a certain Abu Raami who was said to be the ASG spokesman confirmed the beheading of Canadian Robert Hall after the 3 p.m. deadline for the payment of ransom expired.
However, the military has yet to confirm the report as of press time, saying they are still verifying the information.
“We have no information regarding that incident. We will just continue with our support operations. But we will consider that information for confirmation,” said Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs officer.
Major Filemon Tan, spokesman, AFP Western Mindanao Command, also said he “cannot confirm or deny” the report as they don’t have reports yet coming from their units on the ground.
The execution of the second Samal hostage was reported to have been carried out by the ASG as military and police officials said just hours earlier that there was a possibility that the beheading would not take place, owing to the presence of negotiations.
Police were said to have monitored that negotiators in behalf of Hall, his Filipino girlfriend Marites Flor, and another captive, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, were earlier talking to the kidnappers for their possible freedom.
“There was also a request to extend the deadline. That because of Ramadan, this may be granted. Lahat ito for confirmation pa,” said Brig. Gen. Retituto Padilla, AFP spokesman.
On Sunday, Tan said that operations aimed at rescuing the victims were still ongoing. “We are not deadline bound,” Tan stressed, as he reiterated the government’s no-ransom policy. (Elena L. Aben)