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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Abu Sayyaf still have to pay for their heinous crimes

The Abu Sayyaf may not be criminals in President Duterte’s eyes, but the government would still hold them accountable for their kidnapping for ransom activities and beheading of hostages, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said yesterday.

Mr. Duterte, the country’s first President from Mindanao where the Abu Sayyaf operates, was only putting the actions of the group in context when he said that he was not considering its activities as criminality, said Abella.

“He is not giving them a pass on their actions, he is just putting it in context, that they were forced to desperation,” Abella said in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

For the President, the Abu Sayyaf had motives for what they did and they did not simply commit a crime “in the sense of just ordinary bandits,” he said.
But even if the Chief Executive understands where the group’s members are coming from, they would still have to answer for what they had done, Abella said.

“They are accountable for what they have done, because they really did do something,” he added.

In May, Mr. Duterte told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he would bring to justice the killers of Canadian national John Ridsdel, whom the Abu Sayyaf  kidnapped and beheaded earlier this year.

The conversation took place when Trudeau called Mr. Duterte to congratulate him on his victory as president.

After killing Ridsdel, the Abu Sayyaf  beheaded another Canadian hostage, Robert Hall. It released Hall’s Filipino partner Marites Flor, but still has in its custody Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.

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