In so many words, this is what Malacanang can say after the heinous beheading of hostage, a Canadian natonal, selected from among many others, by the Abu Sayyaf.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Canadian national John Ridsdel who had been held captive and confirmed killed by Abu Sayyaf militants. It is unfortunate that this had to happen despite our efforts to negotiate for his release along with his fellow captives,” DILG secretary Rene Sarmiento said.
The secretary is more like convincing himself rather than others by saying that “we should not allow ourselves to be terrorized by this gruesome incident. This is what these terrorists want.”
In the end, Sarmeinto said, “I join our entire nation and the people of Canada in praying for Ridsdel. May his sacrifice inspire us even more to strive harder to defeat these barbaric zealots and finally let peace take its place in Mindanao.”
Earlier, the ASG had threatened to behead one of the hostages on April 25 at 3 p.m. if the government failed to pay the ransom demanded by the bandits. The initial demand was P1 billion each for the hostages but the amount was reduced to P300 million.
As reported, the severed head of Ridsdel, which was inside a plastic bag dropped by two men on a motorcycle, was found by residents in the center of Sulu provincial capital town of Jolo, five hours after the expiry of the ransom deadline.
The killing has outraged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Still with the Abu Sayyaf are Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marithes Flor, who were abducted on Sept. 21 last year from the Holiday Ocean View Resort on Samal Island, Davao del Norte.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma conveyed Malacanang mesaage:
“There will be no let-up in the resolute efforts of the joint PNP-AFP task group in pursuing intensive and wide-ranging military and law enforcement operations to neutralize these lawless elements and thwart further threats to peace and security,” he said, adding that President Benigno S. Aquino III “has directed the security forces to apply the full force of the law to bring these criminals to justice.”
President Aquino on Monday ordered Acting Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief, Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda, and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Director General Ricardo Marquez, to conduct appropriate military and law enforcement operations to rescue the four hostages.