News Update on Hostage Taking Incident: 10-year old victim catches fever

AGUSAN DEL SUR, PHILIPPINES - DECEMBER 13: Fil...Image by Getty Images
PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, April 3 (PNA) -- A 10-year old victim in the Agusan del Sur has fallen ill amid hostage crisis stand-off, Caraga PNP regional chief of operations and chief of staff Senior Supt. Nestor Monton Fajura told newsmen at the newly created media center here.

“Since yesterday the 10-year old pupil hostage victim was suffering from fever as we are trying to give medical aid to the victim," Fajura said.

Fajura claimed negotiations bogged down for the early release of the 16 hostage victims Saturday night after hostage takers insisted on their early demands that calls for the swapping of the hostage victims with their jailed colleagues, headed by their tribal leader Ondo Perez.

On Saturday, local court here issued the temporary release order of Ondo Perez from Agusan del Sur provincial jail on conditions that he will only help the government negotiating team, headed by Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur Mayor Alvin Magdamit, with the hostage-takers.

Saturday’s negotiation was held at the Provincial Jail in the presence of Ondo Perez.

“Today (Sunday), the negotiation with Ondo Perez which started past 8 a.m. will be held at Purok 6, Barangay La Purisima where the hostages are now being held in an undisclosed place,” Fajura said.

The government negotiating team through Mayor Magdamit told hostage takers that they cannot answer to the demands of the tribal gunmen since it is the court who can decide.

Ondo Perez and his companions are facing kidnapping and illegal detention charges before the Agusan del Sur Regional Trial Court in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

He and 15 other armed companions held hostage 79 persons, some of them teachers, DENR field personnel, civilians and students after court servers and policemen were about to serve warrant of arrest orders against them on December 10, 2009.

Perez claimed grave injustice on the Perez clan’s part, the reason why they could not accept the warrant of arrest order, saying influential and wealthy individuals -- one of them a tribal leader now engaged in mining in their ancestral lands and is now reportedly wealthy -- were the ones responsible for the chaos and arming the tribal group against Perez's clan.

Ondo Perez and company, mostly his close relatives, claimed the chaos already resulted to deaths and kidnappings of their relatives caught in the crossfire.

But Ondo Perez clan, all of them belonging to Manobo tribal warrior group, on December 13 agreed to release their hostages on condition that no charges will be filed against them.

Several government, church leaders, military and police officials signed formal agreement on December 13, 2009 in the presence of Ondo Perez that the government will not file charges against Perez and company following the safe release of about 56 hostages.

However, after the release of the hostages, on orders by top police officials in the province, police arrested Ondo Perez and company.

The incident had prompted an investigation by Commission on Human Rights, headed by no less than then CHR Chairperson Leila De Lima, into the incident in January 2010. (PNA)