From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Dec 26): Mayor wants teacher’s kidnapping thoroughly probed
MAYOR Celso Lobregat, as chairman of the Crisis Management Committee, has strongly urged the police authorities to conduct a thorough investigation over the kidnapping of public school teacher to avoid repetition of the same incident. Flordeliza Ongchua, 48, was released on Monday morning along Marina Street in downtown Jolo, the capital town of Sulu province, more than a month after she was kidnapped in a west coast village in Zamboanga City. A group of gunmen, who barged into the Ongchua’s house in Labuan village, 36 kilometers west of Zamboanga City, seized her in the evening of last November 13. She was dragged and forced to board on one of two waiting motorized bancas.
Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) personnel fetched Ongchua from Camp Bautista where she was brought by people who found her in downtown Jolo and arrived in Zamboanga City aboard a helicopter at 3:45 p.m. on the same day of her release. Together with the victim’s husband, Arnold, Ongchua was met by top military and police officials after she disembarked from the helicopter that landed inside Wesmincom headquarters. Ongchua was briefly presented to the media before she was brought to the Camp Navarro General Hospital for medical check-up.
Ongchua was released after series of negotiations initiated by the victim’s family with her captors. “The family has been doing all the negotiations. As we have said, we follow the no-ransom policy but we cannot prevent the family from negotiating, they have been negotiating and they wanted her released before Christmas,” Lobregat said.
Lobregat said Ongchua, after the medical check-up, will undergo debriefing by the police and other investigating units, to find out who are behind her kidnapping and to avoid repetition of the incident. Lobregat also emphasized that the family, as in the past, is requesting that the media and the public respect their privacy. He said the authorities are still determining the exact identities of the people who held Ongchua.