Friday, April 8, 2016

Lawless elements free ex-Italian priest

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 8): Lawless elements free ex-Italian priest

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed that lawless elements suspected to be of the Abu Sayyaf group, have released former priest Rolando Del Torchio Friday evening.

This was disclosed by AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, citing reports coming from Police Regional Office-ARMM.

"On April 8, 2016 around 1930H kidnap victim Rolando Del Torchio was recovered by the elements of Sulu PPO led by PSSUPT Wilfredo Cayat, Coast Guard, PNP MARITIME, AKG (Anti-Kidnapping Group) and JTFS (Joint Task Force Sulu) at Jolo Port inside M/V KC Beatrice bound for Zamboanga City. Victim is now in the AFP Trauma Center for medical check up," the military official, quoting police reports, said.

He, however, failed to give further details on the captive's release.

Armed men seized Del Torchio at his pizza parlor, Ur Choice Bistro Cafe, in Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte, on October 7, 2015.

Some of the suspects posed as customers before taking Del Torchio, who had been targeted by kidnap-for-ransom groups several times when he was still an active priest.

Born in Angera, Italy, Del Torchio was ordained as a priest in 1984 and served as a missionary of the Vatican's Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

The Italian was assigned in Muslim-dominated Sibuco, Zamboanga Del Norte, in 1988 and stayed there until 1996, before moving to Dipolog and opening his pizza parlor there.

Del Torchio's abduction occurred barely three weeks after two Canadians, a Norwegian, and a Filipina were seized by gunmen in Samal Island, Davao Del Norte.

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