Defense secretary denies rumors of Sulu vice governor’s order of arrest

MANILA (Apr. 15) — It’s becoming a continuing saga of blame, denials and one-upmanship.

Lately, government officials involved in the rescue of two abducted International Red Cross workers denied speculations that an arrest order has been to Sulu Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidulla.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said he is not aware of any order for Sahidulla’s arrest, which earlier reports claimed prompted her to go into “hiding.”

“I do not of any order for her arrest,” Teodoro said, adding that Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno has not informed him of Sahidulla’s arrest.

Sahidulla brought back Filipino Red Cross worker, Mary Jean Lacaba, when she was released April 2 but was nowhere to be found after that.  She had previously said she was quitting from efforts for the release of the remaining Red Cross workers.

Senator Richard Gordon, who is also the Philippine National Red Cross chairman opined that Sahidullar may just be “taking precautions.”  Although he said he was trying to call Sahidulla at her usual contact number, he could not reach her.  He said Sahidulla had confided to him earlier of her disappointment at being linked to rumors.

In the meantime, Teodoro also ignored claims Sahidulla was ordered arrested because Abu Sayyaf commander Albader Parad was her former bodyguard.  He said that while they would explore such possibility, it was not enough to deny her due process and order her arrest.

The remaining two Red Cross workers remain as hostages in the hands of Abu Sayyaf. They have been in their custody since January 2009.

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