Do not interfere, politicians told

by Kobakila News

MANILA (March 24) — Concerned with the continuing stand-off in rescuing three abducted workers of International Committee on Red Cross (ICRC), Senator Rodolfo Biazon has asked politicians to desist from interfering with the government’s rescue operations in Jolo.

“It is the lives of our people that is at stake, it is the resolution of the problems on the ground that is at stake. We cannot muddle up the set up on the ground,” the former military chief of staff said.

Although people knew it was Senator Richard Gordon he was referring to, when asked about it, he refused to confirm it was him [Gordon].  Instead, he said, “let other people interpret what I said.”

He told the troops that when he was a soldier like them, he made sure that those in the chain of command were the only ones who gave orders to him.

“My advise to the troops is, know who are authorized to give you orders and know what it is you’re being asked to follow; what are the orders, national policies and tactical orders,” Biazon emphasized.  At the same time, he clarified he was not putting the military above civilians.

“The civilian authority is above the the military chain of comment that is why the President is the military commander-in-chief. So the military should only take orders from her,” Biazon said.

Marine Major Gen. Juancho Sabban, the ground commander of Task Force Comet in charge of rescuing the kidnapped ICRC workers took a two-week leave to attend a seminar in Colombia from March 28 to April 2 as its keynote speaker.

In an encounter by the military with the Abu Sayyaf group last week, three Marines and two Abu Sayyaf gunmen died and 19 soldiers were wounded.  Albader Parad, the Abu Sayyaf leader holding the hostages, was reportedly wounded but demanded the troops to withdraw from their position and threatened to harm the hostages.

Gordon tried to negotiate with Parad to release one hostage in exchange for the military agreeing to his demand.  When this did not happen, Gordon slammed the military for their failed attempt at rescuing the hostages.  He said he was holding the President and Sabban responsible if any of the hostages were killed.

Marine Major Gen. Juancho Sabban, the ground commander of Task Force Comet in charge of rescuing the kidnapped ICRC workers took a two-week leave to attend a seminar in Colombia from March 28 to April 2 as its keynote speaker.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro refused to say why he allowed Sabban to go on leave during the crisis. He told reporters that Sabban had asked for a vacation even before the hostage crisis broke in January.

Swiss Andreas Notten, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba have been in Abu Sayyaf custody since January 15.

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