Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Paying Ransom Guarantees The Next Kidnapping

PDI Editorial notes the nuanced position of Malacanang on the Dolorfino hostaging incident in Panamao, Sulu involving the MNLF -- the Palace will ask the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC) to investigate the matter. No clearer sign could possibly be given by the Arroyo administration that it casts its lot with the OIC when it comes to the Mindanao "peace process." Swept under the proverbial rug is the embarrassing matter of some 450 thousand peso in RANSOM MONEY paid by the Philippine Government for the release of its "peace negotiators" from the MNLF's camp a few weeks ago.

Now check out PDI's own nuanced position ... While decrying the fact of the government having paid ransom money, the editorial says,
We do not share the idea of those who see the incident as proof that there is no negotiating with Muslims.
That's right. "Muslims" can certainly be negotiated with, but there should be no negotiating with "terrorists kidnappers!" And certainly there should be no paying of ransom to terrorists. The editorial further defends the "peace process" --
"We also do not share the notion that Dolorfino, a Muslim convert with close ties to many Islamic communities, has compromised himself and should therefore be relieved of his responsibilities in the peace process. He remains an asset in the pursuit of dialogue, without which no ceasefire, no peace agreement, can turn into a lasting settlement."
I disagree completely. If anything, he validates the notion that demanding ransom payments from the Philippine government actually works! Why look, even the leading broadsheet thinks Dolorfino is "an asset in the pursuit of .. dialogue." Don't they mean in pursuit of future ransom payments?? Paying ransom and excusing it guarantees the next hostaging and kidnapping.

Gen. Dolorfino represents a policy of appeasement and capitulation that was in evidence when the President allowed the ransoming of billionaire campaign contributor Reghis Romero from the Abu Sayyaf Group that had just raided the Dos Palmas beach resort in Palawan and taken captive Gracia and Martin Burnham and dozens of other hostages. The administration has found it expedient to pay ransoms in order to free itself from politically sticky situations, such as the Angelo de la Cruz affair in Baghdad some years back.

Dolorfino's actions in Panamao, Sulu and his subsequent testimony on the events which transpired were inconsistent and self-contradictory. The editorial's defense of him is inexplicable. He denied having been hostaged even after he was already free to tell the truth, which he supposedly did under oath at the Congress Commission on Appointments--whilst groveling for the confirmation of his recent promotion to Major General and posting as Commander of the National Capitol Region AFP command?

It certainly sends the message, surely audible even in places like the Niger Delta and all over the Middle East, as well as Indonesia and Sulu, that Filipinos pay ransom money for hostages!

1 comment:

engineerOFW said...

Paying ransom for Dolorfino's release is bad enough. What is making it worse is inaction --- why isn't there any campaign to capture the Dolorfino kidnappers?