FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City – The government will not resort to an all-out military offensive against rogue elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who have kidnapped Fr. Michael Sinnott since there are still available diplomatic options to take, Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro said here yesterday.
According to Teodoro, peaceful means of freeing the Irish priest from his kidnappers through all avenues of negotiations still remain as the primordial concern of the government above anything else since it is the belief of the Arroyo administration that continuous communication will prevail over armed conflict.
The defense official believes the MILF is now under pressure to release the captive unhurt, considering intelligence reports that six of its top commanders are behind the abduction of the Irish priest.
“We will not buckle down on the threats of the MILF leaders that they will back out of the peace process because of the sweeping allegation that they are the ones behind the kidnapping. It must be proven that they are not involved in the abduction of the sickly priest,” he added, claiming that they should work hard for the release of the priest as part of the confidence-building measure for the continuation of the peace process.
Teodoro disclosed the local crisis management committee remains in full control of the situation with the able support from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), thus, there is no need to rush the matter because all aspects of the kidnapping are being seriously studied and given appropriate solutions. tempo.com.ph