ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Abu Sayyaf gunmen have threatened to beheaded all three of their captives taken from Dapitan City if the government will not pay the huge ransom.
The group issued its warning through a video clip posted on social media on Tuesday, showing all three hostages identified as Roberto Bulagao, barangay captain of Aliguay Island in Dapitan City, and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel Seaman 2nd Class Gringo Villaruz and Seaman 1st Class Rod Pagaling.
The victims were seized last May 4 from the island resort of Aliguay Island off Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte and believed to be held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in the jungle of Sulu.
In the more than three-minute video clip, the victims were all half naked, tied and blindfolded while kneeling with one of the masked gunmen holding a machete against one of the victim’s neck.
It was not clear where was the footage taken except there were trees in the area where the victims were held and presented while surrounded by eight fully armed gunmen and another taking the video.
Each of the victims were directed to speak and appealed for their safety from the possible beheading.
“I am Rod Pagaling, a coastguard, calling the government especially President Aquino, Sir Isorena (Philippine Coastguard Commandant Rear Admiral Rudy Isorena), help us, they will kill us. Have mercy on us, to the officials of the government. To our families, help us,” Pagaling said.
Villaruz also made a similar appeal for the government and the PCG.
“Please help us because they are going to behead us if their demands are not met,” he said.
Bulagao was also allowed to make his appeal and called on the local government of Dapitan and former Rep. Romeo Jalosjos and his son Rep. Bullet Jalosjos.
The Abu Sayyaf gunmen also issued a statement calling on the government to heed their demands lest they execute all the hostages.
“If you can not comply with our demand we will behead one or all of the hostages,” one of the gunmen declared.
The gunmen did not specify the demand but unconfirmed reports disclosed that the group is asking for P100 million in exchange for the release of the hostages.