Authorities await contact from Lunsmann’s captors PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 July 2011 15:47

Crisis Management Committee chair Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday revealed there has been no demand, contact or whatsoever from the people holding captive 42-year old Gerfa Lunsmann and two members of her family since they were snatched by armed men in the island barangay of Tigtabon Tuesday dawn.

Since the time of the abduction there have been many reports coming in, Mayor Lobregat said but all these information were unvalidated and tend to cancel out each other. He said all information and reports have to be validated and verified.

“If intelligence information or even reports from other sources come in, these are information that cannot be broadcast and revealed because the primary objective at this point in time is the safety of the victims”, the CMC chair said in a press briefing yesterday afternoon in City Hall.

On Wednesday morning, the CMC invited some people from Tigtabon to share bits and information regarding what they saw and heard when some 14 armed men took Mrs. Lunsmann, her 14-year old son Kevin Eric and nephew Romnick Jakaria, 19 around 3am Tuesday. The meeting was a fact finding effort that will lead to the formal investigation being conducted by the investigation team under Task Force Lunsmann.

At night time, Lobregat met with Chief PNP Gen. Raul Bacalzo who flew in from Manila to confer about what is being done by the authorities and what information were gathered during the fact finding effort.

The CMC, through the mayor, also got in touch with US Ambassador Harry Thomas as well as the embassy’s Regional Security Officer—both of whom have pledged to extend full cooperation in terms of information coming from the Lunsmann family in Campbell County, Virginia, USA.

“I was able to talk to Ambassador Thomas and he also committed to give us all the cooperation needed in the sense that there might be info coming from the family in the states but so far there has been no contact at all to the husband or any other relatives in the US,” the mayor said belying reports on alleged ransom demands published on line by some international reporters.

“There are reports that come out in the internet about a demand made and the ambassador said that is completely untrue, there has been no contact or demand whatsoever,” the mayor stressed.

City Police Director Sr. Supt. Edwin de Ocampo, who was present during the press briefing said the authorities could not also ascertain the group that is holding the victims as well as the whereabouts of the victims and the abductors as all information and reports are still being validated and verified.

Mayor Lobregat appealed to the media not to resort to speculations saying that dishing out contradictory announcements is very unhealthy for the victims. “That is why we are very careful and circumspect about information, we appreciate any and all information, in fact if you have information please give it to us so we can have it validated “.

Lobregat and de Ocampo likewise brushed aside reports that local authorities have launched attacks on the perpetrators saying that authorities have yet to pinpoint the exact location of the victims. Both also denied speculations that the American forces are coming in to provide manpower to help in the rescue attempt, as this is not within protocols.

The mayor stressed: “This is one situation that nobody wants to be in especially a chief executive but this is a situation that we have to face and we will face it squarely which is why I called a media briefing so that you will not be speculating, we don’t want any speculations on this case”.

Meanwhile, as decided upon during the CMC meeting Wednesday morning when the creation of Task Force Lunsmann was formalized, the operation center is now established in City Hall and will remain in existence until the Lunsmann crisis is over.

The mayor personally led the media to a look-see of the operation center located at the Barangay Affairs division under the Office of the chief executive. The operation center’s hotlines are 09064597448/ 09473091249. The task force is headed by PSSupt. Felixberto Candado.

Mrs. Lunsmann, a native of Pangapuyan is a holder of a US passport while her son Kevin is a US citizen by birth. Her nephew Jakaria is from Malamawi, Basilan.
Based on records, the Lunsmann family is just an ordinary family in Campbell County, Virginia, USA. Mrs. Lunsmann is a veterinarian while the husband, named Hiko is also a simple employee. — Sheila Covarrubias