After Ongchua’s release, Celso calls for deep probe PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 December 2012 15:15

Mayor Celso Lobregat has urged police and military authorities to probe deeply into the kidnapping of 48-year old Flordeliza Ongchua, to avoid repetition of such incident.
Ongchua was released near the port area in Jolo, Sulu in the morning of December 24, Christmas eve, over a month after she was abducted by armed men from her residence in Labuan in the west coast on the night of November 13. Military personnel from the Western Mindanao Command fetched Ongchua from Camp Bautista where she was brought by people who found her at the port area and arrived Zamboanga City via chopper at the Wesmincom helipad in Upper Calarian at 3:45 pm. 

Lobregat, who heads the Crisis Management Committee (CMC), said Ongchua was released after a series of negotiations initiated by the victim’s family. Together with the victim’s husband, Arnold, Wesmincom Chief MGen. Rey Ardo and City Police OIC Director Col. Edwin de Ocampo met Mrs. Ongchua at the helipad.

Ongchua was briefly presented to the media before she was brought to the Wesmincom hospital for medical check-up.

“The next step is for Flordeliza to undergo medical check-up, then debriefing by the police and other investigating units, to find out who are behind her kidnapping and to avoid repetition of the incident”, the mayor said.

He said the Ongchua family wanted that Flordeliza be released before Christmas. “The family has been doing all the negotiations. As we have said, we follow the no-ransom policy but we cannot prevent the family from negotiating, they have been negotiating and they wanted her released before Christmas”.

Lobregat also emphasized that the family, as in the past, is requesting that the media and the public respect their privacy. He said the brief presentation of Mrs. Ongchua was primarily to douse all speculations regarding the release.

The family and the mayor were constantly communicating with each other regarding developments and other information concerning the incident.

According to Lobregat, the authorities, prior to the release, had received several information regarding the abduction and the whereabouts of the victim. “Some said she was in Basilan, some said she was in Sulu but we did not divulge any information to the public. Now it can be said that she was brought to Sulu”.

The CMC chairman said the authorities are still determining the exact identities of the people who held Ongchua but stressed that she will undergo debriefing after the medical check-up. “We do not want to speculate, we will have more details after the debriefing, these things cannot be left [unchecked].

He added that the military authorities, per instructions from the Wesmincom chief, will closely coordinate with the police in the investigation of the incident.

On the other hand, the mayor said he will coordinate with the City Schools Division Chief to possibly allow Mrs. Ongchua to go on a month-long or two-month leave from her teaching chores in Labuan Central School. — Sheila Covarrubias