Bizwoman kidnapped in Baliwasan, freed in Jolo PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 07 September 2013 14:06

A businesswoman, who was abducted by gunmen at a private wharf in Baliwasan Seaside last April 7, was released by her captors in an undisclosed area in Jolo, Sulu, Thursday.

However, her business partner and relative Ronnie Sandagon, a former municipal councilor of Naga town, Zamboanga Sibugay, remains in captivity in an Abu Sayyaf jungle haven in Sulu.

Col. Jose Joriel Cenabre, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu and 2nd Marine Brigade, said that Gonato, 39, was freed by Abu Sayyaf bandits around 4:30 p.m. in downtown of Jolo.

Cenabre could not immediately confirm whether ransom was paid in exchange for the release of Gonato.

Gonato was received by an unidentified man believed to be negotiator, who brought her to the residence of Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan. She was later turned over to Col. Cenabre and the Sulu Police Provincial Director in Camp Bautista.

After undergoing medical checkup and stress debriefing, Gonato was put aboard a Huey helicopter that flew to Zamboanga City.

Gonato was received by City Police Director Sr. Supt. Jose Chiquito Malayo and other officials at the Edwin Andrews Air Base around 10 a.m. yesterday.

Police and military believe believe that Sandagon is still alive.

The bandits seized Gonato and Sandagon while they were in their buying station at the Taha Private Wharf in Baliwasan Seaside, Zamboanga City.

The kidnappers, believed to be led by Uztadz Yazzer Igasan alias Tuan Yah and Sibih, brought the duo to the coastal areas of barangays Mabahay and Ipil, in Talipao, Sulu.

Reports disclosed that Gonato was escorted by an emissary of the Abu Sayyaf and released her in Jolo following the joint law enforcement operation of the marines and the police and negotiation efforts. — Dan Toribio Jr.