No word yet on meds sent to kidnapped priest

| October 24, 2009

PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines—Medicines have been sent out to kidnapped Irish priest Michael Sinnot but there has been no word yet if any has actually reached him, according to a provincial official.

Allan Molde, spokesperson of the Zamboanga del Sur Crisis Management Committee, said the medicines were sent out through emissaries.

Molde said the latest batch of medicines was sent out on Wednesday through another emissary tapped by the Diocese of Pagadian.

“The Catholic Church sent an emissary to the kidnappers of Irish missionary priest Michael Sinnott two days ago to try to deliver his medication,” he said.

But Molde would not say who the emissary was, adding that Church leaders requested that vital information relating to his identity be withheld for security reasons. He said the initiative was fully known to the CMC.

Apart from delivering the medicines, the latest emissary was also asked to obtain "proof of life."

“As of Friday evening, there is no word yet whether the medicines actually reached the ailing priest,” Molde said.

The ‘medicine mission’ sent on Wednesday was not the first one undertaken by the Catholic Church.

Throughout the past 12 days of Sinnott’s abduction, Molde said Pagadian Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar has dispatched several such missions to places where the authorities believed the priest was being held.

A source told the Inquirer these places included villages in Zamboanga Sibugay, the Baganian Peninsula in Zamboanga del Sur, Sultan Naga Dimaporo town in Lanao del Norte, and Lanao del Sur.

“In all these medicine missions, Cabajar has yet to update the CMC of feedback from the emissaries,” Molde said.

He said Cabajar had requested that the Church be allowed to initiate the delivery of medicines to Sinnott.

“And the request sits well with the CMC, whose members also agreed that Sinnott’s health is of utmost importance,” Molde said. Sinnott underwent a heart bypass operation a few years ago.

Meanwhile, the authorities said they were looking into the “big possibility” that different groups were involved in various stages of the crime.

One group must have been in charge of the actual abduction, another took charge of keeping him, while a separate group might have been tasked to negotiate, according to an analysis presented to the media by Director Felizardo Serapio, chief of the Western Mindanao Directorate for Integrated Police Operations.

Serapio said he based this analysis on the number of kidnapping cases in the region they had dealt with. He added that the structure of compartmentalizing responsibility for the various component actions has been the norm.

“In the Sinnott kidnapping, the abduction part can be further subdivided into victim snatching and getaway,” said Serapio.

He pointed out that of the five suspects already identified, one of them did not take part in the actual abduction.

“Rather, he was pointed to as the person who bought the vehicle from its original owner. The original owner of the vehicle described his profile to authorities,” Serapio said.

He said the involvement of the fifth suspect “could be up to providing the getaway vehicle only.”

Serapio said they were also looking at the possibility a similar arrangement was done for the motorized outrigger, which the kidnappers used to bring the victim to Lanao del Norte.

Meanwhile, some 600 people joined a prayer rally here on Saturday to urge the kidnappers to release the ailing priest.

Tags: , ,

Category: Mission Trip/Missionary Security