Marawi bishop asks Pres. Duterte to listen to abducted priest’s appeal

COTABATO CITY — Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Pena today asked President Rodrigo Duterte to heed the appeal of Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob, one of the hostages held by the Maute terror group in Marawi City.

Speaking over Church-run radio DXOM-AM, Bishop dela Pena asked the President and the military “to buy time and not necessarily to give in to the demands” of the Maute group.

In a five-minute video believed to be recorded through a mobile phone and uploaded on the internet, Fr. Suganob, vicar general of the vicariate of St. Mary, was seen appealing to President Duterte to halt military air strikes and pullout the military forces in Marawi City.

Suganob was taken hostage by the armed men along with a female professor of Mindanao State University, two female Church workers and two male and five female teachers of Dansalan College.

He said also “held hostage by the Maute group were about 200 carpenters, house helpers, children and youth, and ordinary Christian settlers.”

The military listed only 15 captives since May 23, including Fr. Suganob. It has no report about the 200 other hostages mentioned by Fr. Suganob.

Bishop dela Pena said with the demand already on the internet, the decision is in the hands of President Duterte.

“(I ask the President) to buy time, not necessarily to give in to the demand, kung pwede sana itigil muna (if possible stop) (the military offensives)…the terrorists are trying to relocate,” he said.

“There may be other means to address the problem that will not endanger the lives of the hostages, I hope President Duterte will have listening ears for Fr. Chito and his group,” he said. Edwin Fernandez/