Abducted priest pleads for help in video

Abducted priest pleads for help in video
Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob, who was abducted by the Maute group a week ago, is seen in a screen grab from a Facebook video. CBCPNews

A week after his abduction by Islamic militants in Marawi City, a video of Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob surfaced on Facebook Tuesday appealing for President Rodrigo Duterte’s help.

The priest said the militants are demanding a stop to the military offensive against them and for the sake of the “prisoners of war”.

‘Mr. President, please consider us,” Suganob said in a cracking voice. “They don’t ask for anything.. they just ask that you leave this place peacefully.”

“We are in the midst of this war we are asking your help to please give what they are asking for,” he said.

The vicar general of the Marawi prelature said that along with him are about 240 more hostages, including several women and children.

It’s uncertain when the video was taken but it shows Suganob standing in the midst of destroyed houses and vehicles.

The video, showing Suganob in black polo shirt and maong pants, first surfaced on the Facebook account of a certain “Datumasa Khalid”.

“Mr. President, if you want me to kneel before you just to knock your heart in favor of our families who are crying out there in different places, for our relatives… we will do that,” he said.

He also warned that the relentless military offensive will just put the lives of the hostages at risk because the militants are “ready to die for their religion”.

“Mr. President, you can’t use force and violence because they have the commitment they will die for this,” he said as the military’s fight against members of the Maute group entered the 7th day.

Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña earlier said that the militants linked to the Islamic State have threatened to kill their hostages if the military offensive against them continues.

The prelate said he received a call last Tuesday from a supposed Maute militant and demanded for a “unilateral ceasefire”.

“They want a ceasefire and for the military to give them access out of Marawi. Otherwise, they will kill the hostages,” de la Peña said.

The bishop said he already saw the video but refused to release any statement for the meantime.  CBCPNews