Hostage’s Safety More Important than Philippines Allies
A spokesman for Philippines president Arroyo says that the Filipino hostage’s safety is more important than foreign policy.
Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said in a statement that the hostage, truck driver Angelo de la Cruz, “has become the Filipino everyman. A symbol of the hardworking Filipino who has ventured to foreign lands to earn an honest living.”
Bunye’s statement, which will be carried as a column in state-owned newspapers, called on the public to “unite and save Angelo by supporting the government and President Gloria (Arroyo).”
De la Cruz’s kidnappers have threatened to behead him if Manila doesn’t pull its contingent from Iraq by the end of July. Arroyo’s decision to withdraw the 51 Filipino soldiers and police officers ahead of schedule has drawn sharp criticism from her allies.
The United States and Australia have said the withdrawal amounts to capitulation to terrorism and warned that it will not buy Filipinos immunity from further attacks.
“Whatever the outcome of this hostage drama, we can assure everyone that President Gloria has done what needs to be done and she has delivered the optimum response to this issue both to the Filipino people and the world,” Bunye said.
Asked earlier in a radio interview if the withdrawal would weaken the Philippines’ international standing, Bunye replied, “What we think of, first and foremost, is the national interest of the Philippines.”
Just pathetic. And here’s another story in which you can almost hear Bunye’s voice quaking in fear: Filipino Hostage’s Return May Take Time. (Hat tip: zulubaby.)
“Right now, we must not do anything that can put Angelo’s life in danger,” Bunye said, in an apparent attempt to calm rising expectations of de la Cruz’s rapid return.
“Those terrorists have killed before and they can kill again. Any wrong signal or message could make them go crazy.”