DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President-elect Rodrigo Duterte "would be outraged" by the beheading of another Canadian in the Philippines, his spokesman said Tuesday, June 14, as Duterte himself has not spoken up on the incident.
In an interview with reporters, incoming presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said he and Duterte have not discussed the murder of Canadian national Robert Hall on Monday, June 13, at the hands of the Abu Sayyaf.
"But since he is against all forms of criminality and illegality, of course he would be outraged by that fact," Panelo said. (Watch the interview with Panelo below)
Duterte has not issued a statement on the murder of Hall, who was kidnapped along with his Filipina girlfriend, Maritess Flor, in a resort on Samal Island, Davao del Norte, in September 2015.
Duterte, the outgoing mayor of Davao City, chairs the Regional Peace and Order Council for Region XI, which covers Davao del Norte.
Duterte firm on 'no-ransom policy'
Flor's mother, Flordelisa Flor, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Monday morning: "We are now totally leaving our daughter's life in the hands of Duterte. I hope he can save her."
In his interview with reporters, Panelo said he does "not have personal knowledge" of the request for Duterte to help the hostages.
He added that as of now, the hostage-taking is still mainly a concern of the Aquino administration.
Referring to Duterte, Panelo said, "But the moment he assumes the presidency, I'm sure there will be a swift and fast reaction to this situation."
He explained that Duterte "is always against" hostage-taking incidents. Duterte also "believes in a 'no-ransom policy.'"
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.