Authorities on Tuesday imposed a “news blackout” on the abduction of Australian national Warren Rodwell in Zamboanga Sibugay.
There’s a “news blackout on the ground,” Dir. Felicisimo Khu, head of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, said in a text message 2 p.m.
In a text message a few hours after the abduction Monday night, Khu said Rodwell “may have sustained an injury as there were blood stains found” at the foreigner’s home in Green Meadows Subdivision, Brgy. Pangi, Ipil town.
Sought for updates the following day, Khu told reporters to inquire about developments on the Rodwell abduction from Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, chief of the PNP public information office, to whom he said, “updates were submitted.”
“No news, no news, I’m sorry,” Cruz said when reached by phone. He also declined to answer when asked who ordered the news blackout.
Chief Supt. Elpidio de Asis, Zamboanga Peninsula regional police director, also declined to answer queries over the phone.
But in an interview past 11 a.m., De Asis said authorities are looking at a possibility that Rodwell’s abduction is a case of kidnapping for ransom.
“Possibility ‘yun, wala siyang (Rodwell) trabaho dito, pensiyonado, dating (member ng) Australian army,” the police official told reporters.
There is also a possibility that Abu Sayyaf members were involved in the abduction, he said.
De Asis confirmed that Rodwell is the same Australian man introduced in several Internet websites and webpages as an expatriate who had taught English in China and travelled to several countries around the world.
Rodwell and his Filipina wife Miraflor Gutang, who he apparently met through the Internet, were married in June and moved to Ipil the same month, De Asis said. (John Roson)
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