Kidnappers freed public school teachers Rene Sumagang and Serfino Sanchez of Iligan City in Kapai, Lanao del Sur, on Sunday night but no ransom was paid, a military spokesman said Monday.

Sumagang and Sanchez were turned over by their captors to Tagoloan II Mayor Mizangcad Capal at the old barangay center of Kapai around 7:20 p.m., Army 1st Infantry Division spokesman Capt. Albert Caber said.

“The two were personally handed over by Mangagao Elias alias Ayatullah, leader of the 9-man kidnap-for-ransom group,” Caber said in a text message.

“The kidnappers decided to release their captives after sensing a big number of operating troops in the area,” he said.

Sumagang and Sanchez, both teachers at the Limonsudan Bayug Falls Elementary School, were kidnapped on March 19 in Sitio Kibulag, Brgy. Rogongon, Iligan City.

Elias and his men, alleged extortionists and cattle rustlers, had demanded P4 million in exchange for the teachers’ release. They also threatened to burn down their captives’ school in Brgy. Rogongon if no payment was made.

However, Caber said no ransom was paid as Lanao del Sur Gov. Bombit Adiong Jr., along with military and police officials, “exerted pressure” on the kidnappers.

After their release, Sumagang and Sanchez underwent medical checks and debriefing before being turned over to Iligan City Mayor lawrence Cruz and their families. (John Roson)

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