Abducted priest to Duterte: Consider us; give your enemies what they ask for

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

(File photo) Fr. Chito Suganob

(CNN Philippines, May 30) — A priest being held as a "prisoner of war" (POW) in Marawi is pleading with President Rodrigo Duterte to end the clashes by giving the enemies what they are asking for.

A video posted on the Facebook page of Bisaya News shows Rev. Fr. Teresito Suganob from the Prelature of St. Mary in Marawi City, appealing to the President as sounds of gunfire are heard in the background.

In the video, Suganob says he was taken as a prisoner of war along with churchworkers, a professor of the Mindanao State University, teachers from the Dansalan College Foundation Inc., carpenters, household helpers, children, Christian settlers, and tribe members. Suganob said there were around 240 POWs.

The video shows Suganob standing in front of a building bearing evidence of attack – holes in the wall which also appeared to be blackened with soot.

"Mr. President, we are in the midst of this war. We are asking your help to please give what your enemies are asking for," he said.

Suganob said the enemy wasn't asking "for anything," just to withdraw "forces away from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, and to  stop the airstrikes, your air attacks, and to stop the canyon."

In the video, Suganob did not mention where or if they were being held. The person who took the video was also not mentioned.

On May 24, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines confirmed that Suganob, along with others, was taken hostage by the Maute group following clashes that erupted the day before.

READ: CBCP confirms Maute abduction of priest, other parish staffers

Suganob pleaded with Duterte, at one point sounding like he was near tears as he asked the President to "please consider us," reporting they would hear gunfire from "time to time."

"Mr. President, they do not ask for anything. They just ask that you leave this place peacefully. Do not give so much attack. The city in my background is ruined like this," he said.

Suganob said as Duterte was also from Mindanao, he was familiar with the problems of the area, adding the rebel forces engaged in the crisis are ready to die for their cause.

Suganob said he would kneel before the President if it meant saving the 240 "prisoners of war" and to appease the fear of their families and friends.

"We want to live another day, we want to live another month, we want to live a few years. And in your generosity, Mr. President, in your heart, we know you can make something."

(Story updated 7:50 a.m. of May 31 to include style revisions.)