Abus snatch mechanic, kill assistant

By Roel Pareño, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 19 2014 09:43 AM | Updated as of Aug 19 2014 05:43 PM

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits stormed the sleeping quarters of Sulu provincial government employees in Patikul town Saturday night, kidnapping a mechanic and killing his assistant.

The gunmen shot dead the assistant of Ronald Pelegrin, 38, chief mechanic of the provincial government, after the victim tried to escape.

Renante Avilla, 29, died on the spot from gunshot wounds in the leg and back.

Pelegrin’s wife, Emily, said the kidnappers contacted them yesterday and ask for P15 million as ransom.

The police and military refused to comment on the latest kidnapping, which reportedly occurred near the provincial jail and a military detachment.

Emily said she and Avilla’s wife Leizel were visiting their husbands at the sleeping quarters when gunmen in fatigue uniforms barged in and seized the victims.

“They kicked the door and seized my husband at gunpoint. I hid myself in a corner,” Emily said.

Another group barged in from the other side and seized Avilla. Liezel hid under the bed.

Liezel told journalists the gunmen brought her husband beside Pelegrin, but he tried to fight back.

Avilla’s brother Jemel, 23, also an assistant mechanic who was staying in other sleeping quarters, tried to help but was stopped.

Jemel said about 50 Abu Sayyaf bandits surrounded the quarters. He said the gunmen seemed to know their way around.

Jemel recovered the remains of his brother. With the help of the provincial engineer’s office, the cadaver was transported to their hometown in Jolo on a commercial ferry.

Pelegrin’s family appealed to the local and provincial governments to help secure his release.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said they were trying to contact the provincial government to help in Pelegrin’s case and recover the remains of another kidnap victim, Joselito Gonzales, who was reportedly killed last June 19 in an encounter between government forces and the bandits in Patikul.