We were treated like dogs, says freed Abu Sayyaf hostage

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2016 07:14 PM | Updated as of Jun 24 2016 08:00 PM

Freed Abu Sayyaf hostage Marites Flor recalls her ordeal in the hands of the bandit group. Flor, 38, was released through the efforts of the camp of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

DAVAO CITY (UPDATE) - Filipina Marites Flor on Friday recalled her ordeal as a captive of the Abu Sayyaf for nearly 10 months.

Flor was one of four people abducted by Abu Sayyaf from a posh resort in Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte in September 2015. Her fiancé, Canadian Robert Hall, and another Canadian captive, John Ridsdel, were beheaded after the group’s ransom demand was not met.

Speaking to reporters here, Flor said she and her companions were treated inhumanely by their captors.

“We were treated like dogs. When someone commits a mistake, he gets beaten up,” Flor said.

“I was slapped while my companions were beaten up.”

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who met Flor here at the sidelines of a turnover of police command ceremony, revealed that his camp negotiated for the release of Flor.

Duterte’s camp is currently working on the release of the group's Norwegian hostage, Kjartan Sekkingstad.

Duterte said Abu Sayyaf kidnappings must stop as this has given the Philippines a very bad image.

“I don’t want to pick a fight with anyone but there will be a time that I will have to confront Abu Sayyaf. It is not yet forthcoming, I know,” he said.


Incoming peace adviser Jesus Dureza said the release of Flor was an "act of goodwill" on the part of Abu Sayyaf. He said no ransom was paid for Flor’s release.

“According to (Sulu) Governor Abdusakur Tan, it was an act or gesture of goodwill. They knew President-elect (Rodrigo) Duterte wanted badly the release of the hostages,” Dureza told reporters here.

He said the Norwegian foreign minister called him while he was in Oslo for the peace talks with communist rebels to ask for help for the release of Sekkingstad. Dureza said he then called Tan to work on the negotiation.

“Governor Sakur Tan made all the effort. When I came back from Oslo, I was told Marites was ready to be turned over to me. This morning, I took a plane to Jolo and picked up Marites,” Dureza said.

“We were waiting for the possible release of the Norwegian, only to be informed there was no more time for today."

Dureza said Flor, 38, will return to her hometown in Valencia, Bukidnon.

"I want to see my family," Flor said.

Flor said the night before her release, an Abu Sayyaf leader woke her up to tell her she would be brought somewhere else.

“I was told to untie myself…We then walked in the dark for a significant amount of time. I don’t know where the place was,” she said.

Flor burst into tears when asked about the final moments of her partner.

“It was too painful as I saw him before he was beheaded. They were watching happily while they were beheading them,” she said.