DAVAO - Marites Flor, the Filipino kidnap victim that was freed by the Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group, wept openly as she thanked law enforcers for securing her freedom from the bandit group after nine months in captivity.
Flor shed tears as she recalled how her fiancé, Canadian Robert Hall, was murdered by the Abu Sayyaf.
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"Nandito ako ngayon kahit nawala man yung fiancé ko, at least ako nakalaya ako nang buhay (I'm here now and even if my fiancé is no longer here, at least I was able to leave alive)," she said in an exclusive interview.
Flor apologized for being emotional, saying what she went through in the last nine months was not easy. She also thanked the people who prayed for her safe release.
"Hindi [ko] kayang maging strong sa nadaanan ko na nine months. Nadaanan ko na kasama ko yung fiancé ko ng walong buwan pero pinutulan din nila ng ulo, so sobrang sakit," she said.
Senior Superintendent Wilfredo Cayat, Sulu police provincial director, earlier said the bandits brought Flor to the house of Sulu Governor Sakur Tan in Jolo early Friday.
Flor, Hall, Canadian John Ridsdel and Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad were seized from yachts at a marina in the southern Philippines on September 21, 2015.
The bandits initially demanded P1 billion each for the detainees, but it lowered the ransom to P300 million each early this year. Both the Philippine and Canadian government, however, reiterated a policy against paying ransom in these cases.
The Abu Sayyaf first executed Canadian John Ridsdel, a former mining executive, in April. They beheaded Hall last week.
Colonel Rolando Gregorio, acting PIO of Task Force Sulu, said Flor was released due to intensified military operations to save the remaining kidnap victims.
"Assessment namin, isa yan sa malaking factor kaya naisip nila na ibaba na yung KV (kidnap victim) natin, lalo na yung KV natin ay isang babae, at sigurado mas naantala ang movement nila pag may KV sila na babae," he said.