Palace won't disclose details on kidnapped Aussie
MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang on Friday kept mum on efforts to recover an allegedly kidnapped Australian man, only saying that the government's "no ransom policy" stays.
Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said there are a lot of details that cannot be shared publicly about the alleged kidnapping.
Valte, however, said the ambassador of Australia has acknowledged the Philippine government's efforts to find the alleged kidnap victim.
She also maintained that the government is still trying to verify the online video of the man, who was supposedly kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group for ransom.
The alleged victim, Warren Richard Rodwell, appeared in an online video earlier this week saying he is alive.
In a video posted on December 25 on a YouTube channel allegedly associated with the Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf, the retired Australian soldier said he is still alive as of December 16, 2012.
"My name is Warren Richard Rodwell from Australia. Today is Sunday, December 16, 2012. This newspaper is Saturday, December 15, 2012. I'm being held prisoner, kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim terrorist group, for over one year, actually 54 weeks, today," Rodwell said to the camera.
"I was kidnapped on December 5, 2012 (correct year 2011). This video clip today is to say that I'm alive. I am waiting to be released. I have no idea what's going on outside. I'm just kept held prisoner in isolation. Again, I am alive. It's 378 days, I think, something like that."
Holding a newspaper as proof for the recording date of the video, Rodwell said: "The newspaper is from the Philippines. I understand there is some negotiations. I do not get any updated information, The people around me normally don't speak English. I understand something is happening, but I don't know when. I do not expect to be released before the year 2013 at the earliest. I personally hold no hope at all for being released."
"I do not trust Abu Sayyaf. I do not trust the Australian government. I just don't trust anyone. Personally, I don't care," he says at the end of the video.
Rodwell was allegedly taken at gunpoint from his house in Ipil town in the Philippines by at least 6 men over a year ago.
He was living in Zamboanga Sibugay province where Islamist militants and criminal gangs operate. The Abu Sayyaf group has in the past kidnapped several foreigners in the restive region of Mindanao. - with a report from Reuters