Duterte apologizes to German government for beheading of hostage
President Rodrigo Duterte apologized on Tuesday for the beheading of a German national by the local terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group.
"I am very sorry that the hostage, a national of your country, has been beheaded," Duterte said in an interview in Malacanang when asked of his message to the German government.
The Abu Sayyaf beheaded German Jurgen Gustav Kantner after a 3pm deadline last Sunday to pay P30 million ransom expired.
Duterte said he sympathizes and commiserates with the German people and Kantner family.
"I said we tried (to secure Kantner release). There's a massive operation going on and as I have just announced to you, we are beginning to use the air assets," he said.
"(B)ut we have failed and so that has to be admitted. There's nothing wrong in admitting a failure," he said.
Duterte reiterated it is the policy of his administration not to pay ransom.
"It’s a matter of policy that we do not surrender to the demands of paying ransom," he said, noting paying ransom would only increase the activities of the Abu Sayyaf. .
In a statement by the German government, it said: “We condemn the murder of this German man in the strongest terms. There can be no justification for this terrorist crime.
“We extend our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the victim’s family.
Together with the competent Philippine authorities, we will do everything in our power to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
The president said he is not giving any deadline to the military to wipe out the bandits.
He added he had asked the China’s envoy here if Beijing could help in patrolling the high seas in southern Philippines to prevent piracy and kidnappings.
Duterte said he has not "not heard of any response" from China.
He expressed hope when the remaining eight multi-role response vessels from Japan arrive in the country, the Philippine Coast Guard could improve its patrol of the territorial waters.
Duterte said the government is planning to purchase more helicopters and equipment for night operations. Celerina Monte/DMS