Last November, Filipino accountant Robert Tarongoy was abducted in Iraq and held captive. Today, he was released under circumstances that haven't been explained.
From The Manila Times:
Robert Tarongoy, the Filipino accountant held captive in Iraq since November, has been released by his captors, President Arroyo announced Wednesday.
"Tarongoy is in the hands of the Philippine Iraq Crisis Team headed by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis," Mrs. Arroyo said during a press conference in Cebu City.
"They are now finalizing plans of how to bring back Tarongoy to Manila," the President said.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jose Brillantes said Tarongoy might be with Seguis at the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad as of posting time.
Brillantes did not give details on Tarongoy's release. He said arrangements are being made for the immediate return of Tarongoy to the Philippines.
Obviously, this is good news. I'm anxious to hear the details of his captivity and release. After all, he was held hostage for more than six months with the constant threat of death. Surely, he has some important information to reveal.
Call me suspicious or skeptical, but every time there's an unexplained hostage release, I tend to think a ransom was paid.
[Update 1630 EDT] (via The Jawa Report) According to this report, Tarongoy was released after the Filipino government met certain unspecified demands of the terrorist group, Jaysh al-Mujahedeen (the army of holy warriors). There's no official word from Manila yet.
The current leadership in Manila may have paid a ransom (as I suspect) to prompt the release of Tarongoy and, unless it's announced, we may never know. One thing is certain, though, the Arroyo administration's policy of appeasement toward fanatics is doomed to failure. The only predictable result is that the kidnappers are emboldened to continue their terrorist activities. The Philippines need new leadership.
Companion post at Interested-Participant.
For a timeline of events see the Diggers Realm Roberto Tarongoy Archives