Kidnapped Italian Priest Released thru Counter-Kidnap

Is this what they mean by counter-terrorism ? In a front page story, the Inquirer reports that kidnapped Italian missionary priest Giancarlo Bossi was released by his kidnappers because of a beautifully simple, if illegal, gambit on the part of government security forces. They abducted the family of the kidnap group’s leader , consisting of his wife and three children. Then they negotiated and paid a “board-and-lodging” fee far less than the kidnappers’ initial demand of P50 million. As soon as Fr. Bossi was released, alive and apparently well, the abductees were set free. Of course, the government denies this happened except to say that, in the words of Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, “What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”.

Fighting fire with fire, indeed. Who would have thought that the kidnappers, a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front aligned with the Abu Sayyaf Group, were devoted family men. One wonders why this was not resorted to earlier, instead of the authorities waiting for more than a month during which Fr. Bossi suffered greatly from his captivity. We like to see the bad guys getting trumped at their own game, the sooner the better.

Of course, this does not auger well for the rule of law. A vicious cycle of kidnap and counter-kidnap in Mindanao is not hard to imagine. This fits in nicely with the phenomenon of rido or revenge killings between clans which goes on for generations.

As for Fr. Bossi, he is set to return to his parish in the Zamboanga peninsula ,where he was kidnapped.

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