Couple kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf Group in Jolo

February 17, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

MANILA: Armed gunmen kidnapped a couple on Jolo island in southern Philippines early this morning, the military said.

The couple, both employees of a local water district, were kidnapped by six suspected terrorists of Abu Sayyaf Group in front of their house in San Raymundo village in Jolo at around 5.30am, said Ryan Laquesta, an officer of the 2nd Marine Brigade based in Jolo.

The couple just arrived from Zamboanga City when they were forced to board a jeepney by the suspects and fled toward Anuling village in Patikul town.

Authorities are now conducting pursuit operation to locate and rescue the victims, Laquesta added.

The 380-strong Abu Sayyaf group, founded in the early 1990s by Islamist extremists, is notorious for kidnappings, bombings and even beheadings in southern Philippines over the past decade. 

Comelec urged to decide on vote  counting machines 

MANILA: A poll watchdog is urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to decide at the soonest time possible if it intends to use a new technology in the 2016 elections and junk the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) chair Henrietta de Villa over the weekend said the Comelec must resolve immediately whether to reuse the PCOS machines or not, so that stakeholders would have enough time to prepare if ever a new technology would be used to avoid problems in the conduct of the polls.

“If there shall be change in machines, then the Comelec has to decide before the end of March, so it can be factored into the 2015 budget,” De Villa noted.

“PPCRV is ready for any option. Same or change. But time is the essence Comelec has to consider,” she added. De Villa noted that deciding early would also help ensure the success of voters’ education since the PPCRV and other groups would have more than a year to make voters familiar with a new system.

The Philippine Star