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The hostages with CCAT Action Man Steve Librado, City 
Director Reynaldo A. Padulla, an unidentified PNP Officer and 
Acting Mayor Ruderic C. Marzo, standing at background.

By Frank E. Dosdos, Jr.
Iligan City

Five construction workers allegedly held hostage b
y their employer in the municipality of Molundo, Lanao del Sur, were rescued, November 18, by policemen of that municipality and province.

Marlon Hernandez, the Foreman and leader of the group narrated to newsmen that he and seven others were recruited from Baliwag, Bulacan by a certain Alimudin Ibra to construct the latter’s house in Molundo, Lanao del Sur.

Attracted by the good offer and the opportunity to see Mindanao, they left Baliwag on July 22, Hernandez said.

Upon their arrival, they worked on the renovation of Ibra’s house in Molundo but work was always interrupted due to lack of materials, Lawrence Reyes, an 18-year old member of the group related.

Then, they were brought to Maguing to work on the mansion of Ibra’s parents where they were treated and paid well, according to Hernandez.

On August 19, Michelle Montilla Hernandez, the wife of Marlon and her two children were invited by Ibra to visit Molundo for one week on an all-expanses paid vacation.

Michelle and her two minor children took the plane from Manila to Laguindingan Airport and were brought comfortably all the way to Molundo and to Maguing, she narrated.

On the other hand, Marlon was promised a “big, big bonus” as soon as the mansion will be completed.

Later, three of the group went home when one of them got sick.

Weeks passed but Michelle and her children were not able to leave as they were not given provisions for their return trip.

Marlon related to the Media that the promised “big, big bonus” was not given when the mansion was finished.

On November 15, they were all brought back to the house of Ibra in Molundo and at that time they were placed under guard by four armed men.

Allegedly, they were also warned by Ibra not to try an escape because he and his family control all the authorities in Maguing, Molundo and all the way to Marawi City.

“That evening, my wife and I agreed to feign quarreling and the incident was known to everyone and our employer,” Hernandez said.

The following morning, Hernandez related, he showed scratches on his wrist supposedly inflicted by his wife to Ibra.

He told his employer, “Boss inaway na ako ng Mrs. Ko. Gusto nang umuwi. Pauwiin mo na at ng makaconcentrate ako sa trabaho ko rito.” (My wife quarreled with me last night. She wants to go home. Better send her home so that I can concentrate in my work here.)

Hernandez continued, “My boss consented and said that he will accompany her to the port and let her board a boat to Manila.”

Michelle told newsmen, “Upon travelling a few kilometers on the highway toward Marawi, Alimudin dropped us and said, ‘Bahala na kayo’. Then Alumudin drove back to the direction of Molundo.”

She then hired a taxi to Iligan where she reported to the City Social Welfare and Development where they were assisted in reporting to Police Station 5.

The police coordinated with the Crime and Calamity Action Team (CCAT) which in turn organized a recovery team and proceeded to the Police Office of the Province Lanao del Sur.

According to Steve Librado of CCAT, Lanao del Sur Provincial Director PSSupt Siefred Ramos immediately ordered the Police Station Commander of Molundo to raid the compound of Alimudin and retrieve the five hostages namely: Marlon Hernandez, 40, Cristopher Ardona, 36, Cyrus Ocampo 37, Herminigildo San Jose, 58 and Lawrence Reyes, 18.

Hernandez narrated that at the Police Station Ibra attempted to attack him but the latter was blocked by the Station Commander.

They were then brought to the Provincial PNP Headquarters in Marawi City and subsequently turned over to the CCAT of Iligan.

On November 19, the group was presented by CCAT to Acting Mayor Ruderic C. Marzo who thanked everybody: the NBI, PNP and others responsible for the fast and safe recovery of the victims.

Hernandez said that they would not file a complaint against their one time employer. “Gusto lang naming makauwi na.” (We just want go home.)

Marzo helped them leave for their homes, November 20.

The New Ranao Star

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