Press Release
March 29, 2009


Sen. Chiz Escudero said the pursuit of money and police ineptness combined to end the life of a teacher who braved traveling on the high seas just to impart knowledge to her students.

"The kidnappers of Noemi Mandi completely disregarded her fragile health; they were more concerned with getting a ransom for her release," he added.

Mandi died last week while in captivity due to complications from a recent medical operation.

She and fellow teachers Jocelyn Enriquez and Jocelyn Inion were kidnapped by suspected members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front off the island barangay of Bangkaw-Bangkaw, Naga town in Zamboanga Sibugay while on the way home last March 13.

The three, who were teachers at Bangkaw-Bangkaw Elementary School, were then brought to a coastal village in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan where they have been held ever since.

Their kidnappers are demanding P10 million for their safe release.

"I condemn this treacherous act and the continued inability of the PNP and the AFP to protect innocent civilians, particularly teachers," Escudero stressed.

He noted that it was only last Jan. 23 when three other teachers, Rafael Mayonado, Janette de los Reyes and Freires Quizon, were also kidnapped while traveling by boat to Sacol Island off Zamboanga City.

"None of these teachers have been released and they together with their families continue to suffer by the day. The authorities must act now to prevent further kidnappings and deaths," Escudero said.

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