A second Canadian hostage was beheaded by Philippine Islamist group Abu Sayyaf before President-elect Rodrigo Duterte could be sworn into office and deal with the matter personally. Abu Sayyaf announced on Monday, June 13, that it had beheaded Canadian mining consultant Robert Hall as the deadline for the payment of a 600 million pesos (approximately $129 million) ransom lapsed.
Duterte assumes the chief executive mantle the second outgoing President Benigno Aquino III steps down on June 30. When Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau called Duterte on May 24 to congratulate him on his May 9 election victory, the Philippines' president-elect apologized about John Ridsdel, the first Canadian hostage executed by Abu Sayyaf, which took place on April 25.
"Mr. Prime Minister, please accept my apologies for the incident. We will try our very best and see to it that nothing of this sort will happen again, and you can rest assured that when the time comes, we will be able to apprehend the criminals and exact justice."
Hours after the Abu Sayyaf announcement on Monday that they had executed second Canadian hostage Hall, a severed Caucasian head was found in Jolo, Sulu. The recovered head believed to be part of Hall's remains was sent to Manila for D.N.A. testing.
When reporters asked about a comprehensive plan by Duterte to solve the Abu Sayyaf problem in light of the second Canadian hostage killing, Panelo said this.
"President-elect Duterte will not tolerate or condone any illegality in this country. He will do everything in his power to stop all these… That's his commitment, to stop all this criminality."
According to Toronto Star, the status of two remaining hostages, Sekkingstad and Flor, is unknown. Police authorities around the southern city of Jolo said patrols have been dispatched but no evidence has turned up. Efforts by the Philippine military to locate the kidnap-for-ransom victims before the execution of the first and then the second Canadian hostage also failed.
At a press conference reported by Vice News Monday morning, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau defended his policy not to pay ransom for the first and then the second Canadian hostage. Arguing that Canada's maple leaf symbol worn with pride abroad, should not be turned into a target, he said this about Hall.
"Canada holds the terrorist group who took him hostage fully responsible for this cold-blooded and senseless murder. With the tragic loss of two Canadians, I want to reiterate that terrorist hostage-takings only fuel more violence and instability. Canada will not give in to their fear mongering tactics and despicable attitude toward the suffering of others."