Page last updated at 19:28 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 20:28 UK

TV hostages freed in Philippines

TV presenter Ces Drilon - file photo
Officials said no ransoms were paid for the hostages' release

A popular Philippines TV presenter, her cameraman and a university professor have been freed by suspected Islamist militants, police said.

The kidnappers, believed to be Abu Sayyaf militants, released the three after more than a week of captivity on the troubled southern island of Jolo.

TV presenter "Ces" Drilon, cameraman Jimmy Encarnacion and academic Octavio Dinampo were freed after negotiations.

Officials involved in securing their release said no ransom had been paid.

Abu Sayyaf is notorious for using bombings, kidnappings and other violence in its separatist campaign in the southern Philippines, and has beheaded kidnap victims in the past.

Ransom question

Cecilia "Ces" Drilon and her crew were seized on 8 June as they headed to a meeting with a senior leader of Abu Sayyaf.

Another cameraman with the group, Angelo Valderama, was freed on 12 June after about $2,250 (1,150) was paid to his captors.


Ms Drilon, Mr Encarnacion and Mr Dinampo were said to be in a good condition after their release.

"We are thankful that our prayers have been answered and our efforts rewarded," the journalists' families and ABS-CBN said in a joint statement.

The release of all four captives was negotiated by a team including Isnaji Alvarez, mayor of the Jolo township of Indanan.

The kidnappers are reported to have demanded $337,000 (172,000) in ransom for the ABS-CBN host and the others. They set a Tuesday deadline and threatened to behead them if their demands were not met.

Another report had the ransom demand at $1.12m (572,000).

National police chief Avelino Razon said no ransom was paid. ABS-CBN had earlier said it had a policy of not paying ransoms, in order not to encourage kidnappings.

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