MANILA, Philippines - The son of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Elias Yusoph was kidnapped by unidentified men allegedly demanding the nullification of the results of the elections in several towns in Lanao del Sur.
Police said 22-year-old Nuraldin Yusoph was kidnapped by hooded gunmen while praying at the VicBato Alih mosque in Barangay Sabala Amanao, Marawi City late Sunday.
Several hours later, the elder Yusoph received a call from the supposed kidnappers demanding that he nullify the election results in the towns of Malabang, Pilong, Taraka, and Masiu in exchange for the release of his son.
The Comelec held special elections in the four towns following a failure of elections during the May 10 polls.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police director Chief Superintendent Bienvenido Latag said they have yet to identify the group behind the kidnapping.
Latag said police are coordinating with the Yusoph family since initial findings indicate that the kidnapping could be politically motivated.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, however, confirmed the kidnappers made contact with Yusoph and announced their demands.
“There is proof of life and he is calm and in good condition. Commissioner Yusoph was allowed to talk to his son right after the kidnapping,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez said the Yusoph family and the Comelec are closely coordinating with the police in the effort to secure the safe release of the younger Yusoph.
“Right now we’re establishing what they need, what they want but the policy is no negotiation. I don’t think that there’s any reason to assume (a change in the policy),” he said.
According to Jimenez, the kidnapping of the son of the Comelec official could be classified as election-related.
“It’s not exactly about nullification of votes, although it has something to do with elections,” Jimenez said.
Although the kidnapping could be election-related, Jimenez said the authorities have yet to identify the culprits.
He said it would be unfair to tag losing candidates as being behind the kidnapping. -With Sheila Crisostomo, John Unson - By Cecille Suerte Felipe (Philstar News Service, www.philstar.com)
Reposted From Cecille Suerte Felipe, With Sheila Crisostomo And John Unson (Philstar.Com)