Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza today said he welcomes the recent release of Jose Duterte by his captors in Sulu after more than a year but added he had no knowledge or participation in the alleged payment of ransom.

“Finally, he was released at a time when I even stopped touching base with some intermediaries when I was informed that they were demanding ransom payments. Government usually spends to support operational expenses to recover hostages but does not pay ransom,” Dureza said in a statement.

He added, however, that government “does not interfere with families who pay ransom to save the lives of their loved ones.”

He also gave credit to the military and security forces whose military operations “put pressure on the kidnappers.”

Duterte, who is not related to the President, was abducted along with his wife Jessica from inside their residence in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte on March 3, 2017.

His wife was freed earlier this year while Duterte was freed on November 1, 2018 in Panamao, Sulu. A 7-year-old girl who had been abducted separately last June was also freed.

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