Soldiers may be responsible

New York, October 4, 2002—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomes the release late yesterday of Philippine journalists Carlo Lorenzo and Gilbert Ordiales, who were held captive for five days while reporting on the southern island of Jolo, in Sulu Province.

CPJ remains, however, deeply concerned about allegations made by Lorenzo that members of the Philippine military were responsible for their abduction and is investigating these charges.

Lorenzo, a reporter for the broadcast network GMA, and Ordiales, a GMA cameraman, had gone to Jolo to interview three Indonesian fishermen taken hostage in mid-June.

In an account published today on the Web site of the Philippine Daily Inquirer , Lorenzo said that soldiers held them up once they arrived in the village of Kagay on September 28. “I thought they were our protectors,” Lorenzo told the Inquirer. But then “they started to open our bags. They took my cell phone, calling cards, notebooks, tape recorders and the handy camera.”

Lorenzo says the soldiers left them in the custody of local villagers, who released them unharmed on October 3.

The exact circumstances of their release remain unclear.

See CPJ’s October 2 press release.