MANILA, June 20 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine police have filed kidnapping charges against a town mayor and his son who brokered the release of three television crew and their local guide abducted by suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf militants, local media reported Friday.
Charged before the Department of Justice on Thursday were Alvarez Isnaji, mayor of the Indanan town in Sulu province, his son Haider and 14 Abu Sayyaf members linked to the kidnapping of ABS-CBN journalist Ces Drilon, her cameramen and a Mindanao State University professor, local newspaper Manila Times reported.
According to the report, national police chief Avelino Razon Jr.said police suspected the Isnajis after they questioned the freed hostages and found inconsistencies in their statements.
On Friday, Razon presented at a press conference two pictures showing Isnajis gathering money said to be "ransom" paid by Drilon's family. Razon said Isnaji "kept to himself" 3 million pesos (67,568 U.S. dollars) and paid the other 2 million pesos (45,045 U.S. dollars) to kidnappers.
"These are not the only evidence the police gathered but we can't disclose all to you," Razon told reporters at the press conference.
The four were kidnapped on June 8 in Indanan. Valderama was released on June 12 while the others were held till late Tuesday night. The abductors previously demanded 15 million pesos (337,079 U.S. dollars) for the hostages' freedom, but the authorities denied any ransom payment.
Isnaji was hand-picked by the abductors to broker the negotiation that finally led to the hostages' safe release.
Police "invited" Isnaji for a debriefing in the police headquarters on Wednesday and formally arrested him and his son on Thursday.