Villar blames DFA for Iraq hostage crisis

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez

SENATOR Manuel Villar blamed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for failing to avert the hostage crisis situation involving a Filipino driver while it still had the "opportunity."

"Somebody should be held accountable for this. The DFA, perhaps, because they should have anticipated this coming when the hostage taking and beheading in Iraq began," he told INQ7.net in a phone interview Friday.

Villar, head of the Senate foreign relations committee, has staunchly advocated for the return of the Philippine humanitarian mission from Iraq.

But Villar said this was not the best option to take right now.

"Now is not the time to pull out our troops. We missed the opportunity to do so when we had it before, now we can't do that anymore," he said.

Villar explained that ordering the withdrawal of Philippine forces would be "embarrassing" for the country.

"Mapapahiya tayo (We will be embarrassed) as a nation because our dignity is at stake," he said.

The senator added this would give the impression to the international community that we were giving in to the demands of the Iraqi extremists.

He added that even if the government withdrew its troops, there would be no assurance that the hostage-taking incident would not happen.

He said the DFA and other concerned agencies should exhaust "all possible means" to save the life of the victim, Angelo de la Cruz.

"Negotiations might work. In the past, beheadings were averted because of successful negotiations with the extremists," he added.

9/7/2004

Bron : Inq7.net

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