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Ces Drilon on surviving ASG kidnapping: ‘I consider this as my second lease on life’

Izel Abanilla



It has been over a decade since Kapamilya broadcast journalist Ces Drilon was abducted by terrorists Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in 2008.

Thirteen years since her ordeal, Drilon looked back at the harrowing experience and considered her survival as her “second lease on life.”

In an Instagram post, Drilon uploaded photos of her ordeal at the hands of the terrorist group and how prayers helped save her and her crew from the brink of death and kept their sanity.

“I learned many things during that ordeal. One of them is gratitude. Countless people prayed for me and I believe the power of their prayer in unison was heard by the universe. Ten days later we were released,” she said.


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2008 abduction

The reporter and her crew became on of the country’s biggest news back in 2008 when she and her two cameramen Jimmy Encanacion and Angelo Valderrama were kidnapped by the ASG.

The ABS-CBN news team was abducted in Mindanao while attempting to interview one-armed ASG leader Radulan Sahiron, a professional terrorist with a $200,000 bounty from the US government in Sulu on 8 June, 2008.

It was when she was told by the ASG, “Ito lang ang sasabihin ko sa ‘yo, kidnap-for-ransom ito” that she froze while processing that her nightmare was real.

That was the beginning of their 10-day ordeal. In past interviews she said that she never put up a scared face despite the imminent and no-holds-barred threats to her life with words like, “”Mag-make up ka ng mabuti para pag in-LBC [courier service] namin ang ulo mo, maganda.”

Drilon said she’s received maltreatment that she’s never imagined she could ever experience.

“Nakatali ka, susuntukin ka ng baril, sasampalin ka. Ang sabi ko nga kay Jimmy, ‘Wala pang gumagawa ng ganito sa akin.’

After her rescue, she was not relieved of her anchoring job at ABS-CBN’s flagship newscast Bandila, however, she was suspended for three months for pushing on with the face-to-face interview despite direct supervisory orders to just send out her questions.