Rolando del Torchio, a former priest turned businessman, has finally been released after six months in captivity in southern Philippines. He was released on 8 April evening following protracted negotiations with his kidnappers, sources said.
A ransom was also paid for his release, intelligence sources told Rappler.com. National police spokesman Wilben Mayor said that Del Torchio was picked up at a port on the southern Philippine island of Jolo, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf militant group.
The 57-year-old businessman was kidnapped on 7 October 2015 from his pizza restaurant in Dipolog City by gunmen who were later determined by authorities to be rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He was later taken to Sulu, the bastion of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Police said that Del Torchio will be taken to the military's trauma centre in the city "due to poor health". It did not however specify his health condition.
Del Torchio, according to reports was a former missionary of the Vatican's Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. Born in Angera, in northern Italy, he was a degree in agriculture. He was ordained a priest in 1984.
In 1988, Del Torchio was sent to the Muslim-dominated Sibuco town, Zamboanga del Norte. He remained there until 1996. He moved to Dipolog to work with a non-governmental organisation that helped farmers. He eventually decided to stay in Dipolog City where he opened his own pizza outlet called UrChoice.