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Day-care provider frees hostages after 10 hours

March 29, 2007|From the Associated Press

MANILA — A Philippine day-care center owner freed more than 30 youngsters and teachers he had held hostage on a bus to denounce corruption and demand better lives for impoverished children.

Clutching dolls, toys and backpacks, the children began filing off the bus Wednesday evening after a 10-hour standoff, as Jun Ducat had promised in a rambling message delivered via loudspeaker hours earlier.

Ducat, a 56-year-old civil engineer who has staged attention-grabbing stunts before, put the pin back in a grenade, handed it to provincial Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson and surrendered as Singson held his arm.

"I accept that I should be jailed because what I did was against the law," Ducat said in an interview.

District Police Chief Danilo Abarzosa said Ducat would be charged with 32 counts of illegal detention and abduction, illegal possession of explosives and illegal possession of firearms. Police said Ducat's grenades were not functional.

Ducat was involved in a hostage-taking in 1989, but no charges were filed, police said.

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