PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Roman Catholic Church leaders have rejected a $2 million ransom demand for an elderly Irish priest kidnapped in the Philippines, authorities said.
Michael Sinnott, 79, was kidnapped Oct. 11 from the Society of St. Columban Center in Pagadian City, where he worked. Last weekend, his abductors released a video of Sinnott standing behind an Oct. 22 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer as proof he was alive.
Paying ransom would turn priests into "commodities rather than missionaries," Pat O'Donoghue, the society's regional director told The Philippine Daily Inquirer in a story published Monday.
Sinnott would insist "the money be used for the poor who have no proper food, no medical facilities and the many without homes," O'Donoghue said.
Church and government leaders in the Philippines and Ireland said they were prepared to negotiate with the kidnappers as long as it was understood no ransom would be paid.
It remained unclear who was responsible for Sinnott's kidnapping, The Inquirer reported.