Family hangs on to hope report is false

The Associated Press
Tuesday June 12, 2001

Unsure whether to believe the worst, relatives of the U.S. businessman reportedly killed by Philippine rebels gathered at his home Monday, still hoping for the best. 

“We don’t have any official news. We’re still hopeful he’s alive,” said Neuza Chiong, a cousin of Guillermo Sobero’s wife, Fanny. 

Chiong, standing in front of Sobero’s home, said the hostage’s wife has decided not to comment until the family is certain of her husband’s fate. Meanwhile, journalists respected Chiong’s request to keep their vehicles away from the house to avoid alarming Sobero’s three youngest children. 

“They think he’s on vacation,” Chiong said, adding that the children were asleep early Monday evening. “I’m not sure when we’ll tell them.” Sobero, a father of four, is a Peruvian native who makes a living waterproofing homes and decks. 

Neighbors and family describe him as a friendly man who loves scuba diving and playing with his children. Yellow ribbons adorn trees in his quiet neighborhood east of Los Angeles. 

Sobero, whose children are 2, 3, 6 and 13, moved to California with his family in the early 1980s.  

He and his wife of seven years were divorcing when he was abducted from an island resort in the Philippines on May 27. His wife said afterward she didn’t know her husband had left the country, adding that he had only told her he was going to Lake Havasu, Ariz., to celebrate his birthday with some of his siblings.