Sisters of Angelo de la Cruz, a Filipino hostage in Iraq, are in tears in Mexico town, Pampanga northern Philippines, as they await news of his fate at the hands of Iraqi militants. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's pro-American policy on terrorism is facing its most severe test right in her own backyard, as Iraqi militants threaten to behead Mr De la Cruz, one of her provincial constituents. He was snatched this week by a little-known group, the Iraqi Islamic Army. It demanded the pullout of a Filipino humanitarian contingent from Iraq in exchange for his release. Last year, Mr De La Cruz found a job in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, as a truck driver. 'Last night we saw our father on TV, and we were shocked of course,' his 26-year-old daughter Judith, said on television yesterday. 'Have mercy on us, President Gloria, please bring him back alive.' The crisis has become politically explosive for Mrs Arroyo, so much so that she called for a news blackout, saying that the media should 'not fan speculation and hysteria'. She had vigorously supported the US invasion of Iraq. Her spokesman, Ignacio Bunye, had talked of post-war benefits: 'We believe that after the conflict there would be 50,000 to 100,000 job opportunities for the Filipinos to work in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq.'