Tuesday, May 30, 2006

REPORT: Police tag a "Gingo" faction of "Guardian Brotherhood" in Death Squad killings

A report that I read quotes the PNP as saying a "Guardian Brotherhood" faction linked to Former Sen. Gregorio Honasan as allegedly behind some of the killings of leftist leaders and activists in the Country. The guardians are large groupthough - there are at least three or four factions - some loyal to Government others have been formed into a cooperative of retired ex-RAM members and then there are those linked to the recent 'coup attempt or destabalization efforts'

The report quotes PNP Director Marcelo Ele, chief of Task Force Usig as saying so -
I know Jun; covered him for a few years back - he never tollerated abuses in either the PNP or Military in Palawan at the time he was there and did a good job as PNP Provincail Director and a good job at the PNP PASCOM head in NAIA.... his preventive security and cordons are credited with foiling terror attacks on the airport.

His thoery is sound - but with it raises new questions... as well.

UPDATE: []... " Guardians disown Orsolino slay suspect
A group identified with former senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan on Thursday said a suspect in the May 16 killing of newsman Alberto Orsolino is not a member of the organization.
abs-cbnNEWS.com (6/1/2006 11:49:56 AM) " ...[]

Malaysia: 12 arrests announced - new terror group named - REPORT

Malaysia busts new terror group that as inked to extremists in the Southern Philippines;

The new splinter group authorities say here in the region had a higher level of education and technology skills as opposed to those in the field.

The group has been called the Asian al qaeda 'geek squad' by sources at the Malaysian counter terrorism center which works with other south east Asian governments in combating the spread of terrorism from extremist groups.

A number of high tech bomb making virtual online schools have been traced to Malaysia and the government there has been attempting to counter with mainstream Islamic schools and websites to counter the violent propaganda of the extremists sects in the region.

Authorities in the region are increasingly alarmed over increased recruiting among disgruntled and anti-western younger highly educated Asian Muslims who see the war on terror as a clash of cultures or religion..

These Arrests also marks one of the few times Malaysian authorities have publicly discussed arrests or successes versus groups seen as linked to Jemaah Islamiah and Al Qaeda.

Malaysia's Sipadan resort kidnapping marked the entry of local extremists in the southern Philippines the Abu Sayyaf on the world stage when they kidnapped 22 people from a resort on the island between Malaysia and the Philippines in the Eastern Malaysian portion of Borneo Island.


Malaysia Star - Terror group busted


KOTA KINABALU: A new terrorist group suspected of planning attacks on several neighbouring countries has been Read more »

Uncategorized, news, News and politics, china, war on terror, Democrats, immigration, Filipino, Rants, Raves, Whathaveyou..., protests, border security, al qaeda, abu sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiah

Journalist Killings: Global trend noted ‘Bullets of rebutal” silencing many scribes arcoss the world

Global problem? : Journalist killings on the rise says conference hundreds of reports from all over the globe are showing this alarming condition- while the philippines remains in the top of the list increasingly jounrnalist welfare groups are noting a marked increase in violence versus Journalists ranging from beatings to killings to attacks on media offices in a wave of attacks across the world.

Suspects include crime syndicates, political reprisals, government death squads, rebel groups even tough competition in some places.

" 146 journalists had been killed doing their job last year, 48 in Iraq…." IPI report
While the cases here in the Philippines grab our headlines - with five this year so far- this censorship by gunfire is slowy rising in many places across the globe making journalism in troublespots and countries where the killings happen "a dangerous life" indeed.


Murder 'is the cheapest form of censorship' cotsman, United Kingdom - The conference heard journalists were being targeted in countries such as the Philippines, Colombia and Haiti.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Reports of mass killings and targeted assassinations continue to rise in these wonderful but dangerous islands I call home... The reports continue to raise concerns because of the spiraling level of violence.

Over this weekend since Friday a half dozen have been shot in targeted killings or hits. On Friday until Sunday on all sides... the number of these strange killings has hit seven.

The attacks: normally involve small targeted hit teams of three or four and quick rapid assassination a shout of the organizations name then the killers disappear into the woodwork or streets from whence they came often on motorcycles. One group on the left a moderate leftist organization Bayan Muna has had 95 of its members killed.

But since January- the spiraling killings continue in one report I saw a tally figure of 71 'government workers or employees people in the service of Government' all victims of targeted assassinations by 'hit squads'.

On the other militant sector side the figures range from 97 to 600 depending on whose figures one views - the 600 figure covers a period from 2001 while the 97 figure is from January.

REPORTS: Mass graves claimed, debunked, clarified, and, denounced

[]... THE military has unearthed more atrocities committed by New People’s Army rebels in the countryside, the latest of which were the mass execution of rebels and civilians alike, the recruitment of child warriors and the abduction and rape of a teenager by a rebel commander.....[] Indy Media.be

[]... During a press conference held in Bukidnon, Zubiri said Gonzales is "peddling lies in the national media" concerning the presence of the graves, which supposedly contain the remains of suspected informers of the military killed by New People's Army (NPA) rebels....[] Sun Star

[].... SO WHERE are the mass graves? An Army commander yesterday said there were no mass graves in Bukidnon province as earlier claimed by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales. “We did not use mass graves or killing fields to describe Bukidnon (in the report) but we stand by our statement that there were 21 documented killings over a period of five years,” stressed Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Madrigal, commander of the 26th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division. ....[] INQ7.net

An example of victims from the last 24 hours - a policeman in Jolo shot and killed by members of the ASG it is claimed and a leftist leader - former rebel killed in another part of the country both families are grieving - both men are Filipino-- both are victims of assassins.

[]... Ex-Red leader gunned down
First posted 11:12am (Mla time) May 29, 2006
TABACO CITY -- (2nd UPDATE) A former communist insurgent leader was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne gunmen in in Barangay Tagas here at 8:30 Monday morning, a police official said.
FULL STORY ...[] Inq7.net

[].... Cop killed in another Jolo attack
Sun.Star, Philippines - 11 hours ago
ZAMBOANGA CITY -- A Muslim policeman was shot dead Sunday by an unidentified gunman in the troubled island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, ...[] Sun Star

On the left side of Government and the NGO sector over the weekend there has been reports or claims that three or four members of the Presidents cabinet in the view of the gruops are accused as beng behind alleged 'death squads'.

[].... MANILA -- Military officials said they have taken "appropriate security measures" for four Cabinet officials who are reportedly targets of assassination by a group of "conspirators." ...[]

[]... The leftist organization Bayan Muna on Sunday named three Cabinet officials as the masterminds of the incidents of militant killings in the country. In a radio interview Robert de Ocampo, Bayan Muna deputy secretary-general, said Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita were behind the murders. The three are members of the Cabinet’s security cluster. ....[] Manila times -ABS-CBNNews.com

The Military and Police has increased security around these individuals to make sure the announcement does not draw specific reprisals versus the four mentioned in the press conference of the left wing groups.

It continues to not be seen in these reports the increasing number of individuals killed in a spree of rising violence and how all these killings has overwhelmed investigation teams from Police who are dealing with a rising number of killings also ongoing are criminal and political groups using the entire issue as a cover for the activities that otherwise might just be lumped into the pile of this growing civil war of assassination and hit men.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hunderds of Boys and teenagers kidnapped in Southern Philippines

By Mike Cohen

Manila - Philippine authorities are desperately searching the countryside in the Southern Philippine province of Sultan Kulerat for a large number of children believed to have been stolen by a cult that is allegedly abusing the children en-masse. In what is being called a massive child search and rescue operation the military and police are looking for a cave where scores of children have been brought to be members of the group; a 'shadowy cult police claim in a remote area. The Philippine Government Philippine News Agency reported "Police in Sultan Kudarat have started looking for a cave where hundreds of children were allegedly being held captive by a cult."

Authorities were alerted to the mass kidnappings after a "account by a 14-year-old boy who claimed to have escaped from the cult prompted authorities to search for the cave, possibly located in the mountains near Lutayan town" the remote hinterland province is home also to rebel groups it i unclear if the children are being kidnapped for service in the various armed bands that roam the Philippine countryside. The government run news agency reports;."The cult is believed responsible for the disappearance of children in various places, including South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City". The areas are large communities where a sudden surge of disappearances has accrued.

"The boy, whose identity and address was withheld for security reasons, was brought to the Lutayan police station by residents approached by the child after fleeing from the cult." The State run news agency report said further “Police say that there have been other similar reports of this kind of crime”. adding further the boys escape may shed light on the disappearance of hundreds of other young boys and teenaged men, “He told policemen that he was kidnapped several weeks ago by a group of men. They covered his nose with a substance-laced cloth and he lost consciousness. When he woke up, the boy found himself in a dark cave filled with children, who were also kidnapped."

In Manila at the National Police Headquarters operations center say they fear the cult may be a cover for a mass recruitment by kidnapping of insurgent groups who have done this before on Basilan Island in the Southern Philippines. Four insurgent groups operate in the Southern Philippines ranging from Communist rebels. Two factions of the Islamic separatist movement the MNLF and the MILF but most of these groups do not engage in kidnapping of children as fighters.

The fourth a Al Qaeda linked group of insurgents called the Abu Sayyaf who are allies of the Jemaah Islamiah and Al Qaeda. Are known to kidnap en-mass to “recruit and brainwash’ young men and boys often keeping them for weeks until they join raids or crime spree’s or using them as ‘cannon fodder” between them and government forces.

Authorities say the last time group had been known to kidnap young men and boys was often prior to engaging in large battles. UNESCO & UNCHR have several times in the past condemned the use of child fighters in conflicts in the Philippine insurgency by armed groups in the last few years as the Philippine economy has improved it has become harder for some armed groups to find recruits claim authorities and they have been known to abduct children in a effort in increase their numbers in the field.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

REPORT: Cotabato lab contents revealed - JI planned Holocaust gas attack in buildings

Several years ago a raid took place in a subdivision in Cotabato City, in the raid a small lab uncovered a small clean room - chemicals lab equipment, manuals and microscopes.

The only glimpse people got of this was the exterior of the building, and a few digital pictures of the material seized. The Philippine National police on the record downplayed the laboratory findings - not wanting to alarm people of just how close the people were to making a bio-terror weapon.

The home allegedly was occupied by Taqfiq Rafiqi, a senior JI figure in Mantiki 3 of the Al qeada linked cell. the 'bomb lab' or trainng school for bomb making - is tied to another man - Javee Ofasario - who was charged with violation of section 17 of the UK anti-terrorism laws.


JI planned Holocaust gas attack in buildings

Natalie O'Brien

May 27, 2006

INDONESIAN terrorists planned to attack Western targets by spreading hydrogen cyanide, a deadly gas used during the Holocaust, through the air-conditioning systems of large buildings. ….[]

So now let's lay out the entire thing for you - connect the dots - The house raided was linked to a man being held in Ulster in the UK for wire transfers sent to suspected JI persons - he had a code name - Moroblade.

His role was never really talked about beyond that - another part of the puzzle involves a man arrested in Japan - who owned a cell phone shop outside the Yokohama Naval base. The last piece of the puzzle a local money transfer agent in Cotabato - he was also arrested as well.the connection the house that was raided where this lab had been- it 'belonged' to the money transfer agent - It had allegedly been rented by the man from Ulster - and lastly he had 'guests' staying in the house- 6 men from Indonesia

What sparked authorities to the group was Moroblade had allegedly been sending regular transfers of cash from ulster alerted authorities - but more too - the amounts were reportedly the same as the funds sent to another man in Ulster - by sources tell me the cell phone shop owner in Yokohama… that man was allegedly was a key figure in Al Qaeda's network in Asia. - Well the documents are released many here have been trying to look at and tell the scary facts are that a version of zyklon B was being develop in the small house and subdivision in Cotabato City.

But what intrigues me further is the status of the case of Moroblade- nothing much has been reported on this for some time. trickles and spurts mostly… a very interesting story… it would seem yet another one only here… and there in bits and peices that trickle out of the woodwork.

Perhaps in a day or two more will be told. At least the story is slowly coming out.

May 27th, 2006 Posted by mikeinmanila | Uncategorized, news, News and politics, china, asia, war on terror, war, philippines, Democrats, Filipino, Bush, border security, al qaeda, abu sayyaf, fil-am, filipino-american, Jemaah Islamiah,

Friday, May 26, 2006

"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" -- Napoleon

If you thought Philippine politics is well exciting and a little stressful... look at these cases and issues in the rest of the world

In the UK a parliament member is anything but a gentleman peer to his PM as his words soundly said here would merit a warrant of arrest for inciting rebellion or grave threats.

MP George Galloway... perhaps unknowingly is the best example of the saying
" In politics stupidity is not a handicap." by Napoleon... his most recent quip was to advocate a act of terrorism and justify it versus his own had of state. In a word the MP committed Treason.
I wont even dignify the comment - but an excerpt from the Article is below:

[]... Mr Blair's decision to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Ten thousand Osama bin Ladens have been created at least by the events of the last two years," he told MPs in the Commons that day. ...[]

But Iraq and Afghanistan are major problems for B-1 & B-2 as Bush and Blair are being called of late like the Banana's in Pajama's these two seem to be slowly coming to realize Wars do need to end at some point but the problem with that is it is often easy to get into these things and hard to get out of them.

Meanwhile the scandals of local political accusations of corruption are no match right now for the US Congress and FBI war that is brewing in Washington DC. President Bush has had to step in

Washington is awash in every kind of scandal of late - this latest one seems to be shocker that has many people up in arms over a search by the FBI in the Rayburn building. I wonder what the next FBI Budget hearing will be like - some are calling for a sweeping review of many functions of the agency and other Federal offices and Prosecutors that have become almost Governments unto and of themselves- at least that’s what some congressmen are saying....

The White House has problems of its own as it is being seen as the instigator of the breech of constitutional separation of powers.

Then there's Lean Arragoncillo's old boss- Dick Cheney...

[] ... If a prosecutor calls him as a witness, Vice President Dick Cheney probably can't avoid testifying in his former chief of staff's perjury trial, legal experts said Thursday. "There may be significant issues of executive privilege and significant issues of classified information. But there are obviously significant factual issues that bear on the charges the prosecutor has brought" in the CIA leak investigation, said former federal prosecutor E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. ...[]

Now how come prosecutors never called the two former VEEPS and Condi Rice in to testify in the case of Aragoncillo - in his application to the FBI - per family members statements the three were character references on his FBI application as a analyst!

I was asked in a blog comments section why don’t you do more reporting on all the stuff happening here in Manila- by international standards with a few exceptions - the antics of the big powers political figures seem to dwarf anything happening here.
So by global standards a lot is happening overseas that makes people kind of focused on the issues there in UK and the USA.

Lets just hope the situation doesn't change overnight and the scene here doesn't top whats going on in London or Washington. As much as I need the work... the mess they are in there tops anything happening here.

Bird Flu: second case of ‘human cluster’ to human transmission reported in Indonesia

Avian influenza – situation in Indonesia – update 14
[]…. The Ministry of Health in Indonesia has confirmed an additional case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The case occurred in a 32-year-old man. He developed symptoms on 15 May and died on 22 May.

The case is part of a family cluster in the Kubu Sembelang village, Karo District, of North Sumatra. The man is the seventh member of an extended family to become infected with the H5N1 virus and the sixth to die. An additional person, who was the first member of the family to fall ill, died of respiratory disease on 4 May. No specimens were taken prior to her burial and the cause of her death cannot be determined. However, as her clinical course was compatible with H5N1 infection, epidemiologists at the outbreak site include this woman as the initial case in the cluster…." []
[]… JAKARTA, May 26 (PNA/Antara) - Two people from one family, who died earlier this week in West Java province, have been tested positive to bird flu virus by a local lab, the Indonesian Health Ministry said here on Thursday. …[]

"They are brother and sister, both are positively infected,"Director of Health and Environmental Health of the Ministry I Nyoman Kandun Kandun.

RP police officer wounded in E. Timor violence

East Timor Violence; Military rebels and government loyalists in the Military clashing over pay scales and allegations of discrimination in East Timor continues... But over all the entry of Australian peacekeepers and regional troops to the area has made the country a hot spot anew.

RP police officer wounded in E. Timor violence

[]... A Filipino police officer serving with the United Nations mission in Timor-Leste was among those wounded in the latest violence in the troubled country that left as many as nine policemen dead and at least 27 others, including another UN police officer injured, the Philippine Mission to the UN reported on Wednesday evening.... []

Thursday, May 25, 2006

REPORT:”Arrest in Palawan Broadcasters killing solves Batul case”:PNP

The quote above is from a lot of the headlines ciculating in the Tabloids I saw in the afternoon here in Manila all say the same screaming headline. ‘Cop caught case solved most in Tagalog afternoon newspapers quoting the statements from Palawan and camp crame… ‘

The alleged suspect a alleged ‘rogue poiliceman’ has been blamed for a number of other things in Palawan when he was assigned there. Two others still remain at large. The case being ’solved’ though? may be thats a little premature to declare as always other views seem to be out there - but - noting the universal outrage and anger it makes sence that one small group out of revenge could be the culprit, in Palawan this kind of violence is rare nowadays.

reports below:

[]… 10:52 AM » Suspect in Palawan journalist’s slay arrested gmanews.tv…[]
[]… PNP: Suspect’s arrest solves Batul slay case
The Philippine National Police on Thursday said the murder of Palawan broadcaster Fernando Batul has been solved following the arrest of a policeman named primary suspect in the slay.
abs-cbnNEWS.com (5/25/2006 2:47:47 PM) …[]

May 25th, 2006 Posted by mikeinmanila | Uncategorized, News and politics, asia, war on terror, terrorism, war, philippines, Filipino, Rants, Raves, Whathaveyou..., freedom of speech, protests, border security, free speech, Palawan, fil-am, filipino-american |

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wire agencies are carrying a story that seems to be the first statement of fugitive former senator Gregorio Honasan...
Gringo: I will not surrender

Former senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan said Thursday he would never surrender and called on the public to join his struggle....

Batul killing in Palawan

I was doing some research on the latest killing of a Journalist here in the Philippines and noted a lot of people had been linking to my post on Dong Batul, my infdormation on him is dated by a number of years since we were both in College at Palawan State University, Bandillo ng Palawan; has perhaps a better perspective since Yasmin and her staff are there on the ground in Palawan.

Until I myself arrive there this is a much better source of information....


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Philippines top counter terror Cop ties up with UK Metro Police

Philippine Police Counter Terrorism expert Gen. Avelino Razon; is headed to London for a week to work with two other senior officers - and his UK counterparts in developing common tactics and sharing of information in the fight versus terrorism and continued skills training in counter crime techniques.

The cross training will show I hope that the British will also have a lot to learn as well;

landings 7/7 terror bombings and the series of bombings here are linked experts in Singapore and Malaysia say as the same bomb maker who taught JI trainers in bomb making techniques in both Indonesia and the Philippines also provided designs for the London weapons.

Much of the information was gathered in the post-mortem investigations based on computer downloads and file sharing traced to two of the suicide bombers computers and travel history of one of the London attackers who has visited the Southern Philippines and Eastern Indonesia.

Mohammed Sidique Khan; .... alleged to have to have met a terrorist called Hambali in 2001 after traveling to Malaysia. The allegation comes from an interview by Rohan Gunaratna, an academic researcher, with a man in custody in Indonesia on suspicion of being linked to a terrorist bombing. The detainee reportedly said he took Mohammed Sidique Khan to meet and train with leaders from the extremist Islamist group Jemaah Islamiah which is linked to al-Qaida in the Far East. - http://www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/0,,1600825,00.html

The timing also of 7/7 attacks by groups tied to Al Qaeda is something that needs to be looked into more closely - "In July 2005, 37 people were killed while 700 others were injured after a series of explosions rocked the London transportation network."

Now at around the same time two similar bomb plots were foiled in the Philippines when a alert police raid seized bomb making gear and backpack bombs similar to those used in London and Madrid.

' In February 2005, eight people were killed while dozens were injured after simultaneous

bomb blasts rocked the cities of Makati, Davao, and General Santos."

Here two of the devices used matched weapons found in the trunk of Khan and another suicide bomber.

Looking at the images online they seem to easily resemble the bombs used by Dynamite fishermen in the southern Philippines and Indonesia. Packed tightly in bottles those devices were not used - or failed to detonate.

Weapons not used but found intact that bore design signatures of Jemaah Islamiah al qaeda's asian wing.

"A year before, over a hundred were killed after a bomb went off inside a passenger ferry off Manila Bay." -

the attack neatly coincided with two bombings in Pakistan and small attack in India and another set of bombing cases in Madrid Spain.

Sources close to both UK and Philippine intelligence both say Europe and Asia's- al qaeda factions seems to be reaching out to Asia more and more.

Early discoveries in 2002 after a raid on a home in Ulster resulted in the breakup of a cell of money forwarders believed to have ties to small Biological warfare and bomb testing and trains center test lab found in cotabato city and a cell phone shop in Japan outside the Yokahama US Naval base.

Now newer intelligence seems to lead investigators to more skill and technology transfers between the loose groups, while so far vigilance has kept so far both regions out of the attack cycle with most of the groups efforts focused in Iraq.

Philippine, UK, and Indonesian police intelligence and cooperation sharing is needed to prevent future attacks. Gen. Razon, who headed a team that tracked down and arrested convicted world trade center bomber Ramzi Youssef and gathered the first working intelligence on Al Qaeda is seen as perhaps one of the foremost authorities - whose 1996 warning in testimony in court of a 9-11 like plot was laughed off by the US (White House, CIA, and, FBI) counter terrorism officials Razon, has a habit of being ahead of the curve.

I hope the British listen well to him - America ignored a lot of his advice - including warnings about specific 9-11 like plots - his office issued 'alerts' to US authorities in 1996,1997,1998 and in 2000 about the hi-jacking based plots.

He and his team are perhaps part of a handful of people who foretold of many attacks and was ignored - the latest warnings raised by his old unit are alarming to say the least.

that will be the subject of a future blog.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Fernando ‘Dong’ Batul:Broadcaster killed by gunmen

I have been writing about this topic so much on my blog; now one of the victims is someone I know - Dong Batul was killed reports say at around six in the morning by motorcycle ridding gunmen in Puerto Princesa City.

I heard about it when my mother woke me up to watch NBN4 the government TV stations morning show and Mayor Hagedorn was on the air talking about the 'incident'. 'incident' - what a word to use - is that the best word to use when a friend from your college days is killed- perhaps I should say - when this senseless brutal vicious killing took place in the perhaps most peaceful city in the Philippines.

Dong was a hard hitting radio commentator, he took them all on, the Military, the political groups, the political leaders, the corrupt members of the business community, the people who could not speak out took dong to heart for his ability to say things others would not say- Dong was honest to a centavo when we were all on the PSU student council. He went into various things- politics among them. He later joined GMA SuperRadio and the Palawan Broadcasting Corporations DYPR. He was very popular - well liked.

After college I left Palawan and moved on to Manila's world of Broadcasting. I only met Dong a few times of that public events; he was deeply into his radio show.

I do not want to speculate as to suspects or motives- a week or so ago i wrote about Dong in my blog- he was the subject of a media alert issued by a group that has been monitoring the violence and threats versus Writers in print and as well as radio and television broadcasters. He worked for DYPR; a AM radio station in Palawan. I worked there also years ago - we often got threats- but this is the first time anyone ever carried one of them out.
I want to extend my condolences to his family… I want to say so many things about what I really feel but cant find the words right now. There are a lot of puzzling questions as to who could do such a crime. It makes me wonder about how safe my old hometown is;

It makes me wonder who would be seen as responsible. Who could have done this - I do remember I write the last time in my blog how unsettling it was to see the reports on Mr. Batul; Dong, the need to look into the political as well as other possible groups who may be doing this.

I also wonder if this is localized? Or part of this nationwide wave of killings of those who speak out raise their voices and talk about the things some do not want heard. I can't but help to consider taking down my old post on Dong; out of respect.

And admission that the event that happened at his home where two live hand grenades found by him and his sister are obviously linked to this incident. Dong is in my prayers and so is his family. He was a friend in college albeit later in life our views often were on different levels or points of view I always respected his right to speak about what his views were. Even though we were not so close in the last few years, I will miss him as I am sure most of my fellow palaweno’s will too. The one thing you could count on with Dong was he would speak out agianst things that others would not.

May 22nd, 2006 Posted by mikeinmanila | Uncategorized, news, News and politics, News Of China, asia, war on terror, terrorism, Rants, Raves, Whathaveyou..., war, Filipino, freedom of speech, philippines, protests, border security, free speech, Palawan, filipino-american

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Bonifacio 8

Navy Commodore Pio Garrido, Brig. Gen. Eduardo Cabanlig and Lt. Gen. Edgardo Espinosa.
along with Commodores Eduardo Tolentino and Alberto Orevillo; and retired Navy Captains Walter Briones and Flor Antonio Paginag as well as another retired Naval flag officer are holdouts in the Fort bonifacio Naval Base Officer Housing.
Seeking legal redress for grievances they petitioned a court for a restraining order to prevent their eviction from properties that - if the Bureau of lands records is to be believed may or not belong actually to the Philippine Navy.
A good questioned raised by these gentlemen is what out the 80 or so other flag officers who for some reason have homes in what was once the Army side of the base.
however this is a mater for the courts and also wieghing on 1100 officers and men the 8 or so homes in the area couldc easily be built up for high rise hosuing that could take half that number easily.
But, I still feel for the 8 officers; I know most of them having covered them in the past. It would have been a tough story to cover... I know what its like to lose land to the Military as it were.
My mothers small property in Palawan was taken away for at first the stables of a then popular commodores hourses after Martail Law.
Then it was used to house the Vietnamese Refugee center or VRC - our little beach lot was supposed to have been her retirement home site - even if the Vietnamese have left - WESCOM and the Philippine Air Force never quite settled this... but comfort to us is thousands of people from Vietnam were able to have shelter for the decade or so the camp was in operation.
6 of the eight officers were at WESCOM or the Naval base in Palawan Navfourwest; amazing really the coincidence today is the day some almost thirty years ago they fenced off the peoperties there.
Some were returned others compnsated for, but, still so ironic looking over some papers I found.
Philippine Death Squads: Government & Rebels both point fingers

It has many on the sidelines puzzled who is really behind the wave of killings hiting the Philippine countryside and cities. At present some groiups seeing the reports from UNHCR and others are pressing the US, EU, and Australia to stop military aid until the situation improves. Three years ago the first international reports came out citing the increasing levels of vioence. The report however focuses more on the plight of children and concern over the welfare of those orphaned in the growing conflict and return of a more violent insurgency.

They UNHCR in 2003 did note a "State reforms" but, " lack of appropriate measures to investigate crimes allegedly committed by state security forces and agents"

" Positive aspects "

1. The Committee appreciates the progress made by the State party to reform its domestic legal order to comply with its commitments under the Covenant. It welcomes, among other actions, the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Covenant in August 1989. The Committee considers that the process of reform should be accelerated and strengthened.
2. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the State party has facilitated international assistance in relation to education and training on the protection of human rights.

" Principal subjects of concern and recommendations "
" The Committee is concerned about the lack of appropriate measures to investigate crimes allegedly committed by state security forces and agents, in particular those committed against human rights defenders, journalists and leaders of indigenous peoples, and the lack of measures taken to prosecute and punish the perpetrators. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at reports of intimidation and threats of retaliation impeding the right to an effective remedy for persons whose rights and freedoms have been violated. "

" The State party should adopt legislative and other measures to prevent such violations, in keeping with articles 2, 6 and 9 of the Covenant, and ensure effective enforcement of the legislation. "

But the recent level of violence is seen not only as a Government issue - the cycle of violence has grown to a level that is alarming.

On one side the Government points to mass graves and claims a purge versus their effective infilltraition of rebel groups has proof of rebel killings of leaders who are becoming mainstream or shying away from armed fighting.

PURGE: "Rebels are killing off their own"

" Palparan…. claimed the killings were part of another round of a bloody purge in the Communist Party of the Philippines and its allied organizations. " adding " This is Operation Missing Link Part two,” Palparan said. The first part, known then as Kampanyang Ahos, happened in the 1980s, mostly in the Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions." he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

But this is something the Rebel movement denies; claiming it is only a cover story…

The National Democratic Front (NDF) deny a purge within the NPA.
“The government’s false allegation of a purge within the revolutionary movement is meant to further justify more extrajudicial killings,” Luis Jalandoni, the NDF chairman of peace negotiating panel, said in a statement. Jalandoni said the allegations of a purge are part of a propaganda campaign launched by the military.

"The preposterous claim of a purge within the revolutionary movement has long been exposed as a lie by the thinly veiled and arrogant boasts of [Maj. Gen. Jovito] Palparan,” - Manila Times

Maj. Gen. Jovito Parlpalan is the focus of the rebel leaders reactions after he revealed the new discoveries of mass graves and alleged new plot to purge rebel ranks.

Parlpalan has taken pains to secure sites recovered and brought government forensic teams as well as intenrational Human rights groups to the sites of "Mass Graves" his troops have uncovered in the Countryside. Media groups have also focused in the Philippines their attention on Gen. Parlpalan.

Someone - is killing militant leaders that is clear Bulatlat.com reports the figure is up to 97 members of organizations killed on the left of the spectrum of Philippine Politics. It also reports that 3 have been killed and others wounded in the last three days.

" … 97th victim either of killing or involuntary disappearance in Central Luzon since 2005.

Last year, 52 members or leaders of Bayan in the region were killed and seven were abducted and remained missing. Since January of this year, 26 have been killed while 13 were abducted… "

Meanwhile a press release say a "independant group" will carry out its investigation into the both the death squad reports and mass graves and killings. The commision is planning to look into various reports - but both sides the Military and the leftist groups seem so intent at pointing a finger at each other that one wonders if there will be a clear result to this.

Reports like this one however continue to puzzle me… 40 or more bodies none of whem are listed on the cause oriented groups list of people killed. Read more »

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

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Monday, May 15, 2006

The dangerous life is back...

Terror from all sides: Mass Graves reported; Purge w/in NPA ranks claims Military, Gov’t - while left claims 93 militants killed by right wing death squads.

Last Friday I put up a post after getting two calls and couple of text messages from Mindanao. Another call came from Tarlac,

Today the first media reports on 'mass grave s' having been found one containing as many as 20 murdered victims, 20 victims, nothing reported in the so called mainstream press or television; Why? good question, perhaps because so many killings are taking place 93 militants, I can't even remember how many people anymore in my profession, journalism in the last two years.

This discovery came after a couple of text messages and emails, the CDO mass grave contained a number of victims; in media we know about this occurring the late and mid 1980's BUT these graves contents I am told were New.

The grave(s) alleged the caller were victims of a left wing purge inside the leftist movement, or, so the first caller claimed - a report today in the Philippine Star - said that the Armed forces according to national security advisor Norberto Gonzales had recovered a series of small graves and that Police and the NBI were investigating;

That a NBI medico Legal teams was on site; the findings showed the contents to have been from the last few months. On the other hand I am sure there is always a possibility of some extent of truth to the Military's reports. But, with all the other killings many in broad daylight the tactics of 'right wing' militia like attacks. One wonders just how many more sites are out there awaiting discovery from too many factions within armed groups to mention.

The discovery also is coming on heels of 93 deaths of leftist group members in the country shows a pattern of a 'dark side' of insurgency is rising to the surface.

Of assassination teams on the right and left some perhaps also might group in those of the middle or Vigilante groups- adding all those numbers and bodies and you get a figure of over 600 victims in the last three years more or less.

Groups it seems are 'taking out' opponents with impunity. Add to this the specter of reports I had received last year of new "sparrow type" and 'eagle squad' units being trained by all sides and factions from rebel groups to militia units and a specter of a new wave of violence is coming to fold.

So far, the opposing death squads seem to be focusing on people within the organizations on both sides - so Military, Media, and, Police reports claim. On wonders when the squads will go after more visible targets, so far the units have been acting on localized vendettas and attacks, there is no clear pattern investigators say; But so far little of this is being pulled together.

Lets take the last week alone- a pastor and his wife were gunned down in Misamais oriental he had ties to a labor group, a 6 members of leftist 'peoples' groups killed, these new graves discovered with some fifty bodies, 5 more reports in rural areas of killings and shootings, a mayor almost hit south of manila in Laguna.

One thing is clear - there is a growth industry - in death by gunfire this month. Most of it out of public view, all of it on top of insurgency related clashes and attacks, then don't forget the other insurgency in Mindanao. The violence is growing; lets hope as is traditional the rainy season cools off the killings. Even though the rains themselves bring death from floods and landslides and ships sinking - the purges, death squads, and vigilantes show clearly that; 'The dangerous life' is back in the Philippines anew.

May 15th, 2006 Posted by mikeinmanila | Uncategorized, news, News and politics, asia, war on terror, Views, philippines, immigration, Filipino, Bush, Rants, Raves, Whathaveyou..., al qaeda, abu sayyaf, filipino-american

Da Vinci code'ban' talk- movie pirates expect big profits

Manila: Da Vinci code ‘a hit’ among film pirates…

Just a story I did for European paper I write for…

By Mike Cohen

Manila - At the stores and street vendor stalls that do a brisk trade in pirated DVD's in the Capital city of Manila 'Da Vinci Code' movie based on Dan Brown's best selling book is the top seller amidst talkof a ban on the Movie being shown in the Philippines.
Even though the film is not yet officially released here yet, the movie premiere date for
commercial showing is five days from Sunday; a week away. But the copies smuggled in To the country in large numbers are reproduced in bulk. "Business is booming! I hope they do ban it!" a vendor told this writer.

"Filipinos are hard headed," Andy Mussof, a stall owner told the mirror, "You tell them the government does not want you to see this film, they will buy two copies each just give a neighbor!" Mussof smiles as he walks about a shopping center in suburban San Juan.

From Cabanatuan City in central Luzon to Butuan City Southern Mindanao one pirated film is beating all comers local newspapers say people are flocking to buy copies ever since the catholic church began a campaign against the movie.

"DVD! DVD! DIVD sir? Da Vinci code?", Santi calls out to customers in the area where the pirated copies are sold, he's a street vendor asks all comers in the street market that is in the downtown Manila Quipo. District, nervously wary of outsiders and raiding teams that harass the mostly Muslim vendors of the district, he says "Today we sold may fifty copies, its a big seller."

While officials of the government muse over the idea of if the film will be allowed in theaters, the stall owners and small shop keepers who do a highly illegal but brisk business say buying the film is almost a form of protest versus the highly unpopular Arroyo Government.

“,1] ); //–>DVD sales and pirated movies sold on the sly mostly in fear of government crackdowns still abound as in most major cities in the Philippines where cheap copies of movies shot by people using small Video cameras in US, Asian, or, European theaters are often smuggled into the country and reproduced in mass recopying machines of backroom shops that can churn out 500 copies an hour.

The Philippine Star reports "Movie pirates in Metro Manila, however, expect to rake in the profits if the movie is banned." while the Manila Times in an editorial called the governments bowing to some church groups led by the Catholic Opus Day Movement's letter and email campaign versus the movie says in way "Dan Brown" ought to be paying the church royalties! they have made his book and pirated copies of the movie a certified best seller. Dan Mariano wrote in his column.
Devoutly Catholic and deeply religious the Philippines often seen as a "Second Vatican" by many in the Church with over 80% of the country's 81 Million people Roman Catholics. "One must remember Jose Rizal our national hero, he wrote a book versus church abuse his book was banned they even shot him, but to this day he is our best loved Filipino because he stood up to the church." Mussof, said.

The movie is not due for release in theaters till next week - so far Government has backed down from talk of a ban but may limit the number of copies or raise the ticket tax on the film. Some communities are expected to go to theater owners and appeal to them not to show the films as form of protest.

Meanwhile other groups are planning to show another fast tracked documentary on television called "the Jessus code", showing a church backed counter 'Da Vinci code" dcoumentary that exposes groups ought to do harm to the church and growing persecution of christians in hollywood films and by governments bent the orgranization clamims on destroying faith based groups in Europes and the USA.

May 15th, 2006 Posted by mikeinmanila | Uncategorized, news, News and politics, News Of China, china, asia, terrorism, Views, war, immigration, Filipino, Bush, Rants, Raves, Whathaveyou..., freedom of speech, protests, republican, border security, free speech, al qaeda, war on teror, fil-am, filipino-american