Thursday, April 30, 2009

Philippines Needs Whistleblower Protection Laws

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's presidency is characterized by the destructive struggle between Executive Privilege of the President and the Powers of Inquiry and Oversight of the Congress. Ruling on the challenge to Executive Order  No. 464 in Senate v. Ermita the Supreme Court unanimously established and clarified the nature, scope, coverage and application of the Principle of Executive Privilege, an implied power of the Chief Executive under the Constitution.  In comparison the Powers of Inquiry and Oversight of the Congress are explicit, enumerated powers, duties and functions that in a plain reading of the text of the Constitution, needs little if any construction by the SCoRP.

In 1909 then U.S. President and former Governor General of the Philippine Islands, William Howard Taft issued an Executive Order (reminiscent of PGMA's own infamous EO464) which prohibited all U.S. civil service employees from communicating directly with Congress without his permission:
President Taft: "It is hereby ordered that no bureau, office, or division chief, or subordinate in any department of the Government, and no officer of the Army or Navy or Marine Corps stationed in Washington, shall apply to either House of Congress, or to any committee of either House of Congress, or to any Member of Congress, for legislation, or for appropriations, or for congressional action of any kind, except with the consent and knowledge of the head of the department; nor shall any such person respond to any request for information from either House of Congress, or any committee of either House of Congress, or any Member of Congress, except through, or as authorized by, the head of his department."

But in 1912, the U.S. Congress responded with specific laws that bolstered the Congressional Power of Inquiry against such assertions of executive privilege with the 1912 Anti-Gag Law and Whistleblower Protection Laws (PDF) which mandated that "The right of any persons employed in the civil service . . . to petition Congress, or any Member thereof, or to furnish information to either House of Congress, or to any committee or member thereof, shall not be denied or interfered with.”

In the United States Congressional Oversight Manual it states that,
A traditional method of exercising the oversight function, an implied power, is through investigations and inquiries into executive branch operations. Legislators often seek to know how effectively and efficiently programs are working, how well agency officials are responding to legislative directives, and how the public perceives the programs. The investigatory method helps to ensure a more responsible bureaucracy, while supplying Congress with information needed to formulate new legislation.

Amazingly, just like the implied Power of Oversight of Congress, the Executive Privilege of the President is apparently also an implied power under the grander principle of the Separation of Powers in a tripartite government. Neither the US nor Philippine Constitutions even contains the term "executive privilege" --

EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE: A Missing Clause in the US Constitution? Presidents have claimed the power to withhold information from the courts and Congress, but no clause of the Constitution speaks of such a power, and questions regarding this are contentious and undetermined. The Supreme Court has ruled that presidential communications are protected by a privilege that is "fundamental to the operation of government and inextricably rooted in the separation of powers under the Constitution."

Of course, the SCOTUS has decided many cases involving a conflict between Executive Privilege and the right of the Courts to that privileged information if it is evidence in criminal prosecutions of executive department officials, as happened in the celebrated 1974 case United States v. Nixon. However, although there are allegations of criminal wrongdoing in the ZTE NBN deal, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is clearly not a Court of law and there is no criminal proceeding there in which his testimony is required as evidence. This could be used to argue that US v. Nixon does not apply exactly to Neri v. Senate. But how DOES it apply, if it does at all?

Last year, during the hearings into cases filed against FG Mike Arroyo and resigned Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos, the Ombudsman panel decided to secure official transcripts of the various Senate hearings, thus taking judicial notice of those hearings, at which testimonies were after all rendered under oath. Clearly the Senate hearings have already gathered and produced information that potentially is material and relevant to a criminal proceeding. Indeed, it would not be the first time that an inquiry of the Congress has produced criminal prosecutions as well as evidence.

But U.S. v. Nixon was a case of conflict between the Executive and the Judiciary. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has never decided a case in which the Principle of Executive Privilege of the President is directly pitted against the Powers of Inquiry and Oversight of the Congress--which is precisely the awesome task that now faces the Philippine Supreme Court. in the coming landmark Supreme Court decision, ROMULO NERI v. SENATE of the PHILIPPINES.

There is one parallelism that is significant. Although in the United States the Power of Inquiry and Oversight into Executive branch operations is an implied power, in the 1987 Philippine Constitution it has the force of a full and uncontroverted Constitutional provision empowering not only House and Senate but their Committees:

1987 Article Six Section 21: The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in, or affected by, such inquiries shall be respected.

Moreover, it seems to me there is also basis for whistleblower laws in the related provision:

1987 Article Six Section 22: The heads of departments may, upon their own initiative, with the consent of the President, or upon the request of either House, as the rules of each House shall provide, appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments. Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least three days before their scheduled appearance. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover matters related thereto. When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session.

To make the English Compositional structure of the above provision clear, let me print it like this to make it clear why the Congress could easily pass a Whistleblower Protection Act,
"The heads of departments may,

[1] upon their own initiative,
[2] with the consent of the President, OR
[3] upon the request of either House,

as the rules of each House shall provide, appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments."

In Senate v. Ermita and EO 464 above provision plays a central role, but not as the Constitutional basis for whistleblower protection as I am now suggesting.

In the scales of the Balance of Justice in the case of Romulo Neri are the implied power of Executive Privilege to withhold information from the Judiciary and Congress as against the enumerated power of inquiry of the Congress.

Continuing along this fundamentalist vein, intelligent Filipinos ought to be inquiring further now into the Constitutional basis of such power of inquiry, which does not exist for Executive Privilege except by implication.

There is a simple explanation why SCOTUS has never faced a case like Neri v. Senate. It is simply the historical fact that the US Presidents have steered clear of using executive privilege against the Congress. Part of the reason is that the US Constitution actually grants the Congress broad powers, explicit and implicit, to elicit information from all departments of the government in aid of legislation and oversight of administration--which is the entire process of making and remaking the laws.
1. The power of the purse.

2. The power to organize the executive branch.

3. The power to make all laws for “carrying into Execution” Congress’s own enumerated powers as well as those of the executive.

4. The power to confirm officers of the United States.

5. The power of investigation and inquiry.

6. Impeachment and removal. Impeachment provides Congress with a powerful, ultimate oversight tool to investigate alleged executive and judicial misbehavior, and to eliminate such misbehavior through the convictions and removal from office of the offending individuals.

For me, the overall picture that emerges is that the specific power of inquiry to conduct investigations in aid of legislation is part and parcel of almost anything the Congress does. Without the Power of Inquiry, the Congress cannot accomplish its duty to wisely make AND remake the laws.

The fulcrum  issue for the Philippine Supreme Court's delicate balancing act in the forthcoming historic decision, Neri v. Senate, could be framed as follows:

If the Prayer of Romulo Neri to prohibit the Senate from arresting him for contempt is granted, how would it affect the ability of the Congress and the President to do their respective duties?

The power of inquiry is actually part of a large and interconnected set of powers all related to the Right of Congress to information to do its job of making and remaking all the laws of the land. This suggests to me that in fact, the Power of Inquiry IS the institutionalization of the Public's Right to Know. Press Freedom, which is the power of inquiry of organized commercial journalism, is also based on the Public's Right to Know. But in Congress, the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth is required of all statements under oath or affirmation. That stringent requirement does not exist for the Free Press, which is allowed to sell not only the "truth" but also entertainment.

Thus, I would say that if the Supreme Court hold Press Freedom in the highest regard, it cannot but hold the Congress' Powers of Inquiry and Right to Information in aid of legislation to be at an even higher level of priority.

Finally, the vast enumerated powers of inquiry and oversight of the Congress represents the power of the entire Filipino people to know the truth so they can make and remake the laws for their own benefit and interest. This is to be balanced against the weight of Executive Privilege which belongs strictly speaking to exactly ONE PERSON only.

Explaining W.H.O. Pandemic Alert Levels

The World Health Organization defines the six stages of its pandemic alert system:
In nature, influenza viruses circulate continuously among animals, especially birds. Even though such viruses might theoretically develop into pandemic viruses, in Phase 1 no viruses circulating among animals have been reported to cause infections in humans.

In Phase 2 an animal influenza virus circulating among domesticated or wild animals is known to have caused infection in humans, and is therefore considered a potential pandemic threat.

In Phase 3, an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus has caused sporadic cases or small clusters of disease in people, but has not resulted in human-to-human transmission sufficient to sustain community-level outbreaks. Limited human-to-human transmission may occur under some circumstances, for example, when there is close contact between an infected person and an unprotected caregiver. However, limited transmission under such restricted circumstances does not indicate that the virus has gained the level of transmissibility among humans necessary to cause a pandemic.

Phase 4 is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Any country that suspects or has verified such an event should urgently consult with WHO so that the situation can be jointly assessed and a decision made by the affected country if implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion.

Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.

Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.

During the post-peak period, pandemic disease levels in most countries with adequate surveillance will have dropped below peak observed levels. The post-peak period signifies that pandemic activity appears to be decreasing; however, it is uncertain if additional waves will occur and countries will need to be prepared for a second wave.

Previous pandemics have been characterized by waves of activity spread over months. Once the level of disease activity drops, a critical communications task will be to balance this information with the possibility of another wave. Pandemic waves can be separated by months and an immediate “at-ease” signal may be premature.

In the post-pandemic period, influenza disease activity will have returned to levels normally seen for seasonal influenza. It is expected that the pandemic virus will behave as a seasonal influenza A virus. At this stage, it is important to maintain surveillance and update pandemic preparedness and response plans accordingly. An intensive phase of recovery and evaluation may be required.

Monday, April 27, 2009

For the Record: the Subic Rape Case Decision

The Court of Appeals Decision in the Subic Bay Rape Case   has kindly been supplied to me by Atty. Joan de Venecia and I have uploaded it in PDF format to the Internet Archive for safekeeping and historical purposes.  The Accused-Appellant's  appeal of the Pozon ruling of "guilty" is also here. The 71-page decision acquitting the accused appellant  was penned by Associate Justice Monina Arevalo Zenarosa and concurred in by Associate Justices Remedios S. Fernando and Myrna Dimaranan Vidal -- all Lady Justices of the Court of Appeals who have recently been unfairly attacked and maligned by bloggers who indubitably had NOT read this decision,

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Consoling the Lynch Mob

The only real consolation I can offer to the Lynch Mob is the news that the US Military may court martial Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, probably for causing so much trouble between two old allies and giving the Lynch Mob such a golden opportunity for propaganda.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

US Serviceman Acquitted by Philippine Court in Subic Bay Rape Case

(Manila, Philippines) -- ABSCBN News reports the Court of Appeals has acquitted US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith in the controversial Subic Bay Rape Case and has been ordered released immediately.  It will be recalled that his accuser, Ms. Suzette Nicolas y Sombillon recently issued an affidavit recanting testimony that most likely led to his conviction by the Makati Regional Trial Court in December 2006, saying she was no longer sure that the rape had indeed occurred.  Ms. Nicolas has reportedly married and is presently residing in the United States.   The prosecution of the case and the conduct of the trial was marred by the highly politicized atmosphere surrounding it, with leftist lynch mobs and knee jerk nationalists confounding a possible crime of passion and self-control involving two persons with calls for the abrogation of long standing treaties and agreements between the two countries, such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty. 

Much has been revealed about the psyche and ethics of various social and political forces and actors in Philippine society as a result of the case. Much deserves reflection.  I am proud and happy to provide a set of links to much of what I have written and said in public about this case. 

Related Articles on the Subic Bay Rape Case:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Supreme Court Rules on Party List System

In a tectonic en banc decision, -- "immediately executory" --  the Supreme Court of the Philippines (SCoRP) has promulgated Banat v. Comelec -- a Decision that will force a major increase in the number of Party List Representatives  actually seated in the House of Representatives of the 14th Congress from 17 to 55.   In addition to the present 220 District Congressmen there will now be 55 Party List Reps instead of 17 for a grand total of 275 Members of the House of Representatives.  

The numerical implications for chacha are these. Since there are now 275 Members of the Lower House and 24 Members of the Upper House, there are 299 Members of the Congress. Three fourths of 299 is 224.25.  This means that 225 is now the magic number by which Nograles, Villafuerte et al hope to trigger a "justiciable case" that can again be decided by SCoRP later this year and in time to discombobulate the 2010 elections.

I am not familiar with the profile of the 48 new Congress members that SCoRP is judicially installing in Congress, nor am I privy to the arithmetic of Villafuerte's listahan in a purported resolution to convene Congress into a Constituent Assembly.  But at the moment that the button was pushed for SCoRP to so peremptorily and heavy-handedly tell Congress and Comelec how to discharge their duties and exercise their discretion, I wager that the chacha supporters in the Lower House, even now, do not have the 196 votes required to ignite the so called justiciable case by producing a Con-Ass House Resolution with the required three fourths of all the present 220+17+24=261 Members of the Congress. Of wide interest today is: what percentage of the 48 new Party List Members of the Lower House need to be pro-chacha for House Speaker Nograles and Rep. Luis Villafuerte to create their much sought after "justiciable issue."?  

An interesting aspect of  Banat v. Comelec is how it deals with the following 1987 Constitutional provisions:
Article VI Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.
In the present ruling, SCoRP applies the formula twenty percent formula given in its earlier ruling Veterans v. Comelec and states that, 
This formula allows for the corresponding increase in the number of seats available for party-list representatives whenever a legislative district is created by law.
SCoRP in effect declares that the increase in the maximum number of Members of the Lower House is automatic or implied, whenever Congress creates a new Legislative District.  In other words, that the Congress does not in fact have to pass a separate law explicitly changing the 250 Member ceiling found in the Constitution.  Every time five new Congressional Districts are created because of population growth,  we are now to assume that one new Lower House seat has been created as well and made available to the Party List System.

As Manuel L. Quezon notes in a Facebook posting, the renowned Blogger, Mong Palatino, has made history  as the first Blogger ever to become a Member of the Lower House courtesy of the SCoRP ruling, (although surely not the First Leftist.)   This is a most welcome development since the tribes of the Bloggers and the Congressmen are bound to  both be improved thereby! 

I have only just now read through the SCoRP ruling (skipping much that may be important to a compleat understanding of its import and consequences.)  But I get the general impression of a Heavy Hand on Congress and Comelec and possibly a Grave Abuse of Discretion by SCoRP in this ruling.  It is replete also with arithmetic formulas and mathematical principles that will undergo fine examination in the weeks and months ahead.  There better not be any outright innumeracies, logical and mathematical fallacies, or absurd implications of the ruling, which literally rewrites a Law passed by Congress as well as the implementing rules and regulations developed by the Comelec, a Constitutionally independent commission.  

More to come, for sure...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Andreas Notter: "Released" or "Rescued"?

There appear to be two contradictory descriptions of how Andreas Notter gained his freedom after more than three months as a hostage of an Abu Sayyaf Kidnap-for-ransom gang on Jolo Island in southern Philippines. Last Saturday, the Philippine Military claimed to have "rescued" the long-detained worker of the International Committee of the Red Cross who was abducted by the ASG on January 15 along with Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba and Italian Eugenio Vagni. But today, Senator Dick Gordon, the chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross controverted the statements of authorities and told a local radio program that the hostage was simply "released" and not "rescued."  ABSCBN News interviewed Notter immediately after he was "recovered" (the word used by the news report).  Sen. Gordon has come under fire for his behavior during the crisis, which has been marred by ugly disagreements with Defense Sec. Gilbert Teodoro and Interior Sec. Ronnie Puno over the disposition of military forces and other arrangements earlier in the ongoing crisis.   I am more inclined to agree that the use of the term "rescued" conveys the wrong impression that a lightning raid or other heroic rescue effort had been mounted.  On the other hand, there is reason to believe that the Abu Sayyaf group holding one more ICRC hostage has decided there will indeed be no ransom paid and are using the hostages to gain a means of escape with their high value terrorist cohorts (possibly including Dulmatin and Umar Patek of Bali Bombing infamy; Zulkifli ("Mawan") a high mucky-muck in the Jemaah Islamiyah; and the one-armed bandit-beheader, Radulan Sahiron.  The Philippine Military is right to bottle up the gang the remaining ICRC hostage, Eugenio Vagni, to force them to give him up in an attempt to escape.  The group is said to have split up the two hostages, then when the one holding Notter was encountered by a patrol, in the confusion the captors apparently ran away, leaving Notter to be "rescued" -- "released"--"recovered"--take your pick. I'm with Andreas--glad he's alive and safe now. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kidnap-for-Ransom From Somalia to Sulu

From Somalia to Sulu, kidnap-for-ransom has become a potent and lucrative weapon. It is the preferred tactic of small organized crime syndicates like the Abu Sayyaf and the Somali pirates to extort not only millions in ransom, but to propagandize for an alleged cause whose inherent unattainability justifies both the last and the next kidnapping-for-ransom operation. Hundreds of Pinoy sailors have already been kidnapped and held for ransom by Somali pirates and the whole nation terrorized by the Abu Sayyaf's daring kidnappings and beheadings, from Sipadan to Dos Palmas to Basilan to Jolo.

The young and dashing ALBADER PARAD has been portrayed as the leader of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom gang still holding two Red Cross workers hostage on the island of Jolo in Sulu province. But this made-for-TV jihadi is not really the most dangerous terrorist personality involved here, for there are also several high value Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist leaders with multimillion dollar bounties on their heads who are believed to be running with and controlling the Parad gang and who may now be bottled up in a tightly watched and guarded area along with their two hostages, and fifty heavily armed gun men:
[GMA TV News] Jemaah Islamiyah militants led by Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir also known as Marwan is believed to be among the Abu Sayyaf holding the hostages. Twos, more JI terrorists Dulmatin and Umar Patek are also said to be hiding in Sulu.

Zulkifli, who also heads the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM), was believed to be involved in multiple deadly bomb attacks in the Philippines and has been added to most-wanted list of the U.S. Rewards for Justice Program.

The U.S. offered as much as $5-million bounty for the capture of Zulkifli and other known Abu Sayyaf leaders, while Dulmatin carries a $10-million reward on his head and $1-million for Patek. Manila also put aside P100-million bounties for the capture of Abu Sayyaf leaders dead or alive.

The one-armed bandit, Radulan Sahiron is also reportedly part of this motley crew of murderers. I think this may explain recent reports of heavy US and Australian support for Philippine forces dealing with the hostaging crisis, which has gained high profile international attention. Not only is this ongoing hostaging of Red Cross workers a violation of Philippine and International Humanitarian Law, there is every reason to hope these dangerous mass murderers and sociopaths will be brought to justice for their dastardly crimes against humanity.

Because no ransom has been forthcoming from the ICRC, including a purported demand for $5 million, the fear is that, today or tomorrow, the bandits could saw off the heads of Andreas Notter and Eugenio Vagni and put the video on the Abu Sayyaf's YouTube fundraising channel. But could the gang and its internationally wanted terrorist leaders then just disappear and escape?

That remains to be seen, but I think the only thing now keeping the two hostages alive must be the uncertainty of escape in the minds of the Abu Sayyaf leaders should they behead them. They must know that they are now being tracked not only by Philippine police and military authorities, but also by the US and Australia, who've been after these particular JI leaders for years. Hopefully every high tech intelligence means to watch their every move in real time

The Door of Observation is momentarily ajar on a classic Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom situation, but with one difference--no ransom appears to be forthcoming. In such a situation, where the hostage takers are threatening to behead their captives, what ought the authorities to do? Surely it is NOT to comply with the demand to open up a path for escape [sic!] On the contrary I think the authorities must make escape impossible and make it crystal clear that AS SOON AS the terrorists make a move to kill or harm their hostages, an attempt to defend and rescue those hostages will instantly be launched and measures taken to prevent such action, including the forceful neutralization of any suspect who does not immediately surrender.

There is a lesson in both principles and tactics that we can learn from the US Navy Seals in the successful rescue of an American sea captain from Somali pirates. In that instance, the ability to know in real time what the kidnappers were doing or intending to do was essential to taking the action that freed that hostage. He could just as easily have ended up dead of course, but for the skill and good luck of those three snipers. However, it also sends an important message to future pirate-kidnappers of a kind of "mutually assured destruction" should they they decide to kill their hostages. The authority to act in defense of hostages that are adjudged to be in imminent danger of being seriously harmed or killed, had been given to the commander on the ground by President Barack Obama, and the successful outcome has been credited to his leadership as well as to the professionalism of the US Navy personnel involved.

I think this is applicable to the Sulu hostage crisis.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Are Philippine Politicians Complicating Red Cross Hostage Situation?

Is the Pope Catholic?

RICKY CARANDANG of ABSCBN News has an excellent post on  the hostage crisis involving workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross who've been taken hostage by the foreign terrorist organization,  the Abu Sayyaf Group under Albader Parad.  He focuses on the drama being played out among Senator Dick Gordon (concurrently chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross and an acknowledged 2010 presidentiable), Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Interior Secretary Ronnie Puno, AFP Chief of Staff General Alexander Yano, and Philippine National Police Chief Jesus Versoza --  in the ongoing 3 month long kidnapping and hostage situation on the island of Jolo, Sulu province. Recall that after releasing one hostage last week, (Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba), the kidnappers have held onto Swiss citizen Andreas Notter, and Italian Eugenio Vagni, threatening to behead one or both of them unless the Philippine government evacuates its forces, police and soldiers from everywhere on the island except for the capital city of Jolo. The government has refused to comply with this clearly impossible and illegal terrorist demand.  

What the terrorist Abus Sayyaf are doing in Sulu with the ICRC hostages is an ongoing violation of the Human Security Act of 2007 as a major terrorist crime, as well as a violation of the International Humanitarian Law  involving the ICRC and its workers.

Because Sen. Gordon has openly expressed Presidential ambitions in the past, anything he does during this particular crisis involving the Red Cross will attract suspicion as an attempt to advance his viability as a presidential or vice presidential candidate in the 2010 national elections. 

Sen. Gordon may now be doing more harm than good. Especially with regards to the following speculation or observation if true:

Ricky Carandang:  "Which is why–according to some oberservers– he claimed that the kidnappers would behead a hostage on her birthday.  Having been rebuffed by Puno,  he was trying to pressure Arroyo to give in to the kidnappers demands. 

While he didn’t succeed,  Gordon did manage to get Gen. Juancho Sabban pulled out of the operation.  People in the AFP will tell you that Sabban was the guy who had the most knowledge of the situation on the ground and that his removal deprived the government of one of its most reliable sources of on-the-ground information."

Well it seems that Mr. Albader Parad and the Abu Sayyaf did manage to deliver bloody birthday gift to the President. According to the Manila Bulletin's coverage, a man abducted in Lamitan town just last Friday by suspected Abu Sayyaf rampagers, has indeed been beheaded (via the Manila Bulletin)  on Basilan Island.

I am also dismayed at the behavior and performance of Governor Abdusakur Tan and Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidullah.   Sometimes, one wonders whose side these politicians are really on, beyond themselves that is. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Abu Sayyaf Beheads Newest Hostage

Military sources in southern Philippines report that Mr. COSME ABALLES, taken at gunpoint  just last Friday, has just joined the roster of persons abducted and then beheaded by suspected Abu Sayyaf and/or MILF bandits. (via Manila Bulletin). Mr. Aballes was one of two persons taken in a rampage last Friday in Lamitan town. This development does not bode well for two remaining Red Cross workers taken hostage by the Abu Sayyaf last Juanuary, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Swiss citizen Andreas Notter.

Score One For The Good Guys

Associated Press is reporting that a U.S. Navy Seal sniper unit has successfully freed a hostaged US Ship Captain from Somali pirates, three of whom were killed in the operation.  
MOMBASA, Kenya – U.S. Navy snipers opened fire and killed three pirates holding an American captain at gunpoint, delivering the skipper unharmed and ending a five-day high-seas hostage drama on Easter Sunday.
The pirates were pointing AK-47s at Capt. Richard Phillips and he was in "imminent danger" of being killed when the commander of the nearby USS Bainbridge made the split-second decision to order his men to shoot, Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said.
Phillips' crew, who said they had escaped the pirates after he offered himself as a hostage, erupted in cheers aboard their ship docked in Mombasa, Kenya. Some waved an American flag and fired flares in celebration. A lawn sign in the captain's hometown of Underhill, Vermont that read "Pray for Captain Phillips' release and safe return home" was changed to read, "Capt. Phillips rescued and safe."
The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet said Phillips, 53, was resting comfortably after a medical exam on the San Diego-based USS Boxer in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia. Gortney said the captain had been "tied up inside the lifeboat" over much of the ordeal.
[Via Christopher Calubaquib  shared on Facebook]

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Red Cross Hostage Crisis Enters Its Fourth Month

It has been three months since the Abu Sayyaf band of Al Bader Parad seized three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross last January on Jolo Island in Southern Mindanao.  After releasing Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba last week, the kidnappers still hold Swiss citizen Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni in a high stakes poker game with Philippine authorities. Unable to get their usual ransom pay-off because of the firm ICRC policy against it, the Abu Sayyaf gang has raised the ante by releasing one hostage but demanding that the government evacuate most of Jolo island and move all its forces into the capital town--clearly a legal and physical impossibility. The Abu Sayyaf has repeated its threat to behead one or more of its hostages unless the government complies with this demand.   Three Philippine Marines have already lost their lives during a botched negotiation.  This does not bode well for the two remaining hostages because anything that happens to them can be blamed on the authorities not complying with terrorist demands.  There is also a report that the Italian, Eugenio Vagni is having major health problems and is not in very good shape in the jungles.

As the crisis moves into its fourth month, we find the Philippine government, military and civilian officials in a state of disarray and outright disunity over policy and action. The role of Senator Dick Gordon, who also happens to be the Philippines National Red Cross chairman and a member of the ICRC board, will come in for much discussion if and when the crisis is resolved. Likewise those of Gov. Abdusakur Tan and Vice Gov. Lady Ann Sahidullah, who somehow strikes me as being a little too sympathetic with the Abu Sayyaf than with the hostages, and who clearly is enjoying the limelight a little too much.

Meanwhile the Abu Sayyaf terrorist gang looks like it is settling in for a bloody fight. Large quantities of  high explosives have been reportedly been seized from an Abu sympathizer in Jolo, Sulu, for use in diversionary attacks on public places, according to Navy intelligence warnings. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Noli Me Tangere!" Jesus Says to Mary Magdalene

The Explainer with Manolo Quezon (6pm Tuesday ABSCBN Cable News ANC) tackles the historical Jesus. I'm on the panel with Ms.Gang Badoy and UST Professor of Theology, Fr. Efren Rivera. In this post, I dwell upon the central issue that I believe is unresolved in Roman Catholicism: the place and status of women. It seems to me painfully obvious that women are second class Catholics. And it all began with the suppression of ALL the female witnesses to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, including that of His Mother (Mary) and the disciple Mary Magdalene, who was the first human being to see Jesus of Nazareth returned to Life after a three day descent into Hell. Why do the official Gospels that tell this central story of all Christianity -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- not include the testaments of both Mama Mary and Mary Magdalene which would seem to be absolutely material and relevant to the central mystery of Christianity: the alleged miracle of the Resurrection.

A famous painting portrays the moment Jesus Christ utters that famous phrase in the Gospel of John 20:17 and is the very moment of Christianity's birth, for it is His first re-appearance in the canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)--after the Resurrection. Mary Magdalene is the first human being to see Him alive after the Crucifixion. Here is the Resurrection scene in Iannus 20:15-18 from the Latin Vulgate Bible:

15. dicit ei Iesus mulier quid ploras quem quaeris illa existimans quia hortulanus esset dicit ei domine si tu sustulisti eum dicito mihi ubi posuisti eum et ego eum tollam
16. dicit ei Iesus Maria conversa illa dicit ei rabboni quod dicitur magister
17. dicit ei Iesus noli me tangere nondum enim ascendi ad Patrem meum vade autem ad fratres meos et dic eis ascendo ad Patrem meum et Patrem vestrum et Deum meum et Deum vestrum
18. venit Maria Magdalene adnuntians discipulis quia vidi Dominum et haec dixit mihi
The King James Version (1611) has it in English:
15. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
Now of course, it is always a surprise, (especially for the most pious) to discover that the original Gospels were written in Greek and so the original utterance would be "Meta mon apton!" in place of "Touch Me Not!" or "Noli Me Tangere!"

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Brief Recent History of the Abu Sayyaf

Just to augment my recent essay on Filipino Voices (Beheaded, Not Forgotten), I should like to share the following Search Result Page that may be of interest especially to reporters, archivists and researchers on this particular aspect of terrorism in the Southern Philippines: 

ABU SAYYAF 2000 TO 2008.
Viewed at this level of historical detail, the story of the Abu Sayyaf is long, involved and complex. It is worth knowing the facts of what has happened just in the first decade of the 21st Century....
Mar 2000 - Afew years later, in March 2000, members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group kidnapped almost 30 people in the Philippines and threatened to behead them if the sheikh and two other convicted terrorists were not released. Authorities later found two beheaded bodies ...  Show more

Apr 23, 2000 - In response, the rebels, members of the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf, threatened tobehead five male hostages, including a priest, on Sunday. Last week, they said they had beheaded two hostages, both male teachers. Abu Sayyaf has demanded the release of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, ...

Apr 24, 2000 - Last week the rebels, members of the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyat, beheaded two hostages after the authorities refused demands for the ... The Abu Sayyaf is the smaller but more radical of two Muslim groups fighting for an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines. ...

May 2, 2000 - The 100 heavily harmed Abu Sayyaf rebels clashed with soldiers in a firefight that left at least one government soldier dead and five injured. The rebels later retreated to their stronghold. The gunfight followed rebel threats to behead two of the tourists if the military did not ...

May 3, 2000 - ... ... leadership had seemingly melted away into the jungle. With them disappeared 27Filipino hostages, many of them schoolchildren, who have now been held for six weeks. The military strike on Basilan had been launched after the Abu Sayyaf announced the beheading of two male hostages.

Jun 12, 2000 - Various Muslim organizations here and abroad have also condemned the Abu Sayyaf for committing "un-Islamic acts" in abducting the civilians and, worse, torturing and beheading some of their Filipino captives. If we are not proceeding as fast in the negotiations as certain quarters want ...

Jul 7, 2000 - Yesterday, there were reports that the Abu Sayyaf beheaded one of the "prayer warriors" of evangelist Wilde Almeda. Sandra Aguinaldo has the report:. [Aguinaldo] When reports came out that one of the prayer warriors of Jesus Miracle Crusade, the officials of the group in Manila were ...,0F97DC3BD6DEF18F.html

Aug 30, 2000 - "We do not joke, when we say we will behead someone, we will behead him," said a spokesman for the Abu Sayyaf rebels holding Jeffrey Schilling. Mr Schilling, 24, is the first Americancaught up in the recent wave of kidnappings by the separatist guerrillas. ...

Sep 2, 2000 - The Abu Sayyaf rebels had earlier requested food and medicine be sent to their camp on remote Jolo island for Jeffrey Schilling, 24, ... The rebels earlier threatened to behead Schilling, who was abducted Sunday. Sabaya, however, pledged not to harm him while negotiations continue. ...,0EB7362AEA1A6A3C.html

Sep 20, 2000 - Half of the original group had been released in batches in exchange for food and medicine, but after the Abu Sayyaf beheaded two teachers as a "birthday gift" to Estrada, the government struck back. But the military took a week to reach the hideout and lost many soldiers along the ...,0EADDE73D8CBFF00.html

Feb 25, 2001 - Zamboanga, Philippines - Muslim rebels claimed on Sunday they had beheaded three Philippine soldiers captured in the biggest gunbattle with government forces in months on southern Jolo island. A spokesperson for the fundamentalist Abu Sayyaf militia said on local radio the three were ...

Mar 22, 2001 - Zamboanga City: Six soldiers were reportedly beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf after they were killed in fighting between the bandits and government troops in the jungles of Talipao, Sulu, last Monday [19 March]. In an interview with radio station dx. RZ, Abu Sabaya, spokesman for the Abu ...,0F97A02BB1169618.html

Apr 3, 2001 - Abu Sayyaf beheaded two Filipino hostages last April 19 as a "birthday gift" to then-President Joseph Estrada as he turned 63. Schilling, 25, of Oakland, has been held captive by the rebels since August. Hours before Arroyo's announcement, Abu Sabaya, an Abu Sayyaf leader, ... FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Apr+03%2C+2001&author=From...BEHEAD...

Apr 5, 2001 - The Abu Sayyaf guerrillas had vowed to behead him at 5pm (0900 GMT) to mark the birthday of Arroyo, who turned 54 today. Seeking a US$10 million ransom, the group had previously ... Arroyo ordered "all–out war" against the Abu Sayyaf on Monday when they threatened to behead Schilling. ... html

Apr 13, 2001 - The Abu Sayyaf rebels had threatened to behead Schilling last week as a "birthday present" to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She responded by declaring "all-out war" on them. Brig. Gen. Diomedio Villanueva, who led the assault on the rebels on Jolo island, ... FT&date=Apr+13%2C...behead...

May 2001 - Weeks after the raid on the beach resort, in May 2001, the Abu Sayyaf beheaded GuillermoSobero of Corona, Calif. They still hold a missionary couple, Martin and Gracia Burnham of Wichita. [Sabaya promised on Thursday to free a local nurse held by his group ...  Show more

May 30, 2001 - ... ... with a series of kidnapping standoffs that endured for months last year - including the abduction of tourists from a Malaysian resort. The Abu Sayyaf has killed hostages in the past, including two teachers who were beheaded last year after the government cracked down on the group.,0EC59F901D7C0C9B.html

Jun 2001 - After Abu Sayyaf beheaded an American hostage, Guillermo Sobero, in June 2001, Abu Sabaya called a radio station and said, ''We've released unconditionally one American, our amigo Guillermo, but we released him without a head.'' He then taunted Mrs. Arroyo ...  Show more

Jun 2001 - Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao, police chief for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the suspect was possibly involved in the Abu Sayyaf siege of the Golden Harvest Plantation in Lantawan, Basilan in June 2001. According to previous Malacañang ...  Show more

Jun 4, 2001 - But the Abu Sayyaf also took an unknown number of new hostages from the hospital, including a doctor and his wife. And the bodies of two Filipino hostages taken at the resort were found outside the town, one of them beheaded. The three Americans - Guillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif., ...,0ED81ED8795CF152.html

Jun 8, 2001 - MANILA -- Muslim guerillas yesterday threatened to behead three American hostages if an ex-Malaysian senator was not allowed to mediate in the Philippine hostage crisis. However, President Gloria Arroyo swiftly rejected the demand. The Abu Sayyaf had warned in a radio broadcast they ...

Jun 11, 2001 - The offer came just minutes before a deadline by which Abu Sayyaf rebels had threatened to behead one of the hostages being held on Basilan island - and hours after they seized another group of 15 hostages. Four children, including two 12 year-olds, were among the new hostages. ...

Jun 11, 2001 - and Guillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif. On June 11, 2001 Sobero was beheaded and theAbu Sayyaf group claimed responsibility. In June, American missionary Martin Burnham was killed in a military rescue mission, along with nurse Ediborah Yap and three of the ...  Show more

Jun 14, 2001 - Arroyo said the Abu Sayyaf has effectively terminated all talks with the Philippine government after claiming to have beheaded American hostage Guillermo Sobero. The original request for two Malaysian negotiators, made at the guerrillas' demand, has been overtaken by events, she said, ...

Jun 17, 2001 - The Abu Sayyaf led by Abu Sabaya are still holding captive 23 Filipinos and three Americans - Kansas missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham and Guillermo Sobero of Corona, California, United States. Sabaya earlier claimed that they beheaded Sobere because of the refusal of Malacanang ...

Jun 18, 2001 - The Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf said Tuesday it has beheaded one of three American hostages it is holding in the southern Philippines' Basilan Island because the government has been ''insincere'' in its dealings with them. ''We chopped off the head of Guillermo Sobero,'' Abu ...

Jun 23, 2001 - Earlier this month, the Abu Sayyaf said they had beheaded one of their three American hostages, Guillermo Sobero. The authorities suspect that Mr Sobero is dead. But his body has yet to be found, so they cannot confirm that he has indeed been beheaded. Thousands of troops are combing ...

Jun 25, 2001 - The Abu Sayyaf bandits beheaded last Saturday two of their Filipino hostages - Primitivo Falcasantos and Crisantos Suela - who were abducted ... The Abu Sayyaf bandits have continued to threaten the government that they will behead the remaining hostages, including American Gullermo ...

Jul 28, 2001 - Isabela City, Basilan: The Abu Sayyaf bandit group has beheaded three of its hostages, a Basilan town mayor said Friday [27 July]. Lantawan mayor Tahira Ismael said her security personnel reported to her that militiamen Salam Salih, Uttoh Adjal and Hadji Abdul Karam had been beheaded ...,0F97A37DE5E0F491.html

Aug 4, 2001 - The group is believed to number about 1100 fighters. Among the hostages the Abu Sayyafseized in May were Martin and Gracia Burnham, a missionary couple from Wichita, Kan. The group claims to have beheaded a third American, Guillermo Sobero of Corona. Sobero's remains have not been ... FT&type=current&date=Aug...beheads+at...

Aug 5, 2001 - The army launched its self-styled "search and destroy" mission after Abu Sayyaf kidnapped three Americans and 19 Filipinos from Palawan resort island 300 miles to the north-west in May. They have boasted of beheading one of the Americans, Guillermo Sobero, although his body has not ... Christian-hostages.html

Sep 11, 2001 - The Abu Sayyaf, notorious for its kidnapping-for-ransom and hostage-beheading atrocities, has been branded by the US and Philippine governments as a terrorist group with links to the Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda after the terror attacks on New York and Washington on ...  Show more

Oct 8, 2001 - Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sabaya claimed in June to have beheaded Mr Sobero as an "independence day gift" to the Philippine Government. The tourist was among three Americans and 17 Filipinos kidnapped from a western Philippines resort on 27 May. The group is still holding American ...

Oct 16, 2001 - The Philippine military said Monday that it would not halt an offensive against Muslim extremists who threatened to behead an American couple if the army does not stop. Abu Sabaya, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf rebels in the southern Philippines, threatened to kill missionaries Martin and ... FT&date=Oct+16%2C+2001&author=&pub=Los+Angeles...The...

Nov 27, 2001 - The Burnhams and a Filipino nurse are the only known hostages still held by the Abu Sayyaf, which beheaded several others, including the only other American, Guillermo Sobero. The Burnhams were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary when they were seized along with the others in a... FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Nov+27%2C+2001&

Dec 24, 2001 - This year, the Abu Sayyaf beheaded one American hostage and has held an American couple, Martin and Gracie Burnham, since may. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vows to crush Abu Sayyaf and stand with the US in its global war on terror. PRES. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, PHILIPPINES: We ...

Jan 28, 2002 - The Abu Sayyaf rebels have beheaded a third American captive - 40-year-old California tourist Guillermo Sobero - and 14 Filipinos since the start of the hostage crisis. "Our family misses Gracia and Martin very much and we are extremely worried about them," Jones said. ...

Feb 19, 2002 - AP Worldstream. Dateline: MANILA, Philippines Attempting to bolster support for a US military training exercise to help wipe out a Muslim extremist group, the Philippine government has released a gruesome videotape of alleged guerrillas beheading captured soldiers. ...

Feb 23, 2002 - CEBU, Philippines - The airing of a videotape purporting to show Abu Sayyaf guerrillasbeheading a Philippine soldier has raised howls of protest here and highlighted the dangers facing the recently deployed US Special Forces. The two-hour video, broadcast earlier this week, ...

Mar 2002 - Abu Sayyaf kidnapped three American citizens in May 2001One was beheaded in June 2001The family of the other two, a missionary couple, the Burnhams, has disclosed that in March 2002they made a ransom payment of $300000 to Abu Sayyaf, but the couple was ...  Show more

Apr 28, 2002 - 19. She said she was traveling in the interior hills of Jolo, 960km south of Manila, when she was taken hostage the next day by Muslim gunmen who beheaded her two guides. She was in the area trying to interview Khadafy Janjalani, leader of Abu Sayyaf guerrillas, who have been holding a ...

May 30, 2002 - Weeks after the raid on the beach resort, in May 2001, the Abu Sayyaf beheadedGuillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif. They still hold a missionary couple, Martin and Gracia Burnham of Wichita. The United States set up a hotline and offered a reward of up to $5 million today for the capture ... FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=May+30%2C+2002...U...

Jun 2002 - The hostages included three Americans, Martin and Gracia Burnham and Guillermo Sobero. Abu Sayyaf beheaded Sobero. In a June 2002 raid, Philippine forces rescued Gracia Burnham, but Abu Sayyafforces murdered her husband during the fighting.

Jun 7, 2002 - The Abu Sayyaf beheaded the other American, Californian tourist Guillermo Sobero, in June last year. The Burnhams were taken to Basilan island, a jungle-clad, Abu Sayyf stronghold 900km south of Manila. But there have been unconfirmed reports that they were moved to the Zamboanga del ...

Jun 22, 2002 - The 39-year-old headed a faction of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group that abducted more than 100 people in the last year. Some escaped, some were freed, and 18 died, including a California man who was beheaded, and a Kansas missionary and a Filipina nurse killed in a rescue attempt ...,0F4618EA22E28640.html

Jul 3, 2002 - Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines have reiterated a threat to behead two American hostages, Martin and Gracia Burnham. The new threat has comes as Manila suspends peace talks with another militant Muslim group on the island of Basilan. 'They will be killed, beheaded', ...

Aug 22, 2002 - Nestor Carolina, AFP Southern Command (Southcom) chief, Lionel Mantic and Lemuel Montolo were beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf a day after they and ... President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo denounced yesterday the beheading of two of six Filipino Christians abducted by Abu Sayyaf bandits in ...

Aug 23, 2002 - Muslim guerrillas in the Philippines have beheaded two Christian preachers in a grisly response to government claims that they are on the run and close to defeat. The riposte from the Abu Sayyaf, linked by Washington to Al Qaeda terror network, came less than three weeks after US ... FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Aug+23%2C+2002&author=Items...behead...

Nov 5, 2002 - An Abu Sayyaf bandit suspected of leading in the abduction of 21 civilians in the southern Philippine island of Basilan last year was arrested on Tuesday by the Military Intelligence Service. The arrested was Haron Alaba, who is also believed to be responsible for the brute beheading ...

Dec 8, 2002 - Philippine soldiers captured a Muslim extremist allegedly involved in the kidnapping andbeheading of an American hostage last year, an army commander said Saturday. Abu Baidar, an alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf group, was captured Friday in a remote village of Lamitan on southern ... FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Dec+08%2C+2002&

Mar 1, 2003 - Marcos, the eldest daughter of late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, said Filipinos are anxious to be rid of the Abu Sayyaf, which has beheaded many of its victims, including Guillermo Sobero, a Californian. But she said the Philippine government should negotiate assistance from the ... ABS:FT&type=current&date...

Apr 1, 2003 - Their account of how mercilessly the Abu Sayyaf beheaded and killed some of their companions who could not pay ransom is a nightmare that ... Neither can I forget the video clips showing the Abu Sayyaf beheading soldiers and other captives? I saw the full length video and I was ...

May 17, 2003 - Montulo and Bendijo were abducted by Abu Sayyaf gunmen on June 7, 2002, in Taglibi, Patikul. There two male companions were beheaded in the early days of captivity while two other women escaped last month. (GS). Hours before her departure for a state visit to the United States, ...

Jun 29, 2003 - ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 29, 2003 (AFP) BULLETIN — Three brothers were kidnapped and later found beheaded by suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Muslim kidnapping group in Mindanao, officials said Saturday. Police and villagers on Saturday recovered the decapitated bodies of farmers Rudy,...

Jul 6, 2003 - Martin Burnham died during a military rescue attempt, and Sobero was beheaded. In their campaign to quash Abu Sayyaf, American special forces trained Philippine soldiers and sometimes served as advisers in the field. While AFP troops did most of the fighting, the Americans sometimes ...

Dec 10, 2003 - Andang's Abu Sayyaf faction is also alleged to have beheaded several Filipino captives. In 2001, another faction within Abu Sayyaf kidnapped three Americans and 17 Filipinos. One American wasbeheaded and one died during a military operation that led to the rescue of the third. ...

Feb 27, 2004 - He had been one of the country's most wanted fugitives, and his Abu Sayyaf faction is also alleged to have beheaded Filipino captives. ... In 2001, another Abu Sayyaf faction kidnapped three Americans and 17 Filipinos. One American was beheaded and one died during a military operation ...

Mar 30, 2004 - The Abu Sayyaf is notorious for kidnapping and beheading hostages and is on the US list of terrorist organizations. The government considers the group a spent force, down from about 1000 guerrillas four years ago to about 300, after the United States sent troops and instructors to help ...

Apr 9, 2004 - Some of their victims have been beheaded. Last week, the government arrested six allegedAbu Sayyaf members who, officials said, were plotting to stage a series of bombings — described as a potential "Madrid-level" attack — in Manila. "This is a big blow to the Abu Sayyaf...

May 12, 2004 - "The Iraqis will show themselves to be like Abu Sayyaf," he said, referring to the radical Muslim group of the Philippines, "and no one will sympathize them." But Sawsan Al-Masri, a 24-year-old Gaza mother of one, smiled when asked about the beheading...

Jun 22, 2004 - In the Philippines, leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, or MILF, began distancing themselves from the evil Abu Sayyaf as the cruel bandits started mutilating and beheading their captives. But the MILF used their youth leaders, in their desire to regain credibility, ...

Jul 30, 2004 - The eight, said to be members of the Filipino terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, are accused of invading a beach resort in May 2001 and kidnapping the ... In June 2002, after two hostages had beenbeheaded, the Philippine military carried out a rescue operation that relied heavily on US ...

Aug 13, 2004 - MANILA (AP) — A southern Philippines court sentenced 17 members of the al-Qaeda-linkedAbu Sayyaf militant group to death Friday for kidnapping nurses ... The rebels separately abducted 25 Basilan farmers to help them carry weapons and equipment and later beheaded 12 of them, he said. ...

Oct 12, 2004 - Arroyo, who earlier indicated that the cause of the sinking was unclear, said charges have been filed against six suspects in the attack, including one who also allegedly beheaded hostage Guillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif., in 2001. Arroyo named fugitive Abu Sayyaf leaders Khaddafy ... FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Oct+12%2C+2004&author=Items...from...

Feb 16, 2005 - Even that reference to gifting the President with dead bodies was a mere rehash of what it said after beheading the American hostage, Guillermo Sobero, four years ago. Obviously the Abu Sayyafhas never changed its ideology of violence and terror. What is rather surprising is that some ...

Mar 14, 2005 - Police said the group, led by an Abu Sayyaf member suspected of beheading an American hostage in 2001, had at least three handguns and could have other weapons smuggled in by friends and relatives. The incident appears to be another embarrassment for the government after jail breaks by ...

Jul 23, 2005 - American and Philippine military forces have launched a joint operation to capture the leader of Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group that has kidnapped scores of people and beheaded several, including one American, US and Philippine military officials said this week. ... FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Jul+23%2C+2005&author=Items...from...

Aug 28, 2005 - All the Filipinos were freed, but two of the Americans were killed -- one of them beheaded. The Abu Sayyaf was also blamed for firebombing a passenger ferry off Manila last year, killing more than 100 people in the Philippines' worst terrorist attack. ...

Nov 6, 2005 - Security forces yesterday captured a top leader of the Al Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group in southern Philippines, officials said. ... Hood because he often distributes his loot among civilian supporters in Jolo. But he is known as a ruthless militant who beheads soldiers and civilians.

Mar 27, 2006 - Abu Sayyaf is believed to get training and funding from al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah, the Southeast Asian militant network. On Washington's blacklist of terrorist groups, Abu Sayyaf has also kidnapped and beheaded foreign and Filipino tourists and church workers. ...

Jul 29, 2006 - The last high-profile abduction of foreign and local tourists in the south happened in May 2001, when Abu Sayyaf beheaded one of three American tourists. Lieutenant-General Gabriel Habacon, the military commander in the southern Philippines, was more cautious in blaming the Muslim ... Asia&month=July2006&file=World_News2006072932516.xml

Nov 28, 2006 - The beheading was announced by Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Abu Sabaya two weeks after the abduction. The American's body was found about three weeks later. ... Wahab Akbar described Abbas as "the most dangerous Abu Sayyaf" because of his notoriety as the one who beheaded Sobero. ...

Jan 18, 2007 - (01-18) 04:00 PDT Zamboanga, Philippines -- A militant leader linked to al Qaeda and wanted in the beheading of a California tourist was killed ... Sali, a 42-year-old native of Zamboanga who was a qualified civil engineer, commanded an Abu Sayyaf unit called the urban terrorist group, ...

Mar 15, 2007 - Nine people were beheaded – one was shot dead while 30 others were abducted – whenAbu Sayyaf gunmen raided the Golden Harvest Plantation in 2001. The suspect was first placed under the custody of the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Upper Calarian, Zamboanga City to undergo ...

Apr 19, 2007 - One good example of this is the kidnapping and the heinous beheading of the seven (7) workers of the Sulu Governor Benjamin Loong by the suspected Abu Sayyaf on April 19, 2007. The AFP initially attributed the beheading to Ustaz Habier Malik, but the people ...  Show more

Apr 20, 2007 - Zamboanga City, Philippines (dpa) - Al-Qaeda-linked Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels havebeheaded seven hostages and delivered the heads to the army in the southern Philippines, the military said Friday. The decapitated heads of the seven men - six road workers and one factory worker - were ...

May 2, 2007 - There is also no mention that the MNLF has consistently denied allegations that it is sheltering the Abu Sayyaf nor is there any reference to the military's failure to present ... The media's coverage of the barbaric beheading of seven construction workers also raises a lot of issues. ...

Jun 11, 2007 - Filipino lay leader Roger Francisco of the Couples for Christ was among the sevenbeheaded by the Abu Sayyaf bandits on April 15, 2007. ... The most gruesome was the case of Fr. Rhoel Gallardo who was beheaded after being tortured by the Abu Sayyaf in March 2000. ...

Jul 2007 - In July 2007, a Marine unit of some 100 men on a search mission to locate and rescue the kidnapped Italian priest, Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, was ambushed by Abu Sayyaf elements in Basilan. Twelve Marines were killed. The captured men were tortured before finally ...  Show more

Jul 10, 2007 - He ruled out that Abu Sayyaf militants — who have beheaded hostages before — had sought refuge in the MILF stronghold. "It cannot be a mistaken encounter because it was a deliberate act on the part of the marines that entered the area, knowing that the area is a bailiwick of the MILF, ...

Jul 12, 2007 - In June 2001, the Abu Sayyaf beheaded Sobero as an “Independence Day gift” to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. There have been a number of low points in the history of military efforts to stamp out the Abu Sayyaf as well as the communist rebels. In May 2000, Abu Sayyaf bandits killed ...

Jul 15, 2007 - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chided President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Sunday for insinuating it is behind the beheading of 10 of 14 ... Kabalu said it is “possible" and “public knowledge" that “other groups" including the Abu Sayyaf could have been behind the incident. ...

Aug 2, 2007 - By Joel Guinto. MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 2) Four members of the Abu Sayyaf are responsible for beheading 4 of 10 Marines during an encounter in Basilan province last month, Acting Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales said Thursday, quoting the findings of a joint investigation by ...

Aug 7, 2007 - A joint investigation by the government and the MILF revealed that at last four Abu Sayyaf beheaded four of the Marines. The investigators however failed to explain why the Abu Sayyaf was involved in the encounter. At around 5:35 pm Monday, Marine troops engaged a combined force of Abu ...

Aug 10, 2007 - Nag-firing lang ako (I did not behead anyone. I just fired my gun).” He also wants to be a state witness. This is what Buhari Jamiri said after he surrendered ... Jamiri had been staying at an Abu Sayyaf camp for sometime because he was also wanted for the 1991 murder of an ex-mayor. ...

Aug 14, 2007 - The talks resume even as government troops go on the offensive against Abu Sayyafextremists in Sulu and hunt down the suspects -- including what the military says are MILF fighters -- in thebeheading of 10 Marines in Basilan last July 10. "There is a broad support for the President's ...

Aug 19, 2007 - He said three leaders and 39 followers of the Abu Sayyaf were killed in that clash. He said the slain bandits included Puruji Indama, Umair Indama and Nuruddin Muddalang, who were based in Tipo-Tipo town in Basilan and suspected to be involved in the July 10 beheading and mutilation of ...

Aug 20, 2007 - (Update) Government forces bombarded Muslim rebel strongholds with artillery shells on southern Basilan Island on Sunday, a day after 15 Marines and 40 militants were killed in a fierce gun battle, officials said. The Marines were killed when their unit attacked a jungle hide-out of ...

Sep 5, 2007 - 18 in Basilan that left 29 Marines dead, including 10 who were beheaded, allegedly by Abu Sayyaf terrorists. The inquiry will investigate possible errors in command that led to some of the Armed Forces’ biggest losses in recent years, the new Marine commandant Maj. Gen. ...

Oct 24, 2007 - "Previous kidnapping victims of the Abu Sayyaf have positively identified Madjakin as one of their captors," he said. "Some witnesses also identified him as one of those involved in the beheadingof the marine troopers."

Nov 15, 2007 - It proposes that the bombing was payback for Akbar’s accusation that the Abu Sayyafbandits beheaded government troops in Basilan in July. It has been pointed out that Akbar used to be allied with the Abu Sayyaf in the past. Speaker Jose de Venecia asserted on the night of the ...

Dec 6, 2007 - A Philippine court has convicted 14 militants of kidnapping 20 people in a 2001 incident that eventually left two Americans dead, including one who was beheaded. Douglas Bakshian reports from Manila. A Manila court Thursday sentenced 14 members of the Abu Sayyaf group to life in prison ...

Jan 21, 2008 - The July 10 attack left 14 marines dead, including 10 who were beheaded — a signature tactic of the Abu Sayyaf. The group's killings, bombings and kidnappings shape its campaign to set up an Islamic caliphate in the southern Philippines. "We have been monitoring the activities of about ...

Feb 4, 2008 - Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has vowed to eliminate the rebel group by 2010 when her second term ends. Military operation against Abu Sayyaf has been intensified since last July when ten government navy soldiers were killed and beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

May 27, 2008 - Nelson Allaga said the “harassment” of the government troops were carried out by MILF commanders Malista Malangka and Hamsa Sapanton and the Abu Sayyaf’s Indama brothers. The Indamas “were infamous for the beheading of the Marine troops last year,” it said. ... clash

Jun 19, 2008 - Recounting their ordeal, Drilon said their Abu Sayyaf abductors tied them up and made several threats to behead them. But the freed senior correspondent of ABS-CBN said the harrowing experience was an eye-opener especially when seeing that some of their armed captors were mere boys. ...

Jul 10, 2008 - By Julie Alipala, Jeoffrey Maitem, Charlie Señase. LAMITAN CITY, Basilan -- The Abu Sayyaf has warned it will behead four linemen of the Basilan Electric Coop. (Baselco) it is holding captive unless ransom is paid Friday. The bandit group earlier made a similar threat but decided to ... captive-linemen

Sep 17, 2008 - Police, on the other hand, has arrested one of the Abu Sayyaf bandits involved in thebeheading of the 10 Marines last year. The suspect was identified as Abdulkab ... Balahim is among theAbu Sayyaf bandits under Indama who took part in beheading 10 Marines in Al Barka last year. ...,123439B5B0C4AE20.html

Nov 25, 2008 - Abu Sayyaf guerrillas, notorious for kidnappings, beheading hostages and bombings, have been active in and around Patikul despite US-backed Philippine offensives to dislodge them. Last week, US troops in a Philippine military convoy came under fire from suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels also ...

Dec 24, 2008 - MANILA, Philippines - Two suspected members of the bandit group Abu Sayyaf who allegedly took part in the beheading of government troops in 2007 have escaped from the provincial jail in Basilan province. Reports reaching the Philippine National Headquarters in Camp Crame indicated that ...