UK newspaper: “PHL new breeding ground for ISIS jihadis”

by Rigoberto Tiglao on December 22, 2015

Three weeks ago, I wrote a column entitled, “ISIS’ rise and terror should tell us to junk and bury BBL now.”

There I pointed out that the two Islamic armed organizations differ in their approach. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) strategy is the Maoist style of raising a conventional guerilla army that would demand from the central government the right for Muslims in the Philippines to form their own independent state.

The Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is also using that strategy, but on a grander and faster scale, using the billions of dollars it receives as financial support from its Saudi Arabian sympathizers and revenues from the oil wells it has seized and taken over.

The MILF’s difference from the ISIS, though, is that the Middle East jihadist organization openly espouses, finances and undertakes horrible terrorist attacks that kill mostly civilians, as in their recent carnage in Paris and California, and mass beheadings of people outside of their faith. At least the MILF claims that’s not the way it operates.

Both, though, have the same goal – the establishment of an Islamic state. That of ISIS is the medieval grand vision of a global caliphate. That of the MILF, is a Bangsamoro (which translates to Moro Nation) at the heart of Mindanao, disguised at this stage as merely an autonomous entity with an “asymmetric” relationship with the Philippine nation state.

What President Aquino and his bleeding-heart negotiators refuse to see in their obsession for the Nobel Peace Prize is that to set up an Islamic state isn’t just a fervent dream for Muslims. It is an injunction for every Muslim to contribute to the establishment of such an Islamic state.

That is the reason why there is no autonomous entity anywhere in the world under Muslim leadership. For an independent state to allow the creation of such a Muslim-dominated area would mean its political dismemberment: the Muslim rulers in such an entity would use their territory to strengthen their army for their eventual secession. We would have been the only suckers in the world to have fallen for such lies by the MILF.

What I did not expect when I wrote that article was that the ISIS was not just in touch with the MILF to recruit potential jihadists. They have also been directly going to the Muslim masses to attract jihadists for training to fight both in Mindanao and in the Middle East.

Photo from the UK newspaper, Daily Mail, showing ISIS recruits training in Mindanao. Caption reads: “Recruits are forced to crawl under a fence of barbed wire as a commander lets off occasional gunshots.”

Photo from the UK newspaper, Daily Mail, showing ISIS recruits training in Mindanao. Caption reads: “Recruits are forced to crawl under a fence of barbed wire as a commander lets off occasional gunshots.”

The London-based Daily Mail the other day had a major feature on ISIS’ operations in the Philippines, with several accompanying photos, as well as embedded videos. The article’s title: ISIS unveil the Philippines as their new breeding ground for jihadis with their latest propaganda video featuring a secret Filipino jungle training camp.

The text of the article is, however, short as it is mainly a video-based report:

The Philippines has become the latest ISIS target for expansion after the jihadi group released its first propaganda video of a terror training camp in the Filipino jungle.

“Several jihadi commanders are shown urging Filipinos to travel to Syria to join ISIS before revealing the group have already started their own terror camp in the Philippines.

The footage shows the ‘soldiers of the Caliphate in the Philippines’ working on their fitness and agility by completing a series of assault course drills.

A small group of recruits, each wearing similar black clothing and masks, are shown climbing up rope ladders, crawling under barbed wire and practicing with weapons.

The Filipino government has long said that support for ISIS in the Philippines was limited to local bandits claiming allegiance to the group.

However, the latest propaganda video suggests that the jihadi group has earmarked the Philippines as a potential site for establishing further new bases.

The new video comes after eight members of a criminal gang that pledged allegiance to ISIS were killed in a firefight with the military in the southern Philippines last month.

The hour-long battle took place in Palimbang, a remote town in the south – home to the predominantly Catholic nation’s Muslim minority and the scene of decades of conflict.

The bandits were from Ansar al-Khalifa, a small group that declared its support for ISIS in a video circulated on the Internet last year, regional military spokesman Major Filemon Tan said.

The larger Abu Sayyaf group has also pledged its allegiance to ISIS and is holding at least four foreign nationals hostages.

The group is demanding millions of dollars in ransom for their safe release and have released several videos threatening them with execution.

Tan told AFP that five black flags similar to those used by Islamic State fighters were recovered from the bandits after the clash.

Criminal gangs operate kidnap for ransom and extortion activities alongside Muslim and communist separatist campaigns in the restive south.

While the relatively new Ansar al-Khalifa had extorted from businessmen and stolen cattle from farmers, it had no proven links with Islamic State – also known by the acronym ISIS – national military spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla said.

‘This group is trying to ride on the popularity of the ISIS, but they’re not really ISIS,’ he told AFP. ‘We view them as mere criminal gangs.’

Tan said the military was verifying intelligence reports that one of the eight killed was an Indonesian national.”

We really should thank Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for heroically resisting this stupid Administration’s massive steamrollers (and ATM machines) that would have created an “ISIM” in the south – the Islamic State for Islands of Sulu and Mindanao. Most of those who voted for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the House of Representatives were, of course, Liberal Party members, including vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo.

COA: Another institution Aquino damaged

by Rigoberto Tiglao on December 20, 2015

The Commission on Audit had been, even through martial law, one of the most prestigious agencies of our Republic, its reputation untainted by graft or partisanship.

With just a few months remaining for this inglorious Administration, the COA will be left as another institution damaged by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, who has turned it into a political weapon.

Even in this rather late stage of the electoral game, this yellow regime is using the COA for its political ends, as in a report mysteriously leaked the other day alleging unliquidated funds of the Office of the Vice President. The next day, of course, as if on cue, was another accusation against Binay by former Makati vice mayor Renato Bondal – yes, the same accuser whose allegations have been proven false, yet hogged the headlines of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s front pages for 44 nearly consecutive days. (See It’s the familiar flurry of accusations for a vilification campaign.

I had been asked in the comments section of my column why I haven’t written much about the allegations against Binay. My simple answer is: Why should I, when the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which claims to have the biggest circulation (Manila Times is just no. 4 among the broadsheets) seemed to have found as its newest cause this year the demonization of the Vice President? Why should I help it in its project, which could have been undertaken for not-so-noble reasons?

I am not only talking about its news sections. Columnist Solita Monsod, its most widely read columnist, must have written over 50 columns against Binay, with many of the occasional contributors trying to show off, unsuccessfully, their polemical skills to vilify the candidate. Fair play, I say, so I have presented the other side to the allegations, most of which, I think, had been indisputably debunked as pure lies. And these lies, the Ombudsman insists, should be investigated in the courts.

For example, both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) records showed that the Batangas estate belonged to a Chinese-Filipino businessman, and not to Binay. The Makati Building II’s costs were comparable in terms of price per square feet to Senate President Franklin Drilon’s Iloilo Convention Center, or to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) branches in three provinces, which all had the same contractor. Binay’s “crime” is his inarticulateness or his campaign staff’s inefficiency in debunking and burying the corruption allegations against him.

The Office of the President’s newest attached agency? From left, COA chair Aguinaldo, former Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs; Fabia, Philippine Information Agency head, 2010- 2012; and Heidi Mendoza, Aquino’s crying, or angry, lady at Senate hearings.

The Office of the President’s newest attached agency? From left, COA chair Aguinaldo, former Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs; Fabia, Philippine Information Agency head, 2010- 2012; and Heidi Mendoza, Aquino’s crying, or angry, lady at Senate hearings.

But back to the COA. It was astonishing that former chair Grace Pulido-Tan claimed, when she stepped down, at the pork-barrel investigations what her legacy was: the pork-barrel exposés. How on earth could she claim that, given the fact the probe had been ordered undertaken by her predecessor who was appointed by President Arroyo, and when most of those investigated under her administration, and charged, were opposition figures like senators Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla?

Pulido-Tan herself said two years ago that a special audit was also being undertaken to investigate the pork-barrel funds released during Aquino’s Administration, from 2010-2012.

The report had been completed and I myself viewed a TV report in 2013 by broadcast journalist, Anthony Taberna, about that investigation. A camera even panned a copy of the actual report.

Two years after it was completed, COA hasn’t released the report. And she has the gall to claim that she did her part in Aquino’s anti-corruption crusade?

Is it because the COA itself received P143.7 million in 2012 from President Aquino’s scandalous “Disbursement Acceleration Plan” (DAP), which the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional? Or was it because Pulido-Tan has been angling for a position in the Supreme Court when it announced a vacancy in 2012? (Aquino, instead, appointed Marvic Leonen, who is as inexperienced in legal practice as the Chief Justice is. Is Tan still hoping she will be the last Aquino appointee in April 2016, when Justice Martin Villarama retires?)

In the past, those appointed by Presidents as COA chair and members were people of unquestionable integrity, without the slightest taint of partisanship, such as Teofisto Guingona (chair 1986 to 1987), Eufemio Domingo (1987-1993), Celso Gangan (1994-2001), Guillermo Carague (2001-2008) and Reynaldo Villar (2004-2008), who ordered the special pork-barrel audit. It had also been a tradition for the other two members of the commission to be appointed among the COA’s veteran auditors, especially for those who spent their entire professional career in the agency.

Contrast that to Aquino’s appointees to the COA:

• A nearly retired Heidi Mendoza – who had vowed to pin down Binay on corruption charges many years ago, jumping several pay levels – was appointed as one of the three COA commissioners. It was Mendoza who provided Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, when she testified in Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial, with grossly false analysis that artificially bloated his bank accounts. For that monumental fabrication that whipped up a mob against the Chief Justice, she, together with Carpio-Morales, should have resigned their posts.

• Jose A. Fabia was appointed a COA member in 2014. Who is he? The Director-General of the Philippine Information Agency since Aquino assumed office, up until 2012, when he reached the government’s retirement age. He replaced a former Liberal Party Cadiz City mayor Rowena Guanzon, who served only a year, since she was given what Aquino thinks is a more important task, as Commission on Elections member. (I am hopeful, though, that Guanzon, at the end of the day, would live up to her lofty principles.)

• Aquino in March appointed Michael G. Aguinaldo as COA chair. Aguinaldo was the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Office of the President since Aquino assumed office, and reportedly his classmate in their Ateneo days.

Isn’t that, in his hubris, Aquino’s way of practically telling the country: “The COA, one of my favorite political weapons, has been attached to the Office of the President”?

It is a wasteland of damaged institutions that Aquino will be leaving us with when he steps down in office a few months from now.

BS Aquino’s legacy: Ad hominem politics

December 17, 2015

Many of us, I’m sure, have been shaking our heads, even pulling our hair over the childish squabble between Manuel Roxas 2nd and Davao’s Dirty Harry Duterte. But really to blame is the kind of politics and electoral discourse President Aquino 3rd has imposed on this country. In debates, there is what’s called the fallacy […]

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Duterte might still get to slap Roxas

December 15, 2015

It’s strange, really, that the nuances of academic degrees get involved in who deserves to be, gangland-style, slapped. President BS Aquino’s boy, Mar Roxas, again made things worse, when he should have refused to be drawn into usapang kanto – a territory Duterte has lived in almost all his working life, where he could eat […]

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PH climate change pledge: 70% reduction, but give us the money

December 13, 2015

Something must be wrong with the state of the Philippine press. The three biggest broadsheets all had banner headlines on the United Nations-led climate change agreement signed by nearly 200 countries in Paris the other day. The Philippine Star, controlled through intermediary firms by the Indonesian tycoon Anthoni Salim, gushed: “Climate deal unveiled, a historic […]

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PDAF probe: Aquino’s most lethal weapon that pinned down opposition

December 10, 2015

Once in a while, but very rarely, we still get a gem of journalism work in TV news, which has degenerated into tabloid crime and celebrity reportage and thus, explains the Filipinos’ shallow political discourse and culture. ABS-CBN TV’s 6:30 p.m. news the other night had a short, but very meaty, piece entitled, “What happened […]

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SWS’ bogus Duterte poll

December 8, 2015

The recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) poll claiming that Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte garnered a 38 percent rating in the presidential race is so obviously flawed, and therefore, a bogus one. The questionnaire, which SWS used to project the weird candidate as the front-runner: “Q5: Ibang listahan naman po ang gamitin natin. Kasama dito […]

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What a country!

December 6, 2015

Jihadist terrorism has stricken the West with fear and anger, and the battle they fight is a kind of war taken straight from the medieval ages that modern society may not be equipped to confront. How can you fight a people who believe they are warriors for God, who see the innocents as infidels and […]

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Duterte is like religion

December 3, 2015

Presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte is like religion, as Karl Marx described it: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.” Rather than a sigh, though, Duterte’s is a howl, a rage, hisputangina the new version of Heneral Luna’s punyeta. It is a rage […]

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US Caracas Embassy: ‘Smartmatic is a riddle’

December 1, 2015

The Commission on Elections in 2010 and 2013 trusted Smartmatic, a purportedly Venezuelan firm, that its counting of votes in those election years would be completely aboveboard. The Comelec will again give its full trust to Smartmatic in the national election next year as the Filipino people decide who will run this country in the […]

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