Tag: Benigno Aquino III

Malaysia’s masterstroke that buried our Sabah claim

 

The “Jabidah massacre” commemoration at Corregidor March 18. Why did the MILF and the MNLF ignore it? This article answers that question.

The “Jabidah” question

Second of Three Parts

Malaysia’s leadership have been probably laughing their heads off reading about President Aquino delivering a speech in the event commemorating the alleged 1968 “Jabidah massacre” of Muslim youths initially recruited to form a commando unit codenamed to infiltrate Sabah.

It was the “Jabidah” allegations that hugged headlines for several days in 1968 that buried our claim to that territory in Borneo.  

This was due to three of its consequences:

  • The publicity over the alleged massacre enraged thousands of Muslim youth to swell the ranks of the fledgling Moro National Liberation Front.   Malaysia after “Jabidah” not only gave it substantial finances, but also even militarily trained its first officers and provided sanctuary to its leaders.  President Marcos’ Operation Merdeka (“Freedom”) was intended to create a Tausug rebellion in Sabah. Instead, because of allegations of a massacre of Muslims by Marcos’ army,  it was a Muslim rebellion that broke out in Mindanao,  aided by Malaysia.
  • The Malaysian involvement proved to be crucial to the MNLF’s strength that by 1976 Marcos declared that the only way to end the insurgency is to give up the Sabah claim  so that  Malaysia would stop its crucial support of the secessionists.
  • In the public consciousness, the allegation of such an atrocity as a “Jabidah massacre” was tightly linked to the Philippine claim to Sabah. Indeed writers who have been passionate in claiming a massacre occurred expectedly denigrated the claim as merely due to “Marcos expansionist tendencies.”  It therefore became an unpopular agenda to champion.   Since 1968, no politician would touch with a ten-foot pole our Sabah claim. That attitude ended only as a result of the  bold but bloody expedition to Sabah recently by the Sulu of Sultan’s fighters.Continue reading
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Ninoy did not expose the “Jabidah massacre,” he even doubted it

Aquino delivering a privileged speech at the Senate

The Manila Times, March 19, 2013

The “Jabidah Question”: First of Three Parts

Contrary to many accounts, senator Benigno Aquino Jr. did not expose the so-called “Jabidah massacre” 45 years ago today, which the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) exploited to the hilt to rally Muslims to its secessionist cause.

What he revealed to the world, and asked for a stop to, was the clandestine plan of his archenemy president Ferdinand Marcos to train and send Muslim commandos to Sabah to organize a revolt against Malaysia, the first step for the Philippines to take over the territory.

This conclusion is incontrovertible based on the late senator’s privileged speech on March 28, 1968 titled: “Jabidah! Special Forces of Evil?”

The speech is posted at the archives section of the official government website and at my personal website as an annex to this column.

That there was a Jabidah massacre has been mostly uncritically believed, as indicated in the following Wikipedia entry:

“The Jabidah massacre . . . refers to an incident in which members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines massacred a number of Moro Muslim recruits who were escaping their covert training to reclaim Sabah . . . It is widely regarded as having been the catalyst behind the modern Moro insurgencies in the Southern Philippines.”

The entry continued: “Sources differ regarding the details, with the number of victims ranging from 14 to 68, and some sources assert that the massacre is a myth.” The “some sources” it referred to consist solely of University of the Philippines anthropologist Arnold Molina Azurin who investigated the episode intensively in his book, Beyond the Cult of Dissidence.Continue reading

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Where is ASEAN?

Front page of a Malaysian newspaper March 11

The Manila Times, March 13, 2013

With the death toll of Filipino Muslims killed in Sabah by Malaysian authorities rising to 62 and with reports of human rights abuses against our countrymen, where the heck is ASEAN?

Forgotten it seems is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, one of whose main purposes is to “promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region”.

Ban Ki Moon, the secretary-general of the United Nationswhich consists of 193 member states last week issued a statement calling for “dialogue among all parties to end the (Sabah) conflict peacefully. He also urged “all parties to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance and act in full respect of international human rights norms and standards.”

Why hasn’t there been a similar statement – even just an innocuous one like “ASEAN is concerned over the fighting” —  from ASEAN consisting of  just ten member countries, whose two founders, the Philippines and Malaysia,  are involved in this flashpoint in Southeast Asia?

Did our department of foreign affairs even ask ASEAN to persuade Malaysia not to throw its full, brutal force against the Sultan of Sulu’s men who had dug in in Lahad Datu and to give the government more time to talk to them?  Or did it just forget to ask ASEAN?Continue reading

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An impotent yet arrogant President

 

The front page of The Borneo Post: Note the description, "Sulu terrorists."

 

The Manila Times, March 11 2013

THE horrific reports have started to trickle in: Muslim Filipinos being rounded up in Sabah, locked up with some without food, “treated like animals” according to eyewitness accounts, sadistically ordered to run and then shot like wild game.

Photos in Kuala Lumpur newspapers depict Muslim Filipinos—clearly unarmed— pinned down brutally by uniformed armed men. Malaysia has brought its entire military force to bear down on the Sulu sultan’s men.

The Philippine ambassador to Malaysia and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jose Brilliantes— three weeks late in action though— were ignored in Sabah, their pleas to visit Filipinos detained there and for Malaysian authorities to allow our humanitarian ship dock at the port were not even given the courtesy of a reply.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario stages a dramatic trip to Malaysia to ask its government to exercise “maximum tolerance” toward the Filipino Muslims who had holed out in Lahad Datu. Even while he waited for his plane, the Malaysians were deploying instead maximum force against the Filipinos there.

His trip turned out only justify the Malaysian onslaught against the Sulu sultan’s men, as his counterpart reported that he agreed that the Filipino Muslims were terrorists. Del Rosario didn’t say the Malaysian foreign minister lied, only that he was quoted: “Outof-context”—the worn-out excuse for officials trying to wiggle away from something they regretted saying.

We have a President impotent in handling the Sabah crisis. Worse, he and his spokesmen have even been issuing statements denigrating Muslim Filipinos who had dug in in Sabah in what they believe is their homeland.

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Wag-the-dog presidency

President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address next week will be a quintessential wag-the-dog speech. The hustle and bustle in the past several weeks of hurling charges against officials of the past administration were all about getting the tail to start wagging for the Sona, so Mr. Aquino can claim that he has done something in his first year in office. The accusations were so rushed in fact, that included in the charge sheets were people who helped Mr. Aquino get elected.

The moralistic tuwid-na-daan storm troopers have even stooped as low as to offer freedom to Zaldy Ampatuan, one of the accused in the massacre of 58 human beings, as long as he concocts charges against the former president and her other officials. That this is simply a wag-the-dog (i.e., media) operation has been disclosed in reports that it is Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda and Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang who have been lobbying for Ampatuan’s “Plan B.”

With the crime situation getting out of control so that even dentists—yes, dentists—are now cowering in fear in their clinics, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, the Cabinet secretary in charge of the police, has been spending his time coaching a crooked Comelec official on what kind of mud to throw against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Mr. Aquino himself has been busy meeting with DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman who he thinks knows what other mud to throw at his predecessor.

Consider our country’s situation, what Mr. Aquino has done so far, and we can expect what he will say next week.

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National budget not a Batanes budget

President Aquino’s narrative (a mythical one, as I discussed in my article in Rogue magazine’s June issue) is that his administration is the sequel to his mother’s 1986 people-power government, out to slay the Corruption Dragon.

A corollary to that narrative is that his predecessor President Arroyo left the economy in tatters – a total disregard of the facts, among them: the average economic growth rate from 2001 to 2010 of 4.7 percent was the highest among the past four administrations, and the average inflation of 5.2 percent, the lowest.

Thus, Mr. Aquino’s ideologue, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad quickly reacted to Arroyo’s criticism of the incumbent’s “nobody-home” administration not by showing that there’s really a mind in Malacañang. He goes on the juvenile kill-the-messenger tack by alleging that Arroyo mismanaged the country’s coffers. “Prudent expenditure took a back seat to political survival and political patronage,” Abad said in his statement posted on the Department of Budget and Management’s website. “The country was left with the largest budget deficit to date of P325-billion or 3.9 percent of gross domestic product,” he alleged.

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The Spratlys: Marcos’ legacy, or curse?

Make no mistake about it. The Spratly islands dispute could get messy. In March 1987, a clash between Chinese and Vietnamese warships in the disputed island group resulted in both sides losing a vessel, and 120 Vietnamese soldiers killed. A year later, Chinese ships sank three Vietnamese vessels in Fiery Cross Reef with 74 sailors dead. The United States just watched, of course.

Before President Aquino’s three spokespersons go on another flag-waving, saber-rattling tack, they should take very seriously Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s advice: “Don’t agitate China.”

“What they are doing is posturing, but when things go really bad, I’m sure they will be the first to run. These subalterns are very talkative,” Enrile angrily said.

Enrile knows what he is talking about: he was there at the inception of this geopolitical flashpoint.

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Unemployment worsens in Aquino’s first year

THAT’S ACCORDING to the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations, commissioned by the BusinessWorld daily, and reported on Wednesday in all major newspapers except one.

According to the SWS survey undertaken March 4 to 7, 27.2 percent of respondents reported they were jobless. The downward trend is pretty clear: the unemployment rate was 23.5 percent in November 2010, and 20.5 percent when President Aquino assumed office.
If the SWS findings are extrapolated to represent national data, the March jobless rate means that Mr. Aquino has presided over an economy in which in just nine months 2.8 million were added to the ranks of the jobless, now totaling 11.3 million.

It will get worse by the time Mr. Aquino marks his first year in office. UP economist Raul Fabella was quoted as saying that the unemployment rate will rise in June as college students who graduated end of March normally do not immediately get work.

Based on the SWS figures, Mr. Aquino now has the distinction of being the first President in recent decades whose first year in office is marked by the steep worsening of unemployment.

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A dime a dozen; that Porsche, again

HIS EYES moist with tears of joy, Red party Akbayan Rep. Teodoro Casiño said that the House of Representative’s 212 yes votes on March 22 to impeach Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez represented “overwhelming public sentiment” against her.

Casiño though was mum whether the resolution, two days later, of 204 of his colleagues to bury Akbayan’s arch hate-figure Ferdinand Marcos also represented overwhelming public sentiment to finally honor the dictator.  We also haven’t heard from Casiño whether the 191 votes to postpone the elections for officials of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao—which he claimed would be a travesty of justice—represent overwhelming public sentiment.

The lynch mob against Gutierrez has exploited the public’s unfamiliarity (actually even that of journalists who have not been Congress reporters) with the workings of the legislature to portray a bandwagon against her, which the Senate, they claim, cannot ignore. This of course is part of that old trick, now passé, to depict a popular groundswell against a  target  so that he or she will be so psychologically overwhelmed to just resign.

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