Thursday, December 27, 2012

Headline News: July 2001

Diigo, April 7, 2000, PHNO, Vigilantes Release Janjalani Wife, Infant,

Diigo, July 1, 2001, PHNO, Female Solons Oppose Divorce Proposal,
Diigo, July 2, 2001, PHNO, MILF in Cahoots with Abu Sayyaf -- Military,
Diigo, July 3, 2001, PHNO, Proposal vs. Kidnappers "Cruel & Unusual " - Iloilo Solon,
Diigo, July 3, 2001, PHNO, 2 Pinoy Hostages Freed, Ransom Reported,
Diigo, July 3, 2001, PHNO, Misuari Says Gov't Forces Are Traitors,
Diigo, July 3, 2001, PHNO, Freed Hostage Indicates Sobero is Dead,
Diigo, July 3, 2001, PHNO, P10-B, Surplus U.S. Aircraft for RP Military -- GMA,
Diigo, July 3, 2001, PHNO, GMA Officially Receives $1.04-M From Saudi Arabia for ARMM,
Diigo, July 3, 2001, PHNO, PNP Aiming to Neutralize 12 Identified Kidnap Groups in Metro,
Diigo, July 3, 2001, PHNO, Maguindanao Governor Escapes Ambush Attempt,
Diigo, July 4, 2001, PHNO, Ex-PAOCTF Agent Lie Detector Test Results to Come Out Today,
Diigo, July 4, 2001, PHNO, No Leads Yet on Maguindanao Governor Ambush,
Diigo, July 4, 2001, PHNO, Ombudsman to File 2 More Plunder Cases vs. Erap,
Diigo, July 4, 2001, PHNO, European Union Fears Downfall of RP Investments Due to Rising Crime,
Diigo, July 7, 2001, PHNO, Sayyaf Band, Hostages Sighted,
Diigo, July 9, 2001, PHNO, Abu Sayyaf Leader Captured,
Diigo, July 10, 2001, PHNO, Lacson Suing AFP Intelligence Chief,
Diigo, July 10, 2001, PHNO, Bishops Doubt Tithing Viable in RP,
Diigo, July 10, 2001, PHNO, More MNLF Leaders Desert Misuari,
Diigo, July 12, 2001, PHNO, Jueteng Case vs. ERAP Withdrawn,
Diigo, July 12, 2001, PHNO, RP-U.S. Info Sharing Boosted vs. Sayyaf,
Diigo, July 12, 2001, Malaya, FBI Agents on Alert vs. Terrorists,
Diigo, July 13, 2001, PHNO, No Suspension of Writ of Habeas Corpus in Basilan -- GMA,
Diigo, July 15, 2001, Malaya, Criminality Rises: Cop Chief Goes on Leave,
Diigo, July 16, 2001, PHNO, Military Tightening Noose on Abu Sayyaf - Golez,
Diigo, July 17, 2001, PHNO, Arroyo Rule Conjugal -- ERAP,
Diigo, July 17, 2001, PHNO, Kidnap Raps vs. 52 Sayyaf Supporters,
Diigo, July 18, 2001, PHNO, Communist Leaders Nabbed, SONA Plot Bared,
Diigo, July 18, 2001, Tribune, Mike Arroyo Berated for 'Coup Expose',
Diigo, July 19, 2001, PHNO, Ammo, Grenades Seized From Misuari Compound,
Diigo, July 20, 2001, The Philippine Star, NBI Rescued Fil-Chinese Teenager From Kidnappers,
Diigo, July 20, 2001, The Philippine Star, "First Gentleman a Liar" Says Former Malacanang Secretary,
Diigo, July 20, 2001, The Philippine Star, Shabu Planted by Authorities to Capture Me - Janjalani,
Diigo, July 21, 2001, The Philippine Star, Military Faces Human Rights Violation Complaints
Diigo, July 21, 2001, The Philippine Star, GMA Clears Misuari's Name in Zamboanga Raid,
Diigo, July 22, 2001, PHNO, Kidnap-Rob Gang Wiped Out in Police Shootout,
Diigo, July 23, 2001, The Philippine Star, GMA Gives PNP P1 Billion for Modernization, by Paolo Romero,
Diigo, July 23, 2001, The Philippine Star, 7,500 Cops, Elite Troops Deployed at Batasan Today, by Non Alquitran,
Diigo, July 26, 2001, PHNO, MILF Building New Camps in Central Mindanao,
Diigo, July 26, 2001, Malaya, PNP Nab Most Wanted Man in Southern Tagalog, by Victor Reyes,
Diigo, July 27, 2001, The Philippine Star, "Abus attempting a Robin Hood", by Paolo Romero,
Diigo, July 27, 2001, PHNO, Church Dared to Denounce GMA Govt Corruption,
Diigo, July 28, 2001, Manila Bulletin, Supreme Court Moves Sayyaf Trial to Cebu, by Rey G. Panaligan,
Diigo, July 28, 2001, PHNO, Cebuanos Up in Arms vs. Sayyaf Trial Transfer,
Diigo, July 30, 2001, PHNO, Crackdown vs. Abu Sayyaf Paying Off -- Palace,
Diigo, July 30, 2001, The Philippine Star, Abu Sayyaf's Sabaya Escapes Military Dragnet Anew, by Roel Pareño,

January 4, 2003, World Net Daily, Terror alerts manufactured?, by Jon Dougherty,
April 29, 2012, New York Times, Sunday Review, Opinion, Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I., by David K. Shipler,

Diigo, April 7, 2000, PHNO, Vigilantes Release Janjalani Wife, Infant,

Basilan Island, April 7, 2000 - Muslim vigilantes released yesterday the wife and one-year-old daughter of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadafy Janjalani who both need medical attention. Karima Janjalani was freed by vigilante leader Abdul Mijal because she is due to give birth anytime while her daughter Jasmin was running a fever.

Abu Sayyaf spokesman Asmad Alahuddin confirmed the release but said nothing about what his group would offer in return. Mijal had earlier threatened to execute Janjalani's relatives by firing squad on April 15 if the Abu Sayyaf kills its hostages.

Mijal's group still has nine of Janjalani's family and relatives captive.

Karima and Jasmin Janjalani are now with Karima's father, Ustadz Hussein Manatad, who is the chief negotiator of the crisis management committee set up to negotiate with the Abu Sayyaf.

The release came after the government consented to the Abu Sayyaf's demand for action star Robin Padilla to help negotiate for the release of 33 hostages held by the rebels.

The committee had earlier recommended that Padilla participate in the negotiations to secure the release of the hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf.

National Security Adviser Alexander Aguirre, who is in Basilan supervising the hostage negotiations, said Padilla will not lead the government's negotiating team.

"The government has approved in principle the inclusion of Padilla in the negotiations with the Abu Sayyaf, but he will only act as mediator, who would deliver messages of the rebels to the government," Southern Command spokesman Col. Ernesto de Guzman quoted Aguirre as saying.

Aguirre said the situation so far remained "manageable."

"The situation is stable, manageable. The Crisis Management Committee is preparing to effect the negotiation for the safe release of all the hostages," Aguirre said.

The committee was set up to handle the hostage situation and negotiate with the Abu Sayyaf.

In Manila, Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora said Padilla cannot lead the team because Padilla has "no experience" in hostage situations.

"It does not mean that if he converted to becoming a Muslim makes him qualified to join the negotiations," Zamora explained. "If you are not experienced on this, it would be easy to give something which should not be given."

Because of this, Zamora said, the government will close watch the talks between the Abu Sayyaf and Padilla. He again ruled out any direct contact between Padilla and the rebels.

The crisis management committee is optimistic that the hostage situation would be over before April 15.

Basilan Vice Governor Adbulaziz Balamo said that Abu Sayyaf leader Janjalani has agreed to swap hostages with the vigilante group if the government allows Padilla to participate in the hostage negotiations.

"We were assured by [the Abu Sayyaf] of a total swapping of hostages after the negotiation," Balamo said.

July 1, 2001, PHNO, Female Solons Oppose Divorce Proposal,

Manila, July 1, 2001 - Senator Loren Legarda-Leviste and Pampanga Rep. Zenaida Ducut are supporting President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in opposing the divorce law proposed by Sen. Rodolfo Biazon.

But Legarda (Lakas NUCD) and Ducut (Nationalist People's Coalition) said they would work for possible legislation to make marriage annulment more accessible to poor families.

"We are basically still a closely knit Catholic country. The Catholic Church has a very strong voice in major policies of the government. I don't think it would prosper," Legarda said.

Meanwhile Ducut declared that she will counter any divorce proposal in the Lower House. "I will stay faithful to what the Catholic Church teaches," she vowed.

While annulment is allowed in the Family Code, about P75,000 to P100,000 is needed (mostly for lawyer's fees)by those who want to initiate the proceedings.

Legarda stressed the need for lawyers to lower their fees to make annulment more accessible to the poor.

July 2, 2001, PHNO, MILF in Cahoots with Abu Sayyaf -- Military

Camp Aguinaldo, July 2, 2001 - The military is convinced that the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is in the process of talking peace with the Arroyo government, has been taking part in the negotiations with the families of the Abu Sayyaf's hostage victims.

Military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan today virtually acknowledged that ransom money is being used to obtain the freedom of the hostages when he reasoned that the MILF's involvement in the talks was due to its "profitable" nature.

In a dzMM radio interview, Adan said the MILF's taking part in the negotiations is meant "to further up the price" for the release of the hostages.

MILF spokesperson Eid Kabalu however has continually denied that their members were supporting the Abu Sayyaf, particularly in the talks for ransom. He reiterated that any of its members or followers found to be involved with the bandit Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) can expected harsh punishment from the MILF leadership.

"MILF condemns these abductions and atrocities by the ASG," Kabalu dzMM. "It is not our policy to engage in such acts. So we are definitely not involved with the ASG in any way."

Kabalu was reacting to allegations by military authorities that renegade members or so-called lost commands of the MILF had intercepted hostages released by ASG in Basilan. He countered that MILF had offered assistance through the peace panel to help solve the ASG problem, but this was "rudely" turned down by the government.

July 3, 2001, PHNO, Proposal vs. Kidnappers "Cruel & Unusual " - Iloilo Solon,

Manila, July 3, 2001 - Iloilo Congressman Raul Gonzales (NPC) said that he disagrees with the latest move by fellow Iloilo Congressman Augusto Syjuco (LDP) to have the hands and feet of convicted kidnappers cut off.

Rep. Gonzales said that this bill by Rep. Syjuco is not only against the law but also against the kidnappers’ human rights.

The Iloilo representative said that this punishment is against the constitution, and is a “cruel and unusual punishment.”

He cited the country’s use of lethal injection for the death penalty because of its humane manner of killing a person.

Diigo, July 3, 2001, PHNO, PNP Aiming to Neutralize 12 Identified Kidnap Groups in Metro,

Manila, July 3, 2001 - The Philippine National Police (PNP) is intensifying its campaign against the kidnap-for-ransom gangs working in Metro Manila.

Local Government Secretary Joey Lina said that they are aiming to neutralize 12 identified kidnap groups by October as part of police commitment in a peace-and-order meeting in Camp Crame today.

Lina also ordered the PNP to update its order of battle and complete the targeting and neutralization of the kidnap groups within 90-days.

The campaign is a joint effort of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of National Defense (DND), the PNP, and other government units.

Diigo, July 3, 2001, PHNO, Maguindanao Governor Escapes Ambush Attempt,

Maguindanao, July 3, 2001 - An ambush attempt on Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan resulted in one civilian dead.

Several unidentified armed men tried to ambush Ampatuan at the entrance of Quirino bridge around 12:30 noon today as the governor was on his way home from the provincial capital to Cotabato City.

However, the bodyguards of the Maguindanao governor returned fire at the group and the crossfire resulted in the death of an unidentified woman while five other civilians were wounded.

The crossfire also ignited a fire on the houses surrounding the ambush site. The fire was controlled around 3 p.m.

July 3, 2001, PHNO, 2 Pinoy Hostages Freed, Ransom Reported,

Manila, July 3, 2001 - Two Filipino hostages today returned to Manila, ending five weeks of captivity at the hands of Abu Sayyaf guerrillas. They were released after reportedly paying thousands of dollars in ransom.

Luis Bautista and 15-year-old schoolgirl Lalaine Chua arrived in Manila aboard a commercial jet from Mindanao, where they had been held. They were whisked away by a heavily-armed police and military convoy for a debriefing at military headquarter in Camp Aguinaldo.

The Abu Sayyaf still holds 21 hostages on the southern island of Basilan, including US Christian missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham.

The two turned up in Lamitan town at dawn today. Military helicopters flew them to an air force base in Zamboanga City to undergo medical checkups and security debriefings.

Sources close to the negotiations said six million pesos (113,210 dollars) had been paid to secure their freedom of the two. President Gloria Arroyo's government denied any knowledge of money changing hands.

Bautista told Radio Mindanao Network here that he and the girl were "released unconditionally by the al Harakatul Islamiya (Abu Sayyaf) in the name of the government of Malaysia, especially Datuk Sairin Karno and Yusuf Hamdan for their concern for the welfare" of the hostages.

Karno, a politician, and Hamdan, a businessman, earlier refused to mediate in the latest hostage crisis. Last year they had helped secure the release of dozens of Western, Malaysian and Filipino hostages held by another Abu Sayyaf unit on Jolo island.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a separatist guerrilla group which signed a ceasefire with Manila last month, took credit for convincing the rival Abu Sayyaf to free the two hostages. But the military denied any knowledge of MILF help.

Presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao hailed the release, saying "we are happy that they have escaped from the Abu Sayyaf hell."

He would not confirm reports that ransoms had been paid but conceded: "Our problem is we cannot run after the families or the negotiators who allegedly did this."

He said Arroyo was maintaining her "no-ransom" policy and the armed forces had not relaxed their offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, a small band of self-styled Islamic freedom fighters branded by Manila as bandits.
"Our military operations will continue without let-up," Tiglao said.

Chua and Bautista were among 20 people seized from an upmarket resort off the western island of Palawan on May 27. The Abu Sayyaf hid them in their stronghold in Basilan and began seizing more hostages as they eluded a massive military campaign. Eleven of the original 20 hostages taken from the resort were freed earlier, four Filipino male captives were killed and the Abu Sayyaf boasted that they beheaded Californian Guillermo Sobero, whose body has not been found.

Bautista said the rebels had threatened to kidnap more Westerners. In a statement read over a local radio shortly after his release, Bautista said the Abu Sayyaf "will continue to attack and seize US and European citizens and their properties" until certain demands were granted.

These demands included the withdrawal of all US and European troops and businesses from the Middle East and withdrawal of support for Israel.

Mindanao, July 3, 2001 - Gov. Nur Misuari of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) today belied reports that members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) "intercepted" the two hostages supposedly released by the Abu Sayyaf after ransom money was paid in Basilan.

Misuari revealed that government forces actually double-crossed them when elements of the Scout Ranges turned to ambush MNLF forces even after the latter accompanied the troopers to their camp.

Misuari stressed that MNLF members have been helping government forces in the form of the MNLF integrees, or rebels integrated into the armed forces and police following the signing of the 1996 peace pact that ended the MNLF's fight for secession.

July 3, 2001, PHNO, Freed Hostage Indicates Sobero is Dead

Manila, July 3, 2001 There are indications that American hostage Guillermo Sobero is indeed dead. Freed hostage Luis "Chito" Bautista said today he has not seen Sobero since the time the Abu Sayyaf bandits announced the captive’s beheading.

"I only saw two Americans, Martin Burnham and Gracia. I haven't seen Sobero since the 72 hour deadline for Malaysian negotiators (by Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sabaya)," Bautista said in an exclusive interview with RMN radio.

Abu Sayyaf bandits declared last June 12 that they had beheaded Sobero. Military officials believe Sobero is dead after a previously freed hostage, Francis Ganzon, said the American had been hogtied and separated from the other hostages.

Recent field reports of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said Sobero had been seen with the two other American hostages. But there has been no confirmation of this alleged sighting.

July 4, 2001, PHNO, P10-B, Surplus U.S. Aircraft for RP Military -- GMA,

Villamor Air Base, July 3, 2001 - President Gloria Arroyo Monday agreed the Philippines military could spend 10 billion pesos (190 million dollars) this year to upgrade capability, and said the US government would donate surplus aircraft.

She said she has "agreed in principle to the acquisition of air sensor surveillance capability" to be deployed against Abu Sayyaf guerrillas holding 23 American and Filipino hostages in the southern island of Basilan.
"I am giving instructions to make the whole 10 billion pesos available this year," including the immediate release of 5.4 billion pesos, Arroyo said in a speech at the air force headquarters.

The finance department, wrestling with a projected record 225 billion-peso deficit this year, would help the defense department find the resources to complete the balance of 4.6 billion pesos, she added.

Arroyo said the military should complete tenders for equipment later this year, stressing that aircraft were a priority. Among its air assets, the Philippine military has just three US-made F-5 fighter jets and one C-130 transporter.

She said the government was exploring "innovative approaches to keep the (police and military) modernization going," and "probably the main means of making this available is primarily through a lease package." She did not elaborate.

A 5,000-member military task force has been searching for five weeks for 500 Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrillas who are holding US Christian missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham and 21 other Filipinos in Basilan. The rebels claim to have executed a third American hostage.

Arroyo revealed last week that she asked the US government "to help with their surveillance expertise and in supplying us with some modern equipment" against Abu Sayyaf units operating in jungle-clad Basilan.

The military's lone transporter is also busy ferrying relief goods for 45,000 people displaced by the eruption of Mayon volcano in the central region of Bicol.

"Our government has made representations with our friends in the United States," Arroyo said, adding the US Congress was now "going through the final processing" for the "transfer on a grant basis of one more C-130" to the Philippine military.

Washington has also pledged to deliver on a grant basis five refurbished Bell UH-1H military helicopters "in the next few months".

Arroyo said the air sensor assets would also be deployed against poachers, pirates and smugglers.

Manila, July 4, 2001 - The results of the lie detector test taken by the man who is claiming to be a former agent of the now defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) will be released today.

Angelo Mawanay, alias Ador, had taken a lie detector test last week to verify his accusations against top officials of the PAOCTF—including recently elected Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Among his accusations are the PAOCTF’s role in the murder of Edgar Bentain and the double-murder of Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Manuel Corbito.

Mawanay is currently in the custody of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP) under the helm of Col. Victor Corpuz.

July 4, 2001, PHNO, No Leads Yet on Maguindanao Governor Ambush,

Manila, July 4, 2001 - Police and military probers have no solid clues yet on the identities of the gunmen responsible for the other day’s ambush of Maguindanao Governor Datu Andal Ampatuan, an incident that left five people dead, 14 others wounded, and triggered a fire that destroyed 30 houses.

Brig. Gen. Roy Kyamko, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said he has dispatched 50 intelligence operatives to Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao to help local police determine the whereabouts of the ambushers, who fled from the scene after the attack.

Engineer Norie Unas, spokesman for Governor Ampatuan, said that: “Though we hate to say it was politically-motivated, there can be other reason for Gov. Ampatuan to be ambushed just like that.”
Ampatuan defeated an equally influential political leader, reelectionist Maguindanao Gov. Zacaria Candao, during the May 14 polls.

July 4, 2001, PHNO, Ombudsman to File 2 More Plunder Cases vs. Erap,

Manila, July 4, 2001 - Two more of the six pending plunder cases against jailed former President Joseph Estrada are set to be filed by the Ombudsman in the Sandiganbayan before his July 10 arraignment, said Overall Deputy Ombudsman Margarito Gervacio, Jr.

“We have the final draft. We are timing this or coincidentally it might be timed with the arraignment. We might file it. So whatever the result of the preliminary investigation, it may be in time for the arraignment,” he told a news briefing.

Although he said he cannot remember one of them, Gervacio said the other one was the P1.8 billion GSIS/SSS investment where the heads of the two bodies were allegedly forced by Estrada to invest in Belle Corp., a jai alai operator, in October 1999.

“The other four plunder cases will follow, maybe in a week or two. The rest are being worked on by our subcommittees. But the two will expedited,” Gervacio said, adding that all cases will be resolved soon.
In the event the cases are filed, the Office of Ombudsman will file a motion to incorporate the two new plunder suits in the six other cases they filed and which are now pending in the third division of the Sandiganbayan headed by Justice Anacleto Badoy, Jr.

July 4, 2001, PHNO, European Union Fears Downfall of RP Investments Due to Rising Crime,

Manila, July 4, 2001 - The European Union predicted a downfall of the Philippines’ investments because of its security problems plaguing the country.

According to the EU, the lack of investor confidence will naturally occur because it takes a long time before the foreign community could be reassured that the Philippines has a stable and secure environment for the business.

Belgian Ambassador Roland Van Remoortele cited the kidnapping incidents perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf group in April of 2000 and in May of this year as the international community’s concern.

He said these abductions were too traumatic especially since foreigners, including Europeans, were being victimized. Two Finns, three French, and three Germans were among the 21 hostages seized from Sipadan Island off Borneo waters last April 2000.

Remoortele pointed out the impact of rising criminality would not easily soften and Manila would have a long way to go to recover.

July 5, 2001:





July 6, 2001:

July 7, 2001:



July 7, 2001, PHNO, Sayyaf Band, Hostages Sighted,

Zamboanga City, July 7, 2001 - Villagers have reported sighting several hostages, including Americans, with Abu Sayyaf bandits in the jungles of Basilan island, a military spokesman said Friday.

It was the first time in weeks that the military has reported a sighting of the hostages in the island province, where troops are undertaking a massive offensive and rescue mission.

Lt. Col. Danilo Servando said residents have reported recently seeing Abu Sayyaf guerrillas with their captives, including Wichita, Kan., missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham, in Basilan's mountainous heartland, called Sampinit Complex.

The reports were bolstered by the recent discovery of an area in Sampinit where the rebels and their captives apparently stopped to rest.

Soldiers found personal belongings of a woman, a list of medical supplies the rebels had wanted to acquire, blood-stained bandages, a piece of log carved with the word ``Abu,'' and a wooden gun part, according to a military report.

The Abu Sayyaf abducted 20 people, including three American tourists, from a resort on the western island of Palawan on May 27, then took more hostages in a raid at a hospital and a coconut plantation in Basilan. Some hostages have escaped or been freed, reportedly for ransoms paid by their families.

The rebels claim to have beheaded another American, Guillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif., but his body has not been found.

Two Filipino hostages, Lalaine Chua and Luis Bautista III, recently were freed by the guerrillas in exchange for ransom. Before walking to freedom, they were given receipts - actually pictures of each of them with the word ``paid'' stamped on the back, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

The rebels told the hostages they should show the receipts if they encountered other potential kidnap groups, the Inquirer said.

Servando said the rebels travel in three groups, with two small contingents acting as lookouts for the main group holding the hostages.


July 9, 2001, PHNO, Abu Sayyaf Leader Captured,

Zamboanga City, July 9, 2001 - Army and police forces Sunday night captured Abu Sayyaf leader Nadzmie Sabdulla alias Commander Global and three of his men in a raid on a safehouse in Calumpang village, General Santos City .

Senior Supt. Conrado Laza, General Santos city police chief, said Sabdulla, who carries a P1 million reward for his capture dead or alive, was involved in the kidnapping of 23 mostly Asian and European holiday-makers in Malaysia's Sipadan island resort last year.

Sabdulla was later presented by Lt. Gen. Jaime delos Santos, PA chief, at Fort Bonifacio.

His followers were identified as Halik Sabdani alias Abu Jar and Hajl; Saltimar Sali alias Toto; and Javier Sampang Sumgahan alias Abu Khair.

No firearms were seized from the four, authorities said.

Delos Santos said Sabdulla's arrest was made possible through the help of civilians who got attracted to the bounty.

"Global was nabbed by operatives after civilian informants pinpointed his whereabouts," Delos Santos said.
Aside from the Army and PNP intelligence agents, Delos Santos also lauded the involvement of agents from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

Sabdulla admitted his involvement in the Sipadan kidnapping and that he also led the foiled attack on the Pearl Farm Resort in Davao del Sur last May.

Sabdulla said that his group fled to General Santos City from Davao del Sur where they were reportedly planning to kidnap foreigners.

Col. Pedro Magsino, head of the Army's 601st Brigade which led the operations, said they had been tracking down Sabdulla's group for one-and-a-half months.When asked who will receive the bounty, officials said it will go to the alleged informant whose identity they refused to divulge.

July 10, 2001, PHNO, Lacson Suing AFP Intelligence Chief,

Manila, July 10, 2001 - Sen. Panfilo Lacson is poised to avenge himself from what he branded as pure lies being peddled by alleged whistle-blower to some of his supposed criminal activities by slapping him and his handlers criminal charges.

Lacson, in an interview with reporters yesterday, bared plans of filing perjury and subordination of witness, respectively, against self-proclaimed Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) civilian agent Angelo "Ador" Manaway and Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) chief Col. Victor Corpuz.

The possibility of implicating Philippine National Police (PNP) intelligence chief Senior Supt. Reynaldo Berroya is still being studied, he said.

"We are still getting evidence against him," he said.

The move to raise the issues made public by Manaway before the courts was upon the advice of his lawyers, Lacson said.

The senator admitted they are still in the thick of securing more pieces of evidence against Manaway and his supposed cohorts that possibly include the ISAFP chief.

"I'm just waiting for the copy of his sworn statement and possible perjury charges or subordination of perjury against those who are handling him will be filed," he said.

When asked why Corpuz was included in the soon to be filed charge sheet, the senator explained the ISAFP official had been the one keeping custody of the alleged witness.

"Whoever is involved in having him peddle lies should, I think, be made answerable...So far, as of now, his custodian is Corpuz although I do not know since when he was taken into custody by the ISAFP chief," he said.

Manaway who had been claiming to be a civilian agent of the defunct PAOCTF had linked Lacson and several other top officials of the defunct task force to the kidnap-murder case of missing casino worker Edgardo Bentain, among other supposed criminal activities of the agency.

The senator was prompted to file a case in view of reports that Manaway's testimony was only intended to supposedly besmirch his name.

Berroya along with some police officials was overheard in a restaurant snickering over the media's play-up of the Manaway testimony, he said.

"If indeed they have the goods, why can't they deliver them?" he asked.Lacson maintained innocence over the charges made by Manaway, saying he had not even met the alleged civilian agent. (Tribune)

July 10, 2001, PHNO, Bishops Doubt Tithing Viable in RP,

Manila, July 10, 2001 - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) echoed yesterday the sentiment of Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin that obligatory tithing, giving 10 percent of one’s income to the Church, "is not viable" in the Philippines.

"The Catholic Church in the Philippines does not think that it is viable," said Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, CBCP president, in a press briefing.

"It is not practical. When Cardinal Sin issued a statement that he does not believe that tithing should be discussed, he was talking about this 10 percent. Secondly, if such kind of tithing is imposed and made obligatory, it becomes burdensome to poor people," Quevedo added.

Quevedo said the foremost issues are how to help the poor and find alternative ways of supporting the Catholic Church.

Every Catholic, he said, is obliged to help the Church, but the manner by which each individual can do so differs from person to person, family to family, and from class to class.

He said what many dioceses have carried out is "modified tithing" which is not obligatory, but voluntary. Families, he said, can decide for themselves how much they could give to the Church to support its evangelization work. He said Cardinal Sin is aware of the Church’s plan about modified tithing and he hopes that the Manila archbishop would support such a move.

July 10, 2001, PHNO, More MNLF Leaders Desert Misuari,

Cotabato City, July 10, 2001 - Thousands of other followers of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Nur Misuari bade him goodbye in a historic assembly here yesterday, in the presence of Libyan Ambassador Salem Adem, whose government now recognizes the so-called "Council of 15" as the new central leadership of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Among those present in the day-long MNLF assembly at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College were Melham Alam, Abebakerin Lucman and Sahirin Bahjin, leaders of the Islamic Command Council, and more than a thousand members of the Mutallah Force, the front’s remaining unit loyal to Misuari.

Members of the Council of 15, composed of pioneer MNLF leaders, including Cotabato City Mayor Muslimim Sema and Sulu Gov. Yusoph Jikiri, unseated Misuari as the front’s chairman last April 29 due to what they claimed was loss of trust and confidence.

Dozens of MNLF leaders took turns in criticizing Misuari during the assembly and urged President Arroyo to order an extensive audit of state funds channeled to the ARMM government, before the holding of the plebiscite for expanded Mindanao autonomy.

Jikiri, the MNLF’s chief of staff, said while it was painful for them to bid goodbye to Misuari, their leader for almost four decades, they have no way but to install a new central leadership to rebuild what he described as the MNLF’s "badly devastated image" and to introduce reforms in its ranks.

Alano Bansawan, chairman of the front's Sebangan Kutawato State Revolutionary Committee, said the MNLF members who pledged support for the Council of 15 yesterday were mostly farmers and former combatants long griping over Misuari’s failure to give them livelihood projects and jobs. Sema, secretary-general of the MNLF, said the council is now gaining headway in its efforts to forge ties with foreign governments, including member-countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference, which helped broker the Sept. 2, 1996 government-MNLF peace agreement.

July 12, 2001:

Diigo, July 12, 2001, Malaya, FBI Agents on Alert vs. Terrorists,

Manila, July 12, 2001 - Agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation based at the US embassy have set up a dragnet against a terrorist group led by a Lebanese who plans to sneak into the country reportedly to finance and assist local saboteurs in the planned bombing of American and Israeli establishments.

American anti-terrorist experts identified the Lebanese as Ahmad Yaser Ismail, who is believed to be the leader of a fighter group of Saudi-born extremist Osama bin Laden.

Malacañang has been provided with the identity of the Lebanese.

They also sought the assistance of the NBI in monitoring arriving Middle East nationals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the three other international airports in Mindanao.

Chief Supt. Marcelo Santos Ele Jr., PNP Aviation Security Group director, has ordered a 24-hour alert for for suspected terrorists.

Eid Kabalu, Moro Islamic Liberation Front spokesman, belied reports that they have joined Abu Sayyaf bandits in undertaking terrorist training in Afghanistan.

"This is part of the disinformation to link the MILF with the ASG," he said.

Kabalu said the secessionist movement has not sent any fighter to Afghanistan since the 1980s when there was intense fighting with government forces in Mindanao.

Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan, AFP spokesman, earlier said they have received intelligence reports that secessionist rebels have been jointly training with the some 50 Abu Sayyaf men in Afghanistan.

Adan has said the MILF has been providing firearms to the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan. (Malaya)

July 12, 2001, PHNO, Jueteng Case vs. ERAP Withdrawn,

Manila, July 12, 2001 The Sandiganbayan today allowed the Ombudsman to withdraw a secondary graft case against deposed president Joseph Estrada to focus on the main charge of plunder against him.

The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court allowed the withdrawal of the charge against Estrada, his son, Jose Ejercito and three alleged accomplices. The seven were accused of allegedly allowing jueteng nationwide in return for millions of pesos in protection money.

Estrada was initially indicted on eight graft-related charges after he was ousted in January. However prosecutors later asked permission from the court to withdraw the lesser charges to focus on the main charges of plunder, perjury and illegal use of an alias.

Plunder refers to massive corruption and stemmed from accusations Estrada built up a personal fortune of 80 million dollars in illegally acquired wealth during his 30 months in office.

Prosecutors said he perjured himself when he misdeclared his assets and illegally used aliases to hide his fortune in secret bank accounts.

Ombudsman Aniano Desierto said the withdrawal was being made to keep the defense from delaying the proceedings by citing such issues as double jeopardy.

Estrada was arraigned on the charge of plunder on Wednesday, and if convicted could theoretically face the death penalty. He has also been arraigned for perjury last month.

In both cases, Estrada refused to enter a plea, forcing the court to automatically enter a "not guilty" plea on his behalf.

The anti-graft court has previously allowed prosecutors to withdraw three of the lesser graft cases but it has refused to allow the withdrawal of a charge alleging that Estrada, his wife and son embezzled millions in a special tax fund.

Prosecutors have warned that if this charge is not withdrawn, they may be forced to call for the arrest of Estrada's wife, newly-elected Senator Luisa Ejercito Estrada. Senator Estrada’s lawyer Rufus Rodriguez warned that if the government tries to arrest her, it will be a "clear case of persecution against her for being the spouse of President Estrada."

It would also constitute political harassment to keep Ejercito from serving in the Senate, he added.

Diigo, July 12, 2001, PHNO, RP-U.S. Info Sharing Boosted vs. Sayyaf,

Zamboanga City, July 12, 2001 - US Pacific fleet commander Admiral Dennis Blair and Philippine defense secretary Angelo Reyes agreed today to boost intelligence sharing on Abu Sayyaf bandits holding 21 American and Filipino hostages.

Reyes told reporters after the meeting in Manila that he and Blair "briefly talked about the Basilan hostage crisis."

"The concern of the United States on the safety of the hostages is understandable," Reyes said but stressed Blair did not offer US military assistance to pursue the Abu Sayyaf.

Reyes said talks focused on "areas where in terms of sharing intelligence information the Philippine armed forces and the Americans can assist to resolve the hostage situation."

Blair is on a three-day visit for the Mutual Defense Board which oversees defense arrangements.

The agreement came as police in the southern city of Zamboanga arrested two Abu Sayyaf couriers and the military reported that they were closing in on the kidnappers on southern Basilan island.

In Zamboanga City, Senior Superintendent Damming Ungga, head of a special police anti-crime task force, said one of the two arrested was the wife of an Abu Sayyaf leader, whom he did not identify. The other person, a man, was also not identified.

The two were arrested on Wednesday in separate operations in Zamboanga, a 30-minute boat ride from Basilan where Abu Sayyaf gumen were holding the hostages, some of them for more than five weeks.

Ungga, describing the two as Abu Sayyaf couriers, earlier said the group had sent members to Zamboanga to buy arms and ammunition.

Two senior Abu Sayyaf members were arrested by Ungga's group on Tuesday in the first of a series of raids against suspected lairs of the group in Zamboanga City.

Regional military spokesman Colonel Danilo Servando identified one of the men arrested on Tuesday as Basuan Biao Pael, the "chief of the urban terrorist demolitions team" of the Abu Sayyaf.

Servando said a group of elite army scout rangers clashed with a 50-man Abu Sayyaf band in Basilan's Lamitan town on Wednesday, leaving four soldiers wounded and an undetermined number of rebel casualties.

Also on Wednesday, a member of the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was killed while four of his comrades and two soldiers were wounded in another firefight in Lantawan town.

The MNLF was formerly the country's main Muslim rebel force before it signed a peace pact with Manila in 1996, although it still maintains strongholds in the south.

"The MNLF forces opened fire on the soldiers who were running after the Abu Sayyaf," Servando said.
The military has said its operations on Basilan were being hampered by other armed groups in the area, which the Abu Sayyaf had allegedly hired to serve as "blocking forces."

Armed forces chief General Diomedio Villanueva meanwhile said security forces had heightened their guard in urban areas and popular resorts to prevent the Abu Sayyaf from causing more trouble.

This included the formation of government militias to guard tourist resorts perceived as potential targets of the guerrillas.

July 13, 2001, PHNO, No Suspension of Writ of Habeas Corpus in Basilan -- GMA,

Makati City, July 13, 2001 - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today denied reports that the privilege of the writ of the habeas corpus has been suspended in Basilan, where she has ordered a saturation drive against suspected members and supporters of the Abu Sayyaf

Pres. Arroyo said, "It (the writ of habeas corpus) didn't have to be suspended because we have arrest warrants for everybody we want to arrest."

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had revealed in that same press conference that she had given the order to implement the saturation drive in Mindanao last night.

This saturation drive had already netted 32 suspected members and supporters of the Abu Sayyaf extremist group Sulu, composed of 23 from Basilan and nine from Sulu.

It was Basilan Governor Wahab Akbar who confirmed the suspension of the writ for the entire island-province of Basilan since last night.

According to a dzMM radio report, Akbar said this action will avert the influence on the people of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group which continues to hold hostages, including Americans.

The marines, army and police enforced the saturation drive that started in the capital town of Isabela against suspected members and supporters of the extremist group.

A Chinese-Filipino businessman named Ping Tan was also apprehended. Tan was said to have negotiated for the release of Abu Sayyaf hostages Lalaine Chua and Luis Bautista recently.

Some of those taken into military custody were Barangay officials.

July 15, 2001:




July 15, 2001, Malaya, Criminality Rises: Cop Chief Goes on Leave,

Manila, --The Mandaluyong City police chief yesterday took a 30-day leave of absence even before the lapse of the seven-day ultimatum issued to him by City Mayor Benhur Abalos to rid the city of all forms of vices.

The police chief, Supt. Jose Gentiles Jr., said he was going abroad to attend a special schooling.

Chief Supt. George Alino, Eastern Police District firector, assigned Senior Supt. Sukarno Ikbalan as officer-in-charge vice Gentiles.

Last July 8, Abalos gave Gentiles up to July 16 to rid the city of all forms of vices or the former would recommend his replacement by someone else who could do the job.

Records showed criminality in Mandaluyong City rose by more than 100 percent in the first 10 months of Gentiles police chief, who assumed the post on May 27, 2000.

Illegal vices, particularly illegal drugs, gambling and bold shows, have reported sprouted in the city.
Ikbala, formerly of the EPD directorial staff, vowed to crush criminality and illegal vices in the city. (Arkhon Antolin)


July 16, 2001:





July 16, 2001, PHNO, Military Tightening Noose on Abu Sayyaf - Golez,

Malacanang, - The Macapagal-Arroyo administration has tightened the noose on the Abu Sayyaf Group with a series of military strikes and roundups, leaving the kidnap gang members with virtually no place to run for refuge.

"Pasikip nang pasikip…ang mundo ng Abu Sayyaf (The realm of the Abu Sayyaf is getting smaller)," said National Security Adviser J. Roilo Golez in a radio interview this morning.

The bandit gang is losing support, Golez added.

"Hindi katulad noong una na maraming tumutulong sa kanila… Sila ay sinusukol na ng militar at pagkatapos ay kinuhuha din ng AFP at PNP ang mga tumulong sa kanila (Unlike before, many supporters would extend them help. Not anymore. Now, the soldiers are pursuing them, and Armed Forces of the Philippines troops and the Philippine National Police pick up whoever provides them assistance)," he said.

Golez said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s order for a massive crackdown against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan, Sulu, the Tawi-Tawi islands and parts of Zamboanga City is being carried out "very effectively and efficiently" by military and police forces who are careful not to violate the human rights of suspected gang members and their sympathizers.

Golez said that among those arrested since the military-police operations were launched at dawn of Fridday, July 13, were Abu Sayyaf sympathizers, ordinary members and ranking leaders like Commander Anwar Abdul Hamid.

Golez said that with Justice Secretary Hernando Perez setting in "black and white" the guidelines for the soldiers and policemen’s implementation of the President’s order, crackdown operations have been "very effective and efficient."

He noted that Perez also brought with him to Mindanao 10 veteran prosecutors to ensure the filing of kidnap-for-ransom and other cases against the suspects within 36 hours as required by law.

If the prosecutors determine that there is no evidence against any of the suspect in custody, he said the suspect would be released immediately. So far, 30 of the 71 arrested suspects have been freed, he added.

According to the presidential security adviser, Commission on Human Rights Chairman Aurora N. Recina has conceded that there have been no human rights violations in implementing the crackdown against the Abu Sayyaf, including the enforcement of warrantless arrests.

Golez said the crackdown against the Abu Sayyaf terrorists had been planned for sometime but was kept under wraps pending the collection of adequate information about the target personalities in Basilan, Jolo (Sulu), Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga City.

Golez recalled that about a month ago, the President warned that whoever helps the Abu Sayyaf by giving them food or shelter, or serves as their courier or emissary would be arrested and charged as conspirators of the terrorists.

"Mabigat ang parusa sa kidnap for ransom – kamatayan (Kidnap for ransom is punishable by death)," he said.

July 17, 2001:





July 17, 2001, PHNO, Arroyo Rule Conjugal -- ERAP,

Manila, July 17, 2001 - Juan Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, President Arroyo's spouse, yesterday told reporters in a chance interview that deposed President Joseph Estrada is the "brains" behind a plot to destabilize his wife's government.

Mr. Arroyo, who was in Camp Crame yesterday morning, said the information came from a "general" who visited him in Malacañang and disclosed to him an alleged attempt by Estrada to supposedly "buy" the officer's loyalty. It was not clear why the First Gentleman disclosed this information to the media.

Contacted by the Tribune, Estrada denied this accusation hurled by Arroyo, saying Mrs. Arroyo's husband is just making up the story for reasons of his own.

Estrada said all Arroyo has to do to is check the visitor's logbook and it will show that no general, police or military, has visited me and that the only generals he had seen during his incarceration are the police generals who came to his hospital jail lodgings to escort him from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) to the Sandiganbayan. He mentioned Gen. Thompson Lantion and Gen. Romeo Peña.

Estrada noted that these police generals did not even talk to him during those instances, perhaps because "they were scared that other elements in the police force may use these as a means to destroy them in the eyes of Mrs. Arroyo." "These generals all suck up to Mrs. Arroyo."

Mr. Arroyo told reporters that the unnamed general went to see him in Malacañang and told him he was offered huge amount of money in exchange for the downfall of the government.

Estrada countered by saying Arroyo's tale was fiction, pointing out that Arroyo is not the President or Commander-in-Chief but merely the husband of Mrs. Arroyo.

"Why should a general go to Mike Arroyo and disclose this supposed plan to him, if this were true? Why not go directly to Mrs. Arroyo, the Commander-in-Chief? What set-up is there now in Malacañang, a conjugal presidency?"

As First Gentleman, Arroyo is not even supposed to be privy to matters related to national security, Estrada noted.

He added the general, whoever he is, breached the line of command when he disclosed such information to Arroyo.

"This is assuming that there was indeed a general who spread this lies," Estrada said.

Mr. Arroyo, while pointing the finger at Estrada, failed to name his source and even refused to say whether the "general" is an active or retired police or military official.

He said his informant claimed that Estrada had invited the latter to the VMMC, where Estrada is confined recently. There, according to Arroyo, the general was allegedly asked by Estrada to draw a plan to have Mrs. Arroyo ousted.

"Mike Arroyo is obviously making up that story-that's disinformation he is spreading, " Estrada retorted. "Maybe Mike Arroyo thinks that way because this is what he did when I was president," he noted and stressed that the Graphic magazine even carried a story on how he wanted the presidency seized from Estrada.

Mrs. Arroyo before the Council of Philippine Affairs (Copa) members, early in her presidencty, disclosed in public that she had been meeting with religious leaders and military groups, as well as businessmen and sectoral leaders on plans to oust Estrada as early as January 2000.

At the time, the jueteng scandal had not been exposed, nor had the Best World Resources stock scandal hit the market.

Her husband gave Graphic magazine an interview and disclosed details on how he and Mrs. Arroyo's supporters would seize power, which included a bloody siege of Malacañang.

The general, the First Gentleman said, also claimed to have been offered a "juicy" post once Mrs. Arroyo is deposed. Estrada allegedly suggested either a military junta or an armed takeover to force Mrs. Arroyo to step down.

A police general, who requested anonymity, said there are still many officers in the PNP and the military who might be thinking of joining an oust plot against Arroyo but added "the idea remains only an idea."
"They are thinking about it (oust plot) but they will rather keep that to themselves. I say they are potential supporters of such plan but they would keep it a personal secret," the police general said. (Tribune)

July 17, 2001, PHNO, Kidnap Raps vs. 52 Sayyaf Supporters,

Zamboanga City, July 17, 2001 - The government yesterday filed kidnap for ransom charges against 52 members and sympathizers of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Of those charged, 35 were from Basilan, 14 from Sulu and three from Zamboanga City. Five of those from Basilan and two from Zamboanga are in the AFP's order of battle.

In Malacanang, Presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao said each of the seven accused, whom he did not identify, carries a reward between P250,000 to P1 million.

He added that the AFP expects to arrest at least 100 to 200 members and sympathizers of the Abu Sayyaf with the continued intensified operation.

"Nanawagan kami sa civilian supporters ng Abu Sayyaf na tumulong na sa gobyerno at sabihin na nila kung meron silang alam sa Abu Sayyaf lalo na kung nasaan yung mga hostages, dahilan ang kasong ipapataw sa kanila, and i-tsa-charge sa kanila ay participants sa kidnap for ransom. Pag-conspirator ka sa isang kidnap for ransom crime ibig sabihin nito walang bail at ang maximum penalty nito at death," he said.

In Zamboanga City, 28 suspected bandits and ASG supporters, including two Chinese traders arrested in Isabela City, were brought to the Zamboanga City Justice Hall in Sta. Barbara village under heavy guard.
Zamboanga City, July 17, 2001 - The government yesterday filed kidnap for ransom charges against 52 members and sympathizers of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Of those charged, 35 were from Basilan, 14 from Sulu and three from Zamboanga City. Five of those from Basilan and two from Zamboanga are in the AFP's order of battle.

In Malacanang, Presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao said each of the seven accused, whom he did not identify, carries a reward between P250,000 to P1 million.

He added that the AFP expects to arrest at least 100 to 200 members and sympathizers of the Abu Sayyaf with the continued intensified operation.

"Nanawagan kami sa civilian supporters ng Abu Sayyaf na tumulong na sa gobyerno at sabihin na nila kung meron silang alam sa Abu Sayyaf lalo na kung nasaan yung mga hostages, dahilan ang kasong ipapataw sa kanila, and i-tsa-charge sa kanila ay participants sa kidnap for ransom. Pag-conspirator ka sa isang kidnap for ransom crime ibig sabihin nito walang bail at ang maximum penalty nito at death," he said.

In Zamboanga City, 28 suspected bandits and ASG supporters, including two Chinese traders arrested in Isabela City, were brought to the Zamboanga City Justice Hall in Sta. Barbara village under heavy guard.


July 18, 2001:






July 18, 2001, PHNO, Communist Leaders Nabbed, SONA Plot Bared,

Manila, -- Two ranking members of the communist rebel movement were arrested earlier this week, the military announced, as it bared a "civil disturbance" plot meant to coincide with President Arroyo’s first State of the Nation Address on Monday.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Jaime de los Santos identified the suspects as Danilo Singh, alias Bombay, tagged as the national commander of the communist hit squad Alex Boncayao Brigade and secretary of the Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines, and Rolando Marcelo, alias Joel, alleged ABB propagandist.

The two were reportedly apprehended Monday in Quezon City while in possession of a fragmentation grenade, two pistols and subversive documents, among which detailed a plan to disrupt the opening of the 12th Congress on July 23.

"With their capture, we have emasculated this trend of the local communist movement in the National Capital Region as well as in the Luzon area, and we expect a slowdown of liquidations as a result of their arrest," De los Santos said.

Singh reportedly belonged to the "rejectionist" faction of the ABB, as opposed to the "reaffirmist" faction which stuck by communist party leader Jose Ma. Sison’s ideological line.

Singh and Marcelo are also wanted for the slaying of Angelo de la Cruz, general manager of Kawasaki Phi-lippines; Remedio Pascua who was murdered in Meycauayan, Bulacan last Oct. 12; and labor leaders Gregorio Yater and Enrique Aldon.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jose Mabanta said the suspects are also being investigated for possible involvement in the assassination of leftist labor leader Felimon Lagman last Feb. 6 at the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City.

Mabanta said the suspects had been under surveillance for some time before they were arrested.
The civil disturbance plot included a march by leftist groups to Congress where a rally would be staged against government policies, Mabanta said.

However, the documents indicated "no violent plans," said Mabanta, adding: "All of these are protests and marches."

But an Army official insisted the ABB was planning to assassinate leftist leaders to put the blame on the government, security forces and certain public officials.

Philippine National Police spokesman Director Thompson Lantion said some 3,000 policemen would be deployed in critical areas on Monday to prevent untoward incidents.

De los Santos gave assurances that the arrest would not derail ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front, the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), since the ABB was a breakaway faction.

The ABB broke away from the CPP due to differences in ideology in 1993, and operated an urban hit squad that coerced businessmen into paying revolutionary taxes.

Mabanta said the ABB’s strength had dwindled to only about 20 active members due to military successes.
The ABB was created in May 1984 by the CPP under Sison, now in exile in the Netherlands.

It was formed to complement the armed operations of the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), in Metro Manila.

"Its purpose is to adopt a partisan insurrection in the National Capital Region," a military briefing paper read.
The urban hit squad, whose partisans were known as sparrows during their heyday in the late ’80s and early ’90s, was named after an activist from Adamson University who was allegedly murdered by police agents.
The hit squad gained notoriety when it assassinated scores of policemen said to be "anti-people."

There were also instances where instead of killing a policeman, ABB members tied the victim to a post and hung on his chest a sign that listed his "crimes."

In 1993 leadership struggles divided the local communist movement into two groups, the reaffirmist, which recognized Sison’s leadership, and the rejectionists.

The rift did not spare the ABB which was likewise rend into two, with the rejectionists led by Nilo de la Cruz who was arrested in 1997 but was later released.

De la Cruz went aboveground and formed a new communist party, the Rebolusyonaryong Partido Manggagawa (RPM), which, along with its armed wing operating in the Visayas, the Revolutionary Proletariat Army (RPA), began peace talks with the former Estrada administration.

The NPA’s current strength is estimated at about 14,000 members with about 12,000 firearms.


July 18, 2001, Tribune, Mike Arroyo Berated for 'Coup Expose',

Manila, July 18, 2001 - Presidential spouse Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo yesterday stood pat on his earlier claim that his wife's government is now under threat from the camp of deposed President Joseph Estrada who, Mr. Arroyo charged, is behind a coup plot to oust President Arroyo and for him to retake government power through a military takeover.

The plot, as stated by the presidential husband, involves Estrada paying off military and police generals with budgets ranging from P10 million to P25 million each.

Estrada has denied the allegations of Mr. Arroyo.

The Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabayan (RAM) yesterday quickly came to the defense of the presidential spouse, excusing his disclosure as a "natural reaction from the President's husband," RAM spokesman Col. Reynaldo Samaco told the Tribune in a telephone interview.

At the same time, Samaco said the RAM has not monitored any recruitment within its ranks to launch a destabilization attempt against the Arroyo administration.

"We have not received any report of such recruitment, our man in uniform (active) have not reported such recruitment," he said.

Samaco, however, stated such recruitment faces a "hard time" but if the situation, particularly the economy, worsens, it is possible for the supposed plot of destabilizing the government to succeed.

"But if the situation worsens, specially the peso fall and it's not immediately resolved, then such recruitment may succeed," he added.

But the presidential spouse's disclosure of a supposed coup plot hatched by Estrada drew flak.

An opposition senator had called on Mr. Arroyo to identify the general, since he had assumed the responsibility of revealing the information himself.

Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines berated Mr. Arroyo for reportedly volunteering the information to members of the media during a recent visit in Camp Crame.

"Why do you listen to a First Gentleman? You should listen to the President. I don't think he's in a position to disclose issues like this," Biazon said.

Administration Sen. Juan Flavier expressed doubts over the veracity of the alleged plan to overthrow anew the government even if the claim was made by Mr. Arroyo.

He said Mr. Arroyo should waste no time in revealing the names of those involved or who planned to be part of a foiled plot to destabilize the government to effect the immediate investigation of the matter so that appropriate charges can be made.

"If he is going to answer to certain responsibilities in the government, it is incumbent upon him by his present stature, not as an official in the government but his position to disclose to the public (the information). 
Otherwise, if he leaves this hanging, he would only be giving uncertainty in the minds of the people," he said in a telephone interview.

"There are more than a hundred generals in the country. If he would not identify (that one general), it is inevitable that he may be putting a cloud of doubt over the head of all the generals in the Armed Forces," Flavier added.

The supposed general, on the other hand, must also come out in the open and come clean in disclosing the matter to the public, he said.

The senator also cautioned Mr. Arroyo from repeating his "act," saying matters like this should be confined within the functions of Mrs. Arroyo and her national security adviser considering its implication to the country's internal security.

The administration senator could not help but also note the vagueness of the information given by Mr. Arroyo.

The First Gentleman claimed the move to oust President Arroyo started "three weeks ago." The destabilization move, he said, includes a plot that is intended to smear the administration.

His source according to him, was a "general" who was personally asked by Estrada to help his camp create a "military component" tasked to back up the coup d' etat against the Arroyo administration. During an interview, Mr. Arroyo refused to identify the general as well as his command affiliation.

Estrada reportedly aired his offer to the unidentified general when the later visited him at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) recently.

During their discussion, Estrada reportedly asked his guest to help him oust Mrs. Arroyo, an offer the supposed general turned down, citing a decision handed down by the Supreme Court.

"Mr. President, the Supreme Court three times has decided that Gloria is now the President," the general was quoted as saying by Mr. Arroyo. Estrada reportedly answered by telling the general: "No, it's just politics. Once I'm there, they will flip over."

Estrada has denied the fresh charges. He said the visitors' logbook at the VMMC where he is being detained, can be checked and would show that no general has come to visit him.

The unnamed general, Mrs. Arroyo's husband said, had approached him to personally relay what was discussed between him and the deposed president.

"You know him but I just cannot identify him," Mr. Arroyo said.

The offer, according to him, is supported by a hefty reward ranging from P10 million to P25 million to military and police officers who would opt to back up the destabilization attempt against the administration.
"He (Estrada) has different budgets to buy various military (officers). But I think the military will not join him," the First Gentleman stated.

Estrada in a telephone interview last Monday, castigated the First Gentleman for meddling in the affairs of the state. Mr. Arroyo, the deposed president said, must not be involved in national security matters and intimated that a "conjugal presidency" is in the works in Malacañang.

Predictably, presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao in a news briefing came to the defense of Mr. Arroyo, saying as the presidential spouse, Mr. Arroyo must also be "apprised by the Presidential Security Group (regarding) all the threats."

Tiglao said: "I would think it is a concern of the First Gentleman because it's his family that is under threat. I think the President has always emphasized that the First Gentleman does not interfere with matters of state. Of course, it's his life too (that is) under threat and his children."

Tiglao added Mr. Arrroyo pursues his own interests in a career, which is the reason he should be apprised of the threats.

He, however, failed to explain why the unidentified general went directly to Mr. Arroyo, as clearly, it was not the PSG that apprised him of the supposed coup plot.

The general who tipped off the supposed plan of destabilizing the administration is being investigated, Tiglao added. (Tribune)

July 19, 2001:





July 19, 2001, PHNO, Ammo, Grenades Seized From Misuari Compound,

Zamboanga City, July 19, 2001 - Police raided the home of former Moro National Liberation Front Chairman Nur Misuari at dawn today, and seized hundreds of rounds of ammunition and grenades from a shack used by a certain Assa Asmawil.

Misuari, governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, was not home during the raid at his family compound in the outskirts of the southern city of Zamboanga.

Police intelligence head, Chief Inspector Jose Bayani Gusela, said Asmawil is suspected of selling ammunition and firearms to the Abu Sayyaf. The suspect however had left Zamboanga City four days ago, the police officer said.

He said police did not enter the actual home of Misuari inside the sprawling compound, adding they had a search warrant.

"Our target here is not Nur Misuari, it is not his family members but Assa Asmawil who we believe is involved in selling firearms, weapons and ammunition of Abu Sayyaf group in Basilan," Gusela said.

Misuari's aide Jamasali Abdurahman denied knowing any Assa Asmawil and charged that the raid was "a blatant violation" of the government's peace agreement recognizing Misuari as chairman of a special autonomous region of Muslim-dominated provinces in the Philippines.

"This will have a very serious effect," he said, warning "they might awaken a sleeping giant."
Misuari was in the southern island of Jolo during the raid but his wife, Tarhata Ibrahim, was in the house, Jamasali said.

The police did not say how Asmawil might be connected to Misuari but longtime residents of Zamboanga have noticed that only members of the MNLF are allowed to live in Misuari's residential compound.

Sources in government said the arrest warrant was issued after two witnesses identified a caretaker of the house as a supplier of arms and ammunition of the Abu Sayyaf.

July 20, 2001:


Diigo, July 20, 2001, The Philippine Star, NBI Rescued Fil-Chinese Teenager From Kidnappers,

Manila, July 20, 2001 - (STAR) Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) rescued early this morning a Filipino-Chinese teenager barely 12 hours after being snatched by four suspects in Quiapo, Manila.

Reports said 17-year-old Alvin Sy was driving his Mitsubishi Galant with plate number UHE-821 in Quiapo when the suspects stopped him at gunpoint at about 5:30 a.m. The suspects then boarded Sy's car and drove away.

The boy's parents sought the help of the NBI, which later was able to trace the call of the kidnappers, when they demanded for ransom payment, to Pansol, Laguna. Sy was rescued.

Some of the suspects were nabbed and are now facing kidnapping charges.

Diigo, July 20, 2001, The Philippine Star, "First Gentleman a Liar" Says Former Malacanang Secretary,

Manila, July 20, 2001 - (STAR) "A liar." This was how First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo was called by a former Malacañang secretary following his sharp revelations that were supposedly about her shady deal.

Former correspondent secretary Bing Rodrigo, said to be a close friend of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, accused Mr. Arroyo of attempting to use his influence for the President null her earlier decision to veto the telecom franchise bill where he could have profited along with his co-connivers.

Rodrigo made the retaliation after the First Gentleman declared over dzMM radio on July 17 that one of the President's secretary resigned after it was found out that she profited from an anomalous franchise deal
Even as Mr. Arroyo did not mention any name, Rodrigo said she was sure the First Gentleman was referring to her.

Diigo, July 20, 2001, The Philippine Star, Shabu Planted by Authorities to Capture Me - Janjalani,

Manila, July 20, 2001 - (STAR) Hector Janjalani, elder brother of Abu Sayyaf head Khaddafy Janjalani and allegedly one of its top officers, said that the illicit drugs found on his person when he was arrested in Manila last year was planted.

Janjalani said that the methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" found on him was planted by arresting authorities when he was nabbed with a certain Habib in a shopping mall in Manila.

Janjalani said in Tagalog, "That's always the case if you're a Muslim. Your rights are stepped upon. If you do something good, people doubt you. I am alone in this (and) I am not a commander (of the Abu Sayyaf) nor a kidnapper."

Janjalani was supposed to be arraigned today at Zamboanga City with 43 other suspected members and supporters of the bandit group on charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention.

However, the regional trial court (RTC) judge postponed the hearing when he noticed that most of the accused did not have representation, including Janjalani.

RTC Judge Jesus Carbon also granted the petition made by Janjalani through his temporary lawyer, Atty. Abdulmuin Pakkam, that he be transferred to the Zamboanga City jail instead of being brought back to Camp Crame in Manila where he had been incarcerated since his capture.

Diigo, July 21, 2001, The Philippine Star, Military Faces Human Rights Violation Complaints

Manila, -- The military will face complaints of human rights violations following the arrest of two suspected members of the Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) the other day, the Socialistang Kilusang Manggagawa said today.

Radio reports said the complaints were being readied against military elements that arrested alleged ABB members Danny Singh and Rolando Marcelo.

Atty. Josefina David said Singh and Marcelo were deprived of their rights during the arrest.
David said men in civilian clothes seized the suspects inside a fast-food chain, blindfolded them before forcing the suspects to board a car.

Some 24 hours later, David said Singh and Marcelo were shocked when they were already made to face the media.

The lawyer insisted the weapons seized from the suspects were planted.


Diigo, July 21, 2001, The Philippine Star, GMA Clears Misuari's Name in Zamboanga Raid,

Manila, July 21, 2001 - (STAR) President Arroyo clarified that Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Nur Misuari nor his family members were not the target of the recent police raid inside his compound in Zamboanga City.

The President yesterday cleared Misuari of any accountability in the confiscation of assorted ammunition inside the house of one Asah Asmawil, said to be a relative of one of Misuari's security aides who resides in the compound.

Mrs. Arroyo said Misuari has not held residence there for a long time.

July 23, 2001:





Diigo, July 22, 2001, PHNO, Kidnap-Rob Gang Wiped Out in Police Shootout,

Manila, July 22, 2001 - Nine robbery suspects were killed in an alleged shootout at the foot of Del Pan Bridge in Manila’s Port Area yesterday as police stepped up the campaign against organized crime.

A police officer was reported wounded in the purported gunfight that broke out at dusk after the lawmen tried to flag down the gang’s south-bound vehicle as it crossed the Del Pan Bridge toward Bonifacio Drive.

The Philippine National Police tagged the slain suspects as "remnants of the Martilyo Gang" whose favorite targets are jewelry shops. The gang is notorious for warding off pursuing lawmen by exploding hand
grenades after pulling off robberies, foremost of which were at the Ever Gotesco mall in Caloocan City and at a Light Railway Transit station in Baclaran, Para-ñaque earlier this year.

Senior Superintendent Jaime Caringal, deputy chief of the PNP-Intelligence Group (IG), claimed the gang was also engaged in kidnapping for ransom, and was believed behind the abduction of a Korean resort owner in Pansol, Laguna last month.

Police said two caliber .45 pistols, six caliber .38 revolvers and a hand grenade were recovered from the slain suspects.

Caringal said the Martilyo Gang had been under surveillance following a tip off that they were about to swoop down on a foreign exchange shop at the Traders Hotel on Roxas Boulevard in Malate, Manila.

Caringal said he and his team of operatives waited for the suspects who were aboard a Toyota Tamaraw utility van with license plates GCX 815 in the vicinity of Delpan Bridge.

"As I signaled the gang’s vehicle to stop, two men jumped off and opened fire at us," Caringal said. "We were just about to accost them, but they immediately opened fire, hitting one of my men."

The initial salvo of gunfire from the suspects’ caliber .45 automatics shattered the windshield of the police’s lead vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser with license plates TJJ 772, wounding Chief Inspector Nonimer Detran.

Caringal said they were prompted to return fire. When the smoke of battle cleared, a suspect lay dead in the middle of the road, while seven of his companions were cut down right inside their vehicle, their bodies piled one on top of the other.

Empty shells apparently coming from the policemen’s firearms littered the suspects’ vehicle, indicating part of the shootout was done at close range.

The ninth suspect was rushed to the Ospital ng Maynila but was pronounced dead on arrival.

The encounter came six days after President Arroyo ordered the PNP to wage a vigorous crackdown on organized crime in a bid to improve the country’s image before the international community.

Police files on the Martilyo Gang, so-called for its practice of smashing jewelry showcases with a hammer, showed that three members of the group were captured in the rescue operation for the Korean in Sariaya town in Quezon. Part of the ransom money was also recovered.

Authorities also tagged the gang as behind a series of heists involving pawnshops in Metro Manila.

Diigo, July 23, 2001, The Philippine Star, GMA Gives PNP P1 Billion for Modernization, by  Paolo Romero,

Manila, July 23, 2001 - (STAR Paolo Romero) President Arroyo has released an initial P1 billion for the modernization of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to raise the salaries of policemen and strengthen professionalism in the police service.

The Chief Executive’s action came on the heels of the government’s renewed campaign against major crime syndicates in Metro Manila and Mindanao.

In a radio interview over the weekend, Mrs. Arroyo said she has ordered PNP chief Director General Leandro Mendoza to use a portion of the money to finance the optional retirement of policemen who could not meet professional requirements.

"Thank God for my good budget secretary (Emilia Boncodin)," she said. "She was able to find P1 billion. Even with the P145-billion ceiling, she was able to find P1 billion for the modernization of the PNP."

Under the PNP modernization program, policemen should be college graduates, she added.

Mrs. Arroyo said the allocation came on top of the release of the supplementary budget to fund the salary increase of the nation’s 110,000 policemen.

"So there would be no reason for kotong (mulcting) cops," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo said part of the P1 billion must be used to professionalize the PNP through education and training and the retirement of "old" policemen.

"Many of our policemen have not finished college and many of them are already old," she said. "They (policemen) told me it’s hard for them to go back to school, so they should retire if there is retirement fund."

Mrs. Arroyo said she has ordered Mendoza to screen policemen to determine who should be retained or retired to allow rookies to join the police force.

"General Mendoza can manage the P1 billion so we can get new blood because if those enforcing the law are professionals, we can rely on them more," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo said she has ordered the upgrading of the curriculum and facilities of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) in Tanza, Cavite.

Policemen nationwide belong to the PNP and are administratively part of it, making them employees of the national government, but mayors have some control over policemen assigned to their cities or municipalities.

Being PNP members, they receive their salaries and other emoluments from funds allocated for the agency, and they can be assigned from one city or municipality to another, or from Metro Manila to Tawi-Tawi.

Most young policemen, especially officers, are graduates of the PNPA in accordance with the PNP Act, but many senior policemen have not graduated from college.

These policemen, who entered the service before President Ferdinand Marcos integrated local police forces with the Constabulary in the early 1970s, have remained in the service without getting a degree and they are a few years short of retirement.

The PNP Act, which Congress passed in the early 1990s, had allowed them to continue serving as policemen on condition that they fulfill the law’s requirement for them to complete college after a certain period.

However, many of these senior policemen have remained without any college diploma almost 10 years after the passage of the PNP Act.

The PNP’s forerunner was the Philippine Constabulary–Integrated National Police (PC-INP), which Marcos had set up following martial law to enable him to have control over local police.

Before the PC-INP, local police forces were under the administrative control of city or municipal mayors, and policemen were recruited by local governments based on the 1966 Police Reform Act.

As such, policemen were paid depending on the salary standards of the city or municipality where they are assigned, and those assigned in Manila received a salary much higher pay than those in the provinces.

Policemen could not also be transferred from one city or municipality to another, or from Luzon to the Visayas or Mindanao, as they are employees of the local government where they are assigned, in accordance with the city’s charter of the law creating the municipality.

After the ouster of Marcos in February 1986, the administration of President Corazon Aquino did not dissolve the PC-INP and continued with the practice of depriving city and municipal mayors of administrative control over local police forces.

When the PNP Act was passed, the PC-INP, which was then a branch of the Armed Forces, was separated and placed under the National Police Commission, but local policemen were not given back their former status as local government employees.

Before martial law, local police were under cities and municipalities, while the Constabulary was a paramilitary force under the Department of National Defense as the fourth branch of the Armed Forces.

July 24, 2001:



JDV WINS 184-17, DRILON BY 13-11


Diigo, July 23, 2001, The Philippine Star, 7,500 Cops, Elite Troops Deployed at Batasan Today, by Non Alquitran,

Manila, July 23, 2001 - (STAR) Six battalions of combat troops are awaiting orders to reinforce 7,500 policemen guarding the House of Representatives in Quezon City as President Arroyo delivers her first State of the Nation Address (SONA) before a joint opening session of the 12th Congress this afternoon.

Police authorities are expecting some 30,000 militant protesters to turn up outside the legislative complex to air their grievances against the six-month-old Arroyo administration.

Metro Manila police commander Deputy Director General Edgar Galvante told reporters yesterday all routes leading to the legislative complex along Batasan Road will be guarded by anti-riot policemen.
"We are prepared for any eventuality," he said.

Northern Police District director Senior Superintendent Vidal Querol said yesterday his 350 men, who defended Malacañang from a siege of Estrada supporters last May 1, will be among the 3,500 policemen that will be deployed around the House of Representatives.

Querol said policemen will close the gates of the legislative complex by 7 a.m. and set up barricades on all roads leading to it and strictly bar the entry of all unauthorized persons.

Policemen will be deployed around the complex as early as 5 a.m., he added.

A military official, who requested anonymity, told The STAR yesterday three Army battalions will be on standby at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City; and the remaining three will be scattered at Fort Bonifacio in Makati, Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, and the Navy headquarters along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

The official said the Armed Forces will not be sending any contingent to the House of Representatives because the PNP is in charge of maintaining security there.

"We are only playing a supporting role to the PNP, the primary duty is with the PNP," the military official said. "We are not deploying soldiers but we have on call six battalions of men."

However, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jose Mabanta and PNP deputy intelligence chief Senior Superintendent Jaime Caringal said they have not monitored any group, including the New People’s Army and the Alex Boncayao Brigade, planning terrorist action to disrupt the SONA of Mrs. Arroyo.

Presidential Spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao told reporters at a Philippine Press Institute forum over the weekend Mrs. Arroyo will unveil in her SONA a package of government programs that would generate jobs, assure education and build houses for the poor.

"This is really an acknowledgment that the cry of the poor is a paramount concern for her administration," he said. "The leitmotif: ‘Labanan ang Kahirapan’ (Fight Poverty), the key words trabaho, edukasyon, tahanan. The speech will address not only this generation but the generations to come."

Tiglao said Mrs. Arroyo’s speech will embody a "paradigm shift" in her administration’s policy following the riot at the gates of Malacañang last May 1, when thousands of Estrada supporters called for her resignation.

Tiglao said three consultants, including UP professor Alex Magno, helped in writing the speech in Filipino and English, but that Mrs. Arroyo was "personally and actively" involved in its preparation.

"The President’s speech will not take up more than 43 minutes," he said.

Mrs. Arroyo will hold office at the Department of Agriculture in Quezon City after delivering her SONA at the House of Representatives.

Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor said yesterday Mrs. Arroyo is particularly interested in finding out how the agriculture department will implement her instructions to create one million jobs, in line with her poverty alleviation program

"The DA fully supports President Arroyo’s vision to boost rural productivity and incomes for all sectors, especially our producers, all of which will bring about sustained economic growth for the country," he said.

Montemayor said the plan to create one million jobs in agriculture is part of the department’s overall development program called the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani-Countrywide Assistance for Rural Employment and Services (GMA-CARES).

Under GMA-CARES, the department will tap newly-irrigated rice lands, as well as abandoned, under-utilized or idle lands for corn, cassava and other high-value crops, he added.

Montemayor said GMA-CARES will have four components:
• Water.
• Credit (innovative financing schemes).
• Technological support and market to boost productivity.
• Improve the competitiveness of local agriculture. – With Christina Mendez, Romel Bagares, Mayen Jaymalin, Ding Cervantes

July 25, 2001:





July 26, 2001:





July 27, 2001:





Marawi City, July 26, 2001 - Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels are building new camps in the central part Mindanao, a ranking military official said yesterday.

According to the military official, the move is the MILF's way of recovering "territories it lost" last year to the administration of now deposed President Joseph Estrada.

The official said it is also in anticipation of possible government verification of so-called MILF territories "in light of ongoing peace talks" between the rebel group and the Arroyo administration.

The government and the MILF peace panels this week resumed in Kuala Lumpur the second round of the peace negotiations aimed at ending the decades-long armed conflict in Mindanao.

The top military official, who requested anonymity, claimed government troops had reported the new MILF bases are being put up in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, both known to be MILF lairs.
"We have monitored that the MILF is setting up new camps in Lanao del Sur. Field commanders have verified the establishment of at least three military camps (there)," the official said.

Two of the camps are supposedly located in Munai and Nunugan towns, both in Lanao del Norte, while the third is being built in Piapayungan, Lanao del Sur. According to the military official, the MILF is trying to convert the Nunugan camp where at least 100 Moslem fighters had been spotted into a training base.

The official said the three camps are under a certain Addul Rakamn Macapaar, alias Commander Bravo, head of the MILF"s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces' 302nd Brigade. Macapaar's group had been tagged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as responsible for an explosion that killed 34 persons aboard the M/V Mediatrix in Ozamis City in 1999. Aside from the Ozamis bombing, the same group was suspected of burning the Kauswagan town hall and the massacre of 21 Christian farmers in Bumbaran town, both in Lanao del Norte.

Despite the discovery of the base building of the MILF, the ranking military official explained, the AFP could not launch offensives against the Moslem fighters due to the peace talks in Malaysia.

In the Philippines, the MILF spokesman has warned that President Arroyo's insistence that the negotiations should be done within the bounds of the Constitution could derail the talks. Eid Kabalu said the negotiations could be hampered if the government pushed a constitutional framework.

"The moment they insist on this, that's the end of the talks," Kabalu added, reiterating that the MILF, as a revolutionary group, does not recognize the Philippine Constitution.

In her first State of the Nation Address last Monday, Mrs. Arroyo effectively ruled out the MILF's demand for a separate Islamic state in Mindanao the bedrock of the insurrection it has been waging for decades and an unacceptable proposition to the government.

"Let us forge consensus on a just, lasting and honorable peace in one country," she said in her first major speech since assuming power last Jan. 20. "But our framework must not compromise constitutionality, national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Mrs. Arroyo pointed out.

The current and previous talks have prospered because both sides "have remained silent" on the thorny issue and worked to settle other problems, Kabalu said. "The government should not insist on the constitutional framework and its territorial integrity, and, in return, the MILF will not talk about independence. We should just remain silent," he added.

Although the MILF remains optimistic about the negotiations, Kabalu said they foresee other possible irritants, including a rebel demand that troops pull out from the MILF's headquarters in sprawling Camp Abubakar in Maguindanao province, which was captured during a military offensive ordered Estrada.

Chief government negotiator Jesus Dureza said that issue would be tackled by technical committees of both sides in Kuala Lumpur. Details also will be pursued for an accord signed last month in Libya to reactivate a 1997 ceasefire, develop war-ravaged regions and discuss Moslem claims to ancestral lands.

Diigo, July 26, 2001, Malaya, PNP Nab Most Wanted Man in Southern Tagalog, by Victor Reyes,

Manila, July 26, 2001 - Operatives of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group have arrested a suspected top leader of a kidnapping group and one of his henchmen in separate operations in Naga City and Caloocan City.

Chief Supt. Nestorio Gualberto, CIDG director, presented to the media yesterday the two suspects, who were identified as Armando Avila alias Tata and Nito Libradilla alias Toto.

Gualberto said the two were arrested by CIDG agents under Supt. Edgar Danao by virtue of a warrant issued by Judge Rolando Diaz, of the Cavite City Regional Trial Court branch 17.

Avila was arrested in a safehouse in Barangay Kararayan, Naga City on Tuesday at around 11 p.m. Before the arrest, agents cordoned the compound to give Avila no chance to escape as he is said to be "slippery."
2 fucking L's!!!!!
Avilla used to be a mere member of the Mike Brillantes gang, a kidnap-for-ransom group based in Southern Tagalog. The group also figured in a series of murder, frustrated murder, parricide, frustrated parricide and carnapping cases.

Avilla bolted from the Mike Brillantes group to form the Nonoy/Avila kidnap for ransom and robbery group, which is tagged as responsible in the 1998 kidnapping of the owner of Goodies Mami House in Valenzuela City.

Avila's group was also responsible for the kidnapping of the owner of Goodah Food House chain of stores in Quezon City also in 1998. CIDG spokesman Felix Vargas said they are withholding the victims' names on their request.

Libradilla, on the hand, was arrested on Sunday in Barangay Silang, Caloocan. Libradilla, who yielded a .38 cal. revolver and a sachet of shabu, is said to be a close aide of Avila.

Police said they raided Libradilla's hideout after they got hold of an A1 information he was staying there. During interrogation, Libradilla squealed the whereabouts of Avila.

The arresting team awaits a P70,000 reward for capturing Avila and Libradilla, according to Gualberto. It was learned that Avila is the most wanted person in Southern Tagalog provinces.

July 28, 2001:





July 28, 2001, Manila Bulletin, Supreme Court Moves Sayyaf Trial to Cebu, by Rey G. Panaligan,

Manila, July 27, 2001 - The Supreme Court ordered yesterday the transfer of the trial of the 11 kidnap-for-ransom cases against Abu Sayyaf members from Zamboanga City to Cebu City. The trial of the cases may be held either in the courtroom or within a military camp where the suspected Abu Sayyaf members will be detained, the High Court said.

In a full court resolution, the High Court granted the request of Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Clara Lobregat who said that the trial of the cases in the city has spawned fear and anxiety among residents.

The order transferring the venue of the trial of the cases was made after consultation with Justice Secretary Hernando D. Perez, the High Court said.

Mayor Lobregat had requested the transfer of the trial of the cases to any court in Metro Manila.

"The court grants, upon consultation with the Secretary of justice, the instant request of arraignment and trial of the criminal cases involving suspected Abu Sayyaf grup members," it said. The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Zamboanga City was ordered to "forward the records of the cases to the executive judge of RTC Cebu."

Cebu City's executive judge was directed to raffle off the cases to any of the judges handling heinous crimes cases, and the assigned judge to order the transfer of the detained Abu Sayyaf members.

"The judge shall have the discretion to hear, try, and decide the cases either in his court or within a military camp," the High Court said.

Ten justices, led by Acting Chief Justice Josue N. Bellosillo, granted the request of Mayor Lobregat. Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., and Associate Justice jose A. R. Melo, Artemio V. Panganiban, Arturo B. Buena, and Angelina Sandoval Gutierrez are on travel abroad.

In seeking the transfer of the trial of the cases, Mayor Lobregat told the High Court that "the people greatly fear that the mere presence of the said accused Abu Sayyaf members will encourage, foster, or result in the spillover of their criminal operations in the city," she said.

For lack of judges and prosecutors, the Supreme Court had earlier approved the transfer of the trial of the 11 kidnap-for-ransom cases from Basilan to Zamboanga City.

Mayor Lobregat said that the city government was not informed of the transfer of the venue of the cases. "We were not advised. Otherwise the city government would have strongly opposed the transfer, as the arrraignment and trial of the cases have unnecessarily jeopardized and imperilled the generally peaceful and secure condition of Zamboanga City."

At the same time, the lady mayor told the High Court that the city's detention center, which was built for only 300 inmates, is already overcrowded with about 650 prisoners.

The department of Justice (DOJ) had recommended no bail for the accused Abu Sayyaf bandits, among them Hector Janjalani, brother of Khadafi Janjalani, the leader. (By REY G. PANALIGAN, Bulletin)

July 27, 2001, PHNO, Church Dared to Denounce GMA Govt Corruption,

Manila, July 27, 2001 - The opposition Partido ng Masang Pilipino yesterday dared the Catholic Church, anti-crime crusaders, and other "groups of moralists" to openly denounce corruption scandals in the Arroyo administration.

Jesus Crispin Remulla, PnM spokesman, said the continuing silence of the Church hierarchy over the bribery scandals involving Mr. Arroyo and Justice Secretary Hernando Perez on two separate transactions "only confirms public perception that its sense of morality is skewed in favor of the government it helped install."

Just two days after taking his post as justice secretary, Remulla said, Perez was accused of approving a power generation deal involving government and the Argentine company Industries Metalurgicas Pescarmona Sociedad Anonima (IMPSA) for the rehabilitation of 3 geothermal plants in Southern Luzon worth about P25 billion at the prevailing rate of exchange.

Perez' controversial approval was amidst rumors that at least $20 million in "goodwill" money was given to some officials of the Arroyo administration.

"Why is Cardinal Sin as well as the moralists in our midst suddenly so silent on the accusations against Mr. Mike Arroyo and Secretary Perez? Were they any different from President Joseph Estrada whom the Catholic Church loved to castigate in public whenever they heard a whiff of controversy involving his name?" Remulla asked.

Remulla also accused Ombudsman Aniano Desierto of playing favorites for his continued refusal to heed the opposition's call for an investigation on Mr. Arroyo.

Desierto the other day said his office could not initiate an investigation because Mr. Arroyo is not a public official.

Perez said it was not logical for any individual to give bribes when the telecommunications deal has been vetoed.

The allegation is that Mr. Arroyo received P50 million to have the veto recalled.

"I don't see the logic behind the allegation," Perez said.

July 29, 2001:





July 28, 2001, PHNO, Cebuanos Up in Arms vs. Sayyaf Trial Transfer,

Cebu City, July 28, 2001 - Cebu Gov. Pablo Garcia yesterday said he would go to the Supreme Court to protest the high tribunal’s order transferring to Cebu City the trial of Abu Sayyaf leader Hector Janjalani and 33 suspected members of the bandit group.

Garcia said the trial poses a big security threat to the province and would have negative effects on business and tourism. Many Cebu political, business and civic leaders have also expressed opposition to holding the trial here.

Sen. John Osmeña announced yesterday that he would call all Cebuano congressmen, mayors and other local officials to a meeting to express their objection to the Supreme Court decision through an urgent petition before the high tribunal.

"We will file an urgent petition before the Supreme Court. We will ask the court to reconsider its decision. We will vehemently object to that decision," the senator said. Osmeña criticized Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. for being "thoughtless."

The Cebuano senator said moving the trial to Cebu would "hurt" tourism as the "international media will associate Cebu with kidnappings." "You should remember that part of Cebu’s success as a tourism destination is its efforts to dissociate itself from the rest of the country through the slogan ‘an island in the Pacific’," the senator said.

However, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, the senator’s cousin, said he had no objection to holding the trial here as he was willing "to accept the challenge and the responsibility." The mayor said the high court’s decision should be viewed as a recognition of Cebu’s capability of handling the situation.

"It should be an opportunity for local officials to show that Cebu can succeed in conducting a peaceful trial", he said.

July 30, 2001:





Diigo, July 30, 2001, The Philippine Star, Abu Sayyaf's Sabaya Escapes Military Dragnet Anew, by Roel Pareño,

Maluso, Basilan, July 30, 2001 - (STAR) Abu Sabaya and his Abu Sayyaf band have broken anew the dragnet the Army had thrown around their jungle hideout to smoke out the bandits.

Intelligence sources told The STAR yesterday that Sabaya, whose real name is Aldan Tilao, and the other bandits, dragging along their two American hostages, Martin and Gracia Burnham, fled toward the coastal town of Sumisip, where they took a passenger jeepney for Upper Mahalalang town.

Residents said the American couple looked haggard as they were probably moving from one place to another to try to elude the advancing Army troops.

"Both (Americans) were thin and the man had grown a beard," a resident said. "I don’t know them but I’m sure they were foreigners."

Residents said they have also seen the other hostages but were not able to say how many of them had been forced to remain in the jungles of Basilan.

Intelligence sources said 30 heavily armed Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Suhod Tanadjalin had crossed the Kumalarang River in a diversionary maneuver to allow Sabaya and his men to escape the military dragnet.

At least seven of Sabaya’s men, who were armed with 57RR recoilless rockets, took two pumpboats for Maluso town and docked at Barangay Samal to get food and gasoline, intelligence sources added.

However, intelligence sources said the group aborted its mission and escaped back to Sumisip after they were spotted by police and civilian volunteers.

Sabaya was said to have been visiting his relatives in Lamitan and Malamawi towns off Isabela City but the military could not confirm nor deny these reports.

The Army will start deploying next month unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to track down the Abu Sayyaf and their 21 hostages in the jungles of Basilan and Sulu.

Col. Ricardo Morales, chief of the Army’s plans and programs, said the computer-controlled miniature planes have been undergoing test flights in Fort Magsaysay, the country’s largest military base, in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, for the past six months.

Morales said the whole prototype project costs between P3.5 million to P5 million "that includes testing and training of the crew, (which) is comparatively very cheap" as a model of the same kind would cost much higher if acquired from foreign sources.

"Security-wise it is a good investment for the country as the UAV’s capability is not only limited to military usage but can monitor illegal logging, disaster assessment, environmental protection and enhance communications in real time," he said.

The four prototype UAVs were developed and assembled by the internationally renowned Mapua Brothers, one of the country’s pioneering engineering firms, he added.

Morales said developed countries like the United States and Israel have extensively used UAVs in combat and environmental surveillance for many decades.

Morales said the locally-developed prototype UAVs have a range of 20 kilometers and can be airborne for two hours, and use gasoline as fuel.

Fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters are very expensive to maintain, he added.

Morales said two of the UAVs will be deployed in Basilan and Sulu to help government forces in tracking down the elusive Abu Sayyaf bandits.

The UAV will help ground forces in pinpointing the exact location of the Abu Sayyaf and their hostages, he added. — With PNA

July 30, 2001, PHNO, Crackdown vs. Abu Sayyaf Paying Off -- Palace,

Malacanang, July 30, 2001 - Malacanang today said that the massive crackdown ordered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo against the Abu Sayyaf terrorists and their supporters in Mindanao has paid off.

In his daily press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao said that since the crackdown was undertaken last June 13, at least 151 Abu Sayyaf members in Basilan and Sulu have been neutralized.

Tiglao said out of the 151, a total of 94 were confirmed to be members of the bandit group and the proper charges have been readied against them.

"We see the crackdown as a successful move on the part of the government and the military," Tiglao said.

Tiglao said the military and the police are still verifying reports that three more persons were abducted by the bandit group.

"We’re still verifying that. In fact, just an hour ago, I've been trying to get in touch with Southern Command regarding that report. We still have to verify that," Tiglao said.

Tiglao reiterated that there would be no letup in the drive against the bandit group "until the military feels that the Abu Sayyaf has been effectively neutralized."


July 31, 2001:







Diigo, April 29, 2012, New York Times, Sunday Review, Opinion, Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I., by David K. Shipler,

THE United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.

Clay Rodery

But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.

When an Oregon college student, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, thought of using a car bomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the F.B.I. provided a van loaded with six 55-gallon drums of “inert material,” harmless blasting caps, a detonator cord and a gallon of diesel fuel to make the van smell flammable. An undercover F.B.I. agent even did the driving, with Mr. Mohamud in the passenger seat. To trigger the bomb the student punched a number into a cellphone and got no boom, only a bust.

This is legal, but is it legitimate? Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own? Is cultivating potential terrorists the best use of the manpower designed to find the real ones? Judging by their official answers, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department are sure of themselves — too sure, perhaps.

Carefully orchestrated sting operations usually hold up in court. Defendants invariably claim entrapment and almost always lose, because the law requires that they show no predisposition to commit the crime, even when induced by government agents. To underscore their predisposition, many suspects are “warned about the seriousness of their plots and given opportunities to back out,” said Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman. But not always, recorded conversations show. Sometimes they are coaxed to continue.

Undercover operations, long practiced by the F.B.I., have become a mainstay of counterterrorism, and they have changed in response to the post-9/11 focus on prevention. “Prior to 9/11 it would be very unusual for the F.B.I. to present a crime opportunity that wasn’t in the scope of the activities that a person was already involved in,” said Mike German of the American Civil Liberties Union, a lawyer and former F.B.I. agent who infiltrated white supremacist groups. An alleged drug dealer would be set up to sell drugs to an undercover agent, an arms trafficker to sell weapons. That still happens routinely, but less so in counterterrorism, and for good reason.

“There isn’t a business of terrorism in the United States, thank God,” a former federal prosecutor, David Raskin, explained.

“You’re not going to be able to go to a street corner and find somebody who’s already blown something up,” he said. Therefore, the usual goal is not “to find somebody who’s already engaged in terrorism but find somebody who would jump at the opportunity if a real terrorist showed up in town.”

And that’s the gray area. Who is susceptible? Anyone who plays along with the agents, apparently. Once the snare is set, law enforcement sees no choice. “Ignoring such threats is not an option,” Mr. Boyd argued, “given the possibility that the suspect could act alone at any time or find someone else willing to help him.”

Typically, the stings initially target suspects for pure speech — comments to an informer outside a mosque, angry postings on Web sites, e-mails with radicals overseas — then woo them into relationships with informers, who are often convicted felons working in exchange for leniency, or with F.B.I. agents posing as members of Al Qaeda or other groups.

Some targets have previous involvement in more than idle talk: for example, Waad Ramadan Alwan, an Iraqi in Kentucky, whose fingerprints were found on an unexploded roadside bomb near Bayji, Iraq, andRaja Khan of Chicago, who had sent funds to an Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan.

But others seem ambivalent, incompetent and adrift, like hapless wannabes looking for a cause that the informer or undercover agent skillfully helps them find. Take the Stinger missile defendant James Cromitie, a low-level drug dealer with a criminal record that included no violence or hate crime, despite his rants against Jews. “He was searching for answers within his Islamic faith,” said his lawyer, Clinton W. Calhoun III, who has appealed his conviction. “And this informant, I think, twisted that search in a really pretty awful way, sort of misdirected Cromitie in his search and turned him towards violence.”

THE informer, Shahed Hussain, had been charged with fraud, but avoided prison and deportation by working undercover in another investigation. He was being paid by the F.B.I. to pose as a wealthy Pakistani with ties to Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist group that Mr. Cromitie apparently had never heard of before they met by chance in the parking lot of a mosque.

“Brother, did you ever try to do anything for the cause of Islam?” Mr. Hussain asked at one point.

“O.K., brother,” Mr. Cromitie replied warily, “where you going with this, brother?”

Two days later, the informer told him, “Allah has more work for you to do,” and added, “Revelation is going to come in your dreams that you have to do this thing, O.K.?” About 15 minutes later, Mr. Hussain proposed the idea of using missiles, saying he could get them in a container from China. Mr. Cromitie laughed.

Reading hundreds of pages of transcripts of the recorded conversations is like looking at the inkblots of a Rorschach test. Patterns of willingness and hesitation overlap and merge. “I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Mr. Cromitie said, and then explained that he meant women and children. “I don’t care if it’s a whole synagogue of men.” It took 11 months of meandering discussion and a promise of $250,000 to lead him, with three co-conspirators he recruited, to plant fake bombs at two Riverdale synagogues.

“Only the government could have made a ‘terrorist’ out of Mr. Cromitie, whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in its scope,” said Judge Colleen McMahon, sentencing him to 25 years. She branded it a “fantasy terror operation” but called his attempt “beyond despicable” and rejected his claim of entrapment.

The judge’s statement was unusual, but Mr. Cromitie’s characteristics were not. His incompetence and ambivalence could be found among other aspiring terrorists whose grandiose plans were nurtured by law enforcement. They included men who wanted to attack fuel lines at Kennedy International Airport; destroy the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in Chicago; carry out a suicide bombing near Tampa Bay, Fla., and bomb subways in New York and Washington. Of the 22 most frightening plans for attacks since 9/11 on American soil, 14 were developed in sting operations.

Another New York City subway plot, which recently went to trial, needed no help from government. Nor did a bombing attempt in Times Square, the abortive underwear bombing in a jetliner over Detroit, a planned attack on Fort Dix, N.J., and several smaller efforts. Some threats are real, others less so. In terrorism, it’s not easy to tell the difference.

David K. Shipler is the author of “Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America.”

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on April 29, 2012, on page SR4 of theNew York edition with the headline: Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I..


January 4, 2003, World Net Daily, Terror alerts manufactured?, by Jon Dougherty,

Jon E. Dougherty is a Missouri-based political science major, author, writer and columnist.

FBI agents say White House scripting 'hysterics' for political effect

Intelligence pros say the White House is manufacturing terrorist alerts to keep the issue alive in the minds of voters and to keep President Bush’s approval ratings high, Capitol Hill Blue reports.
The Thursday report said that the administration is engaging in “hysterics” in issuing numerous terror alerts that have little to no basis in fact.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t made a lot of progress against al-Qaida or the war on terrorism,” one FBI agent familiar with terrorism operations told CHB. “We’ve been spinning our wheels for several weeks now.”

Other sources within the bureau and the Central Intelligence Agency said the administration is pressuring intelligence agencies to develop “something, anything” to support an array of non-specific terrorism alerts issued by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.

“Most of the time, we have little to go on, only unconfirmed snippets of information,” a second FBI agent, who also was not named in the report, said. “Most alerts are issued without any concrete data to back up the assumptions.”

Indeed, the most recent terrorism alerts have been issued absent specific threat information. Each of the accompanying warnings comes without any shift in the nation’s new color-coded alert system; the current warning level of yellow, or “elevated,” has been in place since late September.

Even recent reports regarding five Arab men who may have slipped into the country via Canada using phony identification could be politically motivated, one expert said.

“We have very, very little to support the notion that these five represent any more of a threat than any of the other thousands of people who enter this nation every day,” terrorism expert Ronald Blackstone said. “It’s a fishing expedition.”

On Wednesday, one of the five, a Pakistani jeweler, Mohammed Asghar, was tracked down in Pakistan by The Associated Press. He told reporters there he’d never been to the U.S., though he said he tried once – two months ago – to use false documents to get into Britain to find work.

“I imagine the finger pointing has started at the White House,” Blackstone said.

On Thursday, President Bush said of the Asghar case: “We need to follow up on forged passports and people trying to come into our country illegally.”

“Don’t misunderstand, there is a real terrorist threat to this country,” another FBI agent told CHB. But, the agent continued, “every time we go public with one of these phony ‘heightened state of alerts,’ it just numbs the public against the day when we have another real alert.”

Last year, the FBI issued alerts that terrorists may attack stadiums, nuclear power plants, shopping centers, synagogues, apartment houses, subways, and the Liberty Bell, the Brooklyn Bridge and other New York City landmarks, reported Knight-Ridder newspapers. The bureau also advised Americans to be wary of small airplanes, fuel tankers and scuba divers.

CHB reported that FBI and CIA sources said a recent White House memo listing the war on terrorism as a definitive political advantage and fund-raising tool is just one of many documents discussing how to best utilize the terrorist threat.

“Of course the White House is going to exploit the terrorism threat to the fullest political advantage,” said Democratic strategist Russ Barksdale. “They would be fools not to. We’d do the same thing.”

The White House did not return phone calls from WorldNetDaily seeking comment.

Knight-Ridder Newspapers, meanwhile, reported the FBI has never meant for all its warnings and advisories to be made public.

“Everything is being described as a terror alert, and that’s not what this stuff is,” said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, in a July interview.

But, he added, “if information is becoming public, then we naturally cannot work in a vacuum and pretend like all this information is not becoming public.”

“We live in a world of threats; not all of them necessitate a warning,” says FBI terrorist warning chief Kevin Giblin, a 27-year veteran of the bureau. He told Knight-Ridder there should be a generally increased level of vigilance, and he looks to the color-coded advisory system – not the alerts intended for police – to signal it.

The threat of terrorism may also be helping the White House manage the sagging economy. Officials at home finance giant Freddie Mac said yesterday that the threat of terrorism may have played a role in bringing 30-year mortgage rates down to 5.85 percent, their lowest since an average 5.83 percent in 1965.

“Current issues such as the possibility of military actions abroad, heightened terrorism alerts and an unexpected drop in consumer confidence contributed to the decline in mortgage rates this week,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, told Reuters.

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