View Full Version : Philippines' firing up??

08-03-2006, 16:31
Good to see this little hot spot getting some news again. Everyone needs to see this GWOT isn't just a nice little Middle East "Thing"

Troops continue assault in 3rd day of Sulu offensive (http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/net/2006/08/04/troops.continue.assault.in.3rd.day.of.sulu.offensi ve.html)
By Al Jacinto

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Filipino troops, backed by US military intelligence, continue to assault suspected lairs of Abu Sayyaf militants, whose group is tied to the Jemaah Islamiya terror network, in the strife-torn southern island of Jolo, officials said.

Officials said soldiers were also tracking down Khadaffy Janjalani, the chieftain of the Abu Sayyaf group, and Jemaah Islamiya leaders Umar Patek and Dulmatin, tagged as behind the deadly 2002 Bali bombings.

"We have reports that the two JI bombers are in Jolo, but we cannot say if they were with the group of Abu Sayyaf terrorists that we are fighting now. It is difficult to say that Patek and Dulmatin are fighting alongside with the Abu Sayyaf group," said Army Colonel Antonio Supnet, chief of staff the Southern Command in Zamboanga City.

Patek, an Indonesian explosive expert, was believed to have played a role in the Bali bombing in which more than 200 people were killed. Both Patek and Dulmatin, a Malaysian electronics expert, evaded a massive police hunt in Indonesia after the Bali bombing and fled to Mindanao in the southern Philippines in August 2003 soon after the bombing of the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta.

At least 3 militants were killed while two were wounded in the fighting.

Five soldiers were also injured in the clash since Tuesday when security forces attacked terrorist hideouts in at least four hinterland villages in the town of Indanan, said Supnet.

"The military offensive is ongoing and sporadic clashes were reported today (Thursday) in Indanan," Supnet said, but there were no immediate reports of new casualties from both sides.

Indanan is also a known lair of the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and its leaders assured the military that their forces would not provide sanctuary to terrorists.

The MNLF signed a peace accord with Manila in 1996 ending more than three decades of hostilities in the south.

Filipino authorities blamed the Abu Sayyaf group for the spate of terror attacks and killings in the region.

The US military is also helping in the anti-terror campaign by providing intelligence to the Philippine military. "Friends in the US military are helping the military by providing us intelligence. They are not involved in combat operation," Supnet said.

Commander Kathy Wright, a spokesperson for the US military, said American soldiers were also providing life-support system for local troops on Jolo island.

A US EP3 Orion reconnaissance plane was also reported flying over Zamboanga and Jolo on Tuesday, but Wright said the aircraft was only gathering weather data for the Philippine military. "Law abiding people have nothing to fear about the plane. It was just gathering weather data and forecast for the Philippine military," she said.

US soldiers were training Filipino troops in anti-terrorism warfare and involved in many humanitarian missions in the south. A small contingent of American troops is also on Jolo island.

Washington listed the Abu Sayyaf as a foreign terrorist organization and it was implicated in the kidnapping of three US citizens in 2001. Two were killed while in captivity.

Major General Gabriel Habacon, chief of the Southern Command, said he ordered the assault on the terrorist groups after the military traced the Abu Sayyaf in Indanan town.

"The Southern Command has already designed an extensive offensive plot for the capture of these elements to prevent them from performing terrorist activities and permanently dispersing them from the region. We have been planning and working for months to find and track the terrorist leadership and the time is now," he said.

The US has offered $10 million bounty each for the capture of Janjalani and Dulmatin and another $1 million for Patek.

Dulmatin and two more JI leaders, including Patek, were also reported training Filipino recruits in Mindanao under the protection of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country's largest Muslim rebel group which is currently negotiating peace with the Arroyo government, according to Zachary Abuza, one of the leading scholars on Terrorism in Southeast Asia, in an article he wrote for the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.

"(Dulmatin), he is one of four top JI leaders - including Umar Patek, Zulkifli bin Hir, and possibly Abdul Rahman Ayub - who have continued to train members of JI and the Abu Sayyaf Group in Moro Islamic Liberation Front camps in the Philippines."

"His presence has in part explained the (Abu Sayyaf's) return to terrorism since 2004. He was the target of Philippines Armed Forces bombing raids in the Liguasan Marsh (in Maguindanao province) area in November 2004 and January 2005, where a hard-line member of MILF was believed to have given him sanctuary," said Abuza, who is also a current Associate Professor for Political Science and International Relations at Simmons College in the US.

The MILF on Thursday said Abuza's statement was an old issue, but said it is ready to cooperate with Philippine authorities and investigate the matter.

"It was an old issue. Provide us the information and we will investigate this allegation; our doors are wide open for Philippine authorities to see that we have no links with the JI, the Abu Sayyaf, or any terror groups. The MILF is not a terrorist organization and we have repeatedly and publicly denounced terrorism. We are for peace," said Eid Kabalu, the MILF spokesman.

The Afghanistan-trained Dulmatin was also said to be raising funds for terror campaign in the Philippines and Indonesia, Abuza said.

Philippine authorities have implicated Dulmatin in the 2003 bombing of the Davao International Airport and Sasa wharf in Davao City in Mindanao.

Three of his local Abu Sayyaf contacts -- Pedro Guiamat, Ali Salipada and Norodin Mangalen -- were arrested last year in Maguindanao Province.

A bomb hidden in a backpack exploded in March 2003 at the Davao airport terminal, killing 19 people, including US missionary William Hyde, and wounding more than 145 people. A second bomb explosion also ripped through a passenger terminal in Sasa wharf that killed and wounded dozens of people.

In 2005, Dulmatin and Umar Patek ordered Abdullah Sonata, a JI operative in Central Java who was arrested in conjunction with the September 4, 2004 Australian Embassy bombing, to dispatch additional JI members to Mindanao for training. He has also called for JI suicide bombers to be sent to the Philippines for operations, Abuza said.

Aside from the JI, the United States also listed the Abu Sayyaf as a foreign terrorist organization. Washington tagged the group for the killing of two kidnapped US citizens in 2002 in the southern Philippines. (Sunnex)

08-03-2006, 19:15
Glad to see this posted here. We've been involved in Mindanao for a while now. As someone who once tracked these 2 guys for a while, I hope they get them.

10-22-2009, 20:03
Info on US meeting with MILF...


COTABATO CITY – Washington officials again held a secret meeting with leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the jungles of Maguindanao, reaffirming their support to the peace talks between them and the Philippine government...

More content on the Philipino site above, along with this one.

quote from second link
- Is the US sleeping with the enemy?
Yes, but the US is not the only one in bed with the MILF
end quote

11-10-2009, 00:40
Teacher be-headed in South Philippines.

Link: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/11/9/nation/20091109110836&sec=nation

MANILA: Suspected al-Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Philippines beheaded a schoolteacher after kidnapping him last month, officials said Monday.

The severed head of Gabriel Canizares, 36, was left in a bag at a gas station on Jolo Island, three weeks after suspected Abu Sayyaf militants stopped a passenger minibus and dragged him away in front of his colleagues, said regional military commander Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino.

The militants, notorious for bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings, were reportedly demanding a ransom of two million pesos (RM147,000) for his release.

The Abu Sayyaf, which is suspected of receiving funds from al-Qaeda, is believed to have about 400 fighters on Jolo and nearby Basilan Island. The group has been sheltering militants from the larger South-East Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, the military says.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Monday ordered the military and police to put an end to the Abu Sayyaf’s “heinous and inhumane atrocities,” her spokeswoman Lorelei Fajardo said.

“We shall make them pay for the enormity of this savagery,” Fajardo said.

Despite years of US military training and assistance, Filipino troops have struggled to contain the militants, who have recently intensified attacks on Jolo, blowing up bridges, firing mortar shells and setting off roadside bombs.

A Sept 29 land mine explosion under a military convoy carrying American troops killed two US Army Special Forces soldiers -- the first US military deaths in the southern Philippines in seven years.

About 600 US troops are currently stationed in the south for training and humanitarian missions, but are barred by Philippine law from engaging in direct combat.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus expressed shock at the teacher’s killing, saying six other teachers who had been kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf earlier this year had all been released despite threats to behead them.

He said his department was at a loss how to ensure security for public schoolteachers in high-risk areas and feared that the kidnappings would discourage others from teaching underprivileged youths in Muslim areas. -- AP

11-13-2009, 03:56

From The Times
November 13, 2009
Irish priest, 79, freed after being held for month in Philippines

A 79-year old Irish priest who was held in the Philippines for a month by a band of Islamic rebels spoke hours after his release of the kindness of his captors and his determination to continue his missionary work. Father Michael Sinnott, who had a quadruple heart bypass four years ago, was forced to climb up mountains and through swampy jungle, for 32 days before being freed yesterday.

“I am a bit old and I found hiking a bit difficult at times,” Father Sinnott said in Manila, where he was flown to meet the country’s president, Gloria Arroyo. “I think that they’d be glad to kidnap a younger man next time ... I would like to thank everyone who helped to get me free and all my friends who prayed for me while I was in captivity.”

He was handed over to the Philippines army by representatives of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a rebel army that has been fighting a long-running guerrilla war for independence for the Philippines southern island of Mindanao. The MILF insisted that it had not kidnapped Father Sinnott, but negotiated his release from the original kidnappers — a rebel splinter group, or “lost command”.

“They were very, very kind to me,” he told reporters. “I cannot say anything about them ... There is not a thing wrong with me and I hope to be able to continue my work for another few years at least here in the Philippines.”

He was kidnapped on October 11 from a Catholic mission in the town of Pagadian on Mindanao, a violent and conflict-stricken region where numerous armed groups flourish, both as independence fighters and bandits. For 32 days he lived on sandwiches and rice, and was moved repeatedly by speedboat and on foot.

“For the first 10 days, we were in a swampy area,” he said. “It was a small place. I could not walk around. I was just sleeping on the hammock or sitting, doing nothing else. They did their best to make things as easy as possible for me."

"It was not the MILF, I am very sure about that, but members of a lost command ... They gave me lectures on their ideology but apart from that, they treated me well. It was not the MILF because I have learned and I was told that it is against the teachings of the Koran.”

It was feared that the strain of being abducted and his heart condition could prove fatal for Father Sinnott, and there were rumours that he had died in captivity. Then the kidnappers released a video of the priest in which they conveyed their demand for a $32 million ransom.

Both Manila and Dublin insisted that no money had been paid. “The release of Father Michael represents the successful conclusion of a major diplomatic effort by the Irish and Philippine governments,” the Irish foreign minister Michael Martin said.

“As in previous kidnaps, no ransom was paid by the Irish Government. To do so would only have jeopardised the vital work of aid workers and missionaries around the world — it would also place other Irish citizens in danger.”

11-13-2009, 03:59
Firing up? No just another day...............

'23 dead' as Philippine communists, security clash
(AFP) – 1 hour ago
MINDANAO, Philippines — Twenty-three people died in the southern Philippines during fierce clashes between communist guerrillas and the military after the rebels raided a logging site, officials said Friday.
The guerrillas killed 12 people, including eight soldiers, when they attacked the site on Wednesday in a remote forest on the volatile island of Mindanao, regional deputy police chief Nestor Fajura said.
Local military spokesman Major Michele Anayron said 11 members of the communist New People's Army (NPA) were killed in a counter-attack.
About 100 NPA troops initially overwhelmed the logging company's private security force, then set fire to equipment, according to Fajura.
A combined army and police force, guided by company security guards, mounted a counter-attack but the rebels set off a series of roadside bombs that hit the convoy, Fajura and Anayron said.
"Two military vehicles were hit" by improvised explosive devices, said Anayron, spokesman for the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division, whose forces were targeted in the ambush.
Anayron said only one body of the 11 communist rebels killed was recovered and the surviving guerrillas were believed to have carried away their dead comrades.
There was no available independent confirmation of the 10 other reported rebel fatalities, and the communists had yet to make a statement on the incident.
Another 10 soldiers, a police officer and the logging company's security chief were wounded in the clashes, according to Fajura and Anayron.
The NPA has been waging an insurgency across the Philippines for the past 40 years. It is believed to have about 5,000 militants, and is well known to raise money through extortion.
No reason was given for Wednesday's attack on the logging company but the communists often attack such sites as punishment for not giving in to extortion demands and to gain weapons from the targets' security details.
The military said in September that the communist insurgency had claimed more than 3,000 lives over the past eight years.

11-15-2009, 06:24
Wow, Give Us Pacquiao!!!!!
Philippines celebrate Pacquiao despite disasters
By OLIVER TEVES (AP) – 2 hours ago
MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos erupted into deafening cheers in bars, gymnasiums and army camps Sunday as Manny Pacquiao — their boxing hero — relentlessly pounded Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto to win his seventh title in as many weight classes.
Pacquiao took the WBO welterweight crown from Cotto in Las Vegas on Saturday night when the referee stopped the fight in the 12th round.
The victory, which followed Pacquiao's stunning second-round knock out of Ricky Hatton in May, gave a morale boost to the country. The Philippines has been wracked by terrorism, Muslim and communist rebellions and recent back-to-back storms that caused the worst flooding in and around the capital in more than four decades.
"It was like a small respite for my townmates and it created a spirit of bonding and a little rest after the series of storms," said Mayor Joric Gacula of lakeside Taytay township, which was inundated in the September floods.
He said he paid 72,000 pesos (about $1,500) in pay-per-view from his own pocket to show the fight to more than 2,500 residents, mostly flood victims, who packed the town gymnasium.
"The people were very excited. It was like they were not affected by the storm," he said.
The crowd watched the bout as they munched on biscuits — food aid from the World Food Program — and peanuts, which they washed down with bottled water donated by a mall owner.
Gelyn Cruz said her husband, a motorcycle taxi driver, left for work before dawn so they could watch the fight with their 4-year-old son and neighbors.
"I am really very happy because our idol won again," she said. "I hope he could visit our town so he could help us."
From Singapore where she is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Pacquiao's victory showed that "Filipino grit and determination triumphed over great odds."
At the Manila bayside international Christmas bazaar, shoppers cheered after a woman made "a very important announcement" over the public address system that Pacquiao had won.
In Zamboanga city, which is at the front line of anti-terror campaign in the volatile southern Mindanao region, people packed roadside canteens chanting "Manny, Manny!" as Pacquiao pummeled Cotto. Many were motorcycle taxi drivers and vendors who emptied the streets during the fight.
Driver Domingo Angeles said he stopped plying his route to just watch the match.
"I wish there would be many more like him who will bring honor to us, and I hope Manny will be able to help the poor people of Mindanao," Angeles said.
In northern Baguio city, which was hit by massive landslides and floods by another storm in early October, one collector had to return 200,000 pesos ($8,400) to bettors because not one placed a wager on Cotto.
Southern Davao city's streets were virtually deserted and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte canceled his regular radio program to watch the fight.
Soldiers also took a rest from chasing rebels to watch in camp gyms. Muslim and communist rebels have said they also watched Pacquiao's previous fights but there was no immediate word from them.
At Manila's suburban armed forces headquarters, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro and his son took the front seats at the army gym to watch the fight with thousands of officers and soldiers and their family members.
"That's what I call a war," Teodoro said after the fight. "The tenacity of Manny Pacquiao is really admirable."
The Rev. Michael Sinnott, the 79-year-old Irish missionary priest who was recently released from a month of jungle captivity in the south by suspected Muslim rebels, said his kidnappers had been eager to set him free because they wanted to also watch the Pacquio-Cotto match.
"'Your freedom is our freedom. We don't want to be here for a long time, too, and we want to watch Pacquiao's fight,'" Sinnott told the CBCPNews, the news service of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), quoting his kidnappers.

11-24-2009, 04:24
With elections coming up, look for more of these kind of reports!!!!! Our system may have its problems, but be thankful it's not anything like this.

Death toll rises to 39 for Philippines killings

Most of the victims were shot at close range and found near their vehicles
At least 39 people are now known to have died in the southern Philippines on Monday, after more bodies were discovered in a shallow grave.Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has declared a state of emergency in two provinces on the island of Mindanao to allow police to search for the gunmen.

The victims were killed as they were travelling to file nomination papers for elections next May.

The attack is one of worst incidents of pre-poll violence in the Philippines.
There are conflicting reports about whether anyone survived.

More bodies

On Monday it was announced that 21 bodies had been found. This number has now increased to 39 and the death toll from the incident may rise still further, as more than 40 people are thought to have been in the group.

"It's a big area where these bodies were found. They are finding a couple of bodies every couple of hours or so," Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

He described a farming area covered in hastily dug graves, several kilometres away from where the killing is thought to have occurred. A bulldozer was parked nearby.
All the victims were civilians, including the wife of the vice mayor of Buluan, a town in Maguindanao province, who had intended to file nomination papers for her husband to run for governor in local elections next year.

An investigator at the scene told reporters all victims had been shot at close range, some in their vehicles and others apparently while fleeing.

Warlord culture

"It is an undying fact that Philippines is still ruled by clans and warlords - and these people are monsters created by President Gloria Arroyo and past governments," said Marites Vitug, editor of Newsbreak and author of several books on Mindanao, corruption and politics.

Central government in the Philippines is habitually weak and buys local support by supporting the local patriarchs.

Complicating the mix in Mindanao is the ongoing series of Muslim and communist insurgencies which have long been used by the authorities to justify new sources of funding for local favourites.

In this case some of the suspected killers were "Civilian Volunteers", groups of young men organised to support the local police in "anti-insurgency" work.

"The volunteers are supposed to support the police but in the process they are used by warlords. Budgets are limited for the police so it is common knowledge that powerful local families support them financially," said Ms Vitug.

The dominance of patronage politics in the Philippines, she explained, has allowed political families to thrive.

The BBC's Vaudine England says both clans in this case are allied to Mrs Arroyo, limiting analysts' expectations of any effective response from the central government.

The country is to hold nationwide elections in May 2010. Registration for local and national races began earlier this month.

See next for linked story:

11-24-2009, 04:34

Clan warfare blamed for Philippine killings

The killing of at least 21 people in the southern Philippines has been blamed on clan warfare, but analysts and investigators are unsure who is responsible. The BBC's former correspondent in Manila, Vaudine England, reports. This part of Mindanao is ruled by clan warfare - local journalists describe the powers-that-be as warlords.

The man just made a widower by these killings, Ismael or Toto Mangudadatu, is vice-mayor of a small town in Maguindanao province called Buluan, but this underestimates his importance.

His cousin is governor of neighbouring Sultan Kudarat province, where an uncle is congressman in the ruling party of President Gloria Arroyo.

He was hoping to register as a candidate for governor of Maguindanao province, considered a bold move by local commentators as Maguindano has long been controlled by the Ampatuan clan.

Datu Andal Sr, the patriarch of Ampatuan, has more than a dozen sons, each of whom, with related sons-in-law, have been given town mayorships in Maguindanao or other positions of power.

He is of the local nobility and gained power and influence by closely aligning his area to President Arroyo. About 90% of the votes in his district went to Mrs Arroyo in the previous presidential elections.

Philippine analysts believe the Mangudadatu bid for power in a second province was too much for the Ampatuan clan to handle, contributing to a dramatic rise in tension in the area in the run-up to the May 2010 elections.


It is normal for clans to have large private armies of scores and in some cases hundreds of well-armed, ill-regulated men.

However, it is not known who was responsible for these killings - and for reported rape and mutilations.

Election violence is not unusual, even including the assassination of rivals. But this incident has shocked all observers for its scale and apparent brutality.
"Even to our enemies, we don't do this, not to women, not the mutilations. Even the most violent of our warlords, no-one can imagine this," said Amina Rasul, director of the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy. I'm not buying it....

It is believed the delegation led by Mr Mangudadatu's wife included journalists and lawyers from rights groups to help ensure its safety.

The Mangudadatu clan originates in Maguindanao, as does the Ampatuan clan, but moved earlier to nearby Sultan Kudarat province to build its own power base.

"No-one really knows what the clans are fighting over," added Ms Rasul. More BS......at the least it would be called "Rido"....... See Attached

The area is described as resource-rich but under-developed, and analysts said it was a fair assumption that corruption was rife over aid and development funding.

Meanwhile, Mrs Arroyo has expressed her shock at the killings, and vowed to get to the bottom of them.

But both clans in this case are allied to Mrs Arroyo, limiting analysts' expectations of any effective response from the central government.

The latest incident is not thought to be linked to the various, long-standing insurgencies active in Mindanao aimed at securing more autonomy from the central government, other than highlighting the lack of peace and stability in the area.

The larger issue is the rule of law is dependent on powerful local interests - a fact that allows local violence to proliferate and means investigation of this crime will be extremely difficult.

"The rule of law has been supplanted by the rule of lawlessness," said Ms Rasul.

11-25-2009, 07:16
And so it goes...:(

Richard's $.02 :munchin

Philippines Massacre: The Story Behind The Accused Ampatuan Clan
Dan Murphy, CSM, 24 Nov 2009

Many Filipinos are pointing to the massacre of 46 unarmed people in the southern Philippines province of Maguindanao Monday as evidence of the deadly influence of a dynastic clan that has been nurtured by the central government for almost 20 years. Nothing is yet proven, but survivors of the attack, national politicians, and police officials all say the likely perpetrators were loyalists of Andal Ampatuan, a former provincial governor who has used his private army to control politics in the province for a decade. Mr. Ampatuan was term-limited out of the governorship this year. In his three election campaigns, no local politician dared to run against him.

His son, Andal Jr., was gearing up for a similarly unopposed run to replace his father. But Ismael Mangudadatu, a former ally of the Ampatuans, had other ideas. On Monday morning, he dispatched a convoy of cars (mostly women and journalists, on the theory that would afford some protection against attack) to file papers in the provincial capital Shariff Aguak to run against the younger Ampatuan. Mr. Mangudadatu remained at home.

The people in the convoy never made it. Instead, they were waylaid when they came to Ampatuan (the clan’s stronghold), dragged from their cars, and summarily executed. Survivors alleged to reporters in the Philippines that Andal Jr. led the gunmen.

Many of the victims were buried in mass graves that survivors said appeared to have been dug before the assault. Among the dead were Mangudadatu’s wife, Genalyn, and two of his sisters. At least 12 of the victims were Filipino journalists. The provincial police chief was sacked and a government spokesman said local police officers also appeared to be present during the murders.

The murders led Philippines president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to declare a state of emergency in the province. Her government is now dealing with a looming scandal, with opposition politicians asking how the murders could have happened in broad daylight and on a major road regularly patrolled by soldiers and police. The attacks appear to show the problem with her government’s tolerance of warlords.

Warlordism has been endemic for generations in the Philippines, from the main northern island of Luzon to Mindanao, the largely Muslim island that hosts at least three armed separatist groups. The country also has freelance kidnap-for-ransom gangs and protection rackets tied to the large Army and police presence.

The US got its first extended taste of counterinsurgency on Mindanao, where Moro fighters centered in the powerful local clans tied up US forces for 14 years as America sought to colonize the country (the Moro rebellion ended in 1913). The island’s Muslim population has had an uneasy relationship with the central government ever since, and two major separatist groups – the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – were born there.

In 1990, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was created for the Muslim provinces of the island, ostensibly to give the local population more power over their own affairs and suck the life out of Mindanao’s various insurgencies. But in the 1990s, the Armed Forces of the Philippines continued to aggressively hunt down local militants using the paramilitary loyalists, much as similar civilian forces were created by Colombia’s military in the 1960s. One paramilitary leader who worked with the Army’s 6th Infantry Division was Andal Ampatuan.

With his close military ties, Ampatuan’s rise has been meteoric. He has served in the Philippines Congress and as the governor of Maguindanao. His family’s rise to political dominance has closely tracked that of Arroyo, who became president in 2001. Since Ampatuan first became governor in 2000, five of the province’s towns have been renamed for his relatives, including the provincial capital now known as Shariff Aguak, after his father.

In a long 2008 report on the Ampatuan clan’s influence and strength, reporter Jaileen Jimeno wrote that “only one family wields real power in Maguindanao: the Ampatuans, led by… acknowledged patriarch, Governor Andal Ampatuan.” She quotes Michael Mastura, a former congressman from Maguindanao, as saying of Ampatuan’s local power, “the word ‘impunity’ does not even suit it.”

He has cultivated the relationship with the presidential palace by running a reliable election machine in his area. Ampatuan was widely alleged to have rigged the local vote in the 2004 election, which saw ARMM vote overwhelmingly for Arroyo. In 2005, his son Zaldy became ARMM governor. In Zaldy’s last reelection, in 2008, he received 90 percent of the vote. In 2007, all 12 candidates whom Arroyo had backed for senator in Maguindanao won. After that election, local school administrator Musa Dimasidsing told a national commission on electoral fraud that he’d personally witnessed ballot stuffing. He was murdered with a shot to the head soon after. Mr. Dimasidsing’s murder remains unsolved.

In 2006, Arroyo issued Executive Order 546, which legalized the then-informal, and technically illegal, paramilitary groups of men like Ampatuan. “The (Philippines National Police) is hereby authorized to deputize the [paramilitaries] as force multipliers in the implementation of the peace and order plan,” Arroyo’s order reads. The order’s effect was to institutionalize paramilitary groups like Ampatuan’s across the country.

At least four of Ampatuan’s sons are also town mayors and most of them have gunmen of their own. Estimates of the size of his own personal militia range from 200-500. He often travels in a convoy with “technicals,” pickup trucks with 50-caliber machine guns mounted on the load bed, armed by loyalists and family members.

“Arroyo returns the favors by letting (The Ampatuans’) rule Maguindanao like a fiefdom,” Jarius Bondoc wrote in The Philippine Star. “All economic initiatives need the Ampatuans’ assent; state funds are released through them. Even the posting of police and military generals are cleared with them.”

Ampatuan has been a target of violence himself. In 2006, he survived an ambush that he said was laid by the MILF. The group denied trying to kill Ampatuan, but the former governor’s personal gunmen have often fought with the MILF. The group said it had killed 20 of Ampatuan’s militiamen in a firefight in 2006.

More violence could be in the offing. Though the government is hoping that the state of emergency will tamp down the situation, the Mangudadatus are powerful in their own right. Blood feuds in Mindanao traditionally run long, and hot.


11-26-2009, 04:06
And there you have it..............


Philippines politician charged over massacre

By South East Asia correspondent Karen Percy

Posted 1 hour 33 minutes ago
Updated 24 minutes ago

The media in the Philippines is reporting that multiple murder charges have been laid against a politician suspected of being behind this week's politically motivated massacre on the island of Mindanao.

Fifty seven people died in Monday's attack and village mayor Andal Amputuan gave himself up this morning.

Police have also arrested men said to be part of Amputuan's private militia.

After surrendering this morning, Amputuan told officials that he was not responsible for Monday's attack.

But witnesses say he was leading the ambush by armed men who shot and mutilated women and journalists.

Those killed were linked to Esmael Mangadadatu, who had despatched the group to lodge election documents to challenge Amputuan's run for governor of the province.

President Gloria Arroyo has led prayers in a day of national mourning and has promised justice. But her close links to the Amputuan family have undermined her tough stance.

The military has taken control of parts of the province as it tries to track down members of the Amputuan private militia.

11-26-2009, 06:17
Gosh - life seemed a bit simpler after '75 when we in the 7th who weren't in LA were split between providing IDAD support to Liberia and going after the NPA in the RPI. Guess the old adage about the more things change, the more they remain the same remains valid - at least for SF. :D

And so it goes...;)

Richard's $.02 :munchin