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Opinion

Iqbal’s version aims to condone massacre

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

That international terrorist Zulkifli Ebdhir alias “Marwan” was taken down with the help of two of his bodyguards is the “unspoken truth” of Mamasapano. The SAF kept it from televised investigators to protect the two “assets” and their families from reprisal. Also, to help them quietly collect a $5-million reward from the US, past envious Army generals and propagandizing Moro separatists.

But SAF officers shared the info with trusted newsmen and, presumably, their superiors. They knew it would be declassified sooner or later for posterity, to the acclaim of some and damning of others. Any other version by the MILF is only to condone its massacre of 44 SAF police commandos. And if reports are true that President Noynoy Aquino affirms the MILF tale, then he’s being fooled as usual by scheming aides.

The official report was sanitized. To begin with, the SAF didn’t call their quarry by his old alias of “Marwan,” but “Ebs,” the bodyguards’ Filipinized shortcut of his surname Ebdhir. “Zulkifli Bin Hir” was the identification in the decade-old intelligence files, since corrected to “Ebdhir (ebd Hir),” a modification of “abd,” Arabic for “slave of.” The SAF’s assaulting 84th SAC (Special Action Company), or the Seaborne, used “Mike One’” as codename culled from the old “Marwan” only for purposes of its pre-dawn Jan. 25 raid on his hideout in Barrio Pembalkan, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. “Mike One bingo,” Supt. Raymond Train had texted to SAF Dir. Getulio Napeñas to signal that they had neutralized Ebs/Marwan. They had cut off a finger to be rushed to the FBI via General Santos City airport. That was for confirmation by DNA comparison with Ebs’ brother Rahmat Abdhir, detained in California for aiding terrorism.

It’s not true that only Ebs’ bodyguards killed him inside his hut, well before the SAF arrived. False too is that the 84th’s nine fatalities were shot solely from the hut of Ebs’ confederates under Abdul Basit Usman, 119 meters away. That’s the claim of MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. Calling it the “only truth” is characteristic of the propagandist he is known to be. Untrustworthy, he had made the public believe he was who he said, until exposed as an alias of the real Datucan Abbas. (He would later reportedly lobby Malacañang for the appointment of his nephew Sherif Abbas, an obscure staff lawyer in a government branch in Cotabato City, as powerful Comelec commissioner, now one of the five unabashed promoters of Smartmatic’s faulty, costly PCOS.) Moreover, the official ARMM measure of the distance between Ebs’ and Usman’s huts, using a smartphone app, is 95 meters, 24 less than Iqbal’s claim. That’s a crucial detail in the forensic and firearms ballistic analysis of the felling of police officers.

Alias Iqbal’s confabulation about the events in Pembalkan is but a predicate to the main massacre at adjacent Barrio Tukanalipao. He questions the presence there of the 55th SAC, to insinuate an attack on that stronghold of the MILF 105th Base Command. That’s to mask the fact that the rebels, by 2004 truce terms with the government, should not harbor terrorists but instead report or turn them in. Iqbal also hides other MILF treacheries: their attack on the 55th despite having identified them as PNP truce-mates, their “pintakasi (ganging up)” on the commandos with their breakaway but blood-related Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters from another adjacent Barrio Pidsandawan, their refusal to cease firing despite orders from the local A-JAG (Ad Hoc Joint Advisory Group) of Army and MILF reps, thus enabling the arrival at noon by boat and motorcycles of more massacrers from the MILF 108th Base Command under Abdulwahid Tandoc (the long-time coddler of Ebs).

The SAF officers’ bungled operations caused the deaths of 35 men of the 55th, the MILF claims. That’s a shallow attempt to hide the fact that MILF bullets felled them. The video of MILF “sweepers” executing the wounded commandos and looting their equipment and personal belongings does not lie. There are in fact several state witnesses – MILF members no less – who identify the 102 massacrers from the MILF and BIFF. The NBI compiled that list. It’s strange that Justice Sec. Leila de Lima has shelved the NBI report instead of filing murder raps to have the culprits arrested.

And so, those MILF killers not only remain on the loose, but also make money from the government. Iqbal et al, in connivance with Army generals and Malacañang, contrived the subsequent killing of Usman on May 2. In truth, it was his own bodyguards who executed him. They wanted the $1-million US reward, like the two ex-MILFs who had helped take down Ebs.

In claiming that the MILF did it, Malacañang is in effect telling the US to hand over the prize money to the rebels. And so the real executioners have complained to ABS-CBN News about being cheated out of their hard-earned reward, They have detailed their deed on videotape, stating that they were able to do it only because Usman let his guard down in his excitement to watch the Fight of the Century, Pacquiao vs Mayweather.

Since two years prior, the first of two coopted bodyguards of Ebs surreptitiously had been texting their whereabouts to the PNP Intelligence Group. They were constantly on the run, until the MILF and BIFF agreed to let them stay in a safe zone between their two camps. That was when Operation Exodus was drawn up to get Ebs. On that fateful raid one of the SAF’s two “asset” bodyguards was killed, allegedly by Ebs who had wised up to the betrayal. The 84th was fired upon from Ebs and Usman’s huts. In the crossfire, a girl sleeping in a hut nearby Usman’s, was killed.

For this report the sources are high SAF and PNP intelligence and ARMM officers, plus MILF informants.

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ, (882-AM).

Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarius-Bondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA

 

ACIRC

ATILDE

BASE COMMAND

EBS

IQBAL

MALACA

MARWAN

MILF

NBSP

SAF

USMAN

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