18 soldiers killed in Basilan

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda - The Philippine Star

During a 10-hour bloody clash with the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) rebels, 18 soldiers of 4th Special Forces Battalion and 44th Infantry Battalion died and 56 others were wounded in a stronghold of the rebels in the town of Tipo-Tipo, Basilan. The intense clashes came after a ransom deadline set by the communist rebels, who had threatened to kill a Norwegian and two Canadian hostages and a Filipina they kidnapped last September if ransom is not paid by Friday.

General Hernando Irriberi had ordered non-stop operations against the militants. Irriberi praised the soldiers for their gallantry in battle. “Despite heavy enemy resistance and advantage in the familiarity with the terrain in Basilan, our troops fought gallantly. We salute our troops as they displayed the finest traditions of soldiery and bravely fought the bandits with utmost valor,” Irriberi said.

Maj. Filemon Tan, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command (WMC) said five bandits, including a Moroccan fighter, Mohammad Khattab and Ubalda, a son of Hapilon, were killed in the ferocious fighting.

Earlier, because of their ineffectiveness as ground commanders in the campaign against the ASG and other private armed groups in their area of responsibility, the commanders of the Joint Task Group Sulu and Tawi-Tawi were relieved from duty.

As ASG plagued four presidencies, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said that finishing off the Abu Sayyaf is the president’s last job and the next president’s first.

Meanwhile, in Lanao del Sur, Marawi City Mayor Fahad Salic, a former husband of Alma Moreno, and his driver, Tayrudin Gunting, were ambushed as they were leaving Pryce Hotel in Cagayan de Oro.

Salic sustained gunshot wounds in his buttocks, back, and right leg. His driver suffered a gunshot wound in his face.

Vice President Jejomar Binay is urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to speedily act on the assassination attempt against Mayor Salic.

Aquino admits ‘noynoying’ on Kidapawan

A week after the bloody dispersal of hungry farmers in North Cotabato, demanding rice from the government, President Benigno Simeon Aquino finally broke his silence, which the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) described as “an admission that Aquino was ‘noynoying’ or pretending to be busy on the impact of drought and justice to the farmers.”

KMP chairperson Rafael Mariano said Aquino’s late statement betrays his weak leadership, indecisiveness and downright stupidity, coupled with brazen lies and cheap alibi. “It took Aquino two days to call for a meeting that he himself postponed because according to the President, if his Cabinet members were not ready, nothing will happen in their meeting as it would take time to gather the data. Isn’t that stupid?” Mariano said.

Until now, the President is silent on the impacts of the prolonged drought and hunger, the just legitimate demand for food and calls for justice,” Mariano added.

Manny Pacquiao wins

“Right now my decision is to retire, but who knows. My heart is fifty-fifty. I am committed to my family to get back home and spend more time with them. I’d like to focus to serve the people in the Philippines. That’s my priority,” Manny Pacquiao said in his post-fight press conference.

“Let me enjoy my retirement first. I am not there yet so I don’t know what the feeling is. I have made my decision,” he added.

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach said his prized ward still had some fights left in him.

Pacquiao agreed. “My body is still okay.”

Pacquiao knocked down Timothy Bradley twice in the seventh and ninth round.

Binay hits Duterte

Vice President Jejomar Binay hit Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as an “embodiment of arrogance and prevarication. This is of course aside from his being a self-confessed killer.

“Mayor Duterte, you were always bragging that you have killed a lot of people, but now you’re denying it. Make up your mind, Mr. Executioner. The presidency is not for the unprincipled and inconsistent. It is not for liars, braggarts and most especially merciless killers,” Binay said.

In Unisan, Quezon, Binay predicted he will win by four million votes, due to his big ground organization.

Meanwhile, an estimated 10,000 people attended a Duterte rally in Filinvest in Alabang, Muntinlupa. Duterte was six hours late. The latest survey placed Duterte, with 27 percent, ahead of Grace Poe at 23 percent.

Bongbong targeted at VP debate

Vice presidential candidates led by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano ganged up on Senator Bongbong Marcos at the vice presidential debate over his father’s record on corruption and human rights.

By the way he was hammered by the other vice presidential candidates, Bongbong Marcos appeared to be the man to beat in the VP race. The latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey placed him on top.

Referring to the $10 billion allegedly stolen by the Marcos family, Cayetano said: “Just wait if you make him Vice President, the stolen money might reach $100 billion.”

Rep. Leni Robredo, the Liberal Party’s VP bet, insisted that the Marcoses should return the stolen wealth.

Bongbong Marcos replied: “I cannot give what I do not have. I have no knowledge of it.”


It’s a close fight for Governor of Bulacan between reelectionist Gov. Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado and former Gov. Josefina dela Cruz.

Comelec reported glitches in the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) in Hong Kong, Dubai and Riyadh.

Department of Health (DOH) Sec. Janet Garin advised candidates to avoid campaigning between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to avoid heat stroke.

The Golden State Warriors defeated the San Antonio Spurs for its 72nd victory.

Three policemen were arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for the kidnap murder of businesswoman Adora Lazatin.

In Parañaque, Mayor Edwin Olivarez is running unopposed.


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