Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Kidapawan City Mayor Lauds Arrest of Al-Khobar Finance Courier

Kidapawan City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco lauded the PNP and the military for the arrest of Melvin Claro, identified financial conduit of the Al-Khobar extortionist group.

The Al-Khobar started its extortion activities in March 2007. Its favorite target were local government uunits, bus companies and business establishments. Among those victimized by the group were the the city governments of Kidapawan and General Santos, TRANSCO, People's Transport Co., Yellow Bus Line Co., and Metro Shuttle Bus Co.

Claro was arrested two days ago while making a withdrawal from an ATM machine. It will be recalled that Metro Shuttle made deposits to the Al-Khobar's designated account on December 2, 2007 and February 4, 2008.

When intercepted, it was found out that the ATM card used by Claro matched the account number deposited by Metro Shuttle Bus Co.

CHR blames Sulu military commander for Maimbung ‘massacre’

By Julie Alipala

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Western Mindanao blamed the military commander in Sulu for the February 4 deaths eight people, including two children and a pregnant woman, in a military operation in Maimbung town.

At "a word of command, the ground troops follow. A lift of a finger from a commander, troops will run, march and attack," Jose Manuel Mamauag, CHR regional director, said Thursday.
The CHR conducted an investigation into the incident, which survivors described as a “massacre” perpetrated by soldiers.

Mamauag acknowledged that the soldiers should be punished for atrocities against the residents of Barangay (village) Ipil but stressed the doctrine of command responsibility.

The soldiers accused of the deaths and of pillaging the village belonged to the anti-terrorist Task Force Comet, commanded by Major General Reuben Rafael.

Mamauag said it was not fair to just blame the soldiers involved in the operation, who are now restricted to camp, "because in the military, before the execution of any military operation, there should be information, and plotting and mapping." "So [the blame should go] higher," Mamauag said.

He said the CHR will be releasing a full report on the incident any time soon.
Mamauag categorically described the Maimbung incident as a massacre committed in the pretext of "a legitimate encounter."

"Women, children and the elderly require utmost protection, they ought not to be considered as military targets," he said.

The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said the findings of the CHR reinforced its earlier report that the eight victims were victims of extrajudicial killings.

In a statement issued on February 13, the AHRC said with the CHR findings, the government should now pursue the charges against those responsible for the incident.

"The families of the dead should also be given adequate compensation and those requiring protection in the process of prosecuting the case in court, once it is filed, are given such arrangement," the group said.

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