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Gunmen believed to be Abu Sayyaf bandits have kidnapped five Zamboangueño construction workers in the province of Sulu, the police said Saturday, July 15

Two of the victim’s relatives, namely Amy Guerrero and Dayang Ramos, said the bandits have demanded P1 million ransom for each victim. Guerrero and Ramos said the ransom demand was relayed to them through a mobile phone by a man who identified himself as a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Hende man kame ta pone de bajo cunel estado del mana vitimas (It’s not that we are demeaning the living status of he victims,) but how would bandits ever believe relatives of their victims to rfaise P1 million each. They are ordinary wage earners, even taking the risk of going to a far-away place to work, definitely they cannot be expected to have that kind of money. Silly.

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The Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) yesterday confirmed that the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member and allegedly the nephew of ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon who was arrested last Thursday, is a bomber.

This was revealed by Chief Inspector Edilberto Alvarez, Chief of the Intelligence Branch of the local police, in an exclusive interview with Zamboanga Today.

Alvarez said that Abdulmubin Salahuddin y Kudalat, alias Mubin, a security guard of Black Arrow Security Agency assigned at a mall along Governor Camins Avenue, and residing in barangay Guiwan, this city confessed during interrogation that he is an ASG bomber.

Police said that Salahuddin is in-charge of supplying firearms and ammunition to the ASG operating in Sulu Province.

And Salahuddin was involved in the 2002 Sipadan kidnapping incident.

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A total of thirty armed men, two of who are wounded, were reportedly sighted in Kilometer 12, Fortunato, Upper La Paz last Friday morning. Although official reports belied the claim, an eyewitness relates he did see the group, wherein one of them even took his short to cover the wounds of their wounded companion.

And when authorities from the Ayala Police Station personnel and CAFGU separately swooped down on the area, no presence of the armed men were sighted

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Sen. Richard Gordon said Sunday he will push for a reopening of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano massacre, after the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the filing of downgraded criminal charges against former President Benigno Aquino III.

“Why is it when powerful people are involved, they hesitate to let the truth come out?” he said in Filipino.

Gordon hit the Office of the Ombudsman for recommending the filing of graft and usurpation of authority charges against Aquino, his former police chief Alan Purisima, and former Special Action Force director Getulio Napeñas, saying the charges were weak.

“I would have filed graver charges, multiple homicide through reckless imprudence,” he said, in line with the complaint filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption  before the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman, however, cleared Aquino of the homicide charge.

In a separate radio dzBB interview, Aquino’s ally in the Liberal Party, Senator Franklin Drilon, said there was no need to reopen the Mamasapano hearing.

The public order committee, then headed by Senator Grace Poe, had issued a report on the Mamasapano hearings, and found Aquino “ultimately responsible” for the carnage.

Hey, hey, hey … whoah there.

What’s happening to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II. Believe it not, Aguirre supports the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman approving criminal charges against former president Benigno Aquino III in the January 2015 encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao where 44 Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos were killed.

“It’s a welcome development. The factual bases of the resolution are by and large accurate,” he told The STAR in a text message yesterday.

His opinion rebutted the claim of Aquino’s camp that the ombudsman appeared to have misappreciated the facts in the case in approving his indictment before the Sandiganbayan.

Huh! How does that refute the Aquino camp claim, when families of the so-called SAF 44 and the VACC are dissatisfied due to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ dismissal of their original complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against Aquino and Purisima.

Aguirre indeed is being inconsistent, saying is reserving his comment on the rued dissatisfaction, adding, “I have yet to fully read the Ombudsman’s resolution to give a well-studied opinion on the matter,” Aguirre explained.

See the glaring admission? He spoke too soon, and may definitely eat his words later.

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Here’s the laatet on the continuing Marawi war. Their numbers have decimated but well-armed remnants of the Islamic State-linked Maute Group continue to battle government troops in Marawi City, making it difficult for soldiers to clear hundreds of buildings.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesman for the military’s Joint Task Force Marawi, said there are only about 60 to 70 Maute members left in the city. Government troops have cleared 60 buildings previously occupied by Maute terrorists in 48 hours.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said there are about 600 buildings left that should be cleared. He placed the number of terrorists at 80.

The numbers may differ – Herrera, 60 to 70; Padilla, still 80 – difference is not that much, though.

“We covered in the last 48 hours around 60 buildings previously occupied by the Maute. Their areas are getting smaller and areas covered by us is (are) getting larger,” he told reporters on Sunday.

But even if there are fewer enemies now, Herrera said the resistance continues as the Maute members still use machine guns, anti-tank weapons and snipers.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP public affairs, bared Abdullah, one of the Maute brothers, is still leading the Islamic State-linked terrorists.

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The president is to decide early on the extension of martial law, as the 60-day time frame will expire on July 22. Duterte recently said the lifting or extension of martial law will depend on the assessment of defense and security officials on the country’s security situation.

And very that security assessment will be  in his hands on Thursday. This was disclosed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

He, however, declined revealing their appraisal.

“Let us wait for the decision of the President,” he told reporters in a text message.

Padilla earlier said that Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año received the assessment of ground commanders in Mindanao middle of last week.

Lorenzana is the administrator of martial law in Mindanao while Año serves as its implementor.

Meanwhile, Pres. Duterte and the senators was to be meet in Malacañang today, and Senate Pres. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III had said, he will ask the president if he still intends to extend the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.

And dear folks, from all indications, SS predicts military rule will be extended.

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The 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), that MILF Vice Chair Ghadzali Jaafar chairs, is set to hand over today its draft BBL to the President for transmittal to the two chambers of Congress.

In a speech before Marawi evacuees in Iligan City three weeks ago, the President promised to ask Congress to pass the proposed law so that the Bangsamoro region could be set up soonest and become a template for his campaign for federalism.

As we always have said, nobody but nobody will oppose the BBL for as lonh as the unconstitutional provisions in it are obliterated.

So does Duterte say, there would be no problem for the draft endorsement if it excludes constitutional infirmities such as the old version’s provisions for the establishment of a Bangsamoro region’s regional police and security forces.

But in past pronouncements, the MILF said the proposed regional forces would remain under the President with the Bangsamoro leadership having a say in the appointment of top police and military officials in the new region.

Hmmm, seems to be a likely debatable issue. (By Jimmy Cabato)




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