One moment the Armed Forces brass says that soldiers have been re-indoctrinated to respect civil rights. In the next it pleads for sympathy that troopers emptied rifle magazines into two vanloads of civilians since “they were only following orders.”
In short the generals are saying that their men are caring, dutiful killers. No wonder Commander-in-Chief Noynoy Aquino had to tell them to stop telling tall tales about the Atimonan massacre of 13 men.
At any rate, the brass should make the 25 soldiers’ commanding officer answer for shouting, “Fire!” Soldiers obey only their CO.
Something stinks about police officers owning security agencies. Will they ever fight crime as earnestly as they should, if they need to justify the hiring of their security guards by malls, banks, restaurants, offices, subdivisions, plantations, ports, everywhere? Is the number of guards in the Philippines inversely equivalent to police efficiency? In countries where police response and crime investigation are superb, businesses do not need private security services.
Will the probe of the Atimonan massacre delve as well into why the 13 fatalities were travelling armed? Reports have it that group leader, Vic Siman, and one companion, police colonel Alfredo Consemino, had just met with one Ronnie Habatin in Bicol to merge their security and mining businesses. The ambushing police officers claimed that Siman had headed a private army. Thirteen registered and one unlicensed firearms were found inside the group’s two SUVs. They had not come from a shooting competition, so what were they, with three policemen and five soldiers, up to?
Philippine officials need to get hold from Malaysia the fugitive Ponzi-scammer Manuel Amalilio. So they need to be very courteous in talking repatriation with Malaysian counterparts. They also have to be very cautious. For, Amalilio’s stolen multibillion pesos can bribe the Malaysians into keeping him safely in Sabah, away from Philippine justice.
The Chief Minister of Sabah, Musa Aman, was responsible for stopping agents of the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation last Friday from flying Amalilio out of there. Musa Aman is in fact viewed as one of Malaysia’s crookedest officials. What could have induced him to save the head of Aman Futures, who duped some 15,000 Visayans and Mindanaoans of P12 billion?
Hours earlier, Malaysian feds had nabbed and turned over Amalilio to the NBI. Last minute, on the pretext that he is a protected Malaysian national, Sabah airport guards barred the Filipino lawmen from taking back the absconder.
After some initial confusion, the Sabah Chief Minister no less emerged as having ordered Amalilio’s reprieve. When Manila showed proof that the wanted man is Filipino, Musa changed his tune. He claimed that Amalilio had conned Sabahans too, so their complaints must be investigated. He couldn’t explain why Amalilio purportedly would be grilled only now. The fugitive had fled Mindanao for Sabah as far back as November; ripped-off Filipinos had been sighting him there in public.
Musa is known to lie with a straight face when exposed for sleaze. Like, when prominent Sabah timber concessionaire Michael Chia (alias Chia Tien Foh), was arrested in Hong Kong smuggling out $16.6 million last year. Musa swore he has never met him. The Malaysian press reprinted photos of Musa and Chia handshaking and arms over shoulders in several socials over the past decade.
Chia’s smuggling prompted an investigation by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption. The ICAC unearthed Musa’s money laundering all the way to Zurich (starting with $20 million in 1998) and the British Virgin islands (initially with $9 million in 2005).
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission conducted a parallel probe. Uncovered were remittances from Chia and his lawyer Richard Christopher Barnes to Musa’s two sons in Australia, via banks in Singapore.
International conservationists have been expressing concern that Musa is giving away timber concessions in Sabah. Deforestation there has been identified as one of the main causes of global warming that triggers catastrophic weather.
Meanwhile, some concessionaires have complained of Chia’s prohibitive extortions in behalf of Musa, the chairman of Sabah’s timber board. One exposé is about his grant of a lucrative logging site to Chia’s mistress.
More than 40 charges were brought against Musa. But he was able to elude them — and prevent the ICAC and MACC from synchronizing their probes — through political connections.
Musa is the older brother of Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, and a close kin of Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail.
As head in Sabah of Malaysia’s ruling UMNO party, Musa is also its chief fundraiser and so a strong ally of Prime Minister Najib Razak. Razak is himself being linked to a $40-million kickback from the purchase of three submarines from France and the murder of a Mongolian socialite who publicly raised a fuss about her share. The UMNO tried to make it look like the recent dollar smuggling from Hong Kong was a donation for the forthcoming parliamentary election.
Amalilio is facing some 8,000 court cases in the Philippines. President Noynoy Aquino, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario are collaborating to bring him back and face the music. In so doing, they will have to deal with Musa, Anifah, Patail, and Razak.