Category: terrorism

“state of lawlessness”

late friday night when the news of the davao explosion broke — 10 dead, 60 wounded was the first count — and as we waited for more facts, i was of course thinking abu sayyaf:  who else would dare hit out at the president’s beloved davao, especially since he had recently ordered the armed forces to destroy the terrorist group down to the last man.  i imagined that duterte must be livid with anger, all his strongman threats for nought.

by the time i woke up saturday the president had declared a state of lawlessness across the length and breadth of the archipelago, which only means daw that he is calling out the military to help police suppress the violence and terrorism.  but this raises so many questions.  is the threat of terrorism — whether from the abu sayyaf or, as the bandit group alleged later, from its ally daulat ul islamiya — nationwide?

if yes, why are we not being told unequivocally about these threats and why are we not being properly advised?  to avoid sowing panic?  but we have seen enough of ISIS terrorism in europe, and threats in america, via cable tv — people are properly warned and advised to be vigilant, and it is for the people to decide whether to stay home and avoid crowds, or to refuse to be frightened or cowed.

listening closely to the president and his men, it’s clear that that they choose not to dignify the claim by the abu sayyaf or to acknowledge its ally, daulal ul islamiya, as though that would be to glorify them, or dahil ba ayaw rin nilang i-acknowledge na naisahan sila?  they had been warned pala, as vice mayor paolo duterte admitted, but we don’t know by whom, or what the extent of the threat is, as he continues to keep it all secret.  i suppose they didn’t take it seriously — macho bravado?  these terrorists, isis-linked or not, wouldn’t dare?

because otherwise that davao night market would could should have been better secured, with more police and plainclothes peeps hanging around, keeping an eye on things, and the populace would have been vigilant rather than relaxed, as in, pamasahe-pamasahe.

and then i saw this, thanks to raissa robles.  a facebook status by one of the president’s men, peter tiu lavina, saturday afternoon.

Early this morning I wrote that three groups were likely behind the bombing in Davao City last night that left 14 dead and 67 injuredt: 1) drug lords, 2) terrorist ASG, and 3) political opposition. I stand corrected. There is a fourth group. One that is a collusion of these three suspects. An alliance of all anti-Duterte forces. Drug lords providing the funds, Abu Sayyaf providing the muscle, and the political opposition providing the brains and hecklers. Not farfetched, don’t you think even if the ASG has claimed the wrongdoing? Let this 0.2% do their evil worst. The rigtheous many will always be victorious.#SulongDabaw #SulongPilipinas!

it’s quite a conspiracy theory — clearly a barefaced attempt to connect the davao blast to EJKs allegedly perpetrated by drug lords — that so far has no basis in fact, or we’re simply not being told the facts?  maybe it’s pure speculation, pang-distract, but we’re expected to swallow it all, hook line and sinker?  by the way, guys, you left out the CIA.  but never mind, your new ally, the CPP, has not.  read Reds blame US for Davao blast.

i agree with rene saguisag (just heard him on tv) that we do not have a state of lawlessness nationwide, chaos and anarchy do not reign.  well, except perhaps in the wishful minds and hearts of the duterte admin.  and i agree with teddy locsin jr. that the abu sayyaf are not terrorists of the same blend as al qaeda, hamas, IRA, or ETA.  nor do they seem to be of the diehard islamic terrorist kind.

They do not have a serious political aim. They are bandits whose aim is the extortion of anything within reach. And that reach goes only as far as the weakness of national government is deep.

But there is no hatred—like Bin Laden’s for America’s desecration of Islam’s holy lands by American physical presence there.

Not yet.

So the ASG can be talked to.

But that requires keeping a tight rein on our rhetoric. (That is, shutting the f*** up.)

The Killing of Osama bin Laden

Seymour M. Hersh

It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.

Read on…

Of Black Flags and Careless Connections

By Marck Ronald Rimorin

In her latest “Thought Leaders” piece for, Maria Ressa writes:

Much like the Madrid bombings in 2004 that killed 191 people and the London bombings in 2005 that killed 52, the Boston bombings were carried out by men who integrated into their societies and benefited from the liberalism and inclusiveness of the West. Yet, despite their seemingly Western ways, the attackers in London and Madrid harbored deep hatred sparked by al-Qaeda’s virulent ideology – perhaps much like Tamerlan, who said, “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.”

Read on 

cyberlibel law will “level the playing field” ?!?

before anything else, kudos cheers mabuhays to SENATOR TG GUINGONA for voting NO to the cybercrime act, the only one who dared, cared, on grounds that the libel clause is a prior restraint on freedom of expression, a constitutionally guaranteed right.

so who voted yes to the cybercrime act despite the libel clause?


so the following abstained, it would seem:


makes you wonder about these senators.

my first thought was, the ones who said yes must be anti-RH, like sotto.  but wait, where’s enrile?  and what’s RH sponsor pia doing in that list?  ah, so, maybe these are senators who have been criticized, berated, attacked online a la sotto, they know what it’s like, or maybe they haven’t and they don’t want to be and they don’t want to know what it’s like, ever, so yes, regulate blogs, facebook, twitter, news websites.

as for those who abstained, since they didn’t have it in them to say yes, good for them, then why did they not go the whole hog and vote no a la guingona?  pogi points sana.  talo rin lang kasi, wiser to stay on sotto’s good side, the old-boys-club mentality kicking in, kapit-bisig kumbaga, circle the wagons, there’s more at stake than one senator’s reputation?  there’s more at stake than one senate bill?

say ni pia cayetano sa twitter:

My review of the cybercrime bill was focused on child pornography, which falls within my area of responsibility.

a follower asked:

@piacayetano so if you say your review is only on child pornography, then all the other areas of the law you don’t bother to check? 

no response so far.  what kind of senators are these.

and no word from the palace, no explanations.  only this announcement on the president’s website, that the doj, the dilg, and the dost are working on the implementing rules and regulations of the cybercrime act.

Punishable acts under the new law include offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data system, illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference, and misuse of devices. Also included are computer-related offenses such as forgery, fraud, and identity theft that are rampant in the Internet.

Also punishable under the new law are content-related offenses like cybersex, and child pornography.

The law also punishes unsolicited commercial communications or cyber squatting, the acquisition of a person’s domain name for profit or destroy reputations.

ang lupit, di ba?  no time-frame, manginig tayo.  at ang weird, ni hindi nakalista ang libel.  which means what?  did they even read it?  did they even know that it contained a libel clause?

and take note, the prez and the senators are leaving it to sotto iii to defend the libel clause.  every one else is silent on the matter, esp the palace communications peeps, two of whom used to be “noted” bloggers, one of whom tweeted non-stop in memory of the declaration of martial law.

rubbing salt into the wound, sotto iii has the temerity to ask : why, what’s wrong with a libel law in cyber space? 

“I can’t see the logic,” said Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III when asked to react to media protests regarding the dangers and possible unconstitutionality of extending libel laws to new social media in the new Cybercrime Prevention Act.

“If mainstream media are prevented by law from cursing and engaging in character assassination, why should those in the social media and in the Internet be exempted from such accountability,” said Sotto, who had proposed the extension of the Act’s coverage to include libel.

“What’s so special about (mainstream journalists) that they have those prohibitions, and that they (social media bloggers) don’t?” Sotto had insisted in a recent interview.

The libel clause in the recently passed anti-cybercrime law is meant to “level the playing field” between the mainstream media and the social media, Sen. Vicente Sotto III said. 

he can’t see the logic in the cybercommunity’s protests.  he’s saying that he only seeks to level the playing field between social media and mainstream media, both should be covered by the same libel law, never mind that honasan had filed a bill to decriminalize libel, i guess because honasan must have changed his mind, as he voted for the cybercrime-with-libel law.

but but but it is not the playing field between mainstream and social media that’s the problem – we are co-existing, mainstream media is not complaining that social media is more free; social media, indie political bloggers in particular, are not complaining that mainstream media is profit-oriented, a capitalist enterprise.  it is what it is.  instead, mainstream and social media are feeding off each other, and that is good, for the information of the nation.

in truth, the playing field that needs to be levelled is the one between government officials and the citizens and communities whom they are pledged to serve.  lamang na lamang, llamadong llamado ang ruling class, from one admin to the next, life does not get better, only worse, for the larger population, status quo.

for our part, all that we political bloggers and commenters and tweeters and facebookers have is the internet where, as ordinary citizens mostly, we have the freedom to speak out, share our points of view, take a stand, esp on political developments that impact negatively on nation (and there are many, it doesn’t stop…), if only for the record.

indeed, it is not a level playing field, and an anti-libel law that infringes on the freedom of speech of the cyber community makes the rules even more  favorable for the already powerful ones who have sat on the RH and FOI bills, and who knows what else, divorce? for more than a decade now, manigas tayo.

on facebook there are some who say that we who are so upset by the cybercrime act should have spoken up before the bill became law, that we should have monitored closely the legislative process. ang say ko naman, but, really, there were some who spoke up, and even if more had spoken up earlier, would the senate have listened to us?  the senate has not been listening to 7 out of 10 filipinos who want the RH bill, why would they listen to the cybercommunity, na 3 out of 10 filipinos lang daw (and of that three, i bet only one is interested in politics).

ang problema sa ating elected government officials ay, they believe their own propaganda that they are god’s gift to filipinos, they know better than we do about what’s good for the nation, so na-o-offend sila na bonggang bongga when they’re called out, criticized, cyberstoned for something we think they did wrong or didn’t do right.

what if, sumagot sila nang maayos?  umamin, kapag nagkamali.  magpaliwanag, kung may malabo.  engage with the citizenry in constructive discourse.  but no.  instead of getting their acts together, instead of behaving like honorable statesmen who deserve to be in public office, instead of giving us no cause to criticize and deplore, instead of being men and facing up to public opinion for the good of nation, they slap us with an anti-cyber-libel law.

and this, from sotto pa rin, part of his justification for the libel rider, based on the senate journal of january 24, 2012.

…there are numerous abuses in technology, particularly the video and photo uploading and unnecessary write-ups and comments in social networking systems. 

unnecessary in what sense?  who is to decide about necessity?  what might seem unnecessary to sotto would not necessarily be unnecessary in the filipino’s long-term struggle for a true, informed, and working democracy.  everything being done and being said in the freewheeling ether of cyberspace today, day after day, from the inane to the cruel, from the gross to the sublime, and everything that government does and does not do, documented for cyber-eternity, has historical value and significance for the future.

i’m a writer of history, and this is an indie non-profit blog where i share historical and political notes, and call a spade a spade, in aid of nation-building, if not for my children’s generation, then for their my grandchildren’s, and yours.  don’t tell me i have to mince my words now and live in fear of sotto and his ilk.