Friday, September 4, 2009

Philippine Abu Sayyaf Terrorist To Be Forgiven?

MALACANANG has shut down efforts to offer amnesty to the members of the Abu Sayyaf saying the group has been nothing but a bunch of criminal outlaws. 

But Deputy Spokesperson Anthony Golez also said the situation is different with accused political offenders who deserve a bit of "leniency" 

Golez said the decision to deny amnesty to the Abu Sayyaf came after careful study, and considering popular calls for justice and retribution as well as weighing the pressing imperatives of peace and development in Mindanao. 

"They are lawless. They are proven to be kidnappers, gun runners, extortionists and they have been doing illegal things. They don't deserve to be given an amnesty," Golez stressed as quoted in reports. 

"The decision also reflects our confidence that the peace process will not be affected by the denial of amnesty to a fringe gang of bandits and terrorists," Golez said. 

On the statement's effects to ongoing negotiations, he adds, "Our government believes that the peace process can and should continue on the basis of good faith discussions between government and mainstream political rebel groups, following the UN-sanctioned principles of DDR or disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration." 

The Abu Sayyaf – or Bearer of the Sword – wrote its early history in blood, staging kidnappings, bombings and beheadings to draw attention, recruits and funds from the al-Qaeda terror network of international fugitive Osama bin Laden. 

The homegrown terror group is now listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. 

The international terrorist tag has also allowed US helping the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in its campaign against the Abu Sayyaf. (PIA)

Arthur Yap: Political Celebrity and Favorite in Bohol, Philippines

By Joe Espiritu

A few days ago, Secretary of Agriculture Arthur C. Yap distributed checks to be spent for farm to market road projects. By local standards, the amount distributed is considerable, some two hundred thousand pesos per barangay. With Jagna having thirty three barangays, the total amount shelled out was some six million six hundred thousand pesos. The distribution is not limited to Jagna alone but to several towns within the Third District of Bohol. The timing of the distribution is significant. 

 Election is just nine months from now. It is no secret that Atty. Art Yap is eyeing for the lone congressional seat of the Third District. It is still a long way from the formal declaration like the filing of candidacy, but should this happen; the cozy arrangement of the Big Four, if there is any now, will be in turmoil. Or perhaps the arrangement is not so cozy.

 During happier days, Gov. Erico Aumentado, Cong. Edgar Chatto of the First District, Cong. Roberto Cajes of the Second District and Eladio Jala of the Third District were the power brokers. Few would run without their blessings and if they would run at all, they will have to join the opposition. Most did not. They simply wait for better times. Now, because the law had decreed that no one can run for the same post for the fourth time, those who had graduated will look for other positions.

 Informed sources say that Gov. Aumentado will run for his old seat, as Congressman, in the Second District. Edgar Chatto and Roberto Cajes will run for Governor and Vice Governor. This would be a logical assumption since Chatto would play second fiddle to no one so Cajes has to if he has to stay in the running.  They would be against a formidable team of Julius Herrera and Tomas Abapo or Conching Lim although most prefer Tommy because of his bigger clout.  The First District Congressional seat is up for grabs, the Second goes to Gov. Aumentado but the Third will be contested by Jala the elder this time.

 In the gubernatorial race the Herrera - Abapo or Lim tandem will be in the opposition. The Chatto – Cajes – if they agree to the arrangement will be in the administration party. However, there was that story by highly informed sources that the Big Four took their oaths as members of the Nacionalista Party in one of the visits of Sen. Manny Villar to Bohol. The same informed sources said that they promptly went back to their old party the next day.

 Then comes D A Secretary Art Yap. All signs point out that Yap is running for the Congressional seat in the Third District. Since Yap is in the administration and a Cabinet Secretary at that, he must have the blessings of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  In order to avoid inconvenience, PGMA must pack the Congress with her men so Yap must win whatever happens.

 Sec. Yap must be persuaded to run for a higher post. As an Agriculture Secretary, he had a wider coverage. He must be convinced that the Third Political District of Bohol is too small a pond for him. On the other hand, it seems as if Sec. Yap is following a political agenda. After the 2010 election, there would be a clamor for a Chacha to create a unicameral parliamentary form of government. Should this happen and PGMA wins a congressional; seat in Pampanga, she might vie for the Prime Minister position. With the majority of Congressmen hers, this would be a possibility.