FBI and RP POLICE ARREST TERRORIST-LINKED CHRISTIAN FILIPINO HACKERS

Combined US FBI and Philippine police agents arrested 4 people – all Christian Filipinos – with an alleged link to a supposedly terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah (J.I.) of Indonesia, for hacking the American telecommunication giant, AT&T.

Anonymous Hackers

As usual with this terror-related stories spun by the US, the four young Christian Filipino “hacker-terrorists”  are involved in a sinister international web of terrorist organizations.  The Filipino group is allegedly being financed by a “Saudi-based terrorist group and that these young computer wizards are being paid by alleged terrorist Muhammad Zamir.

Zamir is a Pakistani who is allegedly with the Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah. Zamir was reportedly arrested in Italy in 2007 yet he was also said to be responsible for the funding of operations for the Mumbai bombing in 2008. And now, Nov. 2011, the American FBI and Filipino police arrested 4 Filipinos and accused them of being paid by Zamir, who was arrested by the FBI FOUR YEARS ago.

Really, Mr. Zamir must have a lot of money. Strange, though. He has been arrested in 2007 for financing terror operations yet his bank accounts had not been frozen such that he is still free to fund bombing operations from Mumbai to Manila?!

Doesn’t really makes sense. But at least, these are NOT, repeat, NOT Muslims or Moros. Ooops, what does that make of the PROFILING system of the CIA/FBI?

As was discussed in the Republican presidential debates  on Nov. 23 and supported by all the presidential candidates except for Ron Paul, according to CIA profiling, terrorists are usually “young Muslims”.

Really, those who believe in the terror stories of the CIA and FBI and Philippine police / military could only be children or adults with childlike intelligence who are fascinated with James Bond-like stories.

The complete story is below:

 

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” PNP – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) News Release Authority : ATTY SAMUEL D PAGDILAO JR

Police Director, Director CIDG

Camp Crame, Quezon City

*Tel.: 09178888874 / Fax: (02) 705-1526 *Date *Thursday, November 24, 2011 *CIDG-FBI bust Manila hackers group link to JI terrorists*

Joint operatives from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have busted a group of Filipino hackers whose operation is allegedly being financed by a Saudi-based terrorist group.

CIDG director, Police Director Samuel D Pagdilao Jr. said that last night’s operation stemmed from the complaint of AT&T, a US-based telecommunication company and the FBI regarding the activities of Filipino hackers who hacked the system of AT&T. The hacking activity resulted to almost $2-million in losses incurred by the company.

Pagdilao said that armed with several search warrants, members of the CIDG’s Anti-Transnational and Cyber Crime Division (ATCCD) and FBI agents struck at several target areas in Metro Manila last night that resulted in the arrests of four suspects and the confiscation of computer and telecommunication equipment believed to be used by the suspects in their hacking activities.

ATCCD chief, Police Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa identified the arrested suspects as Macnell Gracilla, 31, a native of Carmen Rosales, Pangasinan and resident of Unit 5, Montiville Place, Greenville Subdivision, Sauyo, Quezon City; Francisco Manalac, 25, and his live-in partner Regina Balura, 21, both of # 89 Sampaguita Extension, East Bagong Barrio, Calooocan City, and Paul Michael Kwan, 29, of # 21 Hebrew St., West Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City.

Sosa added that prior to last night’s arrest of Kwan, the suspect has been arrested in 2007 by Philippine authorities following the international crackdown launched by the FBI against suspected terrorist cells involved in financing terrorist activities.

Sosa said that FBI agents who have been investigating incessant hacking of telecommunication companies in the US and in the country since 1999 have uncovered paper trail of various bank transactions linking the local hackers to the Saudi-based cell whose activities include financing terrorist activities.

Sosa said that in 2007, FBI operatives have arrested Pakistani Jemaah Islamiyah member Muhammad Zamir in Italy. Zamir’s group, who was later tagged by the FBI to be the financial source of the terrorist attack in Mubai, India in November 26, 2008, is also the same group that paid Kwan’s group of hackers in Manila.

Sosa said that Kwan and the other hackers in Manila were being used by the Zamir’s terrorists group to hack the trunk-line (PBX) of different telecommunication companies including the AT&T. Revenues derived from the hacking activities of the Filipino-based hackers were diverted to the account of the terrorists, who paid the Filipino hackers on a commission basis via local banks.

After Zamir’s arrest in 2007, a Saudi-national took helm of the operation of the group, who also maintained its link with the group of Filipino hackers based in Manila.

On March 2011, FBI authorities requested the CIDG-ATCCD assistance after they found out that the group has targeted the AT&T in the US and that the same group of Filipino hackers is involved.

Pagdilao said that the recent arrest of Filipino hackers tied to a group involved in financing terrorist activities should serve as a wake-up call to legislators to speed-up the passage of the Cyber Crime Prevention Bill now pending in Congress in order to address proactively the threat of cyber crime terrorists who have made the country their base of operations.

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Philippine Military charged all males in Albarka village for murder!

Angered by the double whammy — from the MILF forces and from PNoy who refused an all-out war —  they got from its attack on MILF in Albarka, Basilan, the Armed Forces of the Philippines filed charges for MURDER against all the adult male population of the Albarka village.

The military filed charges for murder against 8 MILF members and 300 John Does. The usual Modus Operandi (M.O.) for this case is the following: After the charges are filed at the fiscal’s office, no subpoenas will reach the concerned parties because there are usually no addresses given or the addresses were wrong or simply, no names. The court then issues arrest warrants for a couple of people and dozens or, in this case, hundreds of John Does. The military, not even the police, then goes to the supposed address and arrest any male Moro they meet. These Moros would be taken into custody and tortured until they sign confession letters. They would then be shown to the media, who would banner them as terrorists. Then they would rot in jail without getting their day in court. Or, they could escape prison, just like what Laksaw Dan Asnawi did.

Here’s the story from the MILF website:

FROM

All males in Albarka village, Basilan charged with murder

November 17, 2011 – Three hundred eight men, including 8 MILF members, were charged with murder in connection with the killing of 19 members of the Army’s Special Forces by MILF forces led by Commander Laksaw Dan Asnawi in Cambug, Albarka, Basilan last October 18.

The number of those charged exceeded the number of male population in the entire village, based on the 2009 COMELEC record, which showed that there were only 604 registered voters (aged 18 above), males and females. Of the 604 voters, less than 300 are male.

Barangay Cambug is a Moro community and is one of the 16 barangays in Albarka town.

The record also showed that the female population comprised the majority of the total population, in term of voting age.

On November 4, the WESMINCOM legal division filed a complaint with the Basilan Provincial Prosecutor issued a subpoena to 8 MILF members and 300 other John Does.

A non-government worker, who requested anonymity, opined that, based on the above statistics,   assuming that the 300 or so charged of murder are all male, (meaning, not including children and women) practically, all and every legal aged male individuals in Barangay Cambug are charged of multiple murder!

“This is a sweeping and reckless issuance of subpoena,” she commented.

He predicted that these ambiguous developments in the legal arena will again warrant arbitrary arrests and another wave of human rights violations to the Moro community in Basilan similar to the arrest warrants issued in 2003 to at least 300 individuals in Basilan plus John Does wherein several cases of arbitrary arrests and detention, mistaken identity, torture and other human rights abuses and violations were reported.

He cited a classic example of reckless “enforcement of law” by the AFP in the recent arrest of one Harud Jaljalis, a.k.a Indal, from his residence in Maluso. It turned out later that the person actually arrested was a certain Indal Hairun Ladjatua, who is already confined at the Bicutan Jail.

P5 million for peace, P14 billion for war materiel

MILF chief Murad and RP Pres. Aquino in Tokyo

The Aquino-Murad meeting in Tokyo has been highly criticized by most Filipinos. The announcement of P 5 million pesos given to the MILF by the Aquino government created an even greater controversy. Below is a Special Report by Carolyn Arguillas of MINDANEWS.

SPECIAL REPORT (2): P5 million for peace, P14 billion in 15 months for AFP modernization

By  | Wednesday| November 9, 2011

COTABAO CITY (Mindanews/08 November)  – Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin may not have intended the contrast but after a soldier asked about the P5 million fund for the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) and no one else came forward to ask, he announced to the troops at the parade grounds of the Eastern Mindanao Command in Davao City on November 4 that of the P331 billion intended for the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 15 years, only P32 billion had been released since 1995.

But in the 15 months of the Aquino administration, he said, the AFP has received P14 billion.

“Within the year,” said Gazmin, the AFP will have four new helicopters, within the year or early next year, an additional Hamilton-class ship. He spoke of the continuing modernization efforts, of how they would purchase “tanke, eroplano, barko” (tanks, airplanes, boats) and for the individual soldiers, armored vests, new guns, etc..

“Ganon na lang tayo kamahal ng President” (that’s how much the President loves us), adding the AFP will soon be at par with other armed forces in the region.

The AFP has been waging military operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Moro  National Liberation Fornt (MNLF) and later the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the last 40 years but it has acknowledged that military solution has not addressed the root causes of the rebellions. Hence, the peace processes.

The Aquino administration has recently rejected calls for “all-out war” against the MILF following the Al-barka tragedy on October 18.

Borne out of ignorance

“We recognize that these calls, or at least some of them, for all-out war may come from those who do not have a full awareness of all the factors at play. However, my decisions cannot be borne out of ignorance. They have to be based on available facts. It is so easy, out of frustration, to close the door on negotiations at this time. If we go down this path, more innocent civilians will be put in harm’s way. The difficult peace process cannot be enhanced by shedding more blood and generating more ill will. We have to exhaust all possibilities for attaining peace through dialogue. We will not pursue all-out war; we will instead pursue all-out justice,” the President said on October 24.

Two days later, the fuss, nay, hysteria over the P5 million fund for the BLMI, borne out of ignorance and generated by media reports fueling speculations rather than seeking explanations, began.

“I fail to see what the fuss is all about,” Amina Rasul, president of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, told MindaNews.

“First, this was no secret project:  it was discussed openly by OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) with the Development Academy of the Philippines and the Bangsamoro Development Agency, donors, among others…. Second, the leadership training would be provided to capacitate the Bangsamoro community leaders in the requisite of governance and managing peace and development.  It wasn’t for sharpshooting or military strategy.  So what’s the fuss all about?”

Irene Santiago, chair of the Mindanao Commission on Women says the hysteria around the P5 million fund “will not be dissipated unless it is placed within the context of peace and how peace is achieved.”

Santiago, a member of the government peace panel negotiating with the MILF from 2001 to 2003, explained that in the aftermath of war, institutions have to be either established or reformed to address the grievances that led to the armed conflict.

Investment well worth every centavo

“These institutions will have to address the fundamental needs for development, security, political participation, and acceptance of identity.  The core issue in the current peace negotiations between the MILF and the government is the relationship between the state and the minority who have felt aggrieved from years of neglect and deprivation.  Therefore, the peace agreement must include provisions for how the Bangsamoro will participate in political, social and economic reconstruction and recovery so that their people and this nation can know peace,” she told MindaNews.

The BLMI, she added, was conceived as a means to develop the capacities of the Bangsamoro to manage and lead their institutions.

“This is critical in ensuring that the peace agreement will work!  Five million pesos? Why are we all crying foul over five million pesos?  Because this should have gone to buying arms?  I say to all who feel cheated as taxpayers: this investment in creating the human potential for lasting peace is well worth every centavo, and more. Investments for peace do not come only after a peace agreement is signed. The foundation for peace must be laid and prioritized even before the peace talks end or else the peace agreement will be just another piece of paper,” Santiago stressed.

Guiamel Alim, a member of the Council of Elders of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society said P5 million is a “tiny amount or almost nothing to buy peace.”

“It is a unilateral gesture of generosity by the GPH as a confidence building in the name of peace. Spoilers of peace are those who make unwanted noise about it,” he said.

The BLMI was conceived precisely to avoid the mistakes of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)  which signed a inal Peace Agreement on September 2, 1996 and took over the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by noon of September 30 that year.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

A saga of all-out euphemisms vs peace, the Moro and the ordinary people

(http://bulatlat.com)

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

When it comes to addressing the conflict in Mindanao, nothing has really changed in Philippine government policy despite the change from one president and administration to another. It has always been consistently “militarist,” said Neil V. Murad, secretary-general of Suara Bangsamoro (Voice of the People). This dogged militarist approach, he said, victimizes the very people it is supposed to protect – the civilians.

The intensified military aggression in Mindanao today “clearly reveals the President’s mangled concept of justice. His pronouncements attempt to camouflage but his actions clearly exposes the brutality of the government’s Oplan Bayanihan,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus in a statement.

Whatever name you decide to call a war, its consequences remain the same, said Murad, as he warned against yet another looming all-out war in Mindanao, and the injustice “this purportedly ‘just’ campaign to redeem the honor” of at least 19 killed special action forces of the Philippine Army.

The Suara Bangsamoro condoles with the families and relatives of the 19 soldiers killed in the October 18 armed encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Basilan. But they cautioned the government especially the AFP against using this incident “as pretext for the aggression against civilian-populated communities in Zamboanga Sibugay and Basilan.”

“If you are hunting for a handful of ‘lawless elements,’ why bomb entire communities?” asked Murad.

Suara Bangsamoro asked the government and the “sensationalist media” not to prey on the grief and misery caused by the death of 19 soldiers just to present as “righteous” and “just” the intensified military aggression against civilian communities.

An all-out war under any other name is an “all-out injustice,” said the Voice of the Moro Nation. They add that another all-out war can only breed further injustice, human rights violations, loss of lives, destruction of livelihood, and will push any prospect for peace in Mindanao further back.

Gabriela Women’s Partylist Rep. De Jesus said they also grieve with the mothers of the slain soldiers and they also call for justice for them, but they are pushing more to “affirm that peace negotiations, rather than this militaristic all-out-justice campaign.”

“We call on the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) panels to convene and respect agreements and obligations to stop the fighting and alleviate its impact on the civilian population,” said Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus.

Series of all-out wars under different names

There has been a series of “all-out” something in addressing the raging conflict in Mindanao. “Under Erap, it was “all-out war.” Under GMA, it became “all-out peace.” Now, under Pnoy, it has become “all-out justice,” Murad recalled. But all these “all-outs,” in reality, are wars launched against the BangsaMoro, and it reportedly continues to inflict destruction and rights violations among the BangsaMoro people up to now.

Under Erap’s ‘all out war’ in 2000, Murad said, some 200,000 people had been displaced, and another 100 civilians were either killed or illegally arrested and tortured. Under GMA’s “all out peace,” Murad recalled that two major wars against the MILF were launched. One in 2003 and another in 2008. These wars led to at least 750,000 internally displaced people, making the Philippines the number one in the world in terms of number of displaced persons.

As of April 2011, Murad said there are more than 125,000 long-term internally displaced persons still languishing in government camps all over Mindanao.

And now, under President Aquino’s “all-out justice,” Gen. Eduardo Oban reportedly reasoned that in order to “translate the directives of the President into operational goals,” a second day of airstrikes was launched by the Philippine Air Force on various communities in Zamboanga Sibugay.

As of Oct 26, entire communities are being bombed and tens of thousands of villagers are fleeing their homes as the AFP pursues their target “lawless elements.” Some 20,000 residents of Zamboanga Sibugay and Basilan had reportedly been forced to evacuate.

CHR report: Torture and disappearances attributed to security forces continue in Mindanao

FROM:


INQUIRER NEWS

By 

5:12 pm | Saturday, November 12th, 2011

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Torture and forced disappearances involving soldiers and policemen continue to be recorded in many areas in Mindanao under the Aquino administration, and Western Mindanao, where the government’s anti-terror campaign is centered, accounts for the most cases.

Data from the Commission on Human Rights presented this week at a training session here for detention authorities on anti-torture and human rights laws showed that from July 2010 to July this year, 18 cases of torture were recorded in Mindanao.

Eight people also disappeared while 64 others were summarily executed, said a report titled “Recent Trends from 2010-2011″ that was presented by Christopher Louie Ocampo.

“Western Mindanao has the highest (number of torture cases) with 9 cases followed by Region 12 with three and Caraga with three. In the case of enforced disappearances, Western Mindanao is still on top with four cases,” Ocampo said.

Human Rights Commissioner Jose Manuel Mamauag said the discovery of the cases was the result of  active reporting by “aware stakeholders.”

Mamauag said  increased awareness among the people was a positive sign but the downside was that cases of torture, disappearances and summary executions continue.

Another piece of bad news, he said, was that none of the cases filed against identified perpetrators has prospered so far.

Renante Basas, CHR director for Region 4, said the law exists but witnesses were too scant for the cases to prosper.

He cited the case of Abdulkhan Ajid, who claimed to have been tortured by soldiers in Basilan in July.

Captain Sherwin Guidangen, SSgt. Elmer Magdaraog and Sgt. George Awing had been recommended for court martial proceedings following a military investigation. But there was not much to go for a criminal case that Ajid’s family had filed, the CHR official said.

“Ajid’s camp failed to produce other witnesses that could corroborate and pinpoint the three military personnel as responsible for torturing him,” Basas said.

Ocampo said most of the persons responsible for torture, summary killings and enforced disappearances that the CHR has recorded have never been fully identified, except that they were allegedly soldiers and policemen.

Peace Process In Mindanao

from

Bishop Donald Blog

Educam

Posted on September 12, 2011 by 

Bishops and priests from Kidapawan, Marbel and Cotabato met at Water Gran, Bawing,GeneralSantosCityon 5-6 September 2011.

Bishop Romulo de la Cruz (Kidapawan), Bp. Dinualdo Gutierrez (Marbel) and Bp. Colin Bagaforo (Cotabato).  Priests: Marbel – 40; Cotabato – 22; Kidapawan – 10.  The Deacon is from Marbel.

Theme: “Legal and Political Perspectives of the Sub-state in the Light of the Peace Process in Mindanao”.

Activities:

September 5:  Biking/basketball, Vespers, socialization.

September 6:  Morning Praise, lectures, small group sharing, mass.

1st Talk: “The Mindanao Challenge”, Dr. Mario “Mayong” Joyo Aguja, Faculty of Sociology, MSU – GSC.

It is important to know past events to help solve the problems of the present.

Mindanaois a land of three peoples with different cultures and traditions, history and land – relations: the Lumads, the Moros and the Christian settlers.

They have different perspective on the land.  For the Moro, land is a symbol of powers.  It was where the power of sultanate could be found.  Thus, they always want to reclaim the land that belongs to the glorious days of the Sulu and Maguindanao Sultanates.

For the Christian settlers, land was the solution to the agrarian problem inLuzon.  Visayas followed.  Instead of resolving the problem of agrarian unrest, the Commonwealth government told the people to go toMindanao.  Thus, big migrations fromLuzon and Visayas.

For the Lumads, land is where the spirits of their ancestors dwell.  It is their ancestral land.

All three groups are victims of the colonial and post-colonial governments.

Mindanao: Land of contradictions

  • Land of plenty; plenty of poor people (ARMM and CARAGA).
  • Land of the Lords: political lords, landlords, warlords, drug lords
  • Land of the sick: physically, mentally.

A land of unfulfilled promises, massive poverty, collapse of education: many are not capable of active citizenships in ARMM and they have the competence of a grade three pupil.  Could hardly distinguish between right from wrong.  Abandoned for so long by government.

Back to the facts of History

 

In 1570 (Legaspi’s arrival in 1565) there was no Philippine Island, onlyMindanao.  No Moros nor Christians, all lumads.

Moro People:

1380                –  Islam arrived in Tawi-tawi.

1450                –  Emergence of the Sultanate of Sulu.

1515                –  Islam came to Maguindanao.

1619                –  Rise of the Sultanate of Maguindanao.

1898                –  Two sultanates were still existing.

Filipino Peoples:

1521                –  Magellan planted Christianity in the Visayas.

1565                – Philippineswas occupied by Legaspi.

1880-1895       –  Propaganda period/birth of a Filipino Nation.

1898                –  NationalIndependence.

Initiatives:

1)      Two autonomous regions: Mareos’ time

2)      One autonomous region: Cory’s time

3)      One expanded autonomous region with SPCPD – Ramos’ time.

4)      MOA-AD – Arroyo’s time.  Aborted.  Against constitution.

5)      Sub-state – P.Noy’s time, demanded by MILF.

3 for 1 – Counter proposal of GPH:

(1)  massive economic development.

(2)  political settlement with the MILF.

(3)  cultural, historical acknowledgement.

Note:

We, the public, do not know the CONTENTS/SPECIFICS of this Sub-state.  The MILF says it is not independence; but genuine autonomy.

Second Talk: “Legal Perspective of the Sub-state”.  Atty.  Elpidio Peria.

Current Negotiation: 11 Points

1)      MILF.  Exhaustion of all democratic remedies to solve a home grown sovereignty based conflict.

1.  GPH – 3 for 1 for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.

Comment: Both could be reconciled.

2)      MILF – correct imbalance of totality of relationship.

2.  GPH – 3 for 1 is founded on partnership.

Comment:  Reconcilable.

3)      MILF – Modest recognition and justice inMindanao, the ancestral homeland of the unconquered Moros.

3.  GPH – 3 for 1 is politically comprehensive.

Comment:  Let’s talk about social justice.

4)      MILF – Modest share in the remaining 7-9% of the lands.

4.  GPH – What is doable within the next few years.

Comment: How many years?

5)      MILF – Balances state’s sovereignty and people’s right to self-determination.

5.  GPH – Form of government for effective governance.

Comment: Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination may not be acceptable to MILF.

6)      MILF – Asymmetrical state-substate relationships.

GPH – Extent of the legal and political powers of President.

Comment:  MILF’s rejection of GPH draft: 3 for 1.

7)      MILF – separate national identity as Bangsamoro.

GPH – recognizes also the Bangsamoro’s identity.

8)      MILF – ties  with central government  intact.

GPH – System of cooperation to ensure sustainability.

Comment:  Is central same as national?

9)      MILF – People participate in running their affairs.

GPH – 3 for 1: process of normalization, restorative justice.

Comment: Congruence.

10)  MILF – Participation of international third party.

GPH – Genuine public consensus needed.

Comment: Complementary.

11)  MILF – Win-win formula (i.e., substate)

GPH – 3 for 1 –aims to retell true historical narratives.

Comment: Apparently, both are optimistic.

ARMM is NOT Autonomous

It is now final and “official” – the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is NOT autonomous.

Of course, people already know that ARMM is nowhere near being autonomous. It has always been run under the auspices of Malacanang. Even when it was run by a presumably independent Misuari, it could not do much because it (ARMM) did not have the necessary powers and budget.

But now, the Supreme Court itself has explained in no uncertain terms that the ARMM is NOT autonomous.

This is from the MILF site (luwaran.com):

Supreme Court rules with finality: ARMM is not Autonomous

November 7, 2011 – The Philippine Supreme Court, in its final decision on the law postponing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) election to allow for synchronization with the national elections in 2013, has confirmed that it is not really autonomous but an administrative unit of government.

In its 59-page decision, the Supreme Court had settled this long lingering issue whether the ARMM is autonomous or not, to wit:

“Under the Philippine concept of local autonomy, the national government has not completely relinquished all its powers over local governments, including autonomous regions.  Only administrative powers over local affairs are delegated to political subdivisions.  The purpose of the delegation is to make governance more directly responsive and effective at the local levels.  In turn, economic, political and social development at the smaller political units are expected to propel social and economic growth and development.  But to enable the country to develop as a whole, the programs and policies effected locally must be integrated and coordinated towards a common national goal.  Thus, policy-setting for the entire country still lies in the President and Congress.”

The Decision continued: “the autonomy granted to the ARMM cannot be invoked to defeat national policies and concerns. Since the synchronization of elections is not just a regional concern but a national one, the ARMM is subject to it; the regional autonomy granted to the ARMM cannot be used to exempt the region from having to act in accordance with a national policy mandated by no less than the Constitution.”

The 8-7 decision is considered a victory for President Aquino, who incessantly pushed for the law, and it also authorizes the President to appoint Officers-In-Charge (OICs) to replace incumbent ARMM officials.

Under Republic Act No. 10153, which was passed by Congress on June 6 and signed by the President on June 30, the ARMM election would be pushed back 2 years to coincide with the 2013 national elections. The ARMM election was supposed to be held in May 2011. According to the Supreme Court ruling, it is within the power of Congress to synchronize the elections. With the decision, the appointment of OICs was deemed constitutional.

Commenting on this, one youth leader in Cotabato City, who requested anonymity, urged the government to stop referring to the ARMM as “autonomous”, saying it is an insult to the English language since it is all pack of lies.

“Only the name is autonomous but the powers of the ARMM are even less than that of province or city,” he explained.

Meantime, one member of the MILF peace panel secretariat, who refused to be named, considered the decision of the Supreme Court as a blessing in disguise, saying it gives the MILF more reasons to ask for the “parking of the ARMM” while a new entity is  taking shape.

He said only people with exclusive motive is for himself will have the gut to serve the ARMM.

He did not elaborate.