Military has become a laughingstock

By Ramon Tulfo
Last updated 03:34am (Mla time) 08/02/2007

Moro rebels are probably laughing themselves hoarse, up to now, after policemen trying to serve warrants on many of them in Basilan Tuesday went home empty-handed.


The cops, armed to the teeth and backed up by 5,000 or so Marines and Army troops, were sent to the camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) near the scene of the ambush two weeks ago.


How could the government expect to arrest MILF rebels who beheaded and mutilated the dead Marines when it vacillated in taking immediate action against the perpetrators?


The perpetrators were given more than enough time to escape. They probably merged with the local populace or are now hiding in other provinces.


The soldiers, who wanted to avenge the deaths of their comrades, are demoralized.


Nagmukhang tanga ang mga sundalo.


* * *
My military sources in Basilan are wondering why the government has not confronted Rep. Wahab Akbar, former Basilan governor, on the alleged participation of his men in the ambush and beheading.


Two of Akbar’s men were included in the warrant of arrest, but they are not members of the MILF or the Abu Sayyaf as the government claims.


No Abu Sayyaf bandit took part in the ambush and mutilation, according to my sources.


The MILF allegedly conspired with Akbar’s men in ambushing the Marines, but reportedly left it to the men of the political kingpin to do the job of finishing off the prostrate soldiers, some of whom were still alive.


* * *


How come there is no investigation of the allegation in this column, quoting sources in Basilan, that a top honcho at Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) ordered the planes and helicopters sent to reinforce the beleaguered Marines back to base?


Intramurals within the Philippine Marine Corps allegedly caused the fiasco in Basilan.


The top Wesmincom officer also is allegedly a close friend of Akbar. He probably was called by Akbar on the phone and told to hold off the air support.


Is the Armed Forces afraid to conduct the investigation because it might open a can of worms?


* * *


Imelda Marcos and her son, Ilocos Norte Rep. Bongbong, are government witnesses against billionaire tycoon Lucio Tan on the recovery of the late strongman’s alleged assets in Tan’s companies.


The Marcoses claim to own 60 percent of the assets of Tan’s nine firms.


Only the old gullible, or those who were born after the Edsa I Revolution, would believe the Marcoses.


During their time, the Marcoses allegedly had assets in every company in the country that was earning, and would ask, nay demand, part of a company that was earning.


There was a joke during those unlamented years that Marcos was engaged in the mining business: “This is mine, that is mine; everything is mine.”


Who could refuse the Marcoses at that time?


* * *


Who was that customs official who dilly-dallied granting visitorial powers to the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) so it could inspect big car shops selling luxury cars?


Visitorial powers, vested solely in the Bureau of Customs, means government agents can visit a store selling imported goods to see if correct taxes and duties were paid on the goods.


When finally the customs bureau granted the PASG’s request for visitorial power, it was too late. All the big shops selling luxury cars were empty when the PASG agents came.


The customs official is apparently in cahoots with car smugglers.


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