As reported by BBC News Asia
“Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said forces had seized explosives which were to have been used to bomb trains and shopping centres in the capital, Manila. Several people have been arrested in connection with the plot, she said. She said the suspects were from the Abu Sayyaf group, which is more usually linked to kidnapping for ransom.”
“We have pre-empted a Madrid-level attack on the metropolis by capturing an explosive cache of 80 pounds [36 kg] of TNT which was intended to be used for bombing malls and trains in Metro Manila,” President Arroyo said on national television.
“She said four suspects had been arrested in raids in Manila and follow-up operations were under way.The Abu Sayyaf, which is fighting for a separate Muslim state, has been linked by both Washington and Manila to the al-Qaeda network, and both countries class the group as a terrorist organisation.”
I first noted the BBC story above, then searched the local papers for their version. The Philippine Inquirer headlines it this way: 4 Abu Sayyaf members nabbed over ferry blast. Whats this? A terrorist connection, something the government has denied since the Superferry 14 fire in late February. Defense Secretary Eduardo Ermita had this to say: “They were not arrested together. They were arrested in separate operations in Quezon City and Makati City.” So Ermita and the Inquirer story supports the Abu Sayyaf claim that they bombed the Superferry 14.
I had to go searching some more. The The Philippine Star has the same story, with this little claim of governmental credit.
Security officials later said the suspects had been arrested in raids in the suburbs of Manila. They had apparently relocated to the capital from their old haunts in the south after the government cracked down on kidnappings there.
Now I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. And my logical sense tells me this little band of brothers weren’t in Manila on the run from any AFP pressure placed on them down south. My basic essentials when traveling, or on the run, don’t include 36 kilos of TNT. Just who are these “security officials” making this claim, inquiring “Kanos” would like to know? The Manila Bulletin adds more to the Abu Sayyaf tale
Arroyo said among those arrested was an Abu Sayyaf member who personally beheaded an American hostage Guillermo Sobero in a kidnapping spree in 2001 and the perpetrators of a bombing in the southern city of Zamboanga in 2002 that killed a US serviceman.
Why do I get the feeling the Arroyo Administration is playing the old game of “dog pile” and will pile on as many crimes as possible on this group of 4 bandits. Not that I have any compassion for them. As far as I’m concerned, it may have been better for them to have died “in a shootout.”
But their is still something that bothers me about this story. Nagging at my subconscious. I can’t quite put my…. finger…. on….. it…. Maybe its this. RP hosts ASEAN meet on terrorism, crime
“The timeliness of this meeting could not have been more fortuitous in light of recent world events, highlighted by the train bombing in Madrid,” Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Rafael Seguis said of this year’s ISM. “This will allow peace-loving countries of ASEAN and its neighbors comprising the ARF to look into establishing measures that will prevent terrorist attacks on our transport systems.”
Yes I’m a very cynical old bastard… that’s just me.
UPDATE: Fox News is reporting the Superferry “bomb” was inside a television set.
A top security official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said Dellosa, a Muslim convert, confessed after his recent arrest that “he was passenger 51” and that he stashed TNT in a TV set that he carried onto the ferry.
The Abu Sayyaf earlier identified its “suicide bomber” as Arnulfo Alvarado and said he was in bunk 51. Police superintendent Ismael Rafanan said Dellosa claimed he used the name Alvarado to get on the ship, and that two of the other detainees confirmed his account.
And this pretty much confirms my earlier suspicions
Arroyo said Dellosa’s confession will be part of an ongoing investigation into the incident. She said she was advised by officials not to disclose the arrests prematurely but went ahead anyway.
Let the “Dog Pile” begin!
UPDATE: Mar 31 ChannelNewsAsia
Lito Banayo, a spokesman for ex-police chief and presidential candidate Panfilo Lacson, said it would be “very irresponsible” if the government was found to be staging a terror alert to benefit Arroyo’s campaign.
“We don’t want to judge her, because as yet it is very speculative,” Banayo told AFP, but warned the Arroyo camp that “fiddling with terrorist activities” would scare the public and could backfire.
The government’s claim to have foiled a major terrorist plot could also be part of a “sinister ploy” to allow Arroyo to declare emergency rule and scrap the elections, according to opposition presidential candidate Fernando Poe.
Poe, a hugely popular action movie star, is touted as Arroyo’s main rival.
But Ermita dismissed the allegations.
“They are entitled to their opinions. But the fact remains that we are only doing our jobs.”
“There are arrests, there are explosives recovered, testimonies and revelations they made and they were pointed to by very credible witnesses. How can anyone contest that?,” he said.
These politicians really need to SHUT UP
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