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Archive for November 20th, 2007

Army: Ex-Basilan mayor probed for Batasan blast

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‘Bomber’s Plan B target was Akbar’s house’

By Joel Guinto
Last updated 05:09pm (Mla time) 11/20/2007

MANILA, Philippines — A former town mayor from Basilan has been arrested and is being investigated for his possible involvement in last week‘s bomb attack on the Batasan Pambansa that killed Basilan Representative Wahab Akbar and three other people, a spokesman of the Philippine Army said.

At the same time, Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr., Army public affairs chief, said the bombers allegedly planned to attack Wahab’s house in a push Pasig City subdivision had they failed to kill him at the Batasan.

Torres said Hajaron Jamiri, former mayor of Tuburan town and a political foe of Akbar, has been transferred to the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame on Tuesday afternoon for inquest proceedings after being originally detained at the Intelligence Security Group (ISG) compound at Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio.

In an earlier interview, Torres had refused to name the former mayor.

Jamiri was arrested for carrying an unlicensed .45 caliber pistol around 3 p.m. Monday, some 75 meters from the Don Pepe Inn in Manila’s Malate district.

Police and military intelligence operatives raided the inn three hours later Torres after three alleged Abu Sayyaf members who have been charged with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder before the Department of Justice (DoJ) for the Batasan bombing led the raiding team there, Torres said.

The bomb that was to have been used for “Plan B” of the plot on Akbar was allegedly assembled at the inn, where Jamiri was billeted, Torres said.

Although no actual bomb was recovered in the raid, a security aide of Jamiri, Halik Usman, was arrested while a motorcycle, a helmet and a jacket, all of which bore traces of chemicals known to be used for making bombs were seized .

But Usman was later released for lack of evidence, Torres said.

Torres said the three Abu Sayyaf suspects, who were arrested in a raid on a house in Payatas in which three other suspects died in a shootout, told investigators that “there could be others [in the inn] who could be involved in the plan” to kill Akbar.

“The information we got is that the explosive that will be used on Akbar’s house was being prepared there,” the spokesman said.

Asked if the alleged attack on Akbar’s residence was a back-up plan in case the Batasan bombing failed, Torres said: “That’s the information that we got.”

Torres added that the traces of bomb components found during the raid “supports that allegation” even if no actual bomb was seized.

Asked if more raids in connection with the Batasan bombing could be expected, Torres said: “Our operations are continuing, many revelations are cropping up in the course of our interrogation.”

Originally posted at 02:49 pm

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Written by joelguinto

Tue+00:002007-11-20T07:01:34+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Tue, 20 Nov 2007 07:01:34 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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4 suspected NPA rebels slain in Isabela clash

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 11:41am (Mla time) 11/20/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Four suspected communist guerillas were killed following an encounter with government troops in the northern province of Isabela on Tuesday morning, a regional Army commander said.

The firefight, which started at around 9:40 a.m., was reported in Mabayad village, Echague town, said Major General Melchor Dilodilo, chief of the 5th Infantry Division based in the same province.

The remains of the four New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were recovered along with three M16 rifles and two M14 rifles, Dilodilo said in a text message, adding that the gun battle is ongoing as of posting time.

The 6,300-strong NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has been waging a guerilla campaign from the countryside for nearly four decades.

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Written by joelguinto

Tue+00:002007-11-20T04:17:46+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Tue, 20 Nov 2007 04:17:46 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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‘Lando’ death toll up in Visayas–NDCC

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5 hurt, 2 missing, says disaster agency

By Joel Guinto
Last updated 01:25pm (Mla time) 11/20/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The death toll due to landslides and floods triggered by tropical storm “Lando” in the central Philippines has risen to nine, with five people wounded and two others missing, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said Tuesday.

Five of the fatalities were reported in Magsaysay village, Placer town, Agusan del Norte province where a mine by the mountain side collapsed due to heavy rains, the NDCC said.

Two fatalities due to landslides were reported in Cagniog village, Surigao City. One drowned in floods in Cebu City. One fatality was reported in Iligan City, but the NDCC did not specify the cause, even as it was listed as being related to the storm.

Three people were injured in landslides in Lahug town, Cebu province and two others in Cagniog village, said the NDCC in its report as of 12 noon Tuesday.

The storm, which packs maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 80 kilometers per hour, crossed the Visayas Monday night, and moved towards northern Palawan and the South China Sea, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The storm affected 16,463 persons, with 11,750 forced to flee to evacuation centers, the NDCC said.

Northern Mindanao had the most number of affected persons at 14,990, followed by the Bicol Region with 703, Western Visayas with 465, and Caraga with 305, the NDCC said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the NDCC said some portions of roads in Legazpi City and Bacacay and Libon towns in Albay province and in San Fernando, Garchitorena, and Presentacion towns in Camarines Sur province were impassable due to floods.

A portion of the Misamis Oriental provincial highway in Magsaysay town was closed due to landslide.

A section of the highway in Panyaga village, Manticao town was partially damaged, the NDCC said.

Originally posted at 7:34am

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Written by joelguinto

Tue+00:002007-11-20T04:17:14+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Tue, 20 Nov 2007 04:17:14 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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