Making sense of the Basilan debacle (Part 1)

The double agent

As the military gears for the major offensive that AFP chief of staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. announced in Basilan last week, the people recoil over how many lives will be lost further in a war that they do not understand.

In less than two months, the hostilities, which started with the July 10 ambush by elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the town of Al-Barka (formerly Tipo-Tipo) in Basilan, have claimed more than a hundred lives. Fifty-seven soldiers have died, 10 of them in a most gruesome manner, and 30,000 persons have been displaced.

An undetermined number have been killed on the side of the “enemy” that the public is not so clear about.

In our effort to make sense of confusing reports on the current Basilan and Sulu hostilities, we discovered more disturbing revelations and connections to as far back as the tragic Lamitan siege six years ago, where military connivance with the dreaded Abu Sayyaf group was exposed.

So far, these are what we have found out:

The 1st Marine Brigade commanded by Col. Ramiro Alivio was passing by Guinanta village, an MILF enclave, in Al-Barka early morning of June 10, 2007 after a fruitless search for kidnapped Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi.

Doubts have been raised on the Bossi angle because there were other reports that the kidnapped priest was spotted in Lanao del Norte which turned out to be true because he surfaced there nine days after.

But Alivio insists their “intel tracking for two weeks point to Bossi in Basilan.”

What gave Alivio’s intelligence agents the idea that Bossi was in Basilan was Buhari Jamiri, one of Bossi’s kidnappers. In Fr. Bossi’s testimony before anti-terrorist magistrates in Rome, he said that he was kidnapped by about 10 men who described themselves as members of the Abu Sayyaf group.

Jamiri was spotted in Al-Barka and the 1st Marine Brigade probably thought he had Bossi with him. A source said that what the Marines didn’t take into consideration was that the ASG kidnappers were taking turns in keeping watch over their victim.

Jamiri is also identified as part of the MILF Lost Command. But what probably the Marines didn’t know was Jamiri was a Philippine Army asset.

The source said when the Marines’ intel assets saw Jamiri enter Guinanta, they sent the message, “Positive, pumasok. Padala ng tropa.” (Positive. He entered. Send in the troops.) That was how the July 10 operation came about.

Not surprisingly, the Marines didn’t find Bossi. But what surprised them on their way back was the sight of Jamiri, fully-armed, among the MILF ambushers. A source said that shortly before the Marines came, Jamiri was seen going around in a motorcycle in what was apparently a reconnaissance assignment for the MILF.

Did Jamiri learn of the Marine operation through his Army connections? That’s one of the things that military investigators are trying to find out.

Jamiri was identified by Rep. Wahab Akbar as one of those who beheaded the 10 Marines. The information of Akbar, who is suspected to be coddling the Abu Sayyaf, is viewed by investigators with suspicion as his way of eliminating rivals.

Last Aug. 9, Jamiri surrendered to GMA-7 reporter Jiggy Manicad in Barangay Lagayas, Al-Barka. Manicad turned over the ASG/MILF/Army asset to the NBI, which in turn accompanied him to the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Jamiri, who is now under the custody of the NBI, Manila, has offered to be a state witness. He admitted he was with MILF forces in the firefight but denied any part in the beheading and mutilation of 10 Marines.

A source said Jamiri’s Manila trip was actually to protect him from the wrath of the Marines.

Jamiri’s brother, Hajarun, a former town mayor in Basilan, was allegedly also part of the group that kidnapped Bossi. Interestingly, Hajarun was reported in the Inquirer as the one who was tasked by Malacañang to negotiate for the release of Bossi and to make sure that it was done before Gloria Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address on July 23. (To be conrtinued)

August 27, 2007 3:31 am   Posted in: Military

36 Responses

  1. neonate - August 27, 2007 4:23 am

    I was not surprised at the discovered disturbing revelations and connections as far back as the tragic Lamitan siege six years ago, where military connivance with the dreaded Abu Sayyaf group was exposed. I closely followed the entire hostage drama including the theatrics in Congress and even then was dismayed and disgusted by the shabby treatment accorded to the “good guys”, Col. Narcise and Capt Guinolbay. Consequently, my skepticism about the current low intensity conflict initiated by Ate Glue is absolute.
    Your report stated mortalities exceeding a hundred and tens of thousands displaced, but omitted financial costs which someone estimated at a billion pesos a month, an amount that threatens to reverse our gains in achieving a balanced fiscal budget.
    I sarcastically said earlier that I do not need my crystal ball to predict the consequences of the hostilities: more blood shed, more grieving families and more hypocrites dripping crocodile tears, but I confess I also failed to foresee the financial cost.
    There might still be a ray of hope in this debacle – the hostilities could result in the reverse of its intent, that of blocking attempts to dislodge the incumbent, many believe as fake, President.

  2. TonGuE-tWisTeD - August 27, 2007 4:52 am

    Suspense. Kelan kaya ang Part Two? Pengeng pocorn nga diyan!

    Itong kay Ellen, patok na ito. Tapos na yung mga hakahaka at analysis-daplis-mintis dahil mabibigat ang mga supplier ng info niya. Ilabas na lang ang mga test paper at tsekan yung mga tama, ekisan ang mga mali.

  3. TonGuE-tWisTeD - August 27, 2007 4:55 am


  4. gokusen - August 27, 2007 6:40 am

    Ms. Ellen..

    whew..whatelse can i say…it helps malapit na nating matapos ang “puzzle”…

    Good luck..and Ingat ka rin po!

  5. Ellen - August 27, 2007 8:06 am

    Tongue, Part II will come out tomorrow. It will be on officials who meddled in the field operations.

  6. rose - August 27, 2007 9:03 am

    Gokusen and Ellen: mag ingat kayo!

  7. ystakei - August 27, 2007 9:12 am

    Come to think of it. Talagang malaking kasiraan na talaga if we keep on reminding Ellen and Gokusen to take care kasi baka sila ma-salvage ng mga hired killers paid with taxpayers’ money!!!

    But like Gokusen, I do believe that God will always be there to protect people like Ellen and Gokusen lalo na kung nakakatulong sila sa paglilinaw ng katotohanang sinasadyang itago para makatakas ang mga salarin gaya noong kriminal na squatter ng Malacanang!

    Cheating in elections is a crime. And so are sedition, treason, plunder, etc. Lahat na yata nilabag at lalabagin pa noong unano hangga’t kaya niya!

  8. chi - August 27, 2007 9:56 am


    Superb, ang galing ng pagkasulat mo.


    Tiyak na pasado ako sa test kasi ay nakapag-review ako ng todo dito sa bundok.

  9. chi - August 27, 2007 9:58 am

    Kailangang alagaan ni Gloria si Jamiri, baka mag-sing along din!

  10. chi - August 27, 2007 10:03 am

    Iba talaga ang Ellenville pagdating sa scoop! Ngayon, anong blog daw ang nilalangaw?!

  11. chi - August 27, 2007 10:13 am

    Sinong matinong pinoy ang hindi magngingitngit sa galit na dahil lang sa kapritso ni Gloria na ipang-SONA si Fr. Bossi ay ang daming namatay na sundalo, 10 ang pinugutan ng ulo!

    Tapos ay may sikmura pang magpakita sa mga sundalo sa Basilan! Walang katulad sa pagkawalang hiya ang commander-in-thief!

  12. we-will-never-learn - August 27, 2007 10:38 am

    Basilan Debacle (Part 1) is another hole in the ship looming. When (Part 2) is published it will be all hands to the lifeboats – smile.
    Sincere thanks to Ellen, gokusen & Ellensville

  13. we-will-never-learn - August 27, 2007 10:42 am

    Its not Garci they’re scared of – its the Marine Corp. and what they have done to them that frightens them.

  14. ystakei - August 27, 2007 10:46 am


    Ang sabihin mo pinalabas pang mga pataygutom ang mga sundalong pilipino na kulang na nga sa sustansiya ng katawan sa mga pirangot na pinapakain sa kanila. Pinasabik lang sila ng mga mamahaling lobster for photo ops pa. Sinong niloloko niya?

    Ako hindi made-deceive ng ungas dahil hindi ko rin favorite ang lobster (allergic ako sa totoo lang). Talagang wala akong tiwala sa ungas. Ang galing mang-uto sa totoo lang katulad noong mga pilipino etat na etat na dumalo ng mga reception niya paid with taxpayers’ money kahit na maraming pilipino ang ginagawa niyang parang mga pataygutom!

    Ang kapal talaga ng mukha. Patigasan daw kung sino sa kanila ni Ping ang mapapahiya sa HG issue. Bilib ka ha sa sementadong mukha!

  15. goji - August 27, 2007 10:57 am

    Sea foods are expensive in Japan so many Japanese tourists come to the Philippines for sea foods like lobster. But my friends…just beware of high cholesterol if you love eating lobster.

  16. Sampot - August 27, 2007 11:43 am

    This is one of the best articles on the ‘Endless War’ ever written so far!

    Anyway, i want to share a good article with some stark parallelism on this debacle with bonus information on how/what our OFWs in Iraq are doing.

  17. goji - August 27, 2007 11:50 am

    “Endless War”? I prefer to listen to the song “Endless Love”.
    What we need is love, not war.

  18. Chabeli - August 27, 2007 12:15 pm

    Excellent piece, Ms. Ellen ! Kaso lang, you know what these dogs can do, especially if they are unmkaksed. Do take care.

    If there is one thing Gloria succeeded in, it is in destroying the Republic of the Philippines !

    Be safe, too, Gokusen.

  19. ystakei - August 27, 2007 12:22 pm


    Thanks for that link on Iraq. I have posted other links in other loops before at (both in English and Arabic)

  20. BLACK KNIGHT - August 27, 2007 12:23 pm


    As long as the AFP & PNP could not implement the proper accounting of loose firearms in the island, I predict more armed fightings and deaths on both sides. This is the reason why I am suggesting “Martial Law” for the whole island purposely to (1) confiscate the loose firearms and properly document authorized firearms in the hands of the residents. Such firearms in the possession of the residents will be for personal protection/security only; and (2) to implement development projects and infrastructure facilities for education, transportation, communications, health services, water source, livelihood projects and other projects in the area WITHOUT the usual red tape in the government like bidding & procurement procedures which delay the implementation of such.

  21. AK-47 - August 27, 2007 12:46 pm

    nice piece! here we are how the controversial “HSA” came along all the way to “SONA”.

    H – ajarun
    S – tarted the
    A – ction

    H – ostilities
    S – tarted by
    A – kbar

    Then finally came the “president’s self-decreed” Human Security Act (HSA).

    The “mission” : gloria “must” create a “war” to prove her sincerity (kuno) in fighting terrorism in order to avail of the “million dollars” bush had promised her.

    The “lamb sacrifices” : poor soldiers and innocent civilians

  22. AK-47 - August 27, 2007 12:56 pm

    the “light” of “truth” is in your hands. we thank you a lot for all your revelations. god bless and take care always.

  23. Mrivera - August 27, 2007 2:18 pm

    black knight,

    paano mong i-implement ang martial law sa mindanao eh, naroon ang mga operator sa dayaan na pinangangalagaan ni gloria at ng comolect?

    maliban na rin lamang kung hindi mga alagang aso ni gloria ang nasa AFP at PNP hierarchy. sina asoperon at ascalderon, ano’ng aasahan mo sa dalawang doberman na ‘toh?

  24. ystakei - August 27, 2007 2:19 pm

    This should be

  25. ystakei - August 27, 2007 2:23 pm

    Just a question. Sinong gago ang nagpangalan sa act na ginaya sa Home Security Act ng US ng Human Security Act? Bakit meron pa bang ibang gustong gawan ng security act that they have to make such specification? Sobra naman ang arte! Kakainis!

  26. Mrivera - August 27, 2007 2:55 pm


    marine corps.

  27. we-will-never-learn - August 27, 2007 3:23 pm

    marine corps. – smile – thanks

  28. we-will-never-learn - August 27, 2007 3:35 pm

    That was an interesting read – thanks

  29. Valdemar - August 27, 2007 6:11 pm

    A giveaway review, a leakage

    Valdemar Says:

    July 15th, 2007 at 4:18 pm
    …those troops only went there not for war but to deliver the ransom. Tuburan is the hqs of the Abus and guarded by the MILF. Unfortunately they didnt want to be hoodwinked again with the fakes like what I heard Aventahjado delivered before (circa Lamitan Siege). This time half of the ransom was already converted into fakes thus the punitive action. There was a let up only after the balance was finally delivered by those helos flying ’senselessly’ …..after 9 hours.

  30. Mrivera - August 27, 2007 9:23 pm


    sa takbo ng pangyayari at iginagalaw ng kasalukuyang sindikato (hindi gobyerno, ha?) sa malakanyang at kampo aguinaldo, maliwanag na nagsasaksakan sila sa likod at hindi gustong magkaroon ng patas na hatian sa salaping ipinantubos sa kanilang ipinakidnap.

    nagsusumigaw na ang katotohanang ang lahat ng antas sa ating lipunan ay pinag-aaway away ng mga ganid at hindi na rin pinaligtas ang mga sangay ng hukbong sandatahan partikular ang army at marines dahil sa pagtatalaga nila ng asset sa katauhan ni jamiri na siyang dahilan ng pagkalagas ng 14 na kawal marino.

    nagdudumilat din na ang bawat detalye ng rescue operation ay ipinagkanulo ng kung sinong mataas na opisyal na may hawak sa jamiri na ito. imposible ring wala alam ang baliw na babae at ang kanyang lover boy na si kupal esPWEron.

    di ba’t asset nila si hajarun, ang kapatid ni jamiri na siyang itinoka sa pakikipagnegosasyon sa grupo din nila?

    mga hayup sa dilang kahayuphayupan!

  31. luzviminda - August 27, 2007 9:30 pm


    Maraming bloggers ang sekretong tagasubaybay sa Ellenville. Mas malimit nga nauuna pa dito sa blog ang mga issues bago mo makita news. At yung mga nag-iimbestiga dito rin namumulot lalo na at may mga well-informed bloggers tayo na kinapupulutan ng mga totoong pangyayari behind the reported issues. Mabuhay ang Ellenville! Thanks & Congrats Ate Ellen!

  32. luzviminda - August 27, 2007 9:41 pm

    Ang masakit nito ay laging ‘nakasalang’ ang ating mga magigiting na sundalo na karamihan ay mga bagito na tila mga ‘sacrified pawns’ sa laro ng ‘Games of the Generals’. Lust for Power and Greed are behind the protituted high military officials. Time to move, junior officers and men! Save the Philippine Republic!

  33. ystakei - August 27, 2007 11:09 pm

    Kaya ang panawagan, Luzviminda, sa lahat ng matitinong pilipino at tunay na nagmamahal sa bansa, paglingkurin si Senator Trillanes. Sobra na, tama na. Patalsikin na, now na!

  34. Valdemar - August 28, 2007 6:09 am

    Create your own goody jar…is the norm in this country. Congress for the pork barrel. Foreign loans by the cabinets. Tong for the police. Bounty, kickbacks and cadaver bags for the generals. Basilan for everyone. Collateral damage for the people for creating a glorified administrator.

  35. toyen - August 28, 2007 7:35 am

    This is a cloak and dagger stuff, kudos to you Ellen.. I have already read the book Double-Cross System by JC Masterman.. but I don’t have inklings on triple cross operations.. tindi mo Tita Ellen scoop of the scoop ito.. talagang magagaling ang mga black ops ng pinoy ..only in the philippines.. pang special operations!!! har! har! har! sabi ni Hagar the Horrible!!!

    Senator Sonny go to the Senate!!! get a ladder and scale the barbed wire fence and deliver a privilege speech!!! Please…

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