A colleague on this page, and another on the Daily Tribune who also hosts a weekly cable TV show on Global News Network have revisited the so-called Jabidah Massacre of 1968, and arrived at the same conclusion as the anthropologist Arnold Molina Azurin did many years ago — that it was all a hoax. The Times’ Rigoberto Tiglao has written a series in four parts, while the Tribune’s Herman Tiu Laurel has done a column and an hour-long oral dissection of the issue on his cable TV talk show, with the same startling result. Both journalists have been most persuasive.
In the myth propagated by anti-Marcos politicians and media for years, 24 young men from the Sulu archipelago were said to have been killed on or off Corregidor Island after they mutinied against the military officers who were training them for Marcos’s proposed “invasion” of Sabah or North Borneo.
Sabah had become part of the Philippine territory by cession of title from its original owners, the Sultan of Sulu, but was incorporated into the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 after a flawed UN ascertainment protested by the Philippine government. Marcos, according to the story, had wanted to “invade” Sabah, but was foiled by more skillful Filipino politicians espousing British and Malaysian interests. The late former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., the PNoy’s father, was said to lead this group.
In a speech on the Senate floor on March 28, 1968, without any provocation or justifiable public motive, Ninoy blasted to the four winds Marcos’ secret plan to deploy operatives to Sabah, as an initial step in the Philippines’ long-term goal of recovering the disputed territory. But Aquino rejected stories about the alleged massacre, saying he had seen the 24 Muslim youths in Jolo after they were supposed to have been massacred on or off the island of Corregidor.
Treason: Ninoy Aquino exposes Marcos plan to recover Sabah
So, from the perspective of the President’s foremost critic, there was not a scintilla of evidence that Marcos had ordered the murder of a single Tausug recruit. Indeed, no such crime was committed, contrary to the tale spun by one Jibin Arula, the alleged “lone survivor” who was supposed to have swum in “shark-infested” waters from Corregidor to Cavite after sustaining a leg wound, which miraculously failed to attract the sharks. But for Aquino, Marcos’ act of preparing to deploy Filipino operatives to Sabah was a high crime that had to be exposed, and he exposed it.
In a normal and sane world, even the government’s most rabid political opponent would have recognized the national security import of the Sabah project, and his duty as a citizen and patriot to protect its secret, whatever personal reservations he might have about it. Having gotten wind of the secret project, though doubtful of its merits, Aquino could have demanded to be briefed on it by the appropriate security authorities, if not by the President himself, before talking about it in public. This was his duty and his right. But instead of doing this, Aquino chose to earn sensational headlines by making a big speech about it for the benefit of the British and Malaysian governments.
This was an act of treason, if ever there was one. But in the inverted world of Philippine media and politics, Marcos, the patriot, became the villain, and Aquino, the villain, became the patriot. Thus the Jabidah hoax developed a life of its own, and became the casus belli for the Moro National Liberation Front to wage its well-timed insurgency, which Aquino failed to oppose, and which Malaysia and a number of rich Islamic countries readily and abundantly supported with funds, training and logistics.
Marcos apparently never forgave Aquino for this treacherous breach. Thus when I asked him, in a personal interview in Makiki, Hawaii in 1987, why he had not shown more clemency toward Aquino before his terrible assassination in 1983, Marcos’ reply was cutting and quick: “Ninoy was never a political rival. He was an enemy of the state.” The latest press analyses on Jabidah now confirm this. It is tragic that despite all the evidence that has surfaced, PNoy still had the temerity to have a political clone install a “historical marker” on Corregidor to perpetuate the lie, in support of his diseased father’s view of history against Marcos.
Jabidah hoax used to justify MNLF and MILF insurgency
This reminds us of the stubborn refusal of some of the victims of the bombing of Plaza Miranda to accept the fact that the communists (and not Marcos)—with the possible prior knowledge of Ninoy Aquino, (as claimed by former Senate President Jovito Salonga, the most seriously wounded among the victims) —had ordered the grenade attack on the leadership of the Liberal Party that fateful evening of August 21, 1971. Like the big lie about Plaza Miranda, the big lie about Jabidah must be buried now, and the truth inscribed into our historical records.
This should be done by a politically independent body, and it should be done now, before the nation succumbs to the obscene pressure from Malaysia, its foreign partners and local agents in the Aquino “peace process” to enact the so-called Bangsamoro Basic Law, which would carve out of Mindanao, along religious lines, an autonomous territory with all the characteristics of an independent state for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The Jan. 25, 2015 Mamasapano, Maguindanao massacre, in which 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force commandos were killed while on a lawful mission to capture three international terrorists being sheltered by the MILF, has forced a serious rethinking of the BBL among its previous supporters in Congress. This has prompted many to declare the BBL is dead, and the vice chairman of the MILF central committee (Ghazali Jaafar) to threaten war if the proposed BBL were sidelined or amended.
MILF’s Bangsamoro substate a Malaysian operation against PH govt
It is incendiary speech, but we cannot afford to be provoked or intimidated. We cannot allow anyone to put the BBL above the nation’s constitutional processes. Jaafar’s threat must be instantly rejected. While we remain committed to the principle of autonomy for all the regions, and to harmonious and peaceful relations among the various ethnic communities everywhere, we cannot afford to see a “Jabidah operation” in reverse—that is to say, a Malaysian operation against the Philippine government, using the MILF.
To many people, this is how the present BBL is beginning to look like. To begin with, there was never any discussion, much less a consensus, on what qualified Malaysia to play such a key role in our “peace negotiations” with the MILF. It was never a neutral observer in the insurgency, but was in fact the principal provider for the Muslim rebels fighting the Philippine government. It should have joined the talks as an interested party, not as a purported “honest broker,” which it never was nor pretended to be.
Indeed, it would be the cruelest joke on our people if after Ninoy had sabotaged the prospects of Marcos recovering Sabah for our posterity, his permanently distracted son would now, through the BBL, be the one to bury forever our rights to our own territory, and allow Malaysia and the MILF to write the terms of dismemberment of our country.