JABIDAH! ‘Special Forces of Evil?’


[THIS is the third part of the "Jabidah! Special Forces of Evil?” privileged speech of the late Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. He delivered it on March 28, 1968 in the Senate session hall to expose what he called "a sinister design of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos to invade Sabah and recover it for the Philippines from Malaysia. In the course of his expose the late father of President B. S. Aquino 3rd revealed that the so-called "Jabidah Massacre” of Muslim Tausug soldier trainees never happened. President Marcos was excoriated by local detractors, international commentators and human rights activists. The fictional "Jabidah Massacre” was a major element in the eruption of the Muslim insurgency in Mindanao.]

Bon Voyage — To Where?

This is their other badge. (He shows another badge). It shows a crescent moon and a star — and it has an Arabic word. The Arabic word says, “Selamat Jalan,” or “Bon Voyage.” I wonder where these bold people are going?

This is the Ranger patch (he shows the patch) we discovered on the island. And this, Mr. President, is their ring (he shows a ring). It is a solid ring with a skull engraved with the crossbones.

These, Mr. President, are the distinguishing marks of the Jabidahs in and off uniform. In other words, they were given all the unorthodox uniforms, all the languages of signs, all the emblems and the rings, all that goes into esprit de corps, all the marks of the Gestapo and the SS of Hitler.

And the recruits went through all the phases of their rigid and rigorous training schedules because they had been led to believe they had a cause worth dying for.

The entire operation had a cover, of course. All officers were supposedly “Civil Affairs Officers” and the boys were supposedly being trained to man the various civic action centers to be established by President Marcos in every provincial capital of the country.

The boys were taught how to survive in the jungles without food and clothing. They called this survival training.

They were taught how to kill in the most bizarre way. In effect, they went through the training of Fleming’s James Bond. And after their training, they were to join an elite presidential force, a presidential force licensed to kill.

Secrecy was supposed to be the hallmark of the organization. And regular PC troopers assigned in Sulu were told to keep off the Jabidah area.

But this turned out to be a mockery.

Everyone in the Sulu isles knew exactly what was going on inside Camp Sophia. Major Martelino, after two drinks, spoke freely of his grand plan to “liberate” an area with his Jabidahs. And he always boasted the faithful would be rewarded with free land.

The Jabidahs were linked directly with Malacañang and the Infrastructure Operation Center at Camp Aguinaldo.

A look at the sophisticated gadgets in the radio room of Camp Sophia revealed that, aside from the regular radio units of the military establishment that linked laterally with other military units, Camp Sophia was supplied with a costly transceiver set — a Collins single-side band, better known to radio ham operators as a “KMW-2.” This is one of the more expensive transceiver sets available in the market, with a range that can cover half the globe, given a good antenna.

North vs. South
The camp was made of makeshift twigs and the bunks were made of ipil-ipil to simulate living conditions in the jungle. The recruits were divided into two groups called the Subangan and the Sadlupan groups. (These are Tausug words for “north” and “south”.)

Recruitment began in September and ended sometime in the middle of December last year.

Then on December 30, the recruits, numbering some 135, were told to board a Philippine Navy vessel, the RP-68, or “RPS Mindoro,” and were ferried to their new camp on Corregidor island. The Jabidahs landed on Corregidor on January 3.

Shortly before the Jabidahs landed on Corregidor, a top-level team of defense officials led by then Defense Undersecretary Manuel Syquio and Brig. Gen. Romeo Espino, commander of the Philippine Army, inspected the campsite. The old Corregidor hospital was cordoned off and declared a restricted area.

The Jabidahs were to stay inside the bombed-out hospital for the remainder of their training.

Some of the late recruits were airlifted from Sanga-Sanga to Nichols Air Base and later transferred to Corregidor.

The early days of the recruits on Corregidor proved thrilling.

The boys reported to their parents back in Sulu — and I have many letters to prove this — that their training was as exciting as it was exacting. But they all looked forward to the day when they would be inducted as regular Philippine Army troopers.

Jungle training of the special forces continued.

The recruits were marched into the Corregidor jungles for weeks on survival training. The boys took every phase of the rigorous work with aplomb.

But then, towards the fourth week of February, the Muslim boys started becoming restless.

Since their arrival on Corregidor, they had not been paid their allowances of P50 a month. Some of the married recruits wanted to send money to their folks in Sulu.

So on February 25 or 26, the recruits, mostly from the Tawi-Tawi area, signed a petition addressed to President Marcos demanding their delayed pay of two months and an improvement in their living quarters, food and clothing. They coupled this petition with a prayer that the President visit them, inasmuch as they were supposed to be his own personal special forces.

End of Part 3. To be continued with Part 4 tomorrow and Parts 5 and 6 in succeeding days.


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  1. Ninoy took this Jabidah to promote his personal
    ambition to be the next President after Marcos.

    And the son is taking the BBL for his personal ambition
    to have a share “Hacienda Luisita” in Mindanao.

  2. Roldan Guerrero on

    TO JOEL RODRIGUEZ, I am sure you are older than me. However, I kow how to use the power of the INTERNET. If you got one, maybe you have to learn how to use it.

  3. Joel Rodriguez on

    I think the author of this column is not very intelligent. If you read between the lines, he was petitioning the senate president to start an investigation of what happened to the 31 unaccounted for and he cautiously didn’t use the term massacre due to legality because the more accurate legal term for it was murder…as he had defined what massacre is in his speech. By common opinion, people would say it was indeed massacre because of 31 deaths as evidenced by the crying wives, mothers and relatives of the victims. The venue was at the senate, therefore, it was Senator Ninoy who exposed it. Marcos wasn’t dumb, that’s why he tortured Aquino because of those exposes that he made. And now, Marcos is probably being tortured in hell while Aquino is resting peacefully in heaven.

  4. Roldan Guerrero on

    JABIDAH was inexistent. It was NINOY AQUINO who was the DEVIL! The DEVIL was killed by a relative that they could not reveal despite knowing it for fear of unmasking a family scandal. MR. SIMEON BENIGNO AQUINO, YOU KNOW WHO KILLED YOUR FATHER, WHY DONT YOU TELL IT?

    • Joel Rodriguez on

      How old are you that you don’t know about this story? I come from one of the provinces and I heard about it when I studied in Manila in 1977…and mind you this story was known within the circles of the squatter community I lived in. If they themselves knew about it, how could you not? You probably refuse to know because for some reason you have in some way connection with the marcoses or the people that perpetuated the crime.

      In the case of Pnoy knowing about who killed his father, he knows it was marcos himself who ordered it…yet, why do you ask? Rumor has it that it was his wife, that’s why marcos threw an ashtray at her, but, I refuse to believe that. If you have any evidence otherwise, why don’t you go to court or to the media?

  5. Roldan Guerrero on

    There is one still left of ” THE EVIL AQUINO FAMILY” This is the men who betrayed the FALLEN 44 SAF. His father was declared as an enemy of the state and was sentenced to face a firing squad for crime of TREASON. His mother initiated the PORK BARREL which continued until now, that served as a tool for croocked legislators to loot government funds. We must join our hands together to EXORCIST this family!