[WE are printing in full–today and in the next six days–the privileged speech the late Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. delivered on March 28, 1968 in the Senate session hall to expose what he called was “a sinister design of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos” codenamed Jabidah 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 warrior trainees never happened. Notwithstanding, 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.]
Who is Jabidah?
What is Jabidah?
Jabidah, Mr. President, is the name of a ravishing, stunning and beautiful woman in Muslim lore and legend.
As Muslim legend has it, Jabidah turned a countless number of Muslim men.
As it turns out now, however, her name might well have been Helen — Helen whose matchless beauty launched a thousand ships and laid the great Greek states to siege and waste.
For as things are, as I found them in my flying spot investigation of the muddled Corregidor Affair at its root, in the Sulu isles, Jabidah is the codename for a sinister design of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
It is the codename for a supposedly super-secret, twin-goaled operation of President Marcos to wipe out the opposition — literally, if need be — in 1969 and to set this country on a high foreign adventure.
It is the codename, Mr. President, for Mr. Marcos’ special operation to insure his continuity in power and achieve territorial gains.
It is an operation so wrapped in fantasy and in fancy that — pardon the pun, Mr. President — it is not at all funny.
It is an operation with all the trappings of a James Bond fiction, including the beautiful women and cold-blooded killings, and of a Lawrence of Arabia military romanticism, including the great adversities and vile perfidies, that it jumps out as too fantastic, too unreal and too make-believe, except the facts I and the figures, the personages, are all there.
And what is the truth?
But before I unfold here the sorry and sordid tale behind the Corregidor Affair, Mr. President, permit me to explain why I checked out of my scheduled privileged speech last Thursday afternoon, the afternoon after the so-called Corregidor massacres smashed out in the banner headlines of the metropolitan dailies.
I checked out for three reasons:
Firstly, after interviewing the self-asserted massacre survivor, Jibin Arula, doubt nagged me that there had indeed been a massacre, many more massacres.
Secondly, I had to check out the international repercussions.
Thirdly, I wanted to check and verify the story where it started, at its roots.
I deny, I deplore, and I condemn the talk being peddled by the agents and the image-builders of the President that I had checked out of my scheduled privileged speech after getting into an arrangement of reciprocal accommodation with Mr. Marcos.
This is a lie, as bald and as blatant as their denial of presidential wire-tapping and bugging in the last elections. And they know it.
And now, what is the truth?
The story weaves itself, a tale of kinetic romance, spy camps, subversion and infiltration, and a special strike force licensed to kill, all in the styles and symbols of the late Ian Fleming.
The story came to me six weeks ago when some Muslim leaders informed me of clandestine recruitments and trainings going on in the Sulu archipelago.
And they posed a number of questions to me:
Why are our boys being recruited?
Why are they leaving their homes?
What is their mission in the President’s service?
Is President Marcos organizing his own private army to strike and seize the country if he senses, as he might be sensing, he will lose the ’69 polls?
These, and other related questions, popped up in our skull sessions.
I dismissed it then, however. The pattern it formed was too fiction-like, too James Bondish. It appeared to me, as I have said, too much woven in the plots of Fleming.
The boss of James Bond, by the way, is a certain “M”. I am sure Fleming’s “M” does not stand for “Marcos.”
Then, some four weeks ago, a former head of the country’s intelligence service informed me of a plot hatched by President Marcos himself. It was, as I was told, a plot so bold, so daring and so adventurous that, in sum, it boiled down to a calculated gamble.
It was, as it struck me, a gamble that would violate the Constitution and obtain justification in the flush of its triumph and its success.
Again, I refused to give it credence. It sounded so bizarre, so fantastic, so imaginative, I told myself. And it could not be.
Surely, I told myself, a man who had repeatedly professed himself as a man committed to civilized norms and sworn to uphold the law, like President Marcos, could not have hatched such a plot.
But soon after, I was interviewed by a famed international journalist, a newspaperman with whom I had chewed the fat in complete undress before. And he called my attention to what he held to be alarming coincidence that built in his analytical mind a web of high-octane adventure.
With all this, I started piecing the bits together. I started digging up.
(To be continued tomorrow and on succeeding days)