Only Aquino was fooled by ‘Jabidah’ hoax

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Second of Three Parts

It’s not just former police chief Alan Purisima and Special Action Force (SAF) chief Director Getulio Napeñas—key characters in the Mamasapano drama—who have managed to fool President Benigno Aquino 3rd, leading to the massacre of 44 elite police commandos.

This arrogant, yet gullible president, out of all five chief commanders of the country’s armed forces after Marcos, has also fallen hook, line and sinker for the hoax called the “Jabidah massacre.”

According to this yarn, “24 and even as many as 200” young Muslims who were being trained  under “Operation Merdeka” were massacred by Army Special Operations troops when they mutinied.


Merdeka (Freedom) was purportedly a Marcos plan to infiltrate Sabah with Filipino Muslim guerillas to foment an uprising against Malaysia.

Aquino, in his speech at the very first “commemoration” of the Jabidah fiction on Corregidor island in 2013, ordered the National Historical Commission to put Jabidah in our history books and to install a commemorative marker on it in Corregidor, together with a Garden of Peace.

Two years later the Commission has done neither, and it hasn’t authorized whatever is there. There is an unauthorized plaque on “Jabidah,” though, in Corregidor stuck on a World War II bunker, with the tasteless annotation: “Donated by Hon. Majiv Hataman,” with a facsimile of his signature. Hataman is a Liberal Party stalwart who was elected as governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

It didn’t cross the minds of those nincompoops who participated in the “commemoration” in 2013 and last March 18 that of all massacres in modern history, not a single victim has been identified as having been killed in the so-called Jabidah carnage.

Unauthorized marker on “Jabidah” screwed on a World War II bunker in Corregidor with the ‘epal’ “donated-by” note.

Foreground, unauthorized marker on “Jabidah” screwed on (background) a World War II bunker in Corregidor with the ‘epal’ “donated-by” note.

There were four named martyrs in the “Battle of Mendiola Bridge” that sparked a student uprising in the 1970s. There were 13 identified martyrs killed in the Mendiola Massacre during Cory Aquino’s watch in 1987. There were 58 killed, all with names, in the Maguindanao Massacre in 2009. There were 44 police commandos killed in the Mamasapano massacre, and the six civilian casualties were identified.

Not a single Jabidah victim identified

There is not a single identified victim in the “Jabidah Massacre.”

No one has claimed that his brother, husband, son, a kinsman of the nth degree, or even a friend was among those killed in the purported massacre. Moro propagandists would not even dare paying a scoundrel to claim to pretend he had a Jabidah-massacre relative.

This is astonishing, especially because of the well-known and feared practice of rido among Muslims in Mindanao. Either based on religion or just tribal culture, this tradition requires the family of a murdered person to exact vengeance, even against just the relatives of the perpetrator, and runs across generations.

Neither the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) nor the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) sent congratulatory messages for the 2013 anniversary when the “massacre” supposedly occurred and the government’s position on it.

Even as so many writers have routinely claimed—falsely—that Jabidah sparked the “Moro war of liberation,” the two organizations knew full well that it was a fabrication, but have opportunistically remained silent on the issue as it has roused anger among the Muslim youth. The rhetoric of a Jabidah massacre has  vanished in official MNLF and MILF documents, although it has been resuscitated by younger Moro politicians notably ARMM governor Hataman.

Not Aquino’s mother Cory, not Ramos, Estrada, nor Arroyo had ever talked about Jabidah, much less order it put in our history books.

When she assumed office, Cory Aquino called for an official investigation into the Jabidah massacre. Nothing came of it, not even the organization of a body to do the investigation. An official close to Aquino had told me: “It didn’t take too long to realize Jabidah was a propaganda hoax, that it was best to keep quiet about it, though, so as not to rile the Moro militants.”

Former president Fidel V. Ramos would have known what really happened, as he was Presidential Assistant for Military Affairs from 1968 to 1969. The Jabidah accusations were officially hurled not at then President Marcos, but the armed forces. The accusations, if true, would have been really personal for Ramos: He founded the Army’s Special Forces Regiment, whose officers were accused of the alleged massacre in 1968, only a few years after he ended his stint as commander of the elite force.

Ramos could have made his negotiations for a final settlement with the MNLF in 1996 easier if he had played to the Moro insurgent gallery—as Aquino is doing now— and declared that his peace pact made the sacrifice of those killed in “Jabidah’ worthwhile. He didn’t, for he knew Jabidah was a hoax.

Part of the Jabidah urban legend, a confusion even written about by scholars, is that Marcos, with his martial law, managed to suppress the controversy.

But the Jabidah accusations broke out in March 1968, more than four years before martial law was declared and during what was actually the golden age of Philippine democratic institutions—the Congress and the Press—which Marcos could not have browbeaten.

The best and the brightest probers

The Senate, in fact, at that time was not just opposition-dominated but manned by the most respected and intelligent senators ever, who could not be cowed by Marcos, among them — other than Senator Ninoy Aquino — Jovito Salonga, Gerardo Roxas, Arturo Tolentino, Jose Diokno, Lorenzo Tanada, Raul Manglapus, Emmanuel Pelaez, Eva Estrada Kalaw. There never, in fact, has been again such a more capable, articulate and principled Senate as they during the Jabidah controversy.

The professionalism, courage and sheer intelligence of journalists in newspapers and TV stations (despite their anti-Marcos biases) like the Manila Times, the Manila Chronicle, and the ABS-CBN network at that time have, in fact, not been seen again.

Tell me, would this kind of Senate and this kind of press – the best and the brightest in our history—be cowed by Marcos and let the issue die down?

Only if they realized it was a hoax. In fact, Jabidah swiftly receded from public consciousness by the end of 1968, with the report that a martial court in February 1971 acquitted the accused officers treated only as a minor inside-page news story.

As supported by facts, I have written in this series, what Jabidah was probably really about was the following, which I’ve deduced using certain details the sole witness Jibin Arula provided:

The Liberal Party around late 1967 learned that Marcos was covertly executing the clandestine military operation for the country to eventually wrest Sabah from Malaysia.

It was Liberal Party Cavite governor Delfin Montano who uncovered it, since it was Lino Bocalan who was providing the logistics and finances for the operation in Corregidor. Montano was closely monitoring Bocalan since his former crony he helped to become the biggest cigarette smuggler in Cavite had defected to Marcos’ side and planned to run against him in the 1969 elections. (Bocalan won.)

Liberal Party strategists thought it could be an issue that would be fatal for Marcos in the then coming 1969 elections. Malaysia would almost certainly protest the operation that risked a war, and even raise it in the UN, making Marcos unpopular.

The Liberals had one big problem, though. If they revealed it through the media, they would be accused of betraying the nation, exposing a secret operation against Malaysia intended, after all, to claim what was really Philippine soil.

However, they would appear to be merely doing their job as the opposition, if rather than just Operation Merdeka, they would protest the killing of Filipino Muslims who decided to leave their training course.

They were even careful not to call for a press conference for their “expose.” On March 25, 1968, just five days after Jabidah supposedly happened, Governor Montano and his lawyers accompanied Arula to file a frustrated murder case against the Special Forces officers in a Cavite court. It was reported only as a minor story first, until Muslim Liberal Party congressmen raised a howl over it, and Ninoy delivered his Jabidah speech March 28.

What an opposition Ninoy and the Liberal Party were! For politics they betrayed the nation, in effect ratting on our country to the Malaysians.

It, however, had two other terrible unintended horrible consequences for the nation.

First, it was really the main reason why the Moro problem has become such a huge one for the nation. It gave the Muslim youth a cause célèbre, indeed a casus belli that roused their anger to join the then secessionist MNLF. Upon learning that the Philippines was serious in claiming Sabah by fomenting a revolt against it, Malaysia similarly retaliated by funding and actively supporting a Moro uprising. The MNLF’s break-away group, the MILF, would grow into such a huge military force it was able to massacre 44 commandos at will, and now claims swathes of central Mindanao as its territory, which for our military to enter needs the group’s permission (“coordination”).

Second, it was an ingredient for Marcos to impose a dictatorship three years later. It convinced the military from its top brass down to the foot soldier that we have such an unprincipled opposition that would even betray the nation just to gain power.  Together with the Plaza Miranda bombing two years later in 1971 – which the military was convinced was a communist plot that involved Ninoy, since he missed it — it became easy for Marcos to convince the armed forces, even then PC Chief Ramos and Chief of Staff Espino, that our style of democracy wasn’t working with that kind of opposition, and that they should support as they did, a dictatorship.

Next week: The fate of the sole Jabidah witness and the accused Special Forces officers, and why exposing  Jabidah as  a hoax is important for our nation’s future.

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35 Comments

  1. Ikabod Bubwit on

    I personally know somebody in the special forces (i.e. UOG – Underwater Operations Group – now called SWOG) who told me that he was in Correigidor Island a few weeks before the alleged massacre happened. That he spoke to Col. Rolando Abadilla who was in the island at the time and jokingly asked the latter “what skullduggery are you up to here?” He said the Col. Abadilla was in a very serious mood and didn’t appreciate the joke. I’m not sure if the guy I know actually saw the Muslim trainees who were allegedly in the island at that time. However, Mr. Tiglao should not flippantly dismiss that the Jabidah massacre was a hoax. As the saying goes: “If there is smoke there is fire” !!!

  2. Ibaon mo man ang lihim tungkol sa gawa-gawang kwento ay lilitaw at lilitaw din ang katotohanan.

    Magpasalamat ang taong bayan kay Ginoong Tiglao at muntikan pati tayo ay naisama sa ‘Gullible Association of the Philippines’ or GAP.

  3. gabriela silang on

    like most pinoy, am too is confused with this jabidah massacre.
    hoping that fvr and others who have knowledge, i mean true, real factual knowledge would shed light on this.
    we owe our countrymen the unvarnished truth to set the records straight and put an end to this confusion.

  4. Demolish that useless steel marker that is not supposed to be on a hollowed place where real heroes fopught and died in defense of our freedom. Why are we commemorating a fallacy? That is the greatest insult to the intellect of the Filipinos. Only a mentally imbalanced leadership could hatch this kind of stupidity. Remove that useless plate and slam it on Aquinoc’s head…

  5. Di baleng utu uto si PNoy, wag lang sana hilahin ang bansa sa hukay. Galit tayo kina Deles at Ferrer dahil kampi sila sa MILF, e itong si PNoy ang desididong ipasa ang BBL sa maski anong paraan.

  6. Lets start a petition to remove this marker which desecrates the holy grounds of Corregidor, an island made holy by the blood of our great defenders, An island which holds so much of the story of our freedom and independence.

  7. Johnny Ramos on

    The jabidah massacre is almost similar to Ninoy Aquino murder at the MIA tarmac, people were made to believe that it was the soldiers who shot him. With the foresinc now on very advance stage it is now proven that a bullet of a magnum 357 will never travel in a straight direction if it hit an object like a skull of a human being. The FBI was able to determine that the bullet that hit Governor Conally was the same bullet that first hit President Jack Kennedy. This is why even Pnoy does not want to reopen the case because it might lead to a conclusion that Galman killed Ninoy who was then buried beside his father.

  8. FERDIE PASION on

    NOT ONLY NINOY BUT ALSO SENATOR SUMULONG (A RELATIVE OF CORY AQUINO) HELPED THE MALAYSIAN CAUSE TO KEEP SABAH AWAY FROM ITS RIGHTFUL OWNERS – THE FILIPINO PEOPLE. SENATOR SUMULONG DELIVERED A PRIVILEGE SPEECH SAYING THAT SABAH RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO BRITAIN AND MALAYSIA. THIS PROMPTED SENATOR JOVITO SALONGA TO ASK, “AREN’T YOU A FILIPINO SENATOR SUMULONG?”. IN BOTH SIDES OF HIS FAMILY, THEREFORE, THE AQUINO SIDE AND THE SUMULONG-COJUANGCO SIDE, NOYNOY, HAS A HISTORY OF TREASON. ADDED TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT BENIGNO AQUINO, SR. WAS THE TOP JAPANESE COLLABORATOR DURING WORLD WAR 2. IN FACT, IN THE BATASAN, THERE WAS A PICTURE OF THEN-SPEAKER BENIGNO AQUINO, SR. OF THE JAPANESE-SPONSORED “PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT” SEATED WITH A GIANT FLAG OF JAPAN AT HIS BACK. A CHILD IS SAID TO HAVE POINTED TO THE PICTURE AND ASKED, “WHY IS THE FLAG OF JAPAN THERE? SHOULDN’T IT BE THE PHILIPPINE FLAG THAT SHOULD BE THERE?”. SINCE THAT QUESTION WAS ASKED BY THAT CHILD, NEVER AGAIN HAS THAT PICTURE BEEN DISPLAYED IN THE ARCHIVES AREA OF THE BATASAN. WE ARE WONDERING WHERE IS THAT PICTURE NOW AND WHAT HAPPENED TO IT? WAS IT BURNED TO FOREVER ERASE THE FACT THAT BENIGNO AQUINO, SR. WAS A TRAITOR? WE ALSO REMEMBER THAT IT IS UNDER CORY’S CONSTITUTION THAT THE PHRASE “AND ALL OTHER TERRITORIES BELONGING TO THE PHILIPPINES BY HISTORIC RIGHT OR LEGAL TITLE” WAS ERASED FROM OUR CONSTITUTION. THIS PHRASE REFERRED TO SABAH WHICH IS OWNED BY THE PHILIPPINES BY HISTORIC RIGHT AND LEGAL TITLE (THE ORIGINAL “PADJAK” DOCUMENT AND CESSION OF THE SULTANATE OF SULU TO THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES). WE ARE ALSO AWARE OF THE ALLEGED ROLE PLAYED BY YSIDRA COJUANGCO WHICH ALLEGEDLY LED TO THE BETRAYAL AND DEATH OF GEN. ANTONIO LUNA – A GALLANT ILOCANO GENERAL WHO IS AN ANCESTOR OF PRES. MARCOS.

  9. Daniel B.Laurente on

    History are full of distortions fooling the readers. History are like movies made to arouse viewers interest in the absence of reality. Igbal narrative of Philippines Moro History to the point of mentioning Rajah Humabon at the senate hearings was the same narrative contained in the book of Philippines History Book used by high school students during the late 60s, Most probable this Iqbal is same my age because i remember what the book says. Now, political opponents during the time of Marcos are finding wild ways to derail the strongman using wild concepts to tarnish his image like as what this article has mentioned. But Jabidah whatever it is did not come from barbershop enclave but from people who has the means to make the false story looks like true.

  10. the urban legend that is the ‘jabidah massacre’ was started by the father (tho from what bobby tiglao wrote the other day, ninoy backed out from the issue of massacre when he found out the hoax made by montano[??]) and now the son boy sisi is trying very hard in collusion with his kkk hataman to bring it all out again as to what purpose?? siguro to deflect fire from the saf massacre

  11. Vicente Penetrante on

    Maybe Aquino and his peace panel had been converted to the Muslim faith. They are propagating a perceived truth. Please do what is necessary for history books to print the truth.

  12. Very informative, Mr. Tiglao. Thanks for clarifying some facts that are otherwise inaccessible for us later generations who had not encountered the issue during our lifetime in this world. Without this kind of writing, we are at a lost of what really happened back in the past whose consequences linger to this day.

  13. Ignacio Gregorio III on

    Aquino think that he get support for the BBL by fooling the nation and tampering history. Jabidah is hoax!

  14. Plaza Miranda bombing wala si Ninoy at di nakarating. Obvious naman talaga at logic lang. pagtapos ng bombing si salonga lumayo na kay Ninoy. Eh ikaw ba naman ang hudasin sampu ng mga nasabugan. Wala matino sa pamilyang ito. Tingnana mo lang si Kris. Baka babaero si Ninoy kaya yan bayad utang.

  15. the marker placed by hataman is a desecration of the hallowed grounds to which corregidor is best remembered and it should be removed

  16. Albert Papina on

    Thank you Mr Tiglao. You are doing a great job in educating the present Pilipino generation of the our nation’s history— the truth. With your journalistic work it would open the minds of the people and begin to doubt the falsehood and distorted history being fed to them by the Yellow mobster gang. Needless to say you are a Patriot. Keep it up! Para sa Bayan!

  17. At ginawa pa nating bayani si Ninoy… Hanggang kalian tayo pauuto sa pamilyang ito? Sana si PNoy na ang huli sa pamilyang ito na magpapaikot sa atin at kokontrol ng ating buhay. Tama na! Sobra na ang kasinungalingan nila.

  18. apolinario mendez on

    Hataman was not elected ARMM governor. Election were suspended and Hataman was appointed ARMM governor by noynoy

    • Yes, that’s correct. Appointee only NOT ELECTED GOV ng ARMM. Sinulot si Nur, hahahaha. Tapos EPAL talaga ang Hataman na ito. It was Marcos I voted when I exercised my right of suffrage for the first time. Never in my mind that I will be carried away by my emotion learning Ninoy’s death at the tarmac. I lined up at Sto Domingo church at the funeral wake of Ninoy to view his body. I waited at Quezon Blvd. for his funeral procession on the way to Manila Memorial Park. I regret having done what I did on that event. Not knowing that the Jabidah Massacre was a hoax. True to your claim, how come those murdered troopers (if it was true), whose relatives or next of kins did not bother to seek justice for them. WHY??? baka mga ulilang lubos mga yan kaya walang kamaganakan. That’s why your claim might be true, THE JABIDAH MASSACRE IS A HOAX and used by Ninoy the Father of Boy Collapse to ignite the anger of our Muslim brothers. I will be waiting for the third of your 3 parts column.

    • Yes, that’s correct. Appointee only NOT ELECTED GOV ng ARMM. Sinulot si Nur, hahahaha. Tapos EPAL talaga ang Hataman na ito. It was Marcos I voted when I exercised my right of suffrage for the first time. Never in my mind that I will be carried away by my emotion learning Ninoy’s death at the tarmac. I lined up at Sto Domingo church at the funeral wake of Ninoy to view his body. I waited at Quezon Blvd. for his funeral procession on the way to Manila Memorial Park. I regret having done what I did on that event. Not knowing that the Jabidah Massacre was a hoax. True to your claim, how come those murdered troopers (if it was true), whose relatives or next of kins did not bother to seek justice for them. WHY??? baka mga ulilang lubos mga yan kaya walang kamaganakan. That’s why your claim might be true, THE JABIDAH MASSACRE IS A HOAX and used by Ninoy the Father of Boy Collapse to ignite the anger of our Muslim brothers. I will be waiting for the third of your 3 parts column. Please make ways to have the picture of Ninoy in our 500 peso denomination bills be removed or changed with that another true Filipino Hero.

  19. Palagay ko mahirap ng paikutin pa mga tao ngayon. Jabidah or no Jabidah, the muslim insurgency is real. This is a continuation of the Crusade of old.

    • Indeed, the wars of the Crusade against the Moors had its historical
      roots. While it was a war, the Crusades had the backing of the Roman Catholic Church. If it was a just war, maybe, the Christians can also start a similar campaign against those who want to propagate their faith thru violence and terror.

    • The Crusade was launched to protect Christian pilgrims who were constantly being attacked, robbed and murdered by the Sarecen Moors. It wasn’t the Christians who started the religious wars it was the Moors, Crusade is merely a reaction.

  20. Ginagamit lang ni Hataman si Pinoy para sa kanyan personal interest. Tignan mo yung asawa Nya sa congress paiyak iyak pa para sa BBL at nasisilaw na sa BILYONES ang mag asawa. Nakakahiya naglagay pa donated by. Alisin mo yan Hataman at Wala kang evidencia sa about Jabidah.

  21. Abnoy-noyingski on

    Inamin nga ng luko-lukong presidenteng ito (dahil sa kadaldalan niya!) na siya lokohin. naloko, nabola, naisahan…yan ang tama diyan sa panggulong yan! LOKOHIN! Mana sa Ina, lokohin.

  22. Rogelio C. Lim on

    Sa mga namatay na 18 MILF at ilang civilians noon nakaraan Jan. 25, sa wari ko ay hindi din ito nalathala kung sino-sino. Isa din kaya ito na “hoax” sa Mamasapano massacre?

    • They have names… this is to correct to your little information…
      MILF has the list and in fact they released those names in media…

      so please go get a brain….. otherwise, go take a rest… puyat lng yan….

  23. we shall be awaiting to know more about the last part of this Jabidah hoax and how treacherous our politicians could be.

  24. Kaawa-awang Pnoy, napakauto-uto talaga…! Nauto na naman siya nj Mujiv Hataman, the epal of a fictitious massacre..

    when wlll the lunacy stop…?

  25. Talaga palang madaling ma paniwala si Pnoy, kawawa naman siya, sino ba speech writer niya?