Massacre or myth?

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By 21 January next year, a plebiscite will be held for the ratification of the historic Bangsamoro Organic Law that grants our Moro brothers the right to self-determination in the hope of ending the decades-old bloody armed conflict in Mindanao.

Indisputably, the Moros suffered from historical injustices since Spanish times. But what actually triggered the large-scale and organized armed uprising in the 60s was that yarn of the so-called “Jabidah Massacre” that the Liberal Party foisted upon the nation through the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

It gave birth to the Moro National Liberation Front led by Nur Misuari and ushered in years of strife that drenched Mindanao with the blood of both combatants and innocent people.

The story of the Jabidah massacre portended the penchant of the Liberal Party, now identified as the Yellows, for necro-politics — capitalizing on the dead and tragedy for political purposes for their own political agenda unmindful of any hardship the people may suffer as a result.

But in a recent tete-a-tete between former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, the elder statesman on record said the Jabidah Massacre was a “mere invention” of former Cavite Gov. Delfin Montano and Ninoy Aquino Jr., both Liberal Party stalwarts.

“I say invented because until now, I have not heard anyone who complained about anyone being massacred in Corregidor. No one. The only one who appeared as a member of the supposed Muslim trainees in Corregidor was that fellow who swam across Corregidor to Cavite which was the invention of Montano and Ninoy Aquino,” Enrile said.

Enrile said Ninoy and Montano concocted the story as part of a plot to undermine Marcos in the hope of beating the strongman in the polls.

As the narrative goes, the supposed massacre occurred on 18 March 1968 when Muslim trainees were shot dead on Corregidor Island and the incident covered up by the Marcos government. It was allegedly part of a covert plot “Oplan Merdeka” that went awry to create havoc in Sabah, claimed by the Philippines, and forcibly retake it from Malaysia.

“A wanton massacre is not among the things that we must hang on Mr. Marcos’ conscience and Mr. Marcos’ soul.

Shortly after the Bongbong-Enrile conversation, several Yellow media organizations came out with supposed “fact-checks” to disprove Enrile’s statement.

Surprisingly, none of them cited the original source of the story on the massacre: the 28 March 1968 speech of Ninoy entitled “Jabidah! Special Forces of Evil?”
A former journalist, Ninoy said he personally investigated the supposed massacre. He added he found evidence to corroborate that around 135 Muslims were indeed recruited and trained for the covert operation.

Ninoy himself doubted the supposed massacre. In fact, he confirmed the banner story in one of the newspapers saying he believed no massacre happened at all.

“I submit it was not a hasty conclusion, but one borne out by careful deductions,” Ninoy said.

Ninoy added in no uncertain terms that there was no plan to kill the Muslim recruits.

“Some quarters have advanced the theory that the trainees were liquidated in order to silence them. But then, 24 boys have already shown up in Jolo safe and healthy. To release 24 men who can spill the beans and liquidate the remaining 24 ‘to seal’ their lips would defy logic,” he stressed.

What he found in Sulu, according to Ninoy, was that “the probability of a mass massacre is dim.”

“And, by my findings, a wanton massacre is not among the things that we must hang on Mr. Marcos’ conscience and Mr. Marcos’ soul,” Ninoy said in the speech.

A Senate investigation failed to find enough evidence to buttress the allegations of a massacre.

What was perplexing was that in 2015 then President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III ordered a marker put up in Corregidor to commemorate the 47th anniversary of a massacre that his very own father doubted ever happened.

You won’t find the word “Jabidah” in the marker as the National Historical Commission reportedly balked at the official recognition the massacre occurred.

Noynoy’s attempt to perpetuate the story of the Jabidah Massacre constitutes the height of hypocrisy of the former President and his Yellow horde.

They have no qualms perpetrating a tale unsupported by any solid evidence and yet the Yellow camp has no qualms accusing the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte of utilizing fake news to malign the opposition.

By perpetrating what a columnist called a “hoax,” the Yellows hope to reinvigorate their stock strategy of portraying Marcos as the ultimate villain and themselves as the good guys.

To improve their chances of winning the presidential race in the 2010 elections, the Yellows played the necro-politics strategy again to the hilt. They capitalized on public sympathy over the death of former President Corazon Aquino to put Noynoy in place of the erstwhile standard-bearer of the Liberal Party, Mar Roxas, whose rating was on the nosedive at that time.

The result is a clueless President, one who has not even experienced running a barangay, who was foisted upon the Filipino nation.

It was the bungling of his administration that resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists in the infamous Luneta hostage incident and the massacre of 44 Special Action Forces in Maguindanao and the death of thousands at the onslaught of super typhoon “Yolanda.”

Ninoy’s Jabidah Massacre exposé achieved its objective to weaken Marcos politically. Yet, it also resulted in the loss of Sabah and sparked an armed uprising where thousands are killed. That is not a myth.

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