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  • 1. AL-HARAKATUL AL-ISLAMIYYAH Essays on the Abu Sayyaf Group Third Edition Rommel C. Banlaoi Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR) 2
  • 2. Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah: Essays on the Abu Sayyaf GroupThird EditionBy Rommel C. BanlaoiCopyright@2012By Professor Rommel C. BanlaoiFirst published in electronic form in 2008. Revised and updated in 2009.All rights reserved.Except for brief quotations for scholarly purposes, no part of this publicationmay be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form orby any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recordings and/orotherwise without the prior written permission of the author. You may reachthe author at byPhilippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR)Quezon City, Philippineswww.pipvtr.comRecommended Bibliographic Entry:Rommel C. Banlaoi, Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah: Essays on the Abu SayyafGroup, 3rd Edition (Quezon City: Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence andTerrorism Research, 2012).Photo used in book cover courtesy of Abu HamdieISBN 978-971-93769-1-0 3
  • 3. Also by Professor Rommel BanlaoiPhilippine Security in the Age of Terror (2010)Counter-Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia (2009)The Philippines and Australia: Defense and Security Cooperation AgainstTerrorism (2008)Security Aspects of Philippines-China Relations: Bilateral Issues and Concerns inthe Age of Global Terrorism (2007)War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia (2004)Electoral Reforms in the Philippines (2006 with Clarita R. Carlos)Political Parties in the Philippines (1996 with Clarita R. Carlos)Elections in the Philippines, (1996 with Clarita R. Carlos)The Amsterdam Treaty and the European Union’s Common Foreign and SecurityPolicy (2000)Security Cooperation in the ASEAN Regional Forum and the European Union:Lessons Learned (2001)The ASEAN Regional Forum, The South China Disputes and the FunctionalistOption (2001) 4
  • 4. For my loving, caring and understanding wife, GRACE QUILITORIO BANLAOI For my sons,Rome Melchizedek Q. Banlaoi and Rommel Gian Q. Banlaoi, Jr. and for my daughter, Ronaiah Gail Q. Banlaoi 5
  • 5. Table of ContentsPreface ……………………………………………………………………………….. 71. Roots and Evolution …………………………………………………………. 92. Leadership Dynamics ……………………………………………………….. 333. Bandit or Terrorist? ………………………………………………………….. 524. Threat of Maritime Piracy and Terrorism …………………………… 585. Youth as Victims and Perpetrators of Terrorism ………………….. 676. Media and Terrorism ……………………………………………………….. 747. Sources of Resilience ……………………………………………………….. 878. The Pull of Terrorism ………………………………………………………. 949. Terrorism and National Security: Emerging Issues Continuing Trends A Decade After 9/11 …………………………….. 10110. Current Landscape of Terrorist Threats in the Philippines …. 110AnnexesA. A Brief History of Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah as Narrated by Khadaffy Janjalani ………………..……………… 115B. Dos Palmas Operation and Hospital Siege in Lamitan as Narrated by Abu Solaiman………………………………. ……….. 124C. List of Selected Attacks Attributed to ASG .……………………… 130About PIPVTR ……………………………………………………………………. 135About the author …………………………………………………………………. 137 6
  • 6. PREFACE Since 2001, I have written several scholarly papers on the Abu SayyafGroup (ASG). Most of these papers were presented to international conferencesor published as journal articles or book chapters either in the Philippines orabroad. I collected all these papers into one volume to offer a book of readings onthe ASG in order to benefit students, researchers, academics, journalists,analysts, and policy makers who are interested to understand the intricacies ofthreats posed by the ASG. This book was originally published in 2008 as an anthology of four majorpapers I wrote about the ASG. Original version of these papers have been revisedand updated in 2009 to make this anthology more current at that time. This is the third edition of this book where I added six more relevantchapters that are also originally published elsewhere. If there are some redundantand repetitive portions in this anthology, these are meant to stress the recurringissues and to highlight their continuing significance in the discussions. I consider this book a “diary” of my intellectual journey as a scholar who istrying hard to fathom the dynamics and complexities of the threats posed by theASG since the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks on the United States. Itis also a record of my modest accomplishment as a terrorism researcher who hasbeen rigorously hunting for “fugitive” and “elusive” data about the ASG. Iprepared this collection to inform my readers, particularly my students, on themany ramifications of the Abu Sayyaf threat and how to effectively deal with thisthreat in the context of its evolving nature and emerging challenges. I published this work not to spread the “gospel truth” about the ASG. Mysincere intention is to open myself to criticism in order to be “falsified” so thatour knowledge on the ASG will grow. As a scholar, I am an avid follower of KarlPopper who popularized the “falsifiability theory” in the Philosophy of Science.Popper said that knowledge could grow if we could falsify existing knowledge likethe way Nicolaus Copernicos falsified the knowledge claim of Claudius Ptolemy.If I were “Ptolemy”, I want my readers to be my “Copernicos” who can refute myfindings on the ASG. In this anthology, I discussed myriad of issues about the ASG, whichcontinues to menace Philippine national security, peace and order, and evenregional stability. Chapter 1 examines the roots and evolution of the ASG as anorganization that has undergone dramatic transformation from mere banditry togenuine terrorism. Chapter 2 describes the leadership dynamics of the ASG todemonstrate that the group is not a homogeneous organization. Chapter 3discusses in detail the phenomenal transformation of the ASG from a merebandit group to a genuine terrorist organization in the context of crime-terrorismnexus. Chapter 4 examines the capability of the ASG to conduct piracy and to 7
  • 7. wage maritime terrorism and analyzes the fine line between piracy and terrorismusing the ASG as a case study. Chapters 5 to 10 are additional chapters from the two previous editions ofthis book. Chapter 5 talks about the youth as both victims and perpetrators ofterrorism. In this chapter, I argue that the ASG has juvenile leaders andmembers engaged in banditry and terrorism. Chapter 6 describes how an ASG-linked group, the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM) uses media as apropaganda tool to attract young recruits. Chapter 7 discusses the resilience andstaying power of the ASG and how the ASG threat is evolving. Chapter 8examines how the ASG uses several pull factors to attract new gullible memberswho provide the group its staying power. Chapter 9 links the issue of terrorismwith national security. It examines emerging issues and continuing trends ondomestic and international terrorism ten years after September 11, 2001 terroristattacks on the United States. This chapter also discusses the evolving threat ofterrorism posed by the ASG and its link with Al-Qaeda and the Jemaah Islamiyahand other new groups in the Philippines like the Al Khobar Group (AKG) and theBangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), among others. Chapter 10describes the current landscape of terrorist threats in the Philippines by focusingon the ASG’s adaptive capability as a non-state armed group. In this present edition, I am using “Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah” to referthe original name of the ASG. In the original edition, I used “Al Harakatul AlIslamiyyah” (without a dash) because that format is more commonly used inmilitary reports and western literature. Younger followers of the ASG are using“Al Harakatul Islamia” in their propaganda materials. I used all these namesinterchangeably in this anthology. There are portions in this anthology that may have been overtaken byevents. Readers should consider those portions as part of the historical record.Each chapter must therefore be read in its proper historical context to appreciateits present scholarly value. While I attempt to be as current as possible, this taskis difficult because the ASG, as a subject matter of research, is a moving targetthat is really hard to pursue. Nonetheless, it is still my ardent hope that through the third edition of thisanthology, I will be able to continuously add value to our existing knowledge onthe ASG. It is also my sincere desire to see this knowledge being used in thedevelopment of a more nuanced public policy that addresses the complex threatsposed by the ASG. 8
  • 8. CHAPTER 1 Roots and Evolution*Introduction Despite its persistent effort, the Philippine government has beenenormously struggling to defeat the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG),1 the smallest butthe most terrifying violent extremist group in the Philippines. Prior to September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks on the United States(US), the Philippine government resolutely labeled the ASG as a mere bunch ofbandits.2 Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has even described thegroup as "a money-crazed gang of criminals" without any ideology.3 After 9/11, however, the ASG callously received the label of being aterrorist group. The US government even listed the ASG as a foreign terroristorganization. The United Nations identified the ASG as one of the major terroristgroup operating in Southeast Asia. President Benigno Simeon Aquino III alsodescribes the ASG as both a terrorist group and bandit group. He even orders thePhilippine military to “crush” this menace. To defeat the ASG, the US has extended financial and technical assistanceto the Philippine government.4 *Revised and updated version of a paper entitled “Roots and Evolution of a TerroristMovement in the Philippines: The Abu Sayyaf Experience” originally published in CarolineZiemke, Satu Limaye, Kondan Oh Hassig and John Hanley, Jr. (eds), Building a CATR ResearchAgenda: Proceedings of the Third Bi-Annual International Symposium of the Center for AsianTerrorism Research (CATR) (Alexandria, VA: Institute for Defense Analysis, 2006). This paperwas also presented to the Second Bi-Annual International Symposium of the Council of AsianTerrorism Research held at Mount Lavinia Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka on 1-3 March 2006. Thispaper was written with the support of the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA). The author isgrateful to IDA for the kind permission to reprint this paper. 1Foran account of the anti-terrorism efforts of the Philippine government, see Eusaquito P.Manalo, Philippine Response to Terrorism: The Abu Sayyaf Group (MA Thesis: Naval PostGraduate School, Monterey, California, December 2004). 2For an elaboration of this point, see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Abu Sayyaf Group: FromMere Banditry to Genuine Terrorism?”, Southeast Asian Affairs 2006 (Singapore: Institute ofSoutheast Asian Studies, 2006). 3“Who are the Abu Sayyaf” (1 June 2001) at 4For an excellent reader on this topic, see Patricio N. Abinales and Nathan Gilbert Quimpo(eds), The US and the War on Terror in the Philippines (Manila: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2008). 9
  • 9. But the ASG’s strong commitment to embrace terrorism to advance itsradical Islamist agenda makes it a terrible menace to Philippine internal security.Its confirmed link with Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Al-Qaeda also makes the ASGa threat to regional and global security.5 It is viewed that the ASG has, in fact,“reemerged as one of the more important terrorist groups confronting thePhilippine government, the United States and its allies in Southeast Asia.”6 But how does the ASG start as a terrorist movement and what are the rootcauses of terrorism in the Philippines? There are many divergent views to explain the root and evolution ofterrorism, in general, and the ASG, in particular. One explanation is structural.7 It is viewed that the ASG started asterrorist movement because of the failure of the Philippine government toaddress the structural causes of the on-going internal armed conflicts in thePhilippines by Moro rebels that may be rooted to the colonial times. Defeatingthe ASG, therefore, needs a resolution of the structural causes of internal armedconflicts that continue to breed and perpetuate terrorism. Another explanation is agential. The ASG started as a terrorist movementbecause of individuals who firmly believed that terrorism could work, particularlywhen they wanted immediate actions and results. Terrorism is viewed to beuseful for putting the issue of political change on the public agenda.8 This chapter aims to examine the roots and evolution of the ASG as aterrorist movement in the Philippines through structural and agentialapproaches. It argues that the root causes of terrorism in the Philippines havestructural and agential origins. 5For ASG-JI-Al Qaeda link, see Maria Ressa, Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia (New York: Free Press, 2003; ZacharyAbuza, Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: The Crucible of Terror (London: Lynne RiennerPublishers, Inc., 2003); and Dirk J. Barreveld, Terrorism in the Philippines: The Bloody Trail ofAbu Sayyaf, Bin Laden’s East Asian Connection (New York: Writers Club Press, 2001). For acritical appraisal of these linkages, see Clive Williams M.G., “The Question of Links Between AlQaeda and Southeast Asia” in After Bali: The Threat of Terrorism in Southeast Asia, KumarRamakrishna and See Seng Tan , eds., (Singapore: Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies,2003), pp. 83-96. 6Zachary Abuza, Balik-Terrorism: The Return of the Abu Sayyaf (Carlisle, PA: StrategicStudies Institute of the US Army War College, 2005), p. vii. 7To get an structural perspective on the origin of terrorism see Erica Chenoweth, “Terrorismand Instability: A Structural Study on the Origins of Terror” (Unpublished paper, Department ofPolitical Science at the University of Colorado, October 2004), p. 3. 8Forelaboration of this perspective, see Martha Crenshaw, “The Logic of Terrorism: TerroristBehavior as a Product of Strategic Choice” in Walter Reich (ed), Origins of Terrorism:Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson CenterPress, 1998). Also in Russell D. Howard and Reid L. Sawyer (eds), Terrorism andCounterterrorism: Understanding the New Security Environment (Connecticut: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2004), pp. 54-66. 10
  • 10. This chapter also contends that the problem of terrorism in the Philippinescan only be fully understood in its proper historical context. In describing howterrorist movement starts, this chapter also aims to demonstrate how the colonialpast informs the present struggle of the ASG.A Brief History of Terrorism in the Philippines and the Evolution ofthe Abu Sayyaf Struggle A comprehensive history of terrorism in the Philippine is yet to be written.But the Philippines first experience a terrorist attack in 1949 when Huk9 leaderAlexander Viernes and his 200-armed men ambushed former First Lady AuroraQuezon and her entourage while en route to Baler, now part of Quezon provinceof Luzon.10 If terrorism means “the deliberate creation and exploitation of fearthrough violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change”,11then terrorism in the Philippines may be traced to the Spanish colonial period(16th to 19th centuries) when groups called tulisanes or outlaws would go to thetown proper to plunder and ransack the rich Spanish inhabitants. In the town,for example, of Pila, Laguna of Southern Luzon, tulisanes would “swoop downfrom the mountains in the dead of night to terrorize the inhabitants, loot theirhouses and kill those who resisted them.”12 During the Spanish times, there were tulisanes who were undoubtedly amere bunch of bandits and criminals. But there were also some genuinerevolutionary groups arbitrarily dubbed tulisanes by Spanish colonial officials.The Spanish colonial authorities even demonized these rebel groups to suppressdissent and resistance.13 American colonial officials also used the label tulisanes to refer to Filipinoresistant groups. For example, Macario Sacay, a Filipino general in the 9Huk refers to Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (People’s Liberation Army), originallyknown as Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (People’s Anti-Japanese Armed Forces) during theJapanese Occupation of the Philippines. 10Cesar Pobre, “Terrorism: A Historical Perspective”, Historical Bulletin, Vol. 35, (2001-2003), p. 5. 11 Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), p. 43. 12Luciano P.R. Santiago, “The Roots of Pila, Laguna: A Secular and Spiritual History of theTown (900 AD to the Present”, Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, No. 25 (1997), pp.125-155. See particular section on “The Menace of Tulisanes”. 13See Renato Constantino, The Philippines: A Past Revisited (Quezon City: Foundation forNationalist Studies, 1975). 11
  • 11. Philippine-American War, was branded as a tulisan or bandit by Americanauthorities.14 But Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero, described the tulisanes “themost respectable men in the country.”15 On the part of Muslim resistancegroups, Spanish colonial officials not only called them tulisanes but also Moros tomean “cunning, ruthless, cruel, treacherous savage; a pirate; a raider; andslaver.”16 In its proper historical context, terrorism was “closely associated with theideals of virtue and democracy”, particularly during the French Revolution.17Terrorism retained its revolutionary connotations during the First World Warand during the late 1960s and 1970s.18 In the 1980s, however, terrorism became a pejorative term to refer to acalculated means to destabilize the West.19 Now, terrorism is very hard to definebecause the meaning and usage of the word have changed in the context ofchanging times.20 There are at least 109 definitions of terrorism but the “search for anadequate definition of terrorism is still on.”21 Despite being a buzzword after9/11, there has been no precise or widely accepted definition of terrorism.22 14See Antonio K. Abad, General Macario L. Sakay: Was he a bandit or a patriot? (Manila:J.B. Feliciano & Sons, 1955) and Reynaldo C. Ileto, Pasyon and revolution: Popular movementsin the Philippines, 1840-1910 ( Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1979). 15Floro Quibuyen “The Noli-Fili: Towards A Post-Enlightenment Concept of the Nation”(Paper read in a panel at the 1st National Conference on Literature "Localities of Nationhood: TheNation in Philippine Literature." English Department, Ateneo de Manila University. 11 February2000). Also at <accessedon 21 Febuary 2006>. 16Peter Gowing, Muslim Filipinos – Heritage and Horizon (Quezon City: New Day, 1979), p.41. 17 Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, p. 15. 18 Ibid., pp. 20-26. 19Ibid., p. 27. 20Ibid., p. 28. 21Alex P. Schmid and Albert J. Longman, Political Terrorism: A New Guide to Actors,Authors, Concepts, Data Bases, Theories and Literature (New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1988),p. 1. 22Kevin Jack Riley and Bruce Hoffman, Domestic Terrorism: A National Assessment of Stateand Local Preparedness (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1995), p. 2. 12
  • 12. Terrorism means many things for many users. For some, terrorism is apolitical strategy. For others, however, terrorism is a form of political violencethat approximates insurrection, rebellion, anarchy, political protest orrevolution.23 Other writers simply dismiss terrorism as a psychologicalproblem. 24 One author even describes terrorists as demon lovers.25 The lack of commonly acceptable definition of terrorism makes the writingof the roots and evolution of terrorism in the Philippines very difficult, unlessanalyzed in its proper historical, cultural and socio-political contexts. The rise ofinternational terrorism compounds the situation. Based on the records of the Department of National Defense (DND), thePhilippines first felt the specter of international terrorism in 1985 when notoriousleaders of Muslim secessionist movement in the Southern Philippines reportedlyestablished linkages with “foreign terrorist groups” like the Abu NidalOrganization (ANO) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).26 On 2December 1987, Philippine national police operatives discovered ANO cell inManila leading to the arrest of so-called five Palestinian terrorists with Jordanianpassports. On 19 May 1995, combined police and military forces arrested nineLTTE members including its infamous leader Selvarajah Balasingan.27 The Philippine government’s Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has identifiedvarious terrorist threat groups presently operating in the country. These groupsinclude the Al-Qaeda, the JI, the ASG, the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement(RSIM) and even the New People’s Army (NPA). Some armed units of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) werelabeled as terrorist groups. But the Philippine government refused to officiallylabel the MILF a terrorist group because of the on-going peace process. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) also received the label ofterrorist group. But since the signing of the peace agreement in 1996, thePhilippine government ceased the use of this label. Some military officials,however, continue to describe the Nur Misuari Break Away Group (MBG) of theMNLF as a terrorist group. Rodolfo “Boogie” Mendoza, retired intelligence chiefof the Philippine National Police (PNP), also identified the following groups as 23Juliet Lodge (ed), The Threat of Terrorism (Sussex: Wheatsheaf Books Ltd, 1988), p. 1. 24Walter Reich (ed), Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States ofMind (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1998). 25Robin Morgan, The Demon Lover: The Roots of Terrorism (New York: Washington SquarePress, 1989). 26Department of National Defense, The Philippine Campaign Against Terrorism (QuezonCity: Department of National Defense, 2002), p. 3. 27Ibid 13
  • 13. terrorist groups: the Pentagon Gang, the Abu Sofia and the Markazzo Shabab Al-Islamiya.28 This book, however, focuses only on the ASG. Several authors have already provided good historical accounts of theASG.29 None of the aforementioned authors, however, narrated the ASG’s ownaccount of its birth, except Samuel K. Tan of the University of the Philippineswho wrote a brief chapter on the ASG in his book, Internationalization of theBangsamoro Struggle.30 Among its original leaders, Jovenal Bruno was believedto have written an unpublished manuscript to document the establishment of theASG. This manuscript gave a very useful insider’s insights on the origin of theASG. Though this manuscript remains classified, it is important to note thatBruno traced the history of the ASG from the world Islamic movement. Brunoalso expressed admiration to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Taliban state ofAfghanistan. Bruno was one of the most trusted associates of AbdurajakJanjalani for being a committed Muslim convert. As part of his effort to prove his capacity to lead the ASG, KhadaffyJanjalani also wrote his own version of the history of the ASG. This is found inAnnex A of this book. He calls the ASG as Al-Harakatul Al Islamiyyah. He saidthat 1993 was the year when the Al-Harakatul Islamiyyah was born.31 It was alsoin the same year when the ASG conducted its second kidnapping operation.Khadaffy Janjanlani wrote: 1993 was the year when al-Harakatul Islamiyyah was born. This is the time when they decided to get out of the MNLF officially and become as one new group of Mujahideen. Although, the jamaah was established, they’re not known with their new name but as the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), where the tag was taken from the Kunya (alias) of Ustadz Abdu-Razzaq Janjalani. 28Rodolfo Mendoza, Jr., Philippine Jihad, Inc. (Quezon City: No identified publisher, 2002). 29Rohan Gunaratna, “The Evolution and Tactics of the Abu Sayyaf Group”, Janes IntelligenceReview (July 2001); Glenda Gloria, “Bearer of the Sword: The Abu Sayyaf Has NebulousBeginnings and Incoherent Aims”, Mindanao Updates (6 June 2000); and, Mark Turner,“Terrorism and Secession in the Southern Philippines: The Rise of the Abu Sayyaf”,Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 17, No. 1 (June 1995), pp. 1-19. 30Samuel K. Tan, Internationalization of the Bangsamoro Struggle (Quezon City: Universityof the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies, 1995), p. 94. 31See Khadaffy Janjanlani, “A brief History of al-Harakatul Islamiyyah” at . 14
  • 14. Also in 1993, the group of Ustadz Abdur-Razzaq Janjalani launched their second kidnapping operation. They held the son of one of the prominent businessman in Basilan and again were successfully ransomed.32 Abu Abdu Said was the one who boldly released an official statement todescribe ASG’s own account of its origin. Said was the former Secretary Generalof the ASG. On 18 November 1994, amidst heavy speculation that the ASG wascreated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Central IntelligenceAgency (CIA), Said issued a document called Surat Kasabunnal” or “A Voice ofTruth”. This document vehemently denounced the view that the AFP or the CIAcreated the ASG. It argued that the ASG started as a movement called Juma’aAbu Sayyaf. The establishment of this movement was greatly influenced by thearrival in August 1991 of Motor Vessel (M/V) Doulos carrying Christianmissionaries to preach in Zamboanga City. These Christian missionariesallegedly “spoke against Islam and called Allah a false God, Prophet Muhammada liar, and the Qu’ran a man-made book.”33 According to S.K. Tan, “The desire toavenge the insult against the sacred values of Islam started the motive force of theAbu Sayyaf.”34 According to the various intelligence briefings of the AFP, the formation ofthe ASG could be traced from the disgruntled members of the MNLF over thedormant secessionist movement in the late 1970s.35 But experts and policymakers were not certain if the ASG referred to a formal organization or just aninformal network of like-minded Filipino secessionist leaders and Muslimradicals. It was argued that the ASG was just composed of various autonomousMuslim groups. Thus, the ASG was a mere alliance rather than a formalorganization.36 The origin of the ASG was attributed to Abdurajak Janjalani who used thenon-de guerre Abu Sayyaf in most of his writings to honor an Afghan resistanceleader and Islamic professor, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. The Wahabi theology ofProfessor Sayyaf greatly influenced Janjalani’s concept of an Islamic state.Janjalani formed a movement that aimed to propagate his fanatical belief of an 32 Ibid. 33Tan, Internationalization of the Bangsamoro Struggle, op. cit., p. 94. 34 Ibid. 35These intelligence briefings are classified secret. Thus, details of these reports can not beused in this paper. 36Peter Kreuzer, “Political Clans and Violence in Southern Philippines”, PRIF Report, no. 71(2005), p. 28. 15
  • 15. Islamic state in the Southern Philippines. This movement became known as theASG. Despite the nebulous origin of the ASG, the military establishmentbelieved that in 1990, Janjalani formed the Mujahideed Commando FreedomFighters (MCFF) to wage jihad against the Philippine government for theestablishment of an independent Islamic state in the Southern Philippines. ThePhilippine military regarded the MCFF as the forerunner of the ASG. When theMCFF attracted some “hard core” followers in Basilan, Zulu, Tawi-Tawi andZamboanga, it was later called as the ASG. But according to Noor Umog, one of the key leaders of the ASG now underwitness protection program of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the MCFF was amisnomer. The forerunner of the ASG was the Jamaa Tableegh, an Islamicpropagation group established in Basilan in the early 1980s by AbdurajakJanjalani. This group conducted seminars, symposia and small-groupdiscussions to propagate Islam. It was also through this group where Abdurajakdelivered some of his Islamic discourses. Because of charismatic lectures of Abdurajak, the Jamaa Tableeghreceived popularity not only in Basilan but also in Zamboanga and Jolo.37 Theinvolvement of some of its followers in anti-government rallies prompted themilitary to put the group under surveillance. Key followers of Jamaa Tableeghformed the nucleus of the ASG, which Abdurajak Janjalani initially called Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah (AHAI) or the Islamic Movement. The AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) tagged the ASG as aterrorist organization when it claimed responsibility for the bombing of M/VDoulos in Zamboanga City in 1991. The M/V Doulos was a Christian missionaryship docked at the Zamboanga port. According to the Southern Command of the AFP, it was in 1991 when thename ASG was first publicly used by Janjalani in connection with the bombing ofM/V Doulos.38 The ASG gained international notoriety on 20 May 1992 when itassassinated Fr. Salvatore Carzedda, an Italian missionary working inZamboanga City. These two major events prompted some observers to concludethat the ASG was founded sometime in 1991-1992.39 37 Abu Hamdie, “The Abu Sayyaf Group” (undated and unpublished manuscript). 38“Special Report on the Abou Sayaff” (Briefing of MIG9 during the Southern CommandConference, 19 January 1994). 39Marites D. Vitug and Glenda M. Gloria, Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao(Quezon City: Ateneo Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs, Institute for Popular Democracyand Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, 2000) and Mark Turner, “The Managementof Violence in a Conflict Organization: The Case of the Abu Sayyaf”, Public Organization Review,Vol. 3, No. 4 (December 2003), p. 388. 16
  • 16. But a more recent study indicated that the ASG first emerged in 1989.40Based on existing records of the AFP and the PNP, Janjalani renamed the ASG asAHAI in 1994 to receive international funding and support. According toPhilippine intelligence reports, the AHAI drew its support from the extremistelement in Iran (Hezbollah), Pakistan (Jamaat-Islami and Hizbul-Mujahideen),Afghanistan (Hizb-Islami) Egypt (Al Gamaa-Al-Islamiya), Algeria (IslamicLiberation Front) and Libya (International Harakatul Al-Islamia). TheInternational Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) was also known to haveprovided financial support to AHAI. Because of repeated media reports, the name ASG became more popularthan the AHAI. Western sources, however, tend to use and even interchangeboth names.41 But original members of the ASG preferred to use AHAI todescribe their group. Though Janjalani was a known Mujahideen by its followers, his reputationof being a veteran of Afghan War is now being challenged. There was no evidenceshowing that he actually fought in the Afghan War. There was no doubt, however, that he was a charismatic and seriousMuslim scholar who, ironically, attended high school in Claret College, aCatholic-run school in the Basilan capital of Isabela. Janjalani also received avery good Islamic education in Saudi Arabia in 1981 and was sent to Ummu I-Qura in Mecca where he seriously studied Islamic jurisprudence for almost threeyears.42 He was later attracted deeply to the concept of jihad when heconscientiously studied in Pakistan the history and politics of Islamic revolution.Heavily armed with Islamic thoughts, Janjalani went back to his homeland inBasilan in 1984 to preach in various mosques. While formally establishing the ASG, Janjalani became an avid preacher tolimited audiences in Santa Barbara Madrassah in Zamboanga City in the early1990s. During his preaching, Janjalani openly released different theologicalstatements and public proclamations revealing his deep grasp of Islamic religion,particularly the Wahabi Islamic theology. Wahabism brands other Muslim sectsas heretical. Janjalani delivered at least eight discourses or Khutbah within a 40Eusaquito P. Manalo, Philippine Response to Terrorism: The Abu Sayyaf Group (MAThesis: Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California, December 2004). p. 31. 41See for example, Angel Rabasa, “Southeast Asia: Moderate Tradition and RadicalChallenge” in Angel Rabasa, et al. The Muslim World After 9/11 (Santa Monica, RAND: Rand,2004). 42Gloria, p. 2. 17
  • 17. radical framework based on the Quranic concept of Jihad Fi-Sabil-lillah (thefighting and dying for the cause of Islam).43 To advance his fanatical belief, Janjalani convinced some Muslim leadersin Basilan, Sulu, Tawi- Tawi, Zamboanga City and General Santos City to join theJuma’a Abu Sayyap movement, now rendered in English as the ASG. Most of hisrecruits were disgruntled members of the MNLF and the MILF. When Janjalaniattended an Islamic course in Tripoli, Libya in 1987, he met like-minded MuslimFilipino students who eventually helped Janjalani to form the ASG. Thesestudents had common remorse against the Philippine government based inManila and against “heretic” leadership of the MNLF and the MILF. Many scholars and journalists mistranslated ASG to mean “bearer of thesword”.44 But ASG really means in Arabic, “Father of the Swordsman”.45 The ASG’s own account of its genesis argues that their group respectsfreedom of religion.46 They even asserted that in an Islamic state “the rights ofChristian will be protected for as long they abide by the laws of the Islamicstate.”47 Abuza, however, was correct when he said that the ASG became a more“Islamic terrorist group” after deepening its ties with Al-Qaeda from 1991-1995.48He was also correct when he claimed that the ASG degenerated as a bandit groupfrom 1995-2001. After the death of Abdurajak Janjalani in 1998, the ASG went into KRAsspree. In 2000-2001 alone, the ASG was involved in 140 KRA incidents thatresulted in the death of 16 victims.49 At the height of the global campaign againstterrorism from 2001-2003, the Philippine government was in hot pursuit of theASG.50 While on the run, Khadafy Janjalani or KJ (Abdurajak’s younger brotherand successor) started to revive the ASG’s radical Islamist agenda. But hisconfirmed death in January 2007 aborted this plan. 43Tan, “The Juma’a Abu Sayyap: A Brief Assessment of its Origin, Objectives, Ideology andMethod of Struggle”, p. 3. 44See For example, Turbiville, Jr., pp. 38-47. 45Jose Torres, Jr., Into the Mountain: Hostages by the Abu Sayyaf (Quezon City: ClaretianPublications, 2001), p. 35. 46Nathan G. Quimpo, “Dealing with the MILF and Abu Sayyaf: Who’s Afraid of an IslamicState?”, Public Policy, Vol. 3, No. 4 (October/December 1999), pp. 38-63. 47Ibid. 48Abuza, Balik-Terrorism: The Return of the Abu Sayyaf, op. cit., , pp. 2-11. 49Ibid., p. 8. 50Ibid. 18
  • 18. His reported successor, Yasser Igasan, was believed to have thedetermination to reinvigorate the Islamist mission of the ASG. But the NationalIntelligence Coordinating Council (NICA) said that Igasan was not the realsuccessor of KJ. The person who actually replaced KJ was Radullan Sahiron whowas known for his criminal acts. From being a mere bandit group, the ASG had the intention to become anorganization of “freedom fighters” with a strong Islamist agenda. Since thecapture and subsequent death of Galib Andang in 2004, the ASG failed toconduct KRAs.51 Instead, the ASG waged a series of high profile terrorist attacks,the most devastating of which, so far, was the blasting of the Super ferry 14 thatresulted in the death of 116 persons and the wounding of 300 others. On the eveof Valentines celebration in 2005, the ASG also masterminded threesimultaneous bombings in Makati City, Davao City and General Santos Citykilling at least 10 persons and the wounding of 136 others. But the ASG resumedits KRA activities in 2006. Until now, the ASG has been involved in many KRAs in Mindanao. Its highprofile victims, as of this writing, included several foreign nationals. The ASGheld several foreign nationals in the province of Sulu as hostages. Among them,as of press time, were Swiss national Lorenzo Vinsiguerra, Dutch national EwoldHorn, Australian national Warren Rodwell, Japanese national Toshio Ito, andIndian national Biju Veetil. The ASG demanded a P50-million ransom paymentfor the release of their two European victims and originally demanded US$2million for the release of the Australian kidnap victim. Malaysian kidnap victim,Mohammad Nasaruddin Bensaidin, was already released in exchange for aransom payment of P1.5 million. On 4 June 2012, two Chinese nationals werekidnapped in Sibugay province. On 12 June 2012, a Jordanian journalist namedBaker Abdulla Atyani was hostaged by the ASG. According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the ASG hasstrength of less than 400 as of June 2012. The ASG strength remains very smallcompared to the strength of NPA of around 8,000 and the MILF of around10,000. But this is exactly the main reason why the ASG resorts to terrorism – itis the weapon of the weak, and it is a very powerful weapon.52 The ASG has already developed the ability to wage maritime terrorism.53The Super ferry 14 bombing in February 2004 was a clear demonstration of 51Ibid. 52J. Bowyer Bell, A Time of Terror: How Democratic Societies Respond to RevolutionaryViolence (New York: Basic Books, 1978). Also cited in Schmid and Longman, PoliticalTerrorism: A New Guide to Actors, Authors, Concepts, Data Bases, Theories and Literature, op.cit., p. 69. 19
  • 19. ASG’s maritime terrorist capability. In July 2005, Philippine intelligence reportsrevealed that ASG and JI fighters took underwater training in Sandakan,Malaysia to attack maritime targets such as ports and commercial vessels. In2011, the ASG also attempted to hijack a ferry going to Tubbataha Reef inPalawan province to mount a maritime terrorist attack. The ASG also planned to embark on suicide terrorism. The Super ferry 14bombing in 2004 and the 2005 Valentines Day bombings in Makati City, DavaoCity and General Santos City were originally planned as suicide missions. Though there has been no recorded incident of suicide terrorism in thecountry done by Filipinos, the ASG is aware of the value of suicide terrorism as afavored tactic of radical Muslims pursuing jihad. The first recorded suicide attackin the Philippines occurred in 1991 in the province of Maguindanao. But thisattack was a carried out not by a Filipino but by a foreign national. Local experts and foreign analysts have strongly dismissed the possibilityof suicide terrorism in the Philippines, Muslims in Mindanao, particularly theTausugs, have a long-held tradition of a suicide attack called locally as “ParangSabbil”. It is a local interpretation of FISABBILILLAH, which means, “dying forthe cause of Allah.” Muslims in Mindanao carried out Parang Sabbil during the Spanishcolonial rule of the Philippine archipelago. Spanish colonial forces defectivelydescribed this practice as “juramentado” to describe a Muslim warrior runninghammock against Spanish soldiers. But for the Muslims of Mindanao now calledas Moros, Parang Sabbil was a spiritual mission to defend their homeland againstoppressors and infidels. It is currently argued that an ASG-linked group called Awliya Group ofFreedom Fighters is trying to revive the tradition of Parang Sabbil. The AwliyaGroup was responsible for the “suicide attack” of a Marine detachment inTalipao, Sulu on 25 September 2011.This attack resulted in the death of twosoldiers and more than 20 members of the Awliya Group. It is argued thatfollowers of Awliya Group are suicidal. Thus, it is believed that suicide terroristsin the Philippines may come from this group whose followers are also associatedwith the ASG. Abdurajak Janjalani’s appeal for martyrdom in one of his lectures alsomeans endorsement of suicide terrorism. Dulmatin and Umar Patek, keysuspects in 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, havereportedly established their base in the Philippines to prepare ASG members infuture suicide missions. Philippine National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales 53For more discussions on the maritime terrorist capability of the ASG, see Rommel C.Banlaoi, “Maritime Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Abu Sayyaf Threat”, Naval War CollegeReview, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Autumn 2005), pp. 63-80. 20
  • 20. was even quoted as saying, “What we are looking for now is suicide terrorists, not(only) suicide bombers.”54 In relation with suicide terrorism, the ASG also has plans to wage urbanterrorism. The ASG is pursuing this strategy with the RSIM, a group of Muslimconverts based primarily in Metro Manila and some provinces in Luzon Island.55Ahmad Santos (presently in jail) allegedly founded the RSIM with the financialand ideological support of the ASG. The 2005 Valentines Day bombings weredemonstration of ASG’s pursuance of urban terrorism.56Root Causes of Terrorism in the Philippines:A Structure-Agency Analysis This section examines the root causes of terrorism in the Philippinesthrough structure-agency analysis. The question of structure and agency has“troubled, concerned and occupied the attentions of very many social scientistsover the years.” But “it is only relatively recently that it has been taken up bypolitical scientists and international relations scholars.”57 Structural Analysis The structural analysis privileges the political context, setting orenvironment to explain a certain political phenomenon. Viewed from a structuralperspective, terrorism is a product of cultural, social, economic and politicalstructures. 58 There is a problem of terrorism because there are cultural, social,economic and political structures that breed it. In short, there are structuralconditions that encourage terrorism. 54Michael Punongbayan, “DOJ to Expose Terrorists’ Financiers, Media Handlers”, ThePhilippine Star , 7 November 2005. 55For an analysis of the RSM, Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Rise of Rajah Solaiman Movement:Suicide Terrorism in the Philippines”, IDSS Commentaries (9 October 2006). 56International Crisis Group, Philippines Terrorism: The Role of Militant Islamic Converts,Asia Report No. 110 (19 December 2005). 57Colin Hay, Political Analysis: A Critical Introduction ( New York: Palgrave MacMillan,2002), p. 93.. 58For an excellent literature, see Martha Crenshaw, Terrorism in Context (Pennsylvania:Pennsylvania University Press, 1995). 21
  • 21. Among the commonly cited structural conditions that provide fertilegrounds for the growth of terrorism are poverty, injustices, political oppression,cultural marginalization, economic deprivation and social exclusion.59 Thesestructural conditions exacerbate grievances that fuel further terrorism.60Addressing the root of terrorism, therefore, is to alter the structure that producesterrorism. A structural analysis of the roots of terrorism in the Philippines highlightsthe structural roots of conflict in the country, which includes the ethnic make-upof society, distribution of wealth and political representation, to name a few.61 Inone of his public proclamation, Abdurajak Janjalani argued that the ASG wasborn because of “oppression, injustice, capricious ambitions and arbitrary claimsimposed on the Muslims.”62 He stressed that the “clutches of oppression,tyranny and injustice” would continue to justify the existence of the ASG. Fromthis public proclamation, Abdurajak Janjalani was telling his audience that theASG was a product of a phenomenon with the ultimate goal of establishing “apurely Islamic government whose nature, meaning, emblem and objective arebasic to peace.”63 The late MILF founder Hashim Salamat even commented that the creationof the ASG was not a product of Janjalani’s “evil plan” but was “caused by theoppression and the continuous usurpation of the powers within our homeland.”64When Abdurajak Janjalani died in a police encounter in Basilan in 1998, Salamatdescribed the ASG founder a “martyr”. Salamat also argued that “As long as theregion and the Bangsamoro people are still under the control of the Philippine 59See for example Fathali M. Moghaddam, “Cultural Preconditions for Potential TerroristGroups: Terrorism and Societal Change” in Fathali M. Moghaddam and Anthony J. Marsella(eds), Understanding Terrorism: Psychosocial Roots, Consequences, and Interventions(Washington DC: American Psychological Association, 2004), pp. 103-117. 60Kristopher K. Robison, Challenges of Political Conflict: A Cross-National Analysis of theDownward Spiral of International Terrorist Violence and Socio-Political Crisis (DissertationAbstract: The Ohio State University, nd) at <accessed on 8 February 2006>. 61See International Alert, “Towards a Better Practice Framework in Security Sector Reform:Broadening the Debate”, Occasional SSR Paper, No. 1 (August 2002), p. 2. 62Abdurajak Janjalani, “In the Name of Allah the Rahman the Raheem” (A publicproclamation distributed in the Basilan Island and Zamboanga City, undated). It is believed thatthe proclamation was written between 1993 and 1994. See Tan, Internationalization of theBangsamoro Struggle, op. cit., p. 94. 63Ibid. 64Salamat Hashim, The Bangsamoro People’s Struggle Against Oppression and Colonialism(Camp Abubakre: Agency for Youth Affairs – MILF, 2001), p. 36. 22
  • 22. government, and oppression continues, we should expect more Abu Sayyaf styleof groups to come to existence.”65 From a structural perspective, the root causes of terrorism in thePhilippines can only be fully understood in the context of the Bangsamoroproblem. Soliman M. Santos provides an excellent summary of the Bangsamoroproblem in which the ASG finds itself, to wit: This problem is the historical and systematic marginalization and minoritization of the Islamized ethno-linguistic groups, collectively called Moros, in their own homeland in the Mindanao islands, first by colonial powers Spain from the 16th to the 19th Century, then the U.S. during the first half of the 2Oth Century, and more recently by successor Philippine governments dominated by an elite with a Christian-Western orientation since formal independence in 1946. This marked full-fledged Filipino nation- statehood but ironically Philippine independence also sealed the loss of Moro independence because Moroland was incorporated (Moro nationalists would say annexed) into Philippine territory.66 Macapado A. Muslim, a Filipino scholar, identifies ten foundationalcauses of the Bangsamoro problem. These are: 1. Forcible/illegal annexation of Moroland to the Philippines under the Treaty of Paris in 1898; 2. Military pacification; 3. Imposition of confiscatory land laws; 4. Indioization (or Filipinization) of public administration in Moroland and the destruction of traditional political institutions; 5. Government-financed/induced land settlement and migration to Moroland; 6. Land grabbing/conflicts; 7. Cultural inroads against the Moros; 8. Jabidah Massacre in 1968 (during the first Marcos administration); 9. Ilaga (Christian vigilante) and military atrocities in 1970-72 (during the second Marcos administration); and, 65Ibid. 66Soliman M. Santos, Jr., “Evolution of the Armed Conflict on the Moro Front” (ABackground paper submitted to the Human Development Network Foundation, Inc. for thePhilippine Human Development Report, 2005), p. 1. 23
  • 23. 10. Government neglect and inaction to Moro protests and grievances.67 From these ten foundational issues, he enumerates six key elements of theMoro problem, which are: 1. Economic marginalization and destitution; 2. Political domination and inferiorization; 3. Physical insecurity; 4. Threatened Moro and Islamic identity; 5. Perception that government is the principal party to blame; and, 6. Perception of hopelessness under the present set-up.68 All Muslim radical groups in the Philippines, regardless of politicalpersuasion and theological inclination, believe in the Bangsamoro struggle. Theterm Bangsa comes from the Malay word, which means nation. Spanishcolonizers introduced the term Moro when they confused the Muslim people ofMindanao with the “moors” of North of Africa.69 Though the use of the termBangsamoro to describe the “national identity” of Muslims in the Philippines isbeing contested, Muslim leaders regard the Bangsamoro struggle as the longest“national liberation movement” in the country covering almost 400 years ofviolent resistance against Spanish, American, Japanese and even Filipino rule.70This 400-year history of Moro resistance deeply informs ASG’s current strugglefor a separate Islamic state.71 This historical context of confrontation andinequity is deeply embedded in the ASG’s present advocacy.72 This historical 67Macapado Abaton Muslim, The Moro Armed Struggle in the Philippines: The NonviolentAutonomy Alternative (Marawi City, Philippines: Office of the President and College of PublicAffairs, Mindanao State University, 1994) 52-133. Also cited in Ibid., p. 2. 68Ibid. 69See Peter Gowing, Mosque and Moro: A Study of Muslims in the Philippines (Manila:Federation of Christian Churches, 1964). Also see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Globalization and Nation-Building in the Philippines: State Predicaments in Managing Society in the Midst of Diversity”, inYoichiro Sato (ed), Growth and Governance in Asia (Honolulu: Asia Pacific Center for SecurityStudies, 2004) p. 208. 70Samuel K. Tan, “History of the Mindanao Problem” in Amina Rasul, (ed), The Road toPeace and Reconciliation: Muslim Perspective on the Mindanao Conflict (Makati City: AsianInstitute of Management, 2003) p. 4. 71For elaborate discussion, see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Past in UnderstandingContemporary Armed Conflicts in the Philippines: The Abu Sayyaf Story” (Paper to be presentedto the 19th Conference of International Association of Historians of Asia which will be held inManila, Philippines, on 22-25 November 2006). 72Charles Donnely, “Terrorism in the Southern Philippines: Contextualizing the Abu SayyafGroup as an Islamist Secessionist Organization” (Paper presented to the 15th Biennial Conferenceof the Asian Studies Association of Australia in Canberra on 29 June to 2 July 2004. 24
  • 24. context also explains why the Abu Sayyaf has survived despite the death of manyof its original leaders.73 From a structural perspective, the ASG is one expression of a broadermovement of the Bangsamoro people “spanning several centuries which refusesto acknowledge the authority of the Philippine state, whether independent orcolonial.”74 In fact, there is a view that the Bangsamoro people will neversuccumb to Filipino rule.75 Thus, when the MNLF entered into peace agreementwith the Philippine government in 1996, the ASG considered it a betrayal of thefour centuries of struggle of the Bangsamoro people.76 It is already known thatoriginal ASG members were disgruntled MNLF members who expressedfrustration in the Moro revolutionary cause. A study of a Philippine militaryofficial once assigned to operate against the ASG underscores: Abdurajak Janjalani organized the ASG in the early 1990s with the main thrust to establish an Islamic state in Southern Philippines, breaking away from the traditional struggle fought by the Moro National Liberation Front under Nur Misuari. The inadequacy of Muslim socio-economic reforms under Misuari increased the social grievances of Muslims, which became a source of violence and strife.77 The ASG has also criticized the on-going peace talks between thePhilippine government and the MILF. The ASG has argued that “If this sell-outsucceeds, more blood will flow because the young are more determined jihadis.We will soon find out there are more Osama bin Ladens in our midst.”78 Structural analysis of the roots of terrorism in the Philippines also pointsto the socio-economic and political conditions that give rise to the ASG. Aninterview with B.General Orlando Buenaventura, who also wrote a study on the 73Mark Turner, “The Management of Violence in a Conflict Organization: The Case of the AbuSayyaf”, Public Organization Review, Vol. 3, No. 4 (December 2003), p. 390. 74Ibid. 75Vic Hurley, Swish of the Kriss: The Story of the Moros (Mandaluyong: Catcho Hermanos,1985), p. 273. Also cited in Ibid., p. 399. 76For a detailed discussion of the author’s view on this topic, see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “RadicalMuslim Terrorism in the Philippines” in Andrew Tan (ed), Handbook on Terrorism andInsurgency in Southeast Asia. London: Edward Elgar Publishing, Limited, 2006). 77Lt. Colonel Benhur C. Paderes, Perceptions on the Abu Sayyaf: Their Implications forNational Security (Master in National Security Administration Thesis: National Defense Collegeof the Philippines, 2003), p. 61. 78 Simon Elegant, “The Return of the Abu Sayyaf,” Time Asia (30 August 2004). 25
  • 25. ASG,79 states that “the ASG problem was initially an offshoot of political,economic, socio-cultural and psychosocial conflicts prevailing in Mindanao.”80Members of ASG are viewed as unwitting products of the historical, socio-economic and political contexts in which they find themselves. They are helplessindividuals with minimal control over their destiny, floundering around in amaelstrom of turbulent currents of the four centuries of Bangsamoro struggle.81The situation that gives rise to the ASG is marred by poverty, lack of services,inadequate infrastructure and lack of opportunity.82 This situation is aggravatedby the fact that the Philippine state has a poor record in the ASG heartland ofMindanao.83 The Moro, which account for only 5% of the total Philippinepopulation, suffers the lowest poverty and highest mortality rates, the leastdeveloped economy and minimal institutional government support.84 In Basilan Province alone, which is the ASG’s bailiwick, Muslims own only25% of the land and the rest are owned by Christian population. This creates thefeeling of immense animosity between Muslim and Christians in the area.85Moros also feel the pain of silent discrimination because of their Islamic beliefsand “different” ways of life. For centuries, Moros also developed the feeling ofdispossession by taking away their ancestral domains. Thus, they fight for self-determination to regain their homeland through Moro separatism.86 Theconfluence of silent discrimination, dispossession of Moro homeland, and fourcenturies of struggle for Moro sovereignty have inflamed the ASG’s militantactivities in pursuit of an independent Islamic state.87 79Orlando G. Buenaventura, The Abu Sayyaf Problem in Mindanao: A Policy Option Paper(Master in National Security Administration Policy Option Paper: National Defense College ofthe Philippines, 1995). 80 Paderes, Perceptions on the Abu Sayyaf: Their Implications for National Security, op.cit., p. 67. 81This is a paraphrase of Colin Hay, “Structure and Agency” in David Marsh and Gerry Stoker(eds), Theory and Methods in Political Science (Hamshire and London: MacMillan Press Ltd.,1995), p. 189. 82 Turner, “The Management of Violence in a Conflict Organization: The Case of the AbuSayyaf”, op. cit., p. 399. 83Ibid. 84Maelin Shipman, “Abu Sayyaf: Analysis of Open Source Information” (Paper presented toCollege of Health Sciences, Touro University Internationa, 2003). Also available at <accessed on 22 February 2006>. 85Ibid. 86For an excellent reader, see Kristina Gaerlan and Mara Stankovitch (eds), Rebels, Warlordsand Ulama: A Reader on Muslim Separatism and the War in Southern Philippines (QuezonCity: Institute for Popular Democracy, 2000). 87 Shipman, “Abu Sayyaf: Analysis of Open Source Information” , op. cit., p. 4. 26
  • 26. The ASG was cognizant of the structural inequity, injustices and economicdeprivation of the Bangsamoro people. In its public statement issued inNovember 1994, the ASG declared that its struggle was to seek kaadilan or justicefor the Bangsamoro people. In one of his ideological discourses or Khutbahs,Abdurajak Janjalani stressed that “the initial objectives for redress of grievancesor attainment of justice ultimately ends in the demand for a purely Islamic stateas a surest guarantee of justice and prosperity for Muslims.”88 The ASG evenurged other Muslims in the Philippines “to unite and lay aside their differencesand feuds.”89 In his undated public proclamation entitled “In the Name of Allahthe Rahman the Raheem”, Abdurajak Janjalani even claimed that the ASG wasfounded “not to create another faction in the Muslim struggle which is against theteaching of Islam, especially the Qu’ran, but to serve as a bridge and balancebetween the MILF and the MNLF whose revolutionary roles and leadershipcannot be ignored or usurped.”90 Agential Analysis Another approach that can explain the root of terrorism in the Philippineis the agential analysis. The agential analysis argues that terrorism is a productof a willful determination of individuals and not the structural environment inwhich they find themselves. Arguably, there is a problem of terrorism becausethere are persons who opt to become terrorists because of their strongcommitments to a certain political or religious ideology.91 Thus, to understand terrorism is to examine the psychosocial profile ofterrorists and the ideology, tactics and weaponry of terrorist organizations.92 The agential approach pays attention to terrorist behavior, motives andintentions to grapple with the issue of terrorism. It regards terrorism as aproduct of a person’s or a group’s free will, choice and conduct. In other words,terrorism is a result of the actor’s conscious deliberation. Viewed from an agential perspective, terrorism in the Philippine may berooted to Abdurajak Janjalani’s personal profile and ideology. A son of a 88 Tan, Internationalization of the Bangsamoro Struggle, op. cit., p. 99 89Ibid., p. 95. 90 Abdurajak Janjalani, “In the Name of Allah the Rahman the Raheem”, op. cit. 91Foran earlier work on this view, see Christopher Dobson and Ronald Payne, The Terrorists:Their Weapons, Leaders and Tactics (New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1982). 92For an excellent collection of recent studies, see Fathali M. Moghaddam and Anthony J.Marsella (eds), Understanding Terrorism: Psychosocial Roots, Consequences, and Interventions(Washington DC: American Psychological Association, 2004). 27
  • 27. fisherman, Abdurajak Janjalani had a very humble beginning. Born on 8November 1953, he grew and was socialized in an environment “where the lawsset by men are flouted daily.”93 Though he ironically went to the Catholic-runClaret College for high school in Basilan, he failed, however to finish it. GlendaGloria, a journalist observing the ASG, wrote that despite Abdurajak Janjalani’sfailure to finish secondary school in Basilan, he “wrangled a scholarship from theSaudi Arabian government in 1981. Abdurajak was sent to Ummu I-Qura inMecca where he studied Islamic jurisprudence for three years.“94 There,Janjalani was attracted deeply to the concept of jihad, which would eventuallyinform the ideology of the ASG. In 1984, he returned to Basilan to preach in mosques. In 1988, Janjalaniwent to Peshawar, Pakistan where he conscientiously studied Iranian Islamicrevolution. It was also in Peshawar where Janjalani reportedly met andbefriended Osama bin Laden who eventually helped Abdurajak to finance theformation of the ASG. When Janjalani formed the ASG, his original intention was to create agroup of Muslim Mujahideen committed to Jihad Fi-Sabil-lillah, a “struggle inthe cause of Allah” or “fighting and dying for the cause of Islam”.95 BeforeJanjalani died in December 1998, he delivered eight radical ideologicaldiscourses called Khutbahs, which may be considered as primary sources ofJanjalani’ radical Islamic thoughts. These discourses explained Janjalani’sQuranic perspective of Jihad Fi-Sabil-lillah, which he lamented, wasmisinterpreted by many Muslims. He even denounced the ulama (Muslimscholars) for their little knowledge of the Quran and lamented that most Muslimsin the Philippines calling themselves as Moros were not really practicing the truemeaning of Islam compared with their counterparts in West Asia. These eightdiscourses also revealed Janjalani’s deep grasp of Wahabi Islam, whichconsidered other Muslims heretical. The Islamic theology of Wahabism alsoinfluenced Janjalani’s radical ideology for the ASG. From the agential analysis, the ASG would not have been organized were itnot for the persistent efforts of Abdurajak Janjalani. The ASG would not havealso been formed had it not for the support extended by Bin Laden through hisbrother-in-law, Mohammad Jamal Khalifa who married a Filipina. Bin Ladeninstructed his Khalifa to go to the Philippines in 1988 to recruit fighters in theAfghan war. But Khalifa’s direct contact in the Philippines was the MILF. So, itwas Ramzi Yousef who really deepened the ASG’s ties with Al Qaeda. 93Glenda Gloria, “Bearer of the Sword: The Abu Sayyaf Has Nebulous Beginnings andIncoherent Aims”, Mindanao Updates (6 June 2000). 94Ibid. 95This particular paragraph is based on Banlaoi, “The Abu Sayyaf Group: From MereBanditry to Genuine Terrorism?”, op. cit. 28
  • 28. Yousef received international notoriety for masterminding the bombing ofWorld Trade Center in 1993. He was also known for planning in the Philippinesthe Bojinka plots, believed to be the worst terrorist plots in the country. TheBojinka plots aimed to bomb eleven U.S. jetliners and assassinate Pope JohnPaul II, who visited Manila in 1995. During his travel to the Philippines viaMalaysia, Yousef reportedly stayed in Basilan and trained around 20 ASG fightersunder the supervision of Abdurajak Janjalani to mount terrorist attacks in thePhilippines. As early as 1994, in fact, then police Colonel Rodolfo “Boogie” Mendozarevealed a 175-page report on the infiltration of the Philippines by internationalterrorists linked to Al-Qaeda. Mendoza pioneered the research on Al-Qaeda’snetwork in Southeast Asia and its funding of the ASG.96 Mendoza stressed thatthese personalities were responsible for perpetuating terrorism in thePhilippines. Terrorism can, therefore, be rooted to the conscious determinationof knowledgeable and intentional individuals like Janjalani, Bin Laden, Khalifaand Yousef, among others. To address the root of terrorism is to run after thesepeople. But it begs the question why the ASG persists after the death of AbdurajakJanjalani? Why terrorism continues to wreak havoc in the Philippines despitethe reduction of the strength of the ASG? The answer lies on the resilience of remaining ASG members who continueto embrace the group’s Islamist ideology. After the death of Abdurajak, his younger brother, Khadafy, took hisposition. But Khadafy did not have the charismatic and assertive leadership of hisolder brother. So, the ASG was heavily factionalized when the Khadafy took theposition.97 The two major factions were based in Basilan and Sulu actingindependently. As of 2002, the Basilan-based faction was composed of tenarmed groups while the Sulu-based faction was composed of 16-armed groups.These different armed groups also worked independently. Though Khadafy wasthe over-all leader, he failed to establish full control and supervision of these two 96 Ressa, Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center ofOperations in Southeast Asia, op. cit., p. 131. 97Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Leadership Dynamics in Terrorist Organizations in Southeast Asia:The Abu Sayyaf Case” (Paper presented to the international symposium, “The Dynamics andStructures of Terrorist Threats in Southeast Asia” organized by the Institute of Defense Analysesheld at Palace of Golden Horses Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 18-20 April 2005). Also inJohn T. Hanley, Kongdan Oh Hassig and Caroline F. Ziemke, eds., Proceedings of theInternational Symposium on the Dynamics and Structures of Terrorist Threats in SoutheastAsia (Alexandria, VA: Institute for Defense Analyses, 2005). 29
  • 29. major factions and several armed groups associated with the ASG. The Sulu-based faction headed by Commander Robot (Galib Andang) ventured into severalKRAs. Though Khadafy was heading the Basilan-based faction, he wasoverpowered by Abu Sabaya (Aldam Tilao) who also resorted to banditry andkidnapping activities. With Commander Robot and Abu Sabaya running the“real” show, the ASG degenerated into a bandit organization. Commander Robotand Abu Sabaya converted the ASG from a genuine Muslim terrorist organizationto what Eric Gutierrez called “entrepreneur of violence.”98 Factionalization and leadership struggle rapidly weakened the ASG. Thisprovided the AFP the golden opportunity to run after ASG members. Throughintensive police and military operations, the Philippine government was able toreduce the ASG strength to almost 70%. From its peak of 1,269 fighters in 2000,the Philippine government reduced the strength of ASG to not more than 350fighters in mid 2005. This tremendously weakened the ASG. Because of its smallsize, the Office of the President declared the ASG a spent force. That was before.Though admittedly smaller in number, the ASG was able to win strong localsupport through “Robin Hood” strategy. When “Robin Hood” appeal fails, theASG resorts to fear to enforce support.99 Though the membership of the ASG continues to be small at present, it isventuring into vigorous recruitment activities to recover from the lost of itsmembers who were killed, neutralized and arrested after 9/11. It has varioustechniques to recruit members. Aside from religious propaganda and agitation,the ASG motivates recruits through financial reward. It also pays local recruitsto serve as second and third security layer of their makeshift camps. Somemembers start their recruitment process by initially befriending potential recruitsthrough ball games or pot (marijuana) sessions. The ASG also utilizes deceptionto recruit members. ASG leaders allow young Muslims to bring their firearmsand take pictures of them and then use the pictures to blackmail them of joiningthe group.100 The ASG also uses marriages to expand its membership. At present, the ASG is paying attention to younger and more idealisticMILF members who regard the on-going peace process with the Philippinegovernment as a sham. ASG leaders think that if the MILF makes peace with thegovernment, they will inherit firebrands in the Southern Philippines. Thus, someASG commanders are encouraging disgruntled MILF members to join the group. 98Eric Gutierez, “From Ilaga to Abu Sayyaf: New Entrepreneurs in Violence and their Impacton Local Politics in Mindanao” (Unpublished Manuscript: Institute for Popular Democracy,2001). Also see his “New Faces of Violence in Mindanao” in Gaerlan and Stankovitch (eds),Rebels, Warlords and Ulama: A Reader on Muslim Separatism and the War in SouthernPhilippines, op. cit., pp. 349-362. 99 Shipman, “Abu Sayyaf: Analysis of Open Source Information” , op. cit., p. 6. 100 Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Knowing the Terrorists: The AbuSayyaf Study, op. cit. p. 41. 30
  • 30. MILF leader Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim even warned that a great deal is neededquickly “before younger Muslims in the region succumb to the greater radicalismof the Abu Sayyaf.”101 In short, from the agential analysis, terrorism in the Philippines persistsbecause there are individuals who continue to believe that terrorism is powerfulweapon to influence an audience in pursuance of an Islamist ideology.Conclusion This chapter analyzed the roots and evolution of terrorist movements inthe Philippines focusing on the ASG. It argued that terrorism in the Philippinescould only fully understood in its proper historical context. It also presented howa terrorist movement started in the Philippines from a structure-agency analysis.This chapter argued that the emergence of terrorist groups in the Philippinescould be rooted to cultural, social, economic and political structures in which theyfound themselves. In other words, there were structural causes that breedterrorist groups like the ASG. To address the roots of terrorism in the Philippinesis to pay attention to its structural origins and to correct the structural infirmitiesof the Philippine society in which “terrorists” find themselves. This chapter also demonstrated that aside from structural causes, therewere also agential origins of terrorism in the country. Terrorism could be rootedto the conscious determination of knowledgeable and intentional individuals likeJanjalani, Bin Laden, Khalifa and Yousef, among others who embrace andideology that venerates acts of terrorism. To address the root of terrorism is torun after these people and to kill an ideology that endorses terrorism. Many studies on terrorism, however, tend to highlight the empiricaldebate and theoretical differences between structural and agential approaches(the structure-agency debate). Some scholars prefer a structural explanationwhile others prefer an agential explanation to understand the roots, causes andemergence of terrorism. A recent approach in political analysis attempts toreconcile the structural and agential explanations and integrate the structure-agency debate to examine political phenomena. This approach is called thestrategic-relational approach (SRA). The SRA aims to marry or reconcile the structural and agentialexplanations of political phenomena like terrorism. Instead of viewing structureand agents as two opposite poles or two sides of the same coin, SRA seeks todemonstrate that structure and agency logically entail one another.102 It purports 101 Elegant, “The Return of the Abu Sayyaf,” op.cit. 102 Hay, “Structure and Agency”, op. cit., p. 189. 31
  • 31. to offer a dynamic understanding of the important relationship of structure andagency, which refuses to privilege either moment (structure or agency).103 Using SRA to analyze the roots of terrorism may offer us a better way todevelop a more informed and more nuanced policy on terrorism.   103 Hay, Political Analysis: A Critical Introduction , op. cit., p. 134. 32
  • 32. CHAPTER 2 Leadership Dynamics*Introduction As discussed in Chapter One, many scholarly studies have already beenwritten about the ASG.104 But these studies describe what the ASG has done andcan do rather what the ASG, as a terrorist organization, is really all about. While we know a lot about the atrocities committed by the ASG, there is agreat deal we do not know about its past as well as present complexorganizational structure, current leadership dynamics and recent linkages withnew terrorist organizations operating in the Philippines, in particular, andSoutheast Asia, in general. This chapter attempts to describe the complex organization set-up of theASG, particularly in the aftermath of 9/11. It aims to examine its clandestineleadership dynamics in the light of new developments in the nature of terroristthreats in Southeast Asia. This chapter also aims to revisit the discourse on thelinkages of ASG with JI and to propel new discussions on the new alliances ofASG with other terrorist groups operating in the Philippines like the MoroIslamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF),and most recently, the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM). *Revised version of paper entitled “Leadership Dynamics in Terrorist Organizations inSoutheast Asia: The Abu Sayyaf Case” originally published in John T. Hanley, Kongdan OhHassig and Caroline F. Ziemski (eds), Proceedings of the International Symposium on theDynamics and Structures of Terrorist Threats in Southeast Asia (Alexandria, VA: Institute forDefense Analyses, 2005). This paper was also presented at the international symposium, “TheDynamics and Structures of Terrorist Threats in Southeast Asia” organized by the Institute ofDefense Analyses in cooperation with the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counter-Terrorismand the U.S. Pacific Command held at Palace of Golden Horses Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,on 18-20 April 2005. This paper was written with the support of the Institute of DefenseAnalyses (IDA). The author is grateful to IDA for the kind permission to reprint this paper. 104Seefor example Djanicelle J. Berreveld, Terrorism in the Philippines: The Bloody Trail ofAbu Sayyaf, Bin Ladens East Asian Connection (San Jose: Writers Club Press, 2001); MariaRessa, Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations inSoutheast Asia (New York: Free Press, 2003) and Zachary Abuza, Militant Islam in SoutheastAsia: The Crucible of Terror (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 2003). For an insightfulanalysis on the evolution of ASG, see Rohan Gunaratna, “The Evolution and Tactics of the AbuSayyaf Group”, Janes Intelligence Review (July 2001). For a very excellent historical analysis, seeGraham H. Turbiville, Jr., “Bearer of the Sword”, Military Review (March/ April 2002), pp. 38-47. For an analysis of ASG and civil society, see Alfredo Filler, “The Abu Sayyaf Group: AGrowing Menace to Civil Society”, Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Winter 2002).Also see Larry Niksch, “Abu Sayyaf: Target of Philippine-US Anti-Terrorism Cooperation”, CRSReport for Congress (25 January 2002) and Mark Turner, “Terrorism and Secession in theSouthern Philippines: The Rise of the Abu Sayyaf”, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 17, No. 1(June 1995), pp. 1-19. 33
  • 33. The Organization of the ASG When Janjalani formed the ASG, his original vision was to form a highlyorganized, systematic, and disciplined organization of fanatical secessionistIslamic fighters in the Southern Philippines. 105 Janjalani recruited younger andmore passionate Muslim leaders who studied Islamic theology in Saudi Arabia,Libya, Pakistan and Egypt. These young Muslim leaders had common remorseagainst the MNLF, which entered into peace agreement with the Philippinegovernment in 1996. These leaders also shared common anger against thePhilippine government based in Manila. To achieve his vision of a truly organized Muslim resistant group in thePhilippines, Janjalani deliberately made a detailed organization of the ASG.106He formed the Islamic Executive Council (IEC) composed of fifteen Amirs.Janjalani chaired the IEC to serve as the main planning and execution body ofASG. Under the IEC were two special committees. The first committee was theJamiatul Al-Islamia Revolutionary Tabligh Group in charged of fund raising andIslamic education. The second committee was the Al-Misuaratt KhutbahCommittee in charged of agitation and propaganda activities.107 The ASG also established a military arm called Mujahideen Al-Sharifullahwhose members came predominantly from disgruntled members of MNLF andthe MILF. This military arm had three main units to carryout all terroristactivities of the ASG: the Demolition Team, the Mobile Force Team and theCampaign Propaganda Team. The Demolition Team composed mostly of trainedfighters, had the capability to manufacture its own mines and explosives used inthe bombing operations of the group. The Mobile Force Team - composed mostlyof affiliates of radio clubs, traders, businessmen, shippers, and professionals –was in charged of collaboration and coordination activities of the ASG. TheCampaign Propaganda Team – composed of professionals, students, andbusinessmen – was in charged of gathering vital information necessary to carryout the mission of Mujahideen Al-Sharifullah.108 Figure 1 is the organizational structure of the ASG as originally envisionedby Janjalani. 105This section is culled from Rommel Banlaoi, “Maritime Terrorism in Southeast Asia: TheAbu Sayyaf Threat”, US Naval War College Review, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Autumn 2005). Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3, Knowing the Terrorists: The Abu 106Sayyaf Study (Quezon City: Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, undated). 107To know more about the strategy of the ASG, see Office of the Assistant to the Chief of Stafffor Intelligence, Field Handout: Doctrinal Extract for the Abu Sayyaf Group (Headquarters ofthe Philippine Marine Corps, 21 January 2002). 108Ibid. Also based on various intelligence briefings obtained by the author. 34
  • 34. Figure 1. ASG Organization Envisioned by the A. Janjalani ISLAMIC EXECUTIVE Mujahidden Al- COUNCIL Sharifullah Jamiatul Al-Islamia Al-Misuaratt Khutbah Revolutionary Tabligh Committee Group Fund raising Agitation Islamic propagation PropagandaSource: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3(2002). But the original organizational set-up of ASG was short-lived. When thecombined forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the AFP killedJanjalani in a bloody encounter in December 1998 in Lamitan, Basilan, the ASGsuffered a severe leadership vacuum. This led to the discontentment of some ofits original members. The organization set-up by Janjalani crumbled rapidly withhim. The IEC headed by Janjalani also suffered an untimely demise. With nooverall Amir at the helm of the organization, the group became a mere network ofvarious armed groups with their own respective Amirs commanding their ownrespective loyal followers operating mainly in Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi. With the death of Abdurajak Janjalani (AJ), remaining leaders, however,reluctantly selected Khadafy Janjalani (KJ), a younger brother, as his successor inJuly 1999. But the ASG under KJ had lost its original organization set-up andIslamic theological zeal. Unlike AJ, the younger Janjalani did not have thetheological passion of his older brother. Lacking strong ideological guide, mostof its members resorted to banditry, piracy, kidnap-for-ransom, and otherterrorist activities. The ASG was also heavily factionalized. It was reported,however, that KJ attempted to revive the Islamist agenda of the ASG. But hisconfirmed death in January 2007 aborted his plan. 35
  • 35. Leadership Dynamics in the ASG According to various military reports, the ASG had two major factionsoperating independently in two major areas in the Southern Philippines: Basilanand Sulu. KJ headed the Basilan-based ASG. Galib Andang, otherwise known asCommander Robot, headed the Sulu-based ASG. But the Sulu group unexpectedly lost its leader with the capture ofCommander Robot in December 2003. Commander Robot was eventually killedin a bloody jailbreak attempt on 15 March 2005. The Sulo-based ASG is nowunder the command of Radullan Sahiron. Other military reports talked of another faction of ASG operating inZamboanga City with Hadji Radzpal as the main leader. But Hadji Radzpal wasalso identified by other intelligence sources as one of the leaders of the Sulu-based faction of the ASG. Local leaders, however, denied the existence of ASGfaction in Zamboanga City. The ASG was just using the city for two majorpurposes: as a target for bombing operation and as a place for “rest andrecreation”. The Basilan-based ASG was composed of 73 members as of 2002. Thesemembers were ASG hard-liners composed of 30 personal followers of KhadafyJanjalani, 30 personal followers of Isnillon Hapilon, and 13 followers of AbuSabaya. The group of Hapilon was the main security arm of the Basilan-basedASG. The group of Abu Sabaya, on the other hand, joined the group of KhadafyJanjalani in running the daily planning and administrative affairs of the group.The Philippine military claimed that it killed Sabaya and two others in a navalencounter in June 2002. But Sabaya’s body was never found, triggeringspeculations that he could still be alive despite the AFP’s repeatedpronouncements that Sabaya was among those who died and drowned in thewaters of Sibuco Bay in Zamboanga del Norte.109 The Sulu-based became a loose organization of Muslim bandits under thecommand of late Commander Robot. This faction of ASG was responsible for thekidnapping of 21 tourists spending a vacation in a resort in Sipadan Island ofMalaysia on 23 April 2000. The Basilan-based and Sulu-based factions of theASG were also divided into different groups with their own leaders. As of 2002,the Basilan-based faction was composed of ten armed groups while the Sulu-based faction was composed of 16-armed groups. 109“Sabaya’s Death not the End Abu Sayyaf, says Basilan Bishop”, MindaNews (29 June2002) at <accessed on 30 August2004>. A very close friend of mine who was a member of the Special Warfare Group (SWAG)who did the actual operation against Abu Sabaya told me that Sabaya was indeed killed in the saidbattle. 36
  • 36. Table 1 shows the Basilan-based groups of the ASG. Table 2, on the otherhand, shows the Sulu-based groups of the ASG. Table 1. Basilan-Based Faction of the ASG Name of Group Known Leaders of the GroupAmpul Group Mauran Ampu or Abu MauranApting Group Abu AptingDanggatil Group Moto Danggantil or Mata DanggatilHapilon Group Sahiron HapilonIsnilon Group Isnilon HapilonJainuddin Group Nadjalin JainuddinJanjalani Group Hector Janjalani or Abu AbralKaw Jaljalis Group Kalaw Jaljalis or Boy GranadaSalagin Group Abu SalaginMasiraji Sali Group Hamsiraji SaliSource: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3(2002). Table 2. Sulu-Based Faction of the ASG Name of Group Known Leaders of the GroupRobot Group Galib Andang orCmdr RobotAmil Group Julius Aminulla AmilAsiri Group Basiri AsiriBadja Group Datu Panglima BadjaBauddin Group Salapuddin BauddinHayudini Group Nidzmi Hayudinni or Cmdr TakulongHadji Radzpal Group Hadji Radzpal or Abu RayhanIrijani Group Mudjahid IrijaniJamal Group Yahiya Jamal or Abu AlvarezKalim Group Pati KalimLandi Group Kumander LandiMali Group Sulaiman MaliSaabdula Group Nadzmi Saabulla or Cmdr GlobalSahiron Group Radullah SahironSali Group Hesseim SaliShariff Group Wahid ShariffSource: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3(2002). 37
  • 37. From these factions, there was no doubt that ASG was not a homogenousorganization. Rather, the ASG was a very loose coalition of many groups ofradical Muslim leaders and bandits commanding their own loyal followers in theSouthern Philippines. These groups had mixed objectives from Islamicfundamentalism to mere banditry. Members of these groups paid allegiancemostly to their respective leaders rather than to ASG doctrines. Not all groupswere truly committed to the idea of a separate Islamic state in the SouthernPhilippines, though there were some groups who were really committed to thecause. Some Muslim bandit groups in the Southern Philippines wanted to beassociated with the ASG for prestige, political expediency and economic gains.But the dynamics of these groups shared common feature: they were highlypersonalistic rather than ideological groups of Muslim radicals. Based on the various factions, the organizational set-up of the ASG was farfrom those envisioned by Abdurajak Janjalani. Figure 2 was the knownorganizational structure of the ASG as of 2003. Figure 2. ASG Organization After the Death of A. Janjalani ISLAMIC EXECUTIVE COUNCIL Basilan-Based Zamboanga-Based Sulu-BasedSource: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Various documents, 2000-2004.ASG Linkages with other Terrorist OrganizationsOperating in the Philippines The ASG mutated into a very resilient terrorist organization. Despiteheavy military operations and loss of its key leaders, it continued to wreakterrorist havocs in the Philippines. The bombing of Super ferry 14 on 27February 2004 and the three simultaneous bombings in Makati City, GeneralSantos City and Davao City on the eve of Valentines Day celebration in 2005 werejust some of the indications that the ASG could still disturb the peace. In thetelephone interview pertaining to the Super ferry 14 incidents, ASG spokespersonAbu Solaiman even taunted the Philippine government by saying, “"Still doubtfulabout our capabilities? Good. Just wait and see. We will bring the war that you 38
  • 38. impose on us to your lands and seas, homes and streets. We will multiply the painand suffering that you have inflicted on our people."110 Despite the declining number of ASG operatives due to sustained militarycrackdown in Sulu, Basilan and Zamboanga City, the group was still able to wreakterrorist havocs because of its superb ability to establish strong linkages withother terrorist groups operating in the Philippines. These groups were the JI, theMNLF, the MILF and the RSIM. The ASG also had a creative and sophisticatedmeans to solicit local support, which undoubtedly contributed to its resilience asa terrorist organization. ASG Linkages with JI ASG linkages with JI have already been excellently discussed by variousauthors.111 Although the organizational dynamics of JI and ASG are undergoingdramatic changes in the midst of a changing national and regional securityenvironment, latest developments have indicated that JI-ASG linkage remains intact and operational. Intelligence sources revealed that the number of JI members in thePhilippines collaborating with ASG was placed at 33 as of December 2004. ThePhilippine National Police Intelligence Group even estimated that the number ofJI operatives in the Philippines could be placed at 60 as of April 2005.112 Someintelligence sources said that the JI operatives in the Philippines could only bearound 30, as of June 2012. These JI operatives were able to exploit localMuslim secessionist rebels in the Philippines by sharing their bomb-makingdemolition skills.113 110Marco Garrido, “After Madrid, Manila?”, Asia Times (24 April 2004) at <accessed on 28 August2004>. 111See Rohan Gunaratna, Inside Al-Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press, 2002); Zachary Abuza, “Tentacles of Terror: Al-Qaeda’s Southeast AsianNetwork”, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 24, No. 3 (December 2002), pp. 427-465.; MariaRessa, Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations inSoutheast Asia (New York: Free Press, 2003) and Rommel C. Banlaoi, War on Terrorism inSoutheast Asia (Manila: Rex Book Store International, 2004). 112Interview with Police Chief Superintendent Ismael R. Rafanan, Director of the PhilippineNational Police Intelligence Group, held at Camp Crame, Quezon City on 1 April 2005. 113 Alcuin Papa, “Military: JI Members Still Training Locals”, Philippine Daily Inquirer (18January 2005). 39
  • 39. In connection with the 2005 Valentine’s Day bombings, two Indonesiansand a Malaysian allegedly belonging to the JI were arrested by intelligenceoperatives in Zamboanga City on 23 February 2005. But the arrest of Rohmatalias “Zaki” on 16 March 2005 gave more substantial information about therecent JI-ASG linkages. Zaki, an Indonesian national, confessed to severalcrimes involving the ASG since 2000, including training members to makebombs in JI-run camps.114 Known as the “ASG the bomb trainer”, Zaki candidlyadmitted that he trained ASG members in bomb making, particularly the use ofmobile phones as detonating devices and the use of toothpaste as bombparaphernalia.” 115 He also admitted to have coordinated the 2005 Valentine’sDay bombings, which resulted in the brutal death of 10 people and the seriouswounding of at least 150 others. ASG Linkages with the MNLF It is already well-known that most ASG members are disgruntled membersof the MNLF. But their links go beyond that. ASG members continue to connivewith MNLF members to plant bombs, kidnap people and commit murder. A police intelligence report revealed that ASG forged alliances with somegunmen loyal to jailed MNLF leader Nur Misuari.116 Then Chief PoliceSuperintendent Rodolfo Mendoza of the PNP Criminal Investigation andDetection Group (CIDG) said that alliance between ASG and the MNLF wereformed years ago. According to former Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor of thenow defunct Philippine Anti-Terrorism Task Force (ATTF), this alliance was on atactical or operational level.117 Ruland Ullah, a former ASG member and was a state witness to the April2000 Sipadan hostage crisis, confirmed these observations when he said thatASG hired MNLF fighters to mount terrorist attacks. MNLF members even actedas mercenaries of the ASG for an amount of at least $1,000. MNLF members also 114 “Alleged bombs expert for Jemaah Islamiyah regional network arrested in Philippine”,Channel News Asia at <accessed on 12April 2005>. 115Interview with General Marlu Quevedo, Chief of the Intelligence Service of the ArmedForces of the Philippines, held at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City on 29 March2005. 116Jim Gomez, “Filipino Terror Group’s Reach Grown Nationally”, Associated Press (8 March2005). 117Interview with Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor of the Philippines Anti-Terrorism TaskForce held at Malacanang Palace, Manila on 21 March 2005. 40
  • 40. provided sanctuaries for ASG members when the need arises.118 They also sharedfighters to mount terrorist attacks not only in the Southern Philippines but alsoin Metro Manila. ASG Linkages with the MILF Former President Joseph Estrada tried to link the ASG with the MILF. Butthere was no clear evidence of the link during his time. Thomas McKenna,associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama at Birminghamand author of Muslim Rulers and Rebels: Everyday Politics and ArmedSeparatism in the Southern Philippines,119 even said that "It is certainly possiblethat some disaffected MILF fighters have gone over to the ASG," but "the ASGmay be best viewed as a direct challenge to both the MILF and MNLF, not as anadjunct."120 Recent evidences indicated that the ASG strongly established tacticalalliance with the MILF. Although former Secretary of National DefenseEduardo Ermita once argued that MILF members did not show any proof thatthey helped the ASG,121 new intelligence sources revealed that ASG and MILFmembers shared fighters in their operations. According to Ullah, “Sometimes theMILF would plant a roadside bomb against soldiers and the Abu Sayyaf wouldshoot the soldiers wounded in the blast.”122 MILF and ASG members alsoreceived joint training with JI operatives, particularly in the area of bombmaking. In a paper obtained from the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces ofthe Philippines (ISAFP), it said that “During explosives training, JI teaches theMILF or ASG skills in the making of bombs with cell phones, in the identificationof the different types of explosives and paraphernalia like TNT, black powder,PETN, Ammonium Nitrate, C4, Detonating Cords, and Detonators.”123 118 Jomar Canlas, “State Witness Bares MNLF, MILF Links with Abu Sayyaf”, The ManilaTimes (28 March 2005). 119 Thomas M. McKenna, Muslim Rulers and Rebels: Everyday Politics and ArmedSeparatism in the Southern Philippines (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998). 120 “Gunning for Glory”, Al-Ahram Weekly Online Issue No.548 (23 - 29 August 2001). 121“They [MILF] have not shown any proof that they have helped”, Newsbreak (10 May 2004). 122“Gunning for Glory”, op. cit. 123A paper obtained from the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on29 March 2005. 41
  • 41. ASG Linkages with the RSIM One of the ASG’s newest links is with the Rajah Solaiman Movement orRSIM (otherwise known as Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement or RSIM). Intelligence documents describe the RSIM as part of the Balik IslamMovement (Return to Islam Movement) or Fi Sabilillah.124 The RSIM is aclandestine Muslim organization in Manila collaborating with the ASG in wagingurban terrorism. The group is named after Rajah Solaiman, the last king ofManila before the Spanish conquest in the 1500s. Most of its members areMuslim converts. Like the ASG, the converts claim that they want to remake thecountry into an Islamic state.125 It was estimated that the RSIM had at least 70 members in Luzon as ofApril 2005. The Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA), on the other hand, reportedthat more than 110,000 Filipino converted to Islam as of the first quarter of2005. Hilarion del Rosario, Jr. (also known as Ahmed Santos) was the identifiedleader and founder of the RSIM. Santos ran a madrasa or Islamic school inPangasinan, which was raided by Philippine law enforcement operatives in May2003. An intelligence report stated that the RSIM was founded in 2002 to"Islamize” the whole Philippines based on the belief that before the Spaniardscame with Christianity, there were first Muslims in the archipelago.126 Reportedly, the RSIM established a special operations group and a specialaction force financed by Saudi Arabian money channeled through variouscharities in the Philippines. ASG leader Khadafy Janjalani reportedly gave theRSIM the equivalent of about $200,000 for its initial operational activities inManila, which included the recruitment and conversion of Christians to Islam,then sending them for terrorist training.127 The PNP regarded the International Information Center (IIC), a Muslimcenter based in Quiapo, Manila, as front of the RSIM. The Philippine Association 124According to Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor of the Philippine Anti-Terrorist TaskForce, the difference between the RSM, the Balik Islam Movement and the Fi Sabililah is hard todistinguish. 125Joe Cochrane, “Filipino Authorities Say The Newest Threat To The Country Is A ShadowyTerror Group Made Up Of Radical Muslim Converts”, Newsweek International Edition (17 May2004) at <accessed on 28 August 2004>. 126“Summary of Report on Rajah Solaiman Movement” (12 April 2004) at <accessed 31 August2004>. 127Ibid. 42
  • 42. of Muslimah Darul Eeman, Inc. (PAMDAE, Inc.) was also reported to be a frontof the ASG to recruit Metro Manila based Islam converts in its fold.128 Thefollowing Balik Islam groups also aroused the curiosity of Philippine intelligenceunits:  Al Maarif Education Center (Baguio City)  Da’rul Hijra Foundation, Inc. (Makati City)  Islamic Learning Center (Pangasinan) The blasting of the Super ferry 14 on 26 February 2004 was described asthe handiwork of ASG-RSIM conspiracy. Redento Cain Dellosa, an RSIMmember, confessed that he deliberately planted a bomb on Super ferry 14. TheMarine Board Inquiry in charge of investigating the Super ferry 14 incidentconfirmed that the ASG masterminded the explosion with the assistance ofRSIM. Interestingly, ASG links with RSIM also run in the family. Amina LimDungon, one of the wives of ASG spokesman Abu Sulaiman, is the sister ofLorraine Lim Dungon, who is a wife of RSIM leader Ahmed Santos. ASG leaderKhadafy Janjalani’s wife, Zainad Lim Dungon, is a sister of Amina and Lorraine.These make Sulaiman, Santos and Janjalani not only “brothers-in-arms” but alsobrothers-in-law. Some ICC officers were also kin to Fi-Sabilillah and RSIM leaders.129According to Chief Police Superintendent Mendoza of the PNP, “If you make anextended family tree of top Islamic radicals, you will come out with somethinglike a tightly woven spider’s web.”130 This view was shared with another top police officer that argued that theties between ASG and RSIM and even MILF and MNLF were “more personalthan ideological” because there were “blood ties” and they had “an experience ofstrife with government.”131 ASG Mass Base One important strength of the ASG, despite its small number, is its superbability to solicit local support. 128A paper obtained from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, 1 March 2005. 129 Inday Espina-Varona, “Brothers in Arms”, Philippine Graphics, Vol. 15, No. 38 (28February 2005), p. 24. 130Ibid. 131Ibid., p. 25. 43
  • 43. The ASG resorted to kidnapping activities not merely for purposes ofcommitting criminal acts but to use part of its huge ransom money to build-up itsmanpower and to lure local communities to provide mass support to theorganization. When kidnapping activities of the ASG became a lucrativeventure, it succeeded in offering monetary compensation to local population tobecome core members of its mass base support system. 132 Some localgovernment leaders even coddled some ASG members in exchange for monetarypayment.133 It was reported that a few local police and military personalities evenprovided support to the ASG in exchange for a cut of its loot and a share from theransom money.134Confronting the ASG Threat:Philippine Anti-Terrorism Strategy and Its Limits To address the threats of terrorism in the Philippines, the Philippinegovernment formed the Inter-Agency Task Force Against International Terrorismon 24 September 2001 under the direct supervision of the Office of thePresident.135 This Inter-Agency Task Force aimed to coordinate intelligenceoperations and to facilitate the identification and neutralization of suspectedterrorist cells in the Philippines. To freeze the financial assets of internationalterrorists, the Philippine Congress decisively passed the Anti-Money LaunderingAct on 29 September 2001. President Arroyo also announced on 12 October 2001 its 14-pilarapproach to combat terrorism. (See Box 1)132Department of National Defense, “Info Kit on the Abu Sayyaf Group” (Submitted to theCommittee on National Defense and Security of the Philippine Senate on 24 August 2001).133SeeInternational Peace Mission, Basilan: The Next Afghanistan? (Report of the InternationalPeace Mission to Basilan, Philippines 23-27 March 2002), p. 11. Also at <accessed on 30 August 2004>.134Madge Kho, “Fighting the Abu Sayyaf: A Pretext for U.S. Intervention In the Philippines” at <accessed on 12 May 2005>.135 Rommel C. Banlaoi, War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia (Manila: Rex Book StoreInternational, 2004). 44
  • 44. Box 1. 14 Pillars to Combat Terrorism in the Philippines• Designates Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security as the lead anti-terrorism body;• Seeks to undertake consolidate intelligence projects;• Calls on the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police to address terrorist violence;• Holds accountable all public and private organizations abetting terrorism;• Seeks regional consensus. and cooperation especially with Indonesia and Malaysia in the war against terrorism;• Anticipates legal issues and concerns;• Pursues Christian-Muslim dialog and seeks to promote ecumenism;• Calls for greater vigilance and concrete measures against all possible terrorist supplies, materials and finances;• Mobilizes disaster coordination efforts in the event of catastrophic attack;• Secures critical infrastructure;• Protects overseas workers and seeks their immediate transfer if needed;• Seeks the integration of the global terrorist threat in the AFP/PNP modernization program;• Asks for media responsibility; and,• Seeks to address the socioeconomic and political roots of “perceived fanaticism and irrational violence.Source: Memorandum Order No. 37 dated 12 October 2001. Through the Operation Center of the Cabinet Oversight Committee onInternal Security (COCIS)136 the Philippine government formulated the NationalPlan to Address Terrorism and its Consequences as Annex K to the NationalInternal Security Plan (NISP). The Philippine government approved the NISP on26 November 2001 through Memorandum Order 44. The COCIS was tasked toimplement the national anti-terrorism plan by involving all national governmentagencies, local government units (LGUs), and the private sectors in thecampaign.137 But the Philippine government abolished the COCIS in October 2004.The task of managing and implementing the anti-terrorism plan was thentransferred to the ATTF, which was originally formed on 24 March 2004 underthe COCIS. The ATTF operation was transferred to the Office of the Presidentwith the Executive Secretary as the Chair. The ATTF was based in Malacanang 136The Philippine government formed the Cabinet Oversight Committee on InternationalSecurity on 19 June 2001 through Executive Order No. 21. It is chaired by the Executive Securitywith the Secretary of National Defense as Vice-Chair. 137Thissection is largely based on Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Local Government ResponseAgainst Terrorist Threat in the Philippines: Issues and Prospects” (Paper prepared forpresentation at the 12th International Conference of the East and Southeast Asia Network forHighly Performing Local Governments organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and theLocal Government Development Foundation, Rendezvous Hotel, Singapore on 2-3 December2004). 45
  • 45. Palace in Manila. The ATTF aimed to establish an extensive anti-terrorisminformation system and accelerate intelligence fusion among all intelligence unitsin the Philippines in the identification of terrorism personalities, cells, groups,and organizations in various LGUs. It also aimed to conduct an extensiveinformation drive at both national and local levels “to prepare the public and allstakeholders to get involved in the national anti-terrorism campaign.”138 With the creation of ATTF, the Philippine government adopted the 16-point counter-terrorism program to operationalize the 14-point anti-terrorismpolicy of the national government. (See Box 2) But the passage of HumanSecurity Act of 2007, otherwise known as the Philippine Anti-Terrorism Law of2007, the ATTF was abolished and was replaced by the Anti-Terrorism Council(ATC) being chaired by the Executive Secretary. Through its unrelenting efforts to combat terrorism in the Philippines, thePhilippine government was able to reduced the strength of the ASG. As statedearlier, ASG strength was reduced to less than 400-armed followers, which couldbe regarded as an achievement of the Philippine government in the global fightagainst terrorism. But the real success of anti-terrorism campaign in the Philippines dependsheavily on strength of its intelligence system. Sadly, Philippine government stillhas a weak intelligence system being a relatively young republic. Although thePhilippine government has issued Administrative Order No. 68 on 8 April 2003to strengthen the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), thegovernments intelligence capability remains weak. Former Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Gen. Narciso Abaya candidlyacknowledged that the non-sharing of intelligence information by military spyunits in the Philippines is hampering the government’s antiterrorismcampaign.139 Abaya said that a culture exists among intelligence units in thePhilippines to withhold vital intelligence information from other groups andstressed that “I think we have to improve on our intelligence. The trend now isnot the need to know but the need to share. That is the emerging trend amongintelligence units all over the world.”140 He further lamented, “Sometimes, ourintelligence units zealously keep to themselves intelligence information which, iffused with the information of other intelligence units, would give a more 138Inter-Agency Anti-Terrorism Task Force, “Government Response to Terrorism”(undated). 139KarlB. Kaufman, “Weak’ Intel Blamed On Overzealous Spy Units”, The Manila Times(26 March 2004) at<accessed on 30 August 2004>. 140Ibid. 46
  • 46. comprehensive picture of the enemy.”141 This problem in Philippine intelligencesystem still persists but measures have been undertaken to surmount theproblem. Another nagging concern in the Philippines’ anti-terrorism campaign wasthe serious allegation that the military establishment and provincial governmentwere coddling some ASG members. Based on the report of the InternationalPeace Mission that went to Basilan on 23-27 March 2002, “there are consistentcredible reports that the military and the provincial government are coddling theAbu Sayyaf.”142 Thus, the Peace Mission argued that a military solution to theASG threat would “not work to solve the problem.”143 As early as 1994, in fact, there were allegations that some police and fakepolice officers were involved in the ASG attempt to smuggle firearms inZamboanga City from Manila and Iloilo on board the vessel M/V Princess of thePacific. But the police and the military authorities stressed that connivance withASG was not being tolerated. The Philippine military has, in fact, recognized that military solution alonecannot defeat the ASG. In the After Action Report of the ASG Combat Research and Study Groupof the Training and Doctrine Command of the Philippine Army submitted on 19September 2001 to the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, it statedthat: The ASG problem cannot be solved through military solution alone. It should be approached by complementary and mutually reinforcing efforts by the civil agencies and the military. The government must concretely pursue social, economic and political reforms aimed at addressing the root causes of the problem. Effective measures must also be undertaken to ensure the welfare and protection of civilians and reducing the impact of the armed conflict on them. These should necessarily include intensified delivery of basic services to conflict areas.144 141Ibid. 142For a complete copy of the report, see Basilan: The Next Afghanistan? (Report of theInternational Peace Mission to Basilan, Philippines 23-27 March 2002) at <accessed on 30 August 2004>. 143Ibid. 144ASG Combat Research and Study Group, “After Action Report” (Submitted to theCommanding General of the Philippine Army on 19 September 2001 by the Training and DoctrineCommand of the Philippine Army). 47
  • 47. Box 2. 16-Point Counter-Terrorism Program• Supervision and implementation of policies and actions of the government against terrorism• Intelligence coordination• Internal focus against terrorism• Accountability and private corporations and personalities• Synchronizing internal efforts with global outlook• Legal measures• Promotion of Christian and Muslim solidarity• Vigilance against the movement of terrorist and their supporters, equipment, weapons, and funds• Contingency plans• Comprehensive security plans for critical infrastructures• Support for overseas Filipino workers• Modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police• Media Support• Political, social, and economic measures• Ensuring the accountability of local and national government in cleaning the government of terrorist and criminal coddlers• Strengthening the peace processSource: Anti-Terrorism Task Force Accomplishment Report, June 2004. To surmount the threats posed by ASG and other threats to Philippineinternal security, the Philippine government established, as stated earlier, theCOCIS. The COCIS adopted the “Strategy of Holistic Approach” (SHA) as thegrand strategy to overcome insurgency problems in the Philippines, including theASG. The SHA consisted of four major components: • Political/Legal/Diplomatic • Socio-Economic/Psychosocial • Peace and order/Security, and • Information.145 145Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security, National Internal Security Plan(NISP), Version 3. RESTRICTED document. Quotations in this particular section come fromthis document, unless otherwise stated. 48
  • 48. The political/legal/diplomatic component of the SHA pushed for “politicalreforms and institutional development to strengthen democratic institutions andempower the citizenry to pursue personal and community growth.” Thiscomponent aimed to develop and propagate Philippine democracy to “confrontthe communist ideology” and the Islamic fundamentalist ideology. Thecornerstone of this particular component was the peace process based on the “SixPaths to Peace” formula: • Pursuit of social, economic and political reforms; • Consensus-building and empowerment for peace; • Peaceful, negotiated settlement with the different rebel groups; • Programs for reconciliation, reintegration, and rehabilitation; • Conflict management and protection of civilians caught in armed conflict; and, • Building and nurturing a climate conducive to peace. The socio-economic/psychosocial component of the SHA, on the otherhand, aimed to alleviate poverty in the country through the acceleration ofdevelopment programs of the Philippine government. This component alsoaimed to develop and strengthen “a spirit of nationhood among the people, whichincluded developing national character/identity without losing cultural integrity.” The peace and order/security component aimed “to protect the peoplefrom the insurgents and provide a secure environment for nationaldevelopment.” More importantly, this component had the specific goal ofdenying the insurgents “access to their most important resource – popularsupport.” Finally, the information component was the integrating component in theSHA. It referred “to the overall effort to advocate peace, promote publicconfidence in government and support government efforts to overcomeinsurgency through tri-media and interpersonal approaches.” The operational aspect of the SHA was the “Left Hand” and “Right Hand”approaches. In an interview, President Arroyo explained these approaches in thefollowing words: How do we address this problem (of) insurgency? Through the right-hand and left-hand approach. (The) right hand is the full force of the law and the left hand is the hand of reconciliation and the hand of giving support to our poorest brothers so that they won’t be encouraged to join the rebels.146 146Marichu Villanueva, “Palace Announces RP-CPP Peace Talks Resume in Oslo February10-13”, The Philippine Star (6 February 2004) at <accessed on 17 August 2004). 49
  • 49. While the SHA was meant to primarily combat communist insurgency, itwas also applied to address terrorist threats.147 But as stated earlier, thePhilippine government abolished COCIS in October 2004. To replace the COCISin the implementation of SHA in counter-terrorism, the Philippine governmenttransferred the responsibilities to the ATTF. During the Arroyo government, the ATTF was the main government bodytasked to formulate strategies, policies, plans and measures necessary to preventand suppress acts of terrorism in the Philippines, particularly those perpetuatedby the ASG. But the ATTF was abolished in 2007 with the creation of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC). With the abolition of the COCIS and the ATTF, the Philippine governmentalso replaced the SHA with the strategy of “whole-of-government” (WOG)approach against terrorism and insurgency. Like the SHA, the WOG aimd to address the root causes of securitychallenges facing the Philippine state. But the WOG paid greater attention tonon-military means to defeat terrorism, which includes job creation in the ruralareas, provisions of social services and infrastructure to communities,strengthening good governance at the national and local levels and establishmentof an effective local judiciary system.148 The WOG informs the current operationof the ATC. To date, there has been no study assessing the practical effectiveness ofWOG. But based on documents, the WOG contains a lot of flamboyant soundbytes that extol the value of non-military approaches to address the problem ofterrorism posed by the ASG and other similar groups.Conclusion Despite its small number, the ASG remains as a threat to Philippinenational security. Though the ASG has lost some of its important leaders, it hasmanaged to wage terrorist attacks because of its ability forge alliances with otherterrorist organizations operating in the Philippines and to solicit mass support.Its new tactics of using front organizations also make the ASG a very resilientterrorist organization in the Philippines. 147Department of National Defense “Talking Points on Abu Sayyaf Group” (17 November2003). This document explains the use of SHA in countering the ASG. 148Department of National Defense, Defense Planning Guidance, 2008-2013 (QuezonCity: Department of National Defense, November 2006), p. 1. 50
  • 50. The Philippine government has waged serious campaigns to address theproblem of terrorism in the country. It has made remarkable achievements inneutralizing ASG members and leaders. But the root of Muslim rebellion, which encourages some Muslim Filipinosto resort to terrorism, has not been satisfactorily addressed by the Philippinegovernment. Though the Philippine government has implemented the strategy ofholistic approach to address the problem of Muslim rebellion, the strategy hasnot been implemented as planned due to budgetary constraints, allegations ofcorruption in the government, and persistence of violence in the countryside.Even the strategy of “whole-of-government” approach also needs to beimplemented on the ground to really attack the root causes of terrorism andinsurgency in the Philippines. 51
  • 51. CHAPTER 3 Bandit or Terrorist*Introduction Is the ASG a bandit group or a terrorist organization? Does the ASG havean ideology? How strong and capable the ASG is an organization? This chapter describes the ASG as both a bandit group and as a terroristorganization in the context of crime-terrorism nexus. This chapter argues thereis a growing collusion of terrorist groups and organized criminal syndicates in thePhilippines. The ASG connives with ordinary criminal groups to mount kidnap-for-ransom activities to generate income. But a few members of the ASGcontinue to be engaged in Islamic propagation to pursue their dream ofestablishing a Islamic state in Mindanao.Ideological Inclination The ASG’s original ideology was strongly anchored on Janjalani’s religiousand political thoughts. ASG followers did not only recognize Janjalani as theirleader but also their ideological beacon.149 As an ideologue, Janjalani was well-informed by the historical, religious, economic, political and social conditions inwhich Muslims in the Philippines find themselves. At the early stage of world Islamic resurgence in the late 1970s and early1980s, 150 Janjalani traveled to different Muslim countries where receivedtraining and education in radical Islamic thoughts. He received a very goodIslamic education in Saudi Arabia in 1981 and went to Ummu I-Qura in Meccawhere he studied Islamic jurisprudence for almost three years. There, Janjalaniwas attracted deeply to the concept of jihad. Armed with radical Islamicideology, Janjalani returned to his homeland in Basilan in 1984 to preach initiallyin various mosques before formally organizing the ASG. In 1988 Janjalani wentto Peshawar, Pakistan, where he conscientiously studied the Islamic revolution in *Revised version of a paper entitled “The Abu Sayyaf Group: From Mere Banditry toGenuine Terrorism” originally published in Dalijit Singh and Lorraine Salazar (eds), SoutheastAsian Affairs 2006 (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2006), pp. 247-262. Theoriginal version of this paper was written with the permission and generous support of theInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS). 149 Nathan G. Quimpo, “Dealing with the MILF and Abu Sayyaf: Who’s Afraid of anIslamic State?, Public Policy, Vol. III, No. 4 (October/December 1999), p. 50. 150For a detailed discussion on the rise of Muslim radicalism in the Philippines, seeRommel C. Banlaoi, “Radical Muslim Terrorism in the Philippines” in Andrew Tan, ed.,Handbook on Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia (London: Edward Elgar Publishing,Inc., 2006). 52
  • 52. Iran. It was also in Peshawar that he reportedly met and befriended Osama binLaden, who helped him organize the ASG. When Janjalani formed the ASG, his original intention was to create agroup of Muslim Mujahideen committed to Jihad Fi-Sabil-lillah, a “struggle inthe cause of Allah” or “fighting and dying for the cause of Islam”. BeforeJanjalani died in December 1998, he delivered eight radical ideologicaldiscourses called Khutbahs, which may be considered as primary sources ofJanjalani’s radical Islamic thoughts. These discourses explained Janjalani’sQuranic perspective of Jihad Fi-Sabil-lillah, which he lamented, wasmisinterpreted by many Muslims. He even denounced the ulama (Muslimscholars) for their little knowledge of the Quran and lamented that most Muslimsin the Philippines calling themselves, as Moros were not really practicing the truemeaning of Islam compared with their counterparts in West Asia. These eightdiscourses also revealed Janjalani’s deep grasp of Wahabi Islam, whichconsidered other Muslims heretical. The Islamic theology of Wahabism greatlyinformed Janjalani’s radical ideology. In his analysis of Philippine society, Janjalani was aware of the injusticescommitted against Muslim communities. Thus, he purportedly founded the ASGto vigorously seek kaadilan or justice for Muslims through jihad. For Janjalani,jihad is the highest form of struggle for justice or cause. He classified jihad intotwo: jihad al-akbar (greater Jihad) and jihad al-asgar (lesser jihad), but did notelaborate. He only argued that they “are the same in Divine assessment but aremerely differentiated in human terms and conditions.”151 He contended that the“surest guarantee of justice and prosperity for Muslims” is the establishment of apurely Islamic state that can only be achieved through jihad. Janjalani evenurged Muslims in the Philippines to pursue their jihad to the highest level inorder to fulfill their paramount duty of martyrdom for the cause of Allah. Janjalani’s appeal for martyrdom also meant an endorsement of suicideterrorism. Though there was no recorded incident of suicide terrorism in thecountry at the time, Janjalani was aware of the value of suicide terrorism as afavored tactic of radical Muslims pursuing jihad. Some years later, the bombingof Super ferry 14 on 28 February 2004 was originally planned by the ASG as asuicide mission.152 151Tan, Internationalization of the Bangsamoro Struggle., p. 98. 152Because of continuing radicalization of Muslim communities in the Philippines, theASG may employ suicide terrorism in the near future. Dulmatin and Umar Patek, key suspects in2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, have reportedly established their base inthe Philippines to prepare ASG members in future suicide missions. In his speech to the ForeignCorrespondents Association of the Philippines in Manila on 11 August 2005, National SecurityAdviser Norberto Gonzales warned that up to ten Indonesian militants, including Dulmatin andUmar Patek, were on the loose in the Philippines and plotting suicide attacks. Se Joel FranciscoGuinto, “10 Indonesian suicide bombers hunted in RP”, Philippine Daily Inquirer (11 August2005). 53
  • 53. One of Janjalani’s Khutbahs revealed his deep resentment againstChristian missionaries in Mindanao, particularly those severely maligning Islam.Janjalani said that the aggressive preaching of Christian missionaries inMindanao gravely insulted Islam and severely provoked Muslims to respondviolently. The bombing of M/V Doulos in August 1991 was ASG’s retaliationagainst Christian missionaries who used derogatory words against Islam andcalled Allah a false God.ASG Strength and Capabilities The ASG started with no more than 1,000 members in 1991 and rose toalmost 1,300 in 1998. According to the Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Task Force(ATTF), ASG strength as of the last quarter of 2005 was no more than 350members, very close to its figure of 380 during the second quarter of 2005 but farfrom its August 2005 figure of 250. An undersecretary of the DND estimated thecurrent strength of the ASG to be around 500, close to the military intelligencefigure of 409. The Armed Forces of the Philippines reported that the ASG hadstrength of 380 as of 2008. The ASG strength declined further to less than 350members in 2009 and not more than 300 members in 2010. But in 2011, theNational Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP), dubbed as Oplan Bayanihan,said that the ASG reached around 400 members. In the first semester of 2012,the ASG strength was estimated at around 300 armed followers. Strictly speaking, there is no certainty on the current strength of ASGbecause its members overlap with some members of the MILF and the MisuariBreak Away Group (MBG) of the MNLF. Other ASG members are evenassociated with the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM), a group ofMuslim converts in the Philippines believed to be funded by the ASG. While its exact strength is unclear, what is certain is that the ASG remainsa very small but very lethal armed group of Muslims in the Philippine. Despite itssmall number, the ASG draws its strength from huge local support. Most ASGmembers are relatives, friends, classmates and neighbors of local folks. ASGmembers even buy their foodstuffs from local stores and get “early warningsignals” from local communities during military offensives. The Philippinemilitary has admitted that religious and political propaganda, financialcompensation and even coercion are the ASG’s primary means of gaining localsupport in the form of manpower, intelligence and sometime logistics.153 Local support enhanced the capability of the ASG. The AFP reported thatthe ASG had the capability to stage “high impact terrorist attacks against civiliantargets not only in Basilan and Sulu but also in other parts of the country.” WhenASG members fight, they “can pin-down up to a company size unit” and duringmilitary engagements, they are capable of “reinforcing beleaguered members in a 153 Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Knowing the Terrorists: The AbuSayyaf Study, p. 13. 54
  • 54. short period of time” particularly in areas “near a Muslim village of an MNLF andMILF camps”. There were even some “enterprising Muslims who join the fightpurposely to acquire firearms and ammunitions left by government casualties.” As of the last quarter of 2005, military intelligence estimated around 480weapons believed to be in ASG’s possession. In previous military encounters, themilitary seized night vision devices, thermal imager, sniper’s scope, various typesof commercial radios, satellite and cellular phones and high speed sea crafts fromthe ASG. Military intelligence assessment also indicated that some ASG membersalready enhanced their bomb making capabilities as a result of joint training withJI members operating or hiding in the Philippines. Before his death in October2003, Roman Al-Ghozi, known to be the JI’s “the bomb maker”, admitted duringinterrogation report that he shared his bomb-making expertise with ASGmembers. Rohmat Abdurrohim, (a.k.a. Zaki), known as the ASG’s “the bombtrainer”, confessed that he trained ASG members in bomb making, particularlythe use of mobile phone as detonating device and the use of toothpaste tube asbomb paraphernalia. Dulmatin and Umar Patek, wanted for the 2002 Bali bombing, reportedlytrained some ASG members in bomb attacks. As stated earlier, Dulmatin andUmar Patek also prepared ASG members for future suicide missions. NationalSecurity Adviser Norberto Gonzales was quoted as saying, “What we are lookingfor now is suicide terrorists, not (only) suicide bombers.”154 The ASG also developed te capability to use car bombs. Khadaffy Janjalaniboasted that he allowed training in 2004 of a long line of bombers who could hittargets in major cities in the Philippines. The ASG reportedly formed an UrbanSquad in 2005 to stage bombing operations in the cities. The ASG also developedthe ability to wage maritime terrorist attacks. Almost all ASG members had deepfamiliarity of the maritime domain having belonged to a family of fisher folkswith a long seafaring tradition.155 The Super ferry 14 bombing in February 2004 was a clear demonstrationof ASG’s maritime terrorist capability. The group also conducted some maritimetraining activities in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in June 2005. In July 2005, ASG and JIfighters took underwater training in Sandakan, Malaysia to attack maritimetargets such as ports and commercial vessels. In August 2005, military 154Michael Punongbayan, “DOJ to Expose Terrorists’ Financiers, Media Handlers”, ThePhilippine Star , 7 November 2005. 155For more discussions on the maritime terrorist capability of the ASG, see Rommel C.Banlaoi, “Maritime Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Abu Sayyaf Threat”, Naval War CollegeReview, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Autumn 2005), pp. 63-80. Also see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Abu SayyafGroup: Threat of Maritime Piracy and Terrorism” in Peter Lehr (ed), Violence at Sea: Piracy atthe Age of Terrorism (London: Routledge, forthcoming 2006). 55
  • 55. intelligence disclosed that ASG leaders and some foreign terrorists met in Patikul,Sulu to plan an attack of some beaches in Palawan. This prompted the Philippinegovernment to intensify the security of major ports and beaches in the countrypreventing any planned maritime terrorist attacks to happen. Because of its small size, the executive department of the Philippinegovernment belittled the capability of the ASG by describing the group as a spentforce. This strongly insulted the ASG leadership. In his official statement, ASGspokesperson Jainal Sali, (a.k.a. Abu Sulaiman) argued that government officialswere “belittling us, but they were exaggerating the problem of terrorism in thecountry.”156 In a telephone interview pertaining to the Super ferry 14 bombing,Abu Sulaiman also taunted the Philippine government by saying, “"Still doubtfulabout our capabilities? Good. Just wait and see. We will bring the war that youimpose on us to your lands and seas, homes and streets. We will multiply the painand suffering that you have inflicted on our people."157 Though the membership of the ASG continues to be small at present, it isventuring into vigorous recruitment activities to recover from the lost of itsmembers who were killed, neutralized and arrested after 9/11. It has varioustechniques to recruit members as discussed in Chapter 8 of this book. Aside fromreligious propaganda and agitation, the ASG motivates recruits through financialreward. It also pays local recruits to serve as second and third security layer oftheir makeshift camps. Some members start their recruitment process byinitially befriending potential recruits through ball games or pot (marijuana)sessions. The ASG also utilizes deception to recruit members. ASG leaders allowyoung Muslims to bring their firearms and take pictures of them and then use thepictures to blackmail them of joining the group.158 The ASG also uses marriagesto expand its membership.Reviving Radical Islamism, Returning to Terrorism? From mere banditry, Khadaffy Janjalani attempted to reinvigorate theASG to be a “genuine” Islamic Movement, the Al-Hakarakatul Islamiya, whichresorts to terrorism as a political weapon. The explosion of Super Ferry 14 washallmark of terrorism. The bombing of Super Ferry 14, carrying more than 899passengers, resulted in the death of 116 persons and the wounding of 300 others. 156Cited in Abuza, Balik-Terrorism: The Return of the Abu Sayyaf, p. 11. 157MarcoGarrido, “After Madrid, Manila?”, Asia Times, 24 April 2004, at<> (accessed on 28 August2004). 158 Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Knowing the Terrorists: The AbuSayyaf Study, p. 41. 56
  • 56. On the eve of Valentines celebration in 2005, the ASG also mastermindedthree simultaneous bombings in Makati City, Davao City and General SantosCity. The 2005 Valentines Day bombing resulted in the death of at least 10persons and the wounding of 136 others. Abu Sulaiman said that the threebombings were ASG’s Valentine’s gift to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo andwarned “we will not stop until we get justice for the countless Muslim lives andproperties that you people have destroyed.” Shortly after the 2005 Valentine’s Day terrorist attacks, detained ASGmembers at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City conducted a foiled jailbreakattempt in March 2005. The foiled breakout caused the death of 5 ASGmembers, including Galib Andang. In August 2005, the ASG waged anotherterror attack when it bomb the Dona Ramona ferry in Lamitan, Basilan. At least30 people, including several children, were wounded during the ferry bombing.Two weeks before the bombing, the ASG staged small bombing attacks inZamboanga City, Koronadal City and Cotabato City in Mindanao. All thesebombing incidents in 2005 were hallmarks of terrorism rather than merebanditry. These bombings indicated that the ASG already transformed itself from amere bandit group to a genuine terrorist organization. Khadaffy Janjalani wasreported to have attempted to reactivate the Islamic Executive Council (IEC) ofthe ASG to pursue its goal of establishing an Islamic state in Mindanao.Conclusion As current trends show, the ASG has exhibited the characteristics ofbanditry and terrorism. The ASG, therefore, is an example of a non-state armedgroup where the nexus of banditry and terrorism is found. Acknowledging thebanditry-terrorism nexus is essential to have a better understanding of the ASG. 57
  • 57. CHAPTER 4 Threat of Maritime Piracy and Terrorism*Introduction This chapter aims to describe the capability of the ASG to conduct piracyand to wage maritime terrorism. It endeavors to analyze the fine line betweenpiracy and terrorism, using the ASG as an example. Specifically, this chapterattempts to address the dual role that ASG members play as both pirates andterrorists in Philippine waters, the use of maritime piracy to fund terroristoperations, and the potential for ASG to transform the knowledge it has gainedthrough piracy into a tool of terrorism.Nexus Between Piracy and Terrorism In reaction to the growing number of attacks on ships and tankers passingthrough the sea lanes of Southeast Asia, particularly in the congested Straits ofMalacca, Singaporean Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng once opinedthat pirates roaming the waters of the region should be declared terrorists.159Minister Wong argued, “we do not know whether it’s pirates or terrorists whooccupy the ship so we have to treat them all alike”.160 But describing the nexus of piracy and terrorism is conceptuallyproblematic because many experts and policy makers are unsure at which pointpiracy becomes terrorism. *Revised and updated version of a paper entitled “The Abu Sayyaf Group: Threat ofMaritime Piracy and Terrorism” originally published in Peter Lehr (ed), Violence at Sea. Piracyin the Age of Global Terrorism (New York: Routledge 2007), pp. 121-138 This paper was alsopresented to the international conference, “Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Threat andResponse” sponsored by the US Department of State Counterterrorism Office and the Instituteof Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS) held at Traders Hotel, Singapore on 12-13 April 2006. 159Graham Gerald Ong, “Southeast Asian Pirates Bear the Marks of Terrorists”, Instituteof Southeast Asian Studies Viewpoints (1 January 2004), p. 1 at Also see Agence Prance Presse “Piracy andEquals Terrorism in Troubled Waters: Minister” (21 December 2003) at <accessed on 26 April 2005>. 160Ibid., p. 3. 58
  • 58. The distinction between piracy and terrorism161 is blurred because “piratescollude with terrorists, terrorists adopt pirate tactics and policymakers eager forpublic support start labeling every crime as maritime terrorism.”162 Terrorists canalso use piracy as a cover for maritime terrorist attacks. Motives of pirate and terrorist are arguably different from a conventionalperspective. Pirates pursue economic gains while terrorists advance politicalobjectives.163 But it is said that terrorists have developed some capabilities toeither adopt pirates’ tactics or “piggyback” on pirates’ raid.164 It is also viewedthat maritime terrorists, rather than simply stealing, could either blow up theship or use it to ram into another vessel or a port facility.165 Terrorist groups evenregard seaports and international cruise liners as very attractive terrorist targetsbecause they reside in the nexus of terrorist intent, capability and opportunity.166Thus, non-traditional security studies see the fine line between piracy andterrorism. There is no doubt that maritime piracy is becoming a preferred method offunding for some terrorist groups with strong maritime traditions. This makesthe threat of maritime piracy and terrorism overlapping, particularly in thetactics of ship seizures and hijackings. The ASG is among the terrorist groups inSoutheast Asia that has demonstrated its capability to use piracy both as acamouflage to wage maritime terrorist attacks and as a means to fund terroristventures.The ASG and the Threat of Piracy and Maritime Terrorism Piracy and maritime terrorism are inherent in the capability of ASG. MostASG members and followers belong to Muslim families and communities offishermen with a century-old seafaring tradition. Because ASG members live 161Thissection is largely based in Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Maritime Security Outlook forSoutheast Asia” in Joshua Ho and Catherine Zara Raymond (eds), The Best of Times, The Worstof Times: Maritime Security in the Asia-Pacific (Singapore: World Scientific, 2005). 162Rubert Herbert-Burns and Lauren Zucker, “Malevolent Tide: Fusion and Overlaps inPiracy and Maritime Terrorism” (Washington DC: Maritime Intelligence Group, 30 July 2004), p.1. 163Tamara Renee Shie, “Ports in a Storm? The Nexus Between Counterterrorism,Counterproliferation, and Maritime Security in Southeast Asia “, Issues and Insights, Vol. 4, No. 4(Pacific Forum CSIS, July 2004), p. 13. 164Patrick Goodenough, “Maritime Security Takes Center Stage in SE Asia”,CNSNews.COM (29 June 2004) at <Accessed 27 July 2004>. 165Ibid. 166Tanner Campbell and Rohan Gunaratna, “Maritime Terrorism, Piracy and Crime” inRohan Gunaratna, ed., Terrorism in the Asia Pacific: Threat and Response (Singapore: EasternUniversity Press, 2003), p. 72. 59
  • 59. close to the waters of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, they have gained tremendousfamiliarity of the maritime environment. In fact, most Muslim Filipinos living incoastal communities are experienced divers. ASG members’ deep knowledge ofthe maritime domain also gives them ample capability to conduct piracy andwage maritime terrorist attacks.167 Because of its embedded seaborne abilities, ASG’s first terrorist attackwas, in fact, maritime in nature. As mentioned previously, on 24 August 1991 theASG bombed the M/V Doulous, a Christian missionary ship and a Europeanfloating library docked at the Zamboanga port. At that time, the missionarieswere holding their farewell program after conducting their evangelization project.Two foreign missionaries were killed and eight others were wounded in the blast. The ASG waged this particular attack purely for political reasons.According to Abdurajak Janjalani, the bombing of M/V Doulous was a reaction ofthe group to the continuing military offensive against Muslims in the SouthernPhilippines. Janjalani even warned of more future violence to match if notsurpass the violence inflicted by the Philippine military on the Muslim people.But the Philippine government was clueless of the maritime terrorist capability ofthe ASG during this time. Initially, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), thePhilippine Navy and the PNP Maritime Group did not even regard this incidentas an act of maritime terrorism. It was only recently when Philippine authoritiesrealized that the ASG has developed capability to wage maritime terrorism. Three years after the M/V Doulous attack, ASG Secretary General AbuAbdu Said issued a document in 1994 explaining in detail the objective of thegroup in bombing the ship. This document denies that the ASG was a creation ofthe military as alleged by various media reports. It explains that the ASG is anorganization of radical Bangsa Moro people to seek kaadilan (justice) for FilipinoMuslims through the establishment of separate Islamic state.168 The documentalso states that the ASG had bombed the ship because foreign Christianmissionaries aboard the ship “spoke against Islam” and even called Allah a “falseGod.” These missionaries also described Prophet Muhammad “a liar” and theQuran a “man-made book.”169 According to University of the Philippinesprofessor Samuel K. Tan, “The desire to avenge the insult against the sacredvalues of Islam started the motive force of the Abu Sayyaf.”170 167Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Maritime Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Abu Sayyaf Threat”,US Naval War College Review, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Autumn 2005), pp. 63-80. 168Tan, Internationalization of the Bangsamoro Struggle, p. 95. 169Ibid., p. 94. 170Ibid. 60
  • 60. On August 1993, the ASG abducted Mr. Ricardo Tong, a prominentshipyard owner in Zamboanga City. The abduction of Mr. Tong demonstratedthat during its infancy stage, the prime target of ASG was the maritime sector.The ASG was more familiar with the maritime rather than with the mountainousterrain. Mr. Tong was released only on 17 January 1995 after paying a ransom of5 million Philippine pesos (roughly US$ 93,000). The Philippine militaryconsidered the kidnapping of Mr. Tong a criminal act because of ransompayments. But it was also a political act because the ASG issued some politicaldemands prior to the said abduction when it kidnapped in April 1993 Luis Biel, afive year old grandson of a bus company owner in Basilan. Among its demandswas the removal of all Catholic symbols in Muslim communities and the banningof all foreign fishing vessels in the Sulu and Basilan seas. The ASG continued itsterrorist and criminal activities afterwards. Because of the spate of kidnapping activities of the ASG, Philippinegovernment officials and foreign analysts said that the group already degeneratedinto a criminal organization. But Khadafy Janjalani attempted to revive theoriginal Islamic agenda of the ASG. The ASG resorted to kidnapping activities notmerely to commit crimes but to deliberately raise funds from ransom payments,which the organization used to buy arms and explosives for its terrorist activities.The Philippine law enforcement authorities recorded several arms shipments toBasilan and Sulu to supply ASG with explosives, mortar tubes, high-poweredfirearms and ammunition.171 With huge ransom money in its possession, the ASG was able to purchasepowerful weapons. ASG’s stock of firearms increased at an annual average rate of12 percent from 230 in 1994 to 390 in 2000. In 2003, the AFP reported that theASG possessed at least 300 firearms, not to mention its illegal possession ofexplosives and communication equipments being used for urban terrorism. The ASG also used part of its huge ransom money to build up itsmanpower and to lure local communities into providing mass support to theorganization. The ASG succeeded in recruiting some MNLF and MILF leadersand followers to join the group. The most prominent of these leaders wasSakiruddin Bahjin or Commander Ullom who served as Deputy Secretary forPolitical Affairs of the MNLF Central Committee. MNLF Commanders RadullahSahiron and Hadji Sulaiman Hadjirul also joined the ASG. With the huge amountof money in its possession as a result of a series of kidnap-for-ransom activitiesfrom 1991-2000, the ASG was able to offer monetary compensation to those partsof the local population who opted to become core members of its mass basesupport system.172 As stated earlier, ASG membership rapidly expanded from lessthan 100 fighters in 1991 to around 1,269 fighters in December 2000. According 171Ibid.172Ibid. 61
  • 61. to the Philippine Naval Intelligence Group, most of these fighters possessed amastery of the maritime domain because they belonged to families of fishermenwith a deeply rooted maritime tradition. Thus even before 11 September 2001, the ASG already developed thecapability to conduct piracy and wage maritime terrorism based on this maritimetradition. In fact, “piracy” has even been embraced in the Southern Philippines aspart of the local culture, a “normal” though “illegal” means of making money. ASG proved its maritime terrorist mettle when it waged another attack on23 April 2000, kidnapping some 21 tourists, including ten foreigners, from aMalaysian beach resort in Sipadan. These foreigners included three Germans,two Japanese, two Finns, two South Africans and a Lebanese woman. Thehostages were eventually taken to Jolo Island of Mindanao. This incidentdemonstrated ASG’s capability to operate outside its usual maritime turf. It alsodisplayed ASG’s creativity in waging maritime terrorist attacks because some ofits members disguised as diving instructor. ASG member Ruland Ullah, who isnow a state witness to the Sipadan hostage crisis, successfully disguised as adiving instructor in this Malaysian resort prior to the said incident. Anintelligence source revealed that Ullah trained some ASG members in scubadiving prior to the attack. In fact, the Philippine military recently confirmed thatASG members were trained in scuba diving to prepare for possible sea-borneterror attacks not only in the Philippines but also outside of the country. Based on the interrogation of Gamal Baharan, a captured ASG memberinvolved in the 2005 Valentines Day bombings of three major cities in thePhilippines, some ASG members took scuba diving lessons in southwesternPalawan as part of a plot for an attack at sea. Baharan said that the training wasin preparation for a JI bombing plot on unspecified targets outside thePhilippines that require underwater operation.173 Baharan also said that ASGAmir Khadafy Janjalani and ASG spokesman Abu Solaiman were on top of themaritime training. The Sipadan hostage drama was a serious maritime terrorist attack withclear political objectives because ASG issued several demands. These demandsincluded recognition of separate Islamic State in the Southern Philippines, aninquiry into the alleged human rights abuses against Filipino Muslims in Sabahand the protection of their ancestral fishing grounds in Mindanao. The Sipadanincident was also considered as an “act of piracy” because the ASG eventuallydemanded a $2.6 million ransom for the hostages. The ASG even threatened thePhilippine government to behead hostages if their demands were not met. Fewmonths after, ASG members kidnapped another three Malaysian nationals inPasir Beach Resort in Sabah on 30 September 2000 using a speedboat. Thisincident showed the fine-line between maritime piracy and terrorism. 173See Associated Press, “Terrorist Train for Seaborne Attacks” at <accessed on 27 April 2005>. 62
  • 62. The April 2000 Sipadan kidnapping incident was only resolved in 2001when the ASG reportedly received a $15 million ransom from the Philippinegovernment. But the payment of ransom money was marred by controversies.174The September 2000 kidnapping, on the other hand, was resolved when thePhilippine government troops in Talipao, Sulu successfully rescued the said threeMalaysian national under the operation Trident. But the maritime terrorist attacks of the ASG did not end there. On 22 May2001, ASG guerrillas raided the luxurious Pearl Farm beach resort on Samalisland of Mindanao. This incident resulted in the killing two resort workers andthe wounding of three others. Though no hostages were taken during this attack,the Samal raid demonstrated anew the willingness of ASG to pursue maritimetargets. On 28 May 2001, the ASG waged another maritime terror when itabducted three American citizens and seventeen Filipinos while spending avacation at the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan. Thus far, the Dos Palmas incident was the most notorious and the mostsensationalized attack of the ASG. The incident received international coveragebecause several of the victims were murdered and beheaded, including anAmerican citizen. The Philippine government declared a no-ransom policy andimposed a news black-out about the incident. But the Dos Palmas incident servedas a wake-up call for the United States to get involved in anti-terrorismcooperation with the Philippines.175 Because two American hostages were involved, the US military sent USArmy Special Forces to the Philippines to train AFP forces in counter-terrorism.The US Pacific Command even extended US$2 million assistance to thePhilippines from its regional security assistance program as a result of the DosPalmas incident. But when the lives of the two American hostages were put indanger, the US Army special operation forces changed the scope of their missionin the Philippines by facilitating the rescue of American citizens. During a rescueoperation mounted by the AFP in 2002, two victims, including an Americanmissionary, Martin Burnham, were killed. His wife, Gracia Burnham, the well-known survivor of the kidnapping incident, later wrote a memoir of her captivityin the hands of the ASG.176 174For an eyewitness account of the issue including the controversial payment of ransom,see Roberto N. Aventajado, 140 Days of Terror: In the Clutches of the Abu Sayyaf (Pasig City:Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2004). 175Larry Niksch, “Abu Sayyaf: Target of Philippine-US Anti-Terrorism Cooperation”, CRSReport for Congress (25 January 2002). 176Gracia Burnham and Dean Merrill, In the Presence of my Enemies (Wheaton, IL:Tyndale House Publishers, 2003). 63
  • 63. The Dos Palmas incident convinced the American government that theASG was a deadly foreign terrorist organization. To increase the capability of thePhilippine military to destroy the ASG, American and Filipino forces conductedthe controversial joint military exercise called Balikatan 02-1.177 Balikatan,literally meaning “shouldering the load together”, is the largest joint andcombined military exercise of Philippine and U.S. forces. The conduct of thisexercise is based primarily on the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), requiringthe two countries to undergo this type of exercise to develop their capacity toresist aggression and to combat common adversaries. The Philippines and American forces conducted the Balikatan 02-1primarily in the island province of Basilan, the haven of the ASG. Other troopsheld their exercises in and near Zamboanga City, the headquarters of PhilippineSouthern Command. Balikatan 02-1 originally involved 3,800 Philippine militarypersonnel and 660 US Special Forces and support personnel. The US augmentedits force five months later with 340 US Navy and Marine construction engineersand 176 Navy and Army engineers to implement some civil engineering projectsin support of the exercise. Admiral Dennis Blair, former Commander-in-Chief of the US PacificCommand (CINCPAC), described Balikatan 02-1 as the “largest militaryoperation against terrorism [outside of Afghanistan].”178 However, at thisoccasion, the number of American troops was relatively small compared to pastBalikatan exercises, which usually involved 1,500 to 3,000 American troops. Theconduct of Balikatan 02-1 resulted in the neutralization of many ASG members,including the reported death of notorious ASG spokesman, Abu Sabaya and theeventual capture of Sulu-based ASG leader Galib Andang, also known asCommander Robot. Galib Andang met his untimely death on 16 March 2005during the foiled jail break incident. But the neutralization, capture and death of some ASG leaders andmembers did not prevent the group from continuing its operations. In September2003, the ASG threatened to hijack some vessels of Sulpicio and WG&A linespassing through Sarangani Bay to generate funds while trying to recover from thesevere impact of Balikatan 02-1. According to PCG officials, they receivedintelligence reports that the ASG planned to attack one of the passenger vessels ofWG&A and Sulpicio lines plying the Mindanao route. Hence, the PCG intensified 177Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Role of Philippine-American Relations in the GlobalCampaign Against Terrorism: Implications for Regional Security, Contemporary Southeast Asia,Vol. 24, No. 2 (August 2002), pp. 294-312 and Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Philippine-AmericanSecurity Relations and the War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia” in International Relations of theAsia Pacific After 9/11 and China’s Accession to WTO, Wang Xingsheng, ed. (Guangzhou:Zhongshan University Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2003), pp. 80-95. 178Admiral Dennis C. Blair, "The Campaign Against International Terrorism in the Asia-Pacific Region" (Remarks to Asia Society Hong Kong Center on 18 April 2002) at<> [Accessed on 27 April 2002]. 64
  • 64. its patrol operations in Sarangani Bay and adjacent coastal areas to thwart anypossible hijack attempt by the ASG. The ASG, however, has a strong determination to pursue its maritimeterrorist operation. An intelligence source reported that during the last quarter of 2003, theASG kidnapped four Indonesian nationals and one Filipino in Borneo ParadiseEco-Farm Beach Resort in Lahad Datu, Sabah/Malaysia to raise funds.Reportedly, the hostages were divided into groups and separately brought toPatikul and Indanan in Sulu using speed boats. In April 2004, just two monthsafter the Super ferry 14 incident, the Philippine National Police Maritime Groupreported that the ASG hijacked a boat and kidnapped two Malaysian and oneIndonesian in the Southern Philippines near Sabah. Their abduction came on theheels of the escape of 23 ASG members from a Basilan jail. The foregoing cases clearly demonstrated the capability of ASG to conductpiracy and wage maritime terrorism. The ASG has resorted to piracy not merelyto commit crimes but to fund itself while at the same time wage maritimeterrorism to deliver political messages. The Filipino Coast Guard officials evenadmitted that the Philippines was seen increasingly under threat of piracy andmaritime terrorism posed by the ASG.179 Manila has even been identified asamong 26 city ports and anchorages vulnerable to such maritime attacks.180 Though it has been known that the ASG has already developed capabilityto wage various terrorist attacks in both the land and maritime domain, we haveyet to conduct further research on its capability to use piracy as a tool ofterrorism. Based on its records of various maritime attacks, beach resorts wereusual targets of the ASG. Though the ASG has threatened to hijack commercialvessels after 9/11, none of these threats were carried out except the bombing ofthe Super ferry 14 and the seizure of small boats to kidnap Indonesian andMalaysian nationals in April 2004. Though ASG members have undergonetraining to mount an attack at sea, plots have been foiled by the Philippine lawenforcement agencies. Sadly, details of these plots have not been publiclydisclosed by law enforcement authorities for further analysis. 179Agence France-Presse, “Philippines Seen Increasingly Under Threat from MaritimeTerrorism” (8 September 2003) at <accessed on 30 August 2004>. 180Ibid. 65
  • 65. Towards A Maritime Security Strategy to CombatASG’s Maritime Terrorist Threats Despite heavy military operations and amidst governmentpronouncements that the ASG has become a “spent force”, it continues to wreakterrorist havocs in the Philippines. The bombing of Super ferry 14 on 27February 2004 and the three simultaneous bombings in Makati City, GeneralSantos City and Davao City on eve of Valentines Day celebration in 2005 wererecent indications that the ASG is alive and kicking. In the telephone interviewpertaining to the Super ferry 14 incident, ASG spokesperson Abu Solaiman eventaunted the Philippine government by saying: “Still doubtful about our capabilities? Good. Just wait and see. We will bring the war that you impose on us to your lands and seas, homes and streets. We will multiply the pain and suffering that you have inflicted on our people.”181 (underscoring mine) As a result of the 2005 Valentines Day bombing, the PCG increased thesecurity of major ports in the Philippines. Intelligence operatives in plainclotheswere deployed in various ports in the country. The PNP Maritime Group alsotightened its security measures in the Visayas and Mindanao following the 2005Valentines Day bombing. At least six sea marshals were also assigned to ensurethe safety of passengers in every ship sailing in Philippine waters. PhilippineMarines have also been on foot patrol in various ports since the aftermath of the2005 Valentines Day bombing.Conclusion This cha[per initially described the maritime terrorist threat posed by theASG and its ability to use piracy as a tool for terrorism. From its record ofmaritime terrorist attacks, this paper observed that most targets of the ASG werebeach or coastal resorts. Though it has threatened to hijack commercial vessels,Philippine law enforcement authorities have thwarted these attacks, except thebombing of the Super ferry 14 and the seizure of small boats in April 2004. Despite the Philippine government’s declaration of the ASG as a spentforce due to intensified military operations and hot pursuits, it continues towreak terrorist havoc because of its ability to solicit local support and to link withJI, the MILF and the MNLF.181Marco Garrido, “After Madrid, Manila?”, Asia Times (24 April 2004) at <accessed on 28 August2004>. 66
  • 66. CHAPTER 5 Youth as Victims and Perpetrators of Terrorism* For statistical purposes, the United Nations defines ‘youth’, as thosepersons between 15 to 24 years old, without prejudice to other definitions byMember States.182 The Philippine government defines youth as those who are 15-30 years old. Many researchers and practitioners dealing with youth studies havelargely focused their attention on the deviant and risk behavior of youth such asjuvenile delinquency, drug addiction, and school dropout and, in the case offemale youth, teen-age pregnancy. Sadly, little scholarly attention has beendevoted to the study of youth and terrorism. This is a sad reality considering thatthe young persons are the most vulnerable to the ideas and acts of terrorism.They are even prone to what sociologists and psychologists call “youth violence”or what political scientists generally call political violence in which terrorismbelongs. There is an academic journal that is devoted to the issue of youth andterrorism. This journal is called Political Violence, Organized Crimes, Terrorismand Youth being published by IOS Press based in the Netherlands. This journalcan serve as a good academic platform in giving us a better understanding of themany ramifications of youth and terrorism not only in Southeast Asia but also inthe world.183 However, there has been no single explanation, to date, on why someyouth are engaged in violence and terrorism. What we do know is that the youthis full of exuberance and complex emotions making young people highly prone tovarious influences that can trigger their aggressive or “rebel” instincts. Whilemany youth have used their exuberance and complex emotions to become greatpoets, writers, singers, composers, inventors, teachers and leaders, somemisguided youth succumb to the negative feeling of rage and alienation thatprompt them to join criminal gangs, nuisance fraternities and even terroristgroups. But when it comes to terrorism, are youth victims or perpetrators? *Revised version of a speech delivered at the International Conference on Youth andTerrorism organized by the Ministry of Information in collaboration with the Southeast AsiaRegional Centre for Counter-Terrorism Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Feb 25 to 28, 2009. 182 “Youth and the United Nations” at 183 See Political Violence, Organized Crimes, Terrorism and Youth at 67
  • 67. In my book, War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia, I argued that the threatof terrorism in the region predated the gruesome September 11, 2001 attacks onthe United States. I have also emphasized that before and after 9/11, youth inSoutheast Asia, and elsewhere, have become aggrieved victims of terrorism. Astudy has shown that acts of terrorism have profound psychological impacts onyouth victims like posttraumatic stress, severe depression, separation anxieties(in the case of the loss of love ones) and others.184 In the Philippines, there is no doubt that youths have become victims and“perpetrators” of terrorism. Abdurajak Janjalani, the ASG founder, was only inhis 20s when he joined the Muslim rebel group in the Philippines and was 26years old when he formed the ASG in 1989. He originally called this group AlHarakatul Al Islamiyyah, which was joined by a brash of Filipino Muslim youthaging from 16 to 25 years old. Because of his strong charisma and great masteryof Islam, some Muslim Filipino youth in Basilan became so fanatic of Abdurajakenabling him to form an effective cadre of young Muslim fighters not only fromhis home province of Basilan but also from neighboring provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga. The Islamic thought and political ideas of Abdurajakcontinue to inspire some Muslim youths in the Southern Philippines. When Abdurajak died in a police encounter in 1998, his younger brother,Khadaffy Janjalani took his post as the new ASG Amir. Khadaffy was only 22years old when he became the successor of his older brother. It was during theleadership of Khadaffy when the ASG ventured into vigorous kidnap-for-ransomactivities, the most popular of which is the Sipadan Kidnapping in 2000 involvingsome 21 tourists, ten of whom were foreigners. Since 2001, the ASG hasconducted almost 800 kidnap-for-ransom activities. In 2000-2001 alone, theASG conducted 140 kidnap-for-ransom activities, the highest recorded in historyfor one year. Young and gullible, Khadaffy was effectively manipulated by older ASGleaders known for many criminal activities. Thus, the ASG became more of abandit group than a terrorist organization when Khadaffy took over. In 2004,Khadaffy attempted to revive the Islamic militancy of the ASG and in 2005 ledsome ASG operations that were hallmarks of terrorism rather than banditry. Buthis efforts were to no avail. Khadaffy died in a military encounter in 2006. Hewas only 31 years old when he passed away. At present, Yasser Igasan who was only 21 years old when he joined theASG in 1993 is leading the ASG. Igasan is presently endowed with youthfulidealism - more militant and aggressive leader who is expected to reinvigorate thereligious extremism of the ASG. Igasan’s youthfulness and wide experience in 184 See Jonathan S. Comer and Philip C. Kendall, “Terrorism: The Psychological Impacton Youth”, Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, Vol. 14, Issue No. 3 (July 2007), pp. 179 –212. 68
  • 68. community organizing, resource mobilization, serious Islamic training, andstrong linkages with likeminded groups in the Philippines and abroad can makehim the “reincarnation” of the ASG founder, Abdurajak Janjalani. If you are monitoring the developments in the Southern Philippines, youmay have heard already of the kidnapping of three employees185 of the ICRC on15 January 2009. Six teen-agers have been accused of abducting the threevictims. These abductors were believed to be under the command of notoriousASG commander Albader Parad, who is now in his early 30s but joined the ASGwhen he was still in his early 20s. Parad was also responsible for the kidnappingin June 2008 of Ces Drillon, a veteran Filipina journalist covering the Mindanaoconflict. On January 13, 2009, the ASG has been reported to have abductedanother victim, a Sri-Lankan peace advocate.186 I need to underscore that the ASG started with less than 1,000 members in1991. The bulk of ASG membership consisted of young Filipino Muslims whowere lured to join terrorist organizations because of economic marginalizationand silent discrimination. After a spate of kidnapping activities in the mid-1990s, many young Filipino Muslims flocked to the ASG until it reached amembership of almost 1,500 in 2000. After 9/11, the ASG membership rapidlydeteriorated to not more than 400, to date, according to government sources. If the peace process of the Philippine government with the MILF fails,there are fears that the ASG can lure young Muslim rebels in the SouthernPhilippines to join the group. MILF leader Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim alreadywarned as early as 2004 that a great deal is needed to quickly find a lastingsolution to the internal armed conflict in Mindanao “before younger Muslims inthe region succumb to the greater radicalism of the Abu Sayyaf”.187 I have been visiting the Bicutan Prison in Metro Manila as part of myinitiative to de-radicalize suspected ASG members in jail. There are 133suspected terrorists in this prison facility. Almost 70% of those in prison in theBicutan facility belong to age bracket 16-35. Among those in prison, I befriendedfour young inmates, namely Ahmad Santos, Redento Cain Dellosa, EdzmarHayudini and Yacub Basug. Who are these people and why it is important for usto discuss them. Ahmad Santos is the known founder of the Rajah Solaiman IslamicMovement (RSIM), a radical organization of Filipino Muslim converts moreknown in the Philippines as Balik-Islam (Muslim returnees). Ahmad wasradicalized when he was only 21 years old and founded the RSIM when he was 185 The three victims are Andreas Notter, a 38-year-old Swiss national; Eugenio Vagni, a62-year-old Italian and Mary Jean Lacaba, a 37-year-old from the Philippines. 186 The Sri-Lankan victim is Omar Jaleel from Nonviolent Peaceforce, an NGO. 187 Simon Elegant, “The Return of the Abu Sayyaf”, Time Asia, 30 August 2004. 69
  • 69. only 29 years old. The RSIM was accused of masterminding a series bombings inthe Philippines, the most dreadful of which was the Super ferry 14 bombing on 27February 2004. In the Super ferry 14 bombing, 116 were killed and 300 others wereinjured. Thus, the incident was described as “the worst terrorist attack in thecountry, the fourth worst terrorist attack since September 11, 2001 and Asia’sworst since the 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia.”188 I consider the Super ferry14 bombing as the worst maritime terrorist attack in Southeast Asia after 9/11.The person accused of carrying out the bombing was Redento Cain Dellosa, aFilipino Muslim convert who was only in his mid-20s during the incident. Edzmar Hayudini and Yacub Basug are accused of being the leadintelligence officers of the ASG. They were charged of kidnapping, multiplemurders and multiple homicides. They have never been convicted to date. Theywere only in their early 20s when they were radicalized. They reportedly joinedthe ASG in their early 20s and until they were captured in their later 20s. So, are youths really victims or perpetrators of terrorism? For me, some misguided youths have become perpetrators of terrorismbecause they are victims of difficult circumstances or harsh socio-economic andpolitical conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. Muslim Filipino youthin Mindanao belong to the most marginalized sector of the Philippine society.Based on Human Development Report in 2005, all provinces in the AutonomousRegion of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) belonged to the lowest humandevelopment index, which means that they have the lowest human developmentstatus– poor, impoverished, marginalized and vulnerable. Muslim Mindanao alsohas the lowest growth rate in the country and this affects the quality of life of theyouth sector there. Muslim youths in Mindanao are so economically and political deprivedthat they fail to go to school. The out-of-school youth in the Philippines got thehighest rate in Mindanao. Results of the Annual Poverty Indicators Survey(APIS) of the Philippine government showed that about 25 percent of theapproximately 1 million children and youth aged 6 to 24 years in the ARMM wereout of school. Among the children and youth who belonged to families in thebottom 40% income group in the ARMM, 28.4 percent were out of school.189 According to the International Youth Foundation, Mindanao’s high level ofpoverty, impoverished school systems, and unstable social and political situation, 188 “Super Ferry bombing last February a Terrorist Attack” Philippine Star, 12 October2004. 189For more discussion on this report, see “Out-of-school children and youth highest inARMM” at 70
  • 70. place its young people at particular risk.190 In fact, out of the 138 Muslimdetainees at the Bicutan jail that I mentioned earlier, more than half did notfinish secondary school while some did not finish elementary school. It evenbroke my heart when I was administering survey inside the prison that somecould not even read or write. These harsh realities have pushed some young Muslim Filipinos to joincriminal, rebel and terrorist groups. Rather than carrying books and pencils,they carry guns and grenades to make a living. They become child or youthsoldiers because they were deprived of the opportunities to study in order tobecome lawyers, engineers, doctors, teachers and others.191 Based on our study of young ASG members, many unschooled and out-of-work young Muslims in Mindanao have been recruited by the ASG. Easy cashand weapons lure them.192 They have become “militants for hire” motivated byeasy but dirty money. While some ASG members are driven by religious fervor,many of the young people who joined the ASG regarded their membership astheir means of livelihood. It is very interesting, and at the same time alarming, to note that in thecase of the kidnapping of three ICRC employees that I mentioned earlier, the ASGabductors demanded not ransom payments but free education and developmentprojects for impoverished Muslim communities in exchange for the freedom oftheir victims.193 Despite the sad state of some Filipino youths joining terrorist groups, I amhappy to share that many youths in Mindanao are now actively asserting theirrightful role as constructive players in addressing the difficult issues of politicalviolence, terrorism and armed conflicts in the Southern Philippines. To addressthe problem of youth, terrorism and armed conflict in Mindanao youth leaderscoming from the different communities of faith and ethnic traditions all overMindanao organized in November 2008 the three-day MINDANAO YOUTHPEACE CONFERENCE with its theme “The Muslim, Christian, and Indigenous 190 International Youth Foundation at 191See Merliza Makinano, “Child Soldiers in the Philippines” (February 2002) 192See Manny Mogato, “Ransom from kidnappings may revive Abu Sayyaf, ABS CBNNews (11 December 2008) at 193 Jim Gomez, “Filipino rebels want investment for hostages, The Associated Press (29January 2009) at 71
  • 71. Peoples youth leaders: looking back, looking inwards and looking ahead”.194 Inthis conference, the youth in Mindanao declared, “a peaceful Mindanao meansthe absence of social inequality, injustices, and environmental problems.”195They also urged that the vulnerable sectors, “especially the youth, women, andchildren must be heard, respected, and enjoined in all forms of peaceundertakings.”196 The Mindanao Youth Circle has also been organized to develop a unitedyouth sector for nation building, peace and development.197 There are also theMindanao Young Leader’s Parliament, (MYLP), the Bangsamoro Youth LeadersForum (BYLF), Bangsamoro Youth March for Peace Movement (BMYMPM), andthe like. But among the youth organizations in Mindanao, I find the Youth ofMindanao for Peace the most interesting. It aims “to build bridges of peace anddevelopment” in Mindanao.198 This group laments the following: The youth sector serves as the primary source of new recruits for rebel groups, whether secessionist or revolutionary, and worse, even of terrorist or vigilante groups. Their direct exposure to conflict situations, structural violence and marginalization, intercultural prejudice and antipathy, and discrimination-based violence have more often caused them to join these groups in their war against the state, or at the least had made them sympathize and support the insurgency and terrorist movements as civilians. The absence or lack of avenues and opportunities for the youth sector to participate as working partners of civil society in addressing the Mindanao peace and development problem has brought them to the point of hopelessness, where the only viable course for social transformation is taking up arms and/or using violence to combat the ills and gaps of the present system. Their idealism is slowly waning because of the frustration on the realities of the Philippine society, realities that should not be allowed to influence their thinking in the first place. How are they to fulfill their social roles if they Mindanao Youth Conference, “Statement of Unity and Solidary of Youth in Mindanao”, 194Mindanews (28 November 2008) at 195 Ibid. 196 Ibid. 197For more information about the vision, mission and activities of the Mindanao YouthCircle, please visit 198 Youth of Mindanao for Peace at 72
  • 72. are trapped in these unfortunate circumstances? Before apathy sets in, society should ensure that the potentials of our youth are developed to the maximum and used for their benefit and the other citizens of the Philippines. Rarely, is the youth sector provided with an opportunity where their collective suggestions and inputs on alternative solutions in addressing the Mindanao peace and development situation are taken seriously and sincerely considered in high-echelon gatherings of policy makers and opinion formers. This is mainly due to the still-pervading traditional notion or belief that the youth is ill equipped as a sector to act in a proactive and manner and initiate moves in working for peace and development among the peoples of Mindanao. Efforts of peace building should focus on - and include the participation of - the young for they are the shapers and builders of tomorrow.199 With that note, let me end my talk by reiterating that some youths havebecome perpetrators of terrorism because they are victims of bitter circumstancesand harsh social, economic and political structures that deprive them theopportunities to develop their full potential as partners for peace anddevelopment. But allow me to underscore that the youth is not only our nation’s hope.The youth is the hope of the entire world as they represent the future generationof leaders and citizens who can make our world a better place. 199 Ibid. 73
  • 73. CHAPTER 6 Media and Terrorism*Introduction On 19 October 2007, a blast ripped through the Glorietta 2 mall in MakatiCity, the Philippines’ main financial center. The blast resulted in the death of 11people and the wounding of at least 120 others. A day after the blast, the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM),through its ideological beacon, Sheik Omar Lavilla, claimed responsibility for thesaid explosion and demanded the release of its Amir, Ahmad Santos.200 TheRSIM is a group of Muslim converts having links with the ASG. Results of police investigation, however, revealed that the blast was anindustrial accident and the so-called claim of RSIM was a mere hoax.Nonetheless, the Glorietta 2 mall explosion has revived public discussion on theRSIM, which is believed to have been disbanded in 2006. One of the major sources of terrorist threats in the Philippines is theRSIM. More known by some analysts as the Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM)or Rajah Solaiman Revolutionary Movement (RSRM), it is alleged to be aclandestine organization of Muslim converts in Manila collaborating with theAbu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the JemaahIslamiyah (JI) and even Al-Qaeda to wage urban jihad in the Philippines. TheRSIM was accused of having participated in various bombing incidents in thecountry, particularly the Davao Airport bombing in March 2003, the Super ferry14 bombing in February 2004, and the Valentines Day bombing in Makati in2005. Though the RSIM is believed to have been deactivated in 2006 as a resultof the capture and death of its key leaders, remnants of the RSIM havereportedly joined the ASG. The RSIM has used the media in all its forms tospread its Islamic fundamentalist ideology, publicize its cause and mount someterrorist operations. *Originally published as “Media and Terrorism in the Philippines: The Rajah SolaimanMovement” in Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, vol. 4, no. 1 (April 2009),pp. 64-75. 200 “Rajah Solaiman group remains in blast suspect list – PNP task force”, GMA News (23October 2007) at 74
  • 74. This paper examines the use of media in terrorism in the Philippinesfocusing on the RSIM, an ASG-linked group, as a case study. It aims to describeRSIM’s use of the broadcast (radio and television), print (news papers,magazines) and cyber media (internet) to spread its Islamic fundamentalistideology that frames the terrorist acts of its members.Literature on Media and Terrorism: An Analytical Review Terrorism scholar Bruce Hoffman once opined that terrorism and media“are bound together in an inherently symbiotic relationships, each feeding of andexploiting the other for their purposes.”201 Former British Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher commented that media provides terrorists “the oxygen ofpublicity”.202 It is even viewed that media provides terrorists the useful link withtheir audience. Frederick Hacker stressed that “if the media did not exist,terrorists would have to invent them.”203 This has prompted a terrorist expert,Walter Lacquer, to conclude, “The media are a terrorist’s best friend.”204 Terrorists regard the media as a weapon of war. Terrorists identify themedia as potential supplements to their arsenal. According to Gus Martin,“When terrorists successfully-and violently-manipulate important symbols,relatively weak movements can influence governments and entire societies. Evenwhen a terrorist unit fails to complete its mission, intensive media exposure canlead to a propaganda victory.”205 Many studies linking media and terrorism have concentrated ondescribing the response of media when terrorist attacks occur. Most of theexisting literature “agreed that the relationship between terrorism and the massmedia is ‘symbiotic’, in that insurgent terrorist organizations use the media as aconduit for their political message to be heard by the target audience, whilstsupplying ‘exciting news’ for the media.”206 201Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism (New York: Columbia Press, 1998), p. 142. 202Quoted in Ibid., p. 143. 203Cindy C.Combs, Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century, 2nd edition (New Jersey:Prentice Hall, Inc., 2000), p. 128. 204Quoted in Ibid. 205Gus Martin, Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues(California: Sage Publications, Inc., 2003), p. 295. 206For excellent references written before 9/11, see Brigitte Nacos, Terrorism and theMedia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994) and Philip Schlesinger, Media, State andNation: Political Violence and collective Identities (London: Sage Publications, 1991). 75
  • 75. But Jonathan R. White provides three different points of view aboutterrorism and the media.207 The first view regards the media as a quasi-Constitutional force thatcritically balances government’s view of terrorist events. But this view is basedon the assumption that media is behaving responsibly (responsible journalism).Abraham Miller’s study on terrorism and the media indicates that the media hasa self-regulating mechanism that prevents media from interfering with securityforces or even from assisting terrorist groups when reporting. The media has“internal codes”, so to speak, “ controlling journalistic excess.”208 The second view considers the media as terrorism’s natural ally.According to Norman Podhoretz, the media and terrorism had informal collusionbecause both are in business for mutual benefits.209 Yohan Alexander supportedthis view when he explained that the media have become the tool of terrorismwhile terrorism has provided the media an excellent story to report.210 Byreporting terrorism incidents, the media carry several messages that favorterrorism propaganda campaigns. To publicize their cause, terrorists purposely attract media attention andconsequently the general public.211 Terrorists deliberately cultivate relationshipwith media personalities in order to communicate their grievances. Someterrorist groups even establish aboveground organizations that intentionallypromote close relations with media, particularly those members of the press whoare hunger for scoops to be the first to report break news.212 The third view, however, contends that while the media may exploitterrorism to sell a good story, “they rarely convey messages favorable toterrorists.”213 207Jonathan R. White, Terrorism: An Introduction, third ecdition (Belmont, USA:Wasdsworth Group, 2002), p. 258. 208Ibid. For more details, see Abraham Miller, Terrorism, the Media and the Law (NewYork: Transnational, 1982), pp. 133-147. 209Ibid. See Norman Podhoretz, “The Subtle Collusion”, Political Communication andPersuasion, Vol. 1 (1981), pp. 84-89. 210Yonah Alexander, “Terrorism, the Media and the Police”, in Henry Van (ed),Terrorism, Political Violence and World Order (Landham, MD: University of America Press,1984), pp. 135-150. 211Martin, Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues, p. 281. 212Ibid, p. 291. 213White, Terrorism: An Introduction , p. 258. 76
  • 76. A study made by J. Bowyer Bell 214 and H.H.A Cooper215 pointed out thatwhile terrorists used the media for propaganda purposes, the media focusedmore on violence that built little sympathy for terrorists. This is supported byanother study made by Gabriel Weiman, Michael Kelly and Thomas Mitchell whorevealed that media reporting on terrorism violence painted a negative picture ofterrorism.216 Mindful of the valuable role of media to publicize its cause of IslamicPropagation and to spread it propaganda activities, the RSIM has utilized themedia in its various operations. The RSIM regarded the media as anindispensable part of its existence in order to get publicity, talk to the generalpublic and thereby create a favorable understanding of their cause. The RSIMeven deliberately seek press coverage of their acts to destabilize the enemy of“Islam”, create panic, generate a sense of unrest and amplify fear that thegovernment cannot provide security to its people.The RSIM Use of the Media The RSIM refers to a very minuscule radical segment of the Balik-IslamMovement (BIM). It is believed to have been founded by Hilarion del Rosario III,known in his Muslim name as Ahmed Santos, of Anda, Pangasinan, Northernpart of the Philippines. Many anecdotal stories state that the RSIM was namedafter Rajah Solaiman, the last Muslim King of Manila. The Philippine National Police (PNP) discovered the existence of theRSIM, then known as RSM, when the PNP Intelligence Group (IG) investigatedin November 2001 the activities of Sheikh Omar Fernandez, a preacher of IslamicStudies, Call and Guidance (ISCAG).217 214J.Bowyer Bell, “Terrorists Scripts and Live Action Spectaculars”, Columbia JournalismReview, No. 17 (1978), pp. 47-50. 215H.H.A. Cooper, “Terrorism and the Media” in Yonah Alexander and Seymour Finger(eds), Terrorism: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (New York: John Jay, 1977), pp. 140-156. 216Gabriel Weiman, “Theater of Terror: Effects of Press Coverage”, Journal ofCommunication, No. 33 (1983); Michael Kelly and Thomas N. Mitchell, “TransnationalTerrorism and the Western Press Elite”, Political Communication and Persuasion, No. 1 (1981),pp. 269-296. Also see White, p.258. 217Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM): Origin, MilitantActivities and Current Threats” (Unpublished research commissioned by IBM Philippines, 14November 2006), p. 3. 77
  • 77. While Fernandez was conducting Islamic preaching at ISCAG, he was alsosuspected of providing bomb instructions to Marvin Apolinario Geonzon (aliasAbdul Malik Hasan), a Muslim revert218 Fernandez was also discovered to haveconducted Islamic teaching in the Fi Sabilillah Dawah and Media Foundation,Inc. (FSDMFI) chapter in Anda, Pangasinan of Central Luzon. It was in Andawhen Santos was believed to have formally founded the RSIM. During his tactical interrogation, Santos admitted to have organized in2001 a group of 20 radical Muslim reverts to establish a core of Balik-IslamMujahideen in a makeshift camp in Anda. He originally called this groupHaraka or Harakat, which literally means “the movement”. The forerunner ofthe RSIM is the FSDMFI, which also belonged to a larger movement called Balik-Islam, a Filipino word describing the phenomenon of religious conversion ofFilipino-Christians to Muslim faith. Almost all members of the FSDMFI and theRSIM are associated with the BIM. Ahmad Santos formed the RSIM through the FSDMFI as a tool topropagate Islam in the Philippines and to mount a vigorous campaign in order tolure Christians to “revert” to Islamic faith. The FSDMFI has, in fact, become thelegal media front of the RSIM. It has the main goal of propagating “the trueessence of Islam in order to correct the misconceptions about Islam andMuslims.”219 Based on the records obtained from the Philippine Securities andExchange Commission (SEC), the FSDMFI also to pursue the followingobjectives: o The creation of a network that would employ TV, radio, and print media to serve as the propaganda and propagation arm of Salafi Islam o The creation of Balik Islam communities that will attempt to return to the early stages of Islam when it was yet unadulterated, as well as communities that will embrace Sharia and the Islamic philosophy o The Islamization of Luzon and the creation of an Islamic movement that intends to establish an Islamic political entity with Ahmad Santos himself as the Amir220 218Based on the debriefing of Marvin Apolinarion Geonzon @ Abdul Malik Hasan, thesuspect in the bombing of the Imperial Hotel and the Puericulture Restaurant in Zamboanga City,who was arrested on October 29, 2001. 219Rodolfo B. Mendoza, Jr. Philippine Jihad, Inc. (Quezon City: Philippine NationalPolice, 2002). Revised and updated version of this book will be published by the PhilippineInstitute for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in 2008. 220 Summary of Information “Evolution of Jihad Fi Luzon Movement” (Quezon City:Philippine National Police, 19 October 2004). 78
  • 78. Ahmad Santos formed the FSDMFI to allegedly served as the legal coverof the RSIM to promote the fundamentalist Islamic ideology of Wahabismcommonly practiced by Sunni Muslims. Wahabism provided the ideologicalcondition leading to the formation of the RSIM. Wahabism was traced to theIslamic thought of Abd-al Wahab who preached the “purification” of Islam basedon Salafi faith. The word Salafi means “righteous ancestors of Muslims ” in traditionalIslamic scholarship. Salafism advocates a return to a sharia-minded orthodoxythat aims to purify Islam from unwarranted accretions, heresies and distortions,which Abd-al Wahab avidly preaches. Thus, Wahabism and Salafism aretheologically related. Wahabism and Salafism are systems of belief that are saidto have vigorously informed the radical Islamic thoughts of Osama in Laden andother radical Muslim personalities. They fight for the jihad, seeking to re-createthe Muslim ummah and shariat to build an Islamic community worldwide.221 With the FSDMFI, Santos started preaching Islamic purification to Balik-Islam community. Santos had radio programs aired over DWBL from 9:30 to10:30 pm every Saturday to propagate his views. In his radio program, Santosdelivered lectures in the airwaves emphasizing the need to Islamize initially thewhole of Luzon and eventually the entire Philippines. Even in his oral lectureduring prayer meetings, he even agitated his audience with video clips ofMuslims being oppressed, massacred and butchered in different parts of theworld.222 With the charismatic lecture of Santos, an informant from the Balik-Islam community claimed that two to three persons everyday revert back to Islamat the FSDMI. The media facilities of the FSDMI were deliberately utilized basedon the belief of its followers that “Jihad in Islam is striving in the way of Allah bypen, tongue, hand, media and if inevitable, with arms.”223 (underscoring mine) Aside from radio, the RSIM also utilized the print media to propagatemilitant Islam. The RSIM used the FSDMI to regularly publish the“Pahayagan”, rendered in English as “Newspaper.” Santos admitted that the“Pahayagan” made him known in the Balik Islam community not only in thePhilippines but also in the Middle East where he used to be employed as anoverseas worker. The “Pahayagan” also broadened the network of Santos withthe print media community. Santos even recruited some members of the mediato convert to Islam. In fact, at the time of his arrest in October 2005, Santos wasknown to have served as the Chief of the ASG Media Bureau. 221Angel, Rabasa,, The Muslim World After 9/11 (Santa Monica, CA: RANDCorporation, 2004). 222 Based on revelations from a member of the FSDMFI interviewed on July 2005. 223 Rodolfo B. Mendoza Jr, Radical Fundamentalist Balik-Islam Movement in thePhilippines (Quezon City: Philippine Institute for Political Violence and Terrorism Research,forthcoming in 2008). 79
  • 79. The RSIM also encouraged the use of Internet for Islamic propagation. Inone of his preaching, Santos said, “If you do not have money, you can motivatepeople for the Jihad verbally and through the internet and other means of mediapropaganda.”224 The RSIM supported the hosting of Balik Islam website calledJamaa’tu Balik Islam: Reverts to Islam of the Philippines at to convey the message of establishing atrue Islamic community in the Philippines. The website is maintained by acertain Mike Al-Ghazi who has been identified by the police authorities as one ofthe key leaders of the RSIM. In one of his writings in the website, Al-Ghazi gavehigh importance to the role of media to promote Muslim unity. Al-Ghazi wrote: With Afghanistan and now Iraq and the Philippines crisis, present a unique opportunity to proceed towards the long-cherished goal of Muslim unity. An overwhelming majority of the Muslim states views the issue a grave one and favors some immediate action. The Muslim world must provide representation to Mujahideen in the various international bodies, supply resources to Mujahideen and build continue support for them through international media.225 Indeed, the RSIM has deliberately utilized the various types of media forIslamic propagation. What begs the question is: does media aid RSIM forIslamic propagation and terrorist activities? Does the media convey messagesfavorable to the RSIM? Does media publicize the cause of RSIM?The 2003 Davao City Bombing The RSIM was said to have committed its first major act of politicalviolence in March 2003 during the bombing of the Davao International Airport,which killed 21 people and injured 148 others.226 The Philippine governmentsuspected the MILF to be behind the blast but the MILF leadership denied theaccusation. RSIM members, Ibrahim Kessel and Abdul Karim Ayeras, actuallyconducted the said bombing operations. The bombing of Davao Airport was ajoint operation of the MILF and the RSIM. It was regarded as an “after-training”test for Kessel and Ayeras who just finished bomb training in an MILF camp. 224Ibid. 225Mike Al-Ghazi, “War Against the Muslim” at Accessed on 31 October 2007. 226Earlier, Balik-Islam personalities now associated with the RSM were involved in theRizal Day bombing of December 2000 where twenty-two people were killed and hundred otherswere injured. 80
  • 80. Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo strongly condemned theDavao bombing as “a brazen act of terrorism which shall not go unpunished."But the government was not fully informed that the RSIM masterminded theincident. Even the media did not have clue that the Davao bombing was thehandywork of the RSIM. Media coverage of the 2003 Davao bombing revealed itslow awareness at that time about the existence of the RSIM. But the media gavestrong publicity to the incident that pleased the perpetrators. The RSIM intentionally did not reveal its identity during the Davaobombing in order not to disrupt its Islamic propagation and conversionactivities. Santos was even operating openly in the Balik-Islam front. He re-organized the Balik Islam Unity Congress (BIUC) to mobilize the Muslimconverts in the country. Iesa Javier originally founded the BIUC in 2000 at theDarul Hijra Foundation in Baguio City. Mohammad Jamal Khalifa was said tohave been informed about the BIUC through telephone conversation.227 Policeauthorities regarded the BIUC as a large legal front organization of the RSIM. Based on intelligence documents received by the Philippine Institute forPolitical Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR), the RSIM was indeedresponsible for the 2003 Davao bombing. According to an informant associatedwith the RSIM, the following were sequences of events leading to the bombing:228 • It was in October 2002 that a plan was conceived to conduct terrorist operations in airports and piers in the country; • In December 2002, Ibrahim “Boyet” Kessel, Ricardo “Abdul Karim” Ayeras and a certain Mona and Mentang left for Davao City. Ayeras and Kessel were sent by Sheikh Omar Lavilla to undergo training in bomb-making under Mentang who is a member of the MILF; • The bombing of Davao Airport was a joint operation of the MILF and the RSIM and this was carried out in March 2003. Ibrahim Kessel, Abdul Karim Ayeras, and Mona returned to Manila after the bombing; and, • The successful bombing operations at the Davao City Airport earned Ibrahim Kessel and Abdul Karim Ayeras PhP 75,000.00 each which was given to them by Sheikh Omar Lavilla. The money was taken from the Sadaqah of Muhammad Ansari. Mona earned her reward from the operations through the Philippine Association of Muslimah Dar Al Eeman Inc. 227Rodolfo B. Mendoza, Jr. Radical Fundamentalist Balik-Islam Movement in thePhilippines, p. 35. 228Revelations of a Balik Islam personality given during the first week of January 2006. 81
  • 81. The government blamed the MILF for the incident because the blastcarried an MILF trademark. The blast carried the trademark of the MILF because RSIM operativeswere trained by MILF instructors. In January 2002, Ahmad Santos started the Jihad training of RSIMmembers in MILF camps. MILF spokesperson Eid Kabalu told media on October29, 2005229 that Ahmad Santos introduced himself in early 2000 as a crusadingnews reporter to penetrate Camp Abubakar, then the main headquarters of theMILF. Santos also told the leaders of the MILF that he is a Muslim convert tomake the MILF comfortable. Kabalu admitted that he “personally met theAhmad Santos. Eid Kabalu said that Santos managed to embed himself within theMILF community and he later met contacts to meet the late ASG leader KhadaffyJanjalani.The 2004 Super ferry 14 Bombing: The Launching of the RSIM The bombing of Super ferry 14 on 27 February 2004 resulted in thegruesome death of 116 people and the serious wounding of at least 300 others.This tragic incident in Philippine water apparently converted the Super ferry 14into a dreadful floating inferno. It was also the most violent man-made disaster inPhilippine waters since 11 September 2001 and the worst terrorist attack in Asiasince the 2002 Bali bombing. The post-blast investigation conducted by the PNP showed that anImprovised Explosive Device (IED) placed at the Tourist section of the Superferry 14 caused the Super ferry 14 explosion. Police investigation also revealedthat RSIM operatives carried out the Super ferry 14 bombing. The main suspectwas Redendo Cain “Habil” Dellosa who was one of those arrested in Anda,Pangasinan in May 2002 for illegal possession of firearms and explosives. But Dellosa posted bail and went into hiding until he was arrested and putto jail in March 2004 in connection with the ferry bombing and other criminalcharges. Dellosa was the “Passenger 51” identified by Khadaffy Janjalani andAbu Solaiman in radio interviews. Though Dellosa denied his involvement in the Super ferry 14 incident,Walter Villanueva, an alleged member of the RSIM, admitted in his swornstatement on 7 September 2004 that Dellosa was indeed the “Passenger 51”mentioned by Khadaffy and Abu Solaiman and reported in print and broadcast 229 News article “Arrested RSM leader infiltrated MILF in 2000” October 29,2005. TheDaily Tribune. 82
  • 82. media. Villanueva admitted the following to the Criminal and InvestigationDetection Group (CIDG) of the PNP:230 • That Habil Dellosa ( Redendo Cain Dellosa) was a fellow Balik Islam who became Villanueva’s acquaintance as early as July 2003 when they prayed together at the FSDMFI at Purdue Street, Cubao, Quezon City every Friday; • That on or about February 25, 2004 at around 7:30 PM, Villanueva received a text message from Habil Dellosa asking permission to sleep over at his house in Project 8, Quezon City as the latter was planning to go to Mindanao the following day; • Villanueva agreed that Dellosa could sleep over at his house but the latter asked to be fetched at a Jollibee outlet in the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Kalentong Street in Mandaluyong City. The two met at the said place and arrived at Villanueva’s house at around 12:45 AM of February 26, 2004; • Upon arriving at the house, Villanueva noticed that Dellosa carried a big carton box with a TV inside. Dellosa opened the TV set and attached two wires inside. When Villanueva asked him what he was doing, Dellosa just answered that he planned to put the TV inside the Super ferry 14; • At around 4:45AM of February 26, 2004 Villanueva woke up and roused Dellosa from his sleep for their morning prayers and breakfast. Dellosa again attached two additional wires to the TV set and placed it inside the carton box. Villanueva said that he even assisted in sealing the box with packing tape and it was at this juncture that Dellosa revealed that the TV was loaded with TNT; • Before he was about to leave, Dellosa showed Villanueva a boarding ticket for Super ferry 14 in the name of “Arnulfo Alvarado”. Dellosa left for the pier on board a taxicab; • At around 9:00 AM of February 26, 2004, Villanueva received a text message from Dellosa informing him that he was already at the pier. At about 11:30 AM, Villanueva again received a text message from Dellosa informing him to go home to Sta. Ana, Manila to change the time setting of the TV bomb as the Super ferry 14 would not leave port until later that night. At around 10:00 PM Villanueva received another text message from Dellosa saying that the TV bomb was on board the Super ferry 14 and that he should wait for the news the following day; • Around 6:00 AM of February 27, 2004, Villanueva received a phone call from Dellosa telling him that the Super ferry 14 exploded. 230Case File “Super Ferry 14 Incident” Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. PNP2004. 83
  • 83. On March 29, 2004, Redento Dellosa was arrested and put to jail inconnection with the Super ferry 14 bombing and other criminal charges. Delllosaadmitted that he was the Passenger 51 who used the name “Arnulfo Alvarado” tobring to board an improvised explosive device. On 10 October 2004, the MarineBoard Inquiry tasked to investigate the Super ferry 14 explosion submitted areport to President Arroyo. This report confirmed that based on the confession ofDellosa, the RSIM/ASG conspiracy had indeed deliberately planted the bombthat sank ferry. Dellosa admitted during investigation that he placed around eightpounds of TNT in a television set that he carried onto the ferry. Media coverage of the 2004 Super ferry 14 bombing gave popularity to thepreviously unknown RSIM. Prior to the Super ferry 14 bombing, the generalpublic and even the international community had very little knowledge of theRSIM. The Super ferry 14 bombing was a milestone in the history of RSIM for itreceived a lot of international and domestic media attention. The media brought the RSIM in the mainstream of discussions onterrorism. Even the media conveyed the message of the RSIM not to tag theirmembers as terrorists. In one media interview, Ahmad Santos stressed, “we are not terrorists anddon’t coddle terrorists” explaining that the group’s main objective is to unite andsolidify reverts (as Balik-Islam members are called) as a fulcrum and pillar forother Muslim brothers.”231Malik Alimuddin and Gappal Bannah Confessions:The 2005 Valentines Day Bombing A Philippine intelligence report in November 2005 raised concern aboutthe collusion between media and terrorist personalities. Though some sectors ofthe media community vehemently condemned the allegation of the military,there were testimonies from the suspected terrorists affirming the collusionbetween terrorists and members of the press. The testimonies of Malik Alimuddin alias "Malik" and Gappal Bannahalias "Boy Negro" were examples. Both were Abu Sayyaf members turned statewitnesses. Malik and Boy Negro were arrested for the 2005 Valentines Daybombing, which resulted in the death of ten persons and wounding of 136others. Both supported the military intelligence report of collusion between someterror groups and the media. They even admitted the link among the RSIM, theASG and some members of the Philippine press. 231Julmunir I. Jannaral , “Islam Converts Vilified by AFP”, Manila Times (8 April 2004)at Accessed on30 October 2007. 84
  • 84. Boy Negro underscored in his sworn statements that the RSIM and theASG got assistance from their media contacts to “get good press in theirpropaganda war against the government”232 Boy Negro elaborated, “Manymembers of the media in Mindanao and from Manila help us, from thenewspapers, television and radio. The same members of the media get a cut fromthe money that the ASG gets from their kidnapping activities. That is whyJanjalani boasts about his closeness to the press because of their contacts.”233 Malik, who admitted to have aided the RSIM in carrying out the 2005Valentines Day bombing, corroborated the allegation of Boy Negro when theformer confessed, “There are members of the media and of the police who protectthe RSM and ASG. The supporters from the media help out the RSM and ASG ifthey get caught.”234 Malik said that without the support of the media, it would beharder for them to operate and to propagandize. In other words, the media notonly publicized the cause of RSIM but also gave protection to the some RSIMpersonalities.The Julius Babao Case235 Another case involving the media and the RSIM was the controversialstory of Julius Babao, the anchor of the primetime news program “TV PatrolWorld” at ABS-CBN Channel 2, the largest television network company in thePhilippines. Admiral Tirso Danga, then the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence,accused him for posting the bail of RSIM member Dawud Santos amounting toP200,000.00 last April 26, 2005. This accusation was based on the report of theIntelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) submitted toPresident Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who shared the report as an off-the-recordstatement to newspaper columnist, Ramon Tulfo. According to ISAFP report, Babao allegedly guaranteed the bail and usedhis influence as a member of the press to act as a "guarantor" for Dawud Santos.Babao reportedly entered into this arrangement to a scoop breaking news on theRSIM. 232“2ex-terrorists link journalists, cops to Sayyaf” in Sun Star Network Online (16November 2005) at Accessed on 30 October 2007. 233Ibid. 234 Ibid. 235Some portions of this section was written by Diane Junio, Chief Research Analyst of thePhilippine Institute for Political Violence and Terrorism Research. Also appeared in Mendoza ,Radical Fundamentalist Balik-Islam Movement in the Philippine, op cit. 85
  • 85. Babao and the ABS-CBN management denied the allegations. Babaoexplained that he only met Dawud Santos to introduce him to a computer expertwho facilitated his release. Dawud Santos later claimed in a media interview thatBabao merely acted as “reference” with the surety company. The ABS-CBNCompany even cleared Babao in its internal investigation. Based on its 11-pagereport, the ABS-CBN stressed, “We find the evidence shows there is absolutely notruth to the charges against Babao: he neither posted nor guaranteed bail forDawud Santos.”Conclusion The RSIM and the media had symbiotic relationship. The RSIM providedthe media a good story to report while the media provided the RSIM an outlet topublicize its cause. There was also allegation that the RSIM had collusion withmedia personalities. Even Ahmad Santos was a member of the press when hefounded the RSIM. The RSIM intentionally used the media to spread its Islamicfundamentalist ideology and mount some terrorist operations. At present, the RSIM is organizationally decimated and functionallyinactive. But the media revived public interests on the RSIM when it linked theRSIM with the Makati Blast on 19 October 2007. Results of investigationrevealed that the Makati Blast was an industrial accident and that RSIMinvolvement was a hoax. It has to be pointed out, however, that though the RSIM is presentlydormant, it still has the capacity to be active if its remaining followers are able tosolicit overseas funds to support their operations. 86
  • 86. CHAPTER 7 Sources of Resilience* Since the launching of the global war on terrorism in the aftermath of theSeptember 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the Philippines hasbeen engaged in a prolonged military campaign against the Abu Sayyaf Group(ASG). Key ASG leaders have been killed in this battle, while others have beenimprisoned for various crimes associated with terrorism. Despite these successes,authorities have not been able to eliminate the ASG completely, and the groupremains a threat to Philippine internal security. Even after losing key fieldcommanders, the ASG is still able to replenish its membership primarily fromaffected and influenced villages in Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) inthe southern Philippines. After providing a brief background of the ASG, this article examines thesources of the ASG’s resilience in the face of government and internationalpressure. It argues that the ASG is a product of complex tensions in the southernPhilippines, where criminal, political and militant groups at times collaborate toachieve shared goals. It also shows the limits of countering terrorism in thesouthern Philippines.A Deeper Look at the Founding of the ASG Analysts traditionally trace the evolution of the ASG to AbdurajakJanjalani, who reportedly founded the group in the early 1990s. While there is nodoubt that the ASG’s original ideological foundation is attributed to the politicaland religious ideas of Abdurajak, what he actually organized was a group calledal-Harakatul al-Islamiyyah (AHAI) or the Islamic Movement, whose originalmembers were drawn from his followers in Jamaa Tableegh, an Islamicpropagation group that he formed in Basilan in the early 1980s.236Abdurajakofficially declared the creation of AHAI in 1989 to pursue Jihad Fi Sabilillah,defined as “fighting and dying for the cause of Islam.”237 Yet it was only in 1993when AHAI formally organized with Abdurajak as the Amir.238 *Originally published by the Combating Terrorism Center, West Point in CTC Sentinel(3 May 2010). Electronic version is at’s-resilience-in-the-southern-philippines. 236 For a more detailed history, see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Abu Sayyaf Group andTerrorism in the Southern Philippines Seven Years After 9/11: Threat and Response,” PhilippineInstitute for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, September 2008. 237 Ibid. 238 Ibid. 87
  • 87. Since the formal launch of AHAI in 1989, Abdurajak delivered severalKhutbahs or sermons and released several fatwa using the nom-de-guerre “AbuSayyaf,” in honor of Afghan resistance fighter Abdul Rasul Sayyaf.239 WhileAbdurajak idolized this Afghan leader, the suggestion that Abdurajak was anAfghan war veteran is still a subject for verification.240 Some living FilipinoAfghan war veterans, for example, have challenged the claim that Abdurajakactually fought in the Afghan war—arguing instead that it was his youngerbrother, Hector, who participated in the conflict.241 Abdurajak’s Khutbahs and fatwa became popular not only in Basilan butalso in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga City. His popularity caught the ire ofpolice and military authorities because Abdurajak was associated with the MoroNational Liberation Front (MNLF), a group that declared jihad against thePhilippine government. Since Abdurajak used the pen name “Abu Sayyaf,” themilitary described his followers as a group of Abu Sayyaf, which was popularizedin media as the Abu Sayyaf Group, or ASG. The popularity of this group spread widely in Mindanao and was locallyknown as Juma’a Abu Sayyaf. In August 1991, Abdurajak publicly used the nameASG in connection with the bombing of the MV Doulos, a Christian missionaryship docked at the Zamboanga City port.242From Islamic Movement to a Bandit Group From an Islamic movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the ASGreceived the label of a bandit group from the Philippine government for partakingin several bombing, extortion and kidnap-for-ransom activities. Although theASG received initial funding from al-Qa`ida in the mid-1990s through theactivities of Muhammad Jamal Khalifa, external funding was cut off whenPhilippine authorities discovered Khalifa’s clandestine operations in the 239 Ibid. 240 Personal interview, Noor Umog, former member of the Abu Sayyaf Group, April 8,2010. 241There is need to conduct research on the life and stories of Filipino Muslim veterans ofthe Afghan war. Some have died, some have been imprisoned but there are still remainingveterans all over Mindanao. There are a few staying in Muslim communities in Manila trying tomake a living peacefully. 242 “Abu Sayyaf Kidnappings, Bombings and Other Attacks,”, August 23,2007. 88
  • 88. country.243 To mobilize resources, the ASG resorted to a kidnap-for-ransom spree inthe late 1990s. The ASG’s most publicized kidnap-for-ransom activities were theMarch 2000 attacks in elementary schools in Basilan,244 the April 2000 attack atthe Sipadan resort of Malaysia245 and the May 2001 attack at the Dos Palmasresort of Palawan.246 These attacks prompted the Philippine government todescribe the ASG as a group of bandits interested in moneymaking throughkidnapping activities. As a result of limited foreign funding since 9/11, the ASG has relied onkidnapping activities as its major source of funding—this continues today.247Other sources of its funding come from extortion activities (disguised as zakat, oralms giving), counterfeiting of goods, illegal drug sales or serving as bodyguardsfor local politicians.248From a Bandit Group to a Terrorist Group The aftermath of 9/11, however, resulted in the redesignation of the ASGfrom a bandit group to a terrorist group. The United States listed the ASG as aforeign terrorist organization, justifying the deployment of U.S. troops to thesouthern Philippines to assist and train the Philippine military in countering thethreat. 243 The discovery is fully described in the report, “The Islamic Fundamentalist/ExtremistMovements in the Philippines and their Links with International Terrorist Organizations,”December 1994, produced by the Special Investigation Group-Intelligence Command of thePhilippine National Police headed by Rodolfo B. Mendoza, Jr. 244For an excellent account, see Jose Torres Jr., Into the Mountains: Hostaged by the AbuSayyaf (Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 2001). 245 For first-hand accounts of this incident, see Roberto N. Aventajado, 140 Days ofTerror: In the Clutches of the Abu Sayyaf (Pasig City: Anvil, 2004) and Werner Wallert, HostageTerror: Abducted by the Abu Sayyaf (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2009). 246For a gripping account of her tragedy in this attack, see Gracia Burnham, In thePresence of My Enemies (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2003). 247 Rodolfo B. Mendoza, Jr., “The Evolution of Terrorist Financing in the Philippines,”presented at the International Conference in Countering the Financing of Terrorism at the SuluHotel, Philippines on July 7-8, 2008; Personal interview, Major General Benjamin Dolorfino,Commander of the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Zamboanga City,Philippines, March 25, 2010. 248Personal interview, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, Commander of Naval ForcesWestern Mindanao of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Zamboanga City, Philippines, March24, 2010. 89
  • 89. Since 9/11, the ASG has engaged in a series of terrorist activities such asthe Davao International Airport bombing in March 2003 that killed 21 people,the Super ferry 14 bombing in February 2004 that killed 116 people and theValentine’s Day bombing in February 2005 that killed 20 people.249 During thisperiod, the ASG engaged in several bombing activities that were hallmarks ofterrorism rather than banditry.250 ASG’s bomb-making skills were acquired through joint training withJemaah Islamiya (JI) operatives in the southern Philippines. Dulmatin and UmarPatek, alleged masterminds of the 2002 Bali bombing, have been identified byPhilippine intelligence authorities as key trainers of the ASG on the manufactureand use of improvised explosive devices.251 Dulmatin and Umar Patek reportedlytrained some ASG members with members of the Special Operations Group(SOG) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).From Terrorist Group to Bandit Group Again When the Philippine military waged Oplan Ultimatum in August 2006 as acounterterrorism offensive to eliminate the ASG, it led to the demise of key ASGleaders, particularly Khadaffy Janjalani and Jainal Antel Sali, Jr. (also known asAbu Solaiman). The success of Oplan Ultimatum led to the drastic decline of ASGmembership to an estimated 200 members at the conclusion of the campaign in2007.252 Yet the ASG was able to recover its membership when it mounted aseries of kidnapping activities in 2008. This allowed the group to amass money,which attracted Muslim youth to join the spree. The massive kidnapping activities of the ASG started in June 2008 withthe abduction of well-known Filipina journalist, Ces Drilon, and her cameraman.This was followed by the kidnappings of three workers of the InternationalCommittee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in January 2009 and two Chinese nationalsin November 2009.253 In between those dates, several local residents werekidnapped, with one local teacher in Jolo beheaded in November 2009. Indeed, For details on these attacks, see Enrico Antonio La Vina and Lilita Balane, “Timeline: 249The Abu Sayyaf Atrocities,” Newsbreak Online, March 31, 2009. 250 For detailed analysis, see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Abu Sayyaf Group: From MereBanditry to Genuine Terrorism,” in Daljit Singh and Lorraine Salazar eds., Southeast AsianAffairs 2006 (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2006), pp. 247-264. 251 Dulmatin was killed in Indonesia on March 9, 2010. Umar Patek is believed to haveleft the Philippines, but there are reports that he is still in Jolo, Sulu in the southern Philippines. 252 Rodolfo B. Mendoza, “Updates on Terrorist Organizations in the Philippines,” lecturedelivered at the Brunei Darussalam Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, December 3, 2009. 253 “Teacher Beheaded in Philippines,” BBC, November 9, 2009. 90
  • 90. the ASG degenerated into a bandit group again. With money in their pockets resulting from several ransom payments, theASG was able to accommodate younger recruits not interested in ideology, but inguns and money. Muslim parents in impoverished villages of BASULTA evenvolunteered their sons to join the ASG in exchange for a monthly supply of riceand financial support to the family of around $200.254 Some fathers evenreportedly traded their sons for guns.255 There were cases where young recruitsjoined the ASG as a status symbol against ordinary gangs in their communities.Some entered the ASG as a result of “pot” (marijuana) sessions with members.256There are a few who joined the ASG to exact revenge for the deaths of their lovedones killed by police or military forces. There are also members who joined theASG due to clan conflicts (known as rido), which is prevalent in Mindanao.257Sources of ASG Resilience As of April 2010, the ASG has an estimated 445 members, 79% of whomare 30-years-old and younger.258 According to the Philippine government, Sulurepresents the largest membership of 200 followed by 130 in Basilan, 90 inZamboanga City, 20 in Tawi-Tawi and five in Marawi City.259 The ASG hasbecome a resilient group because it is able to replenish its membership fromaffected and influenced villages in BASULTA through material inducements. InSulu alone, 46% or 115 of its total 251 villages are affected by the ASG.260 InBasilan, 25% of its 187 villages are affected by ASG.261 In other words, the ASGhas a reservoir of new recruits that provide the group its staying power. 254 Personal interview, senior intelligence officer, Armed Forces of the Philippines,Zamboanga City, Philippines, March 25, 2010. 255Ibid. 256Ibid. 257 Wilfredo Magno Torres III ed., Rido: Clan Feuding and Conflict Management inMindanao (Makati City: The Asia Foundation, 2007). 258 Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Evolving Threats of Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” lecturepresented at the 4th Asia Pacific Program for Senior National Security Officers organized by theCenter for Excellence in National Security, Singapore, April 13, 2010. For the estimates on ASGcadre, see Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Armed Forces of the Philippines,March 2010. Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Armed Forces of the Philippines, 259March 2010. 260 Ibid. 261Ibid. 91
  • 91. Aside from this reservoir, ASG leaders have also mastered the skills ofconniving with ordinary criminal groups in their operational areas to mountkidnapping and other criminal activities. The ASG has recognized fieldcommanders who are known bandits in the community. ASG commanderAlpader Parad, who was killed in February 2010, was a known kidnapper ratherthan an ideological leader in Sulu. Other field commanders of the ASG are alsoleaders of notorious criminal gangs in BASULTA who are engaged in piracy, armssmuggling, drugs trafficking and counterfeiting of goods. Furthermore, some ASG field commanders are protected by localpoliticians who also benefit from the illegal activities of the group—using ASGmembers as part of their private militias.262 Although the Philippine governmenthas established a commission to dismantle private armies, it remains to be seen ifthe commission can fulfill its mandate. According to the Philippine NationalPolice, there are more than 130 private armies in the entire country, in additionto rebel groups moonlighting as partisan armed militias of local politicians.263ASG members who are not part of the private army of a local politician offer theirservices as “thugs for hire,” particularly during election seasons. In other words, the ASG has become an entrepreneur of violence withmore of its members interested in pursuing money rather than a violent, Islamistideology. While other commanders still have the illusion of waging jihad toestablish an Islamic state in the southern Philippines, these individuals are aminority, usually those who studied in Islamic schools in the Philippines andabroad. Individuals such as Yasser Igasan, Khair Mundos and Isnilon Hapilon fitthe description of ideological leaders. Yet Igasan, who is rumored to be the nominal Amir of the ASG, remains ajihadist but lacks loyal armed followers to promote his mission. Mundos, who isleading the ASG in Basilan, also lacks followers who are committed jihadists.Most of Mundos’ followers are bandits who are not interested in pursuing jihad.Hapilon, who is leading some of the group in Sulu, is overpowered by other ASGfield commanders who are more interested in money generation. It is believedthat the current over-all operational commander of the is Radullan Sahironwhose armed followers are engaged in many criminal activities. In short, the majority of ASG members are not motivated by the promiseof an Islamic state or the virtue of jihad, but by the allure of money and power 262 Local politicians allegedly received commissions from ransom payments and proceedsfrom illicit trafficking of arms and drugs. This idea was also articulated by National SecurityAdviser and Acting Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales. Also see Jocelyn Uy, “Abu Sayyaf MenMaybe Moonlighting at Private Armies—Defense Execs,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 15,2010. 263 Jesus A. Versosa, “The PNP’s Role in Upholding the Law Against Private ArmedGroups,” Philippine National Police, January 27, 2010. 92
  • 92. that comes from the barrel of a gun. The ASG, therefore, has become a resilient group because its existence isenmeshed in a complex situation in the southern Philippines where rebels andterrorists connive with ordinary bandits, who collude with local politicians. Allthese various interests perpetrate violence on an island marred by more than 400years of ethnic conflict, banditry and rebellion.Limits of Countering Terrorism in the Philippines With this grim reality of violence in the southern Philippines,counterterrorism measures largely based on the use of military muscle will notput an end to the ASG. Military offensives and other variants of Oplan Ultimatumcan kill ASG members, but not end the ASG as a resilient group. The ASG is a symbol of the complexities of armed violence in the southernPhilippines that interact with issues of banditry, terrorism, rebellion, separatism,clan conflict, ethnic conflict and warlordism. The continuous entry of foreignjihadists to the southern Philippines only compounds these issues, as radicalforeigners subvert the minds of the locals, imbuing them with a violent Islamistideology. Moreover, they also train local fighters in sophisticated bomb-makingskills. Only effective governance can limit ethnic conflict, banditry and rebellion.A strong civilian government sincere in nation building is needed to finally put anend to the ASG by resolving the ethnic and political disputes plaguing the region. 93
  • 93. CHAPTER 8 The Pull of Terrorism*Introduction All terrorist organizations have many ways to pull others to their side.They have magnets to attract members, especially young recruits, to join theirgroups. But the processes by which young persons are pulled to enter terroristorganizations are not yet widely understood in the academe, policy-makingworld, the media and the broader public. Though existing scholarly literatures onterrorism have already identified several pull factors of terrorism.264 None ofthese factors, however, may be applied generally to all terrorist organizationsbecause behaviors of terrorist groups vary from country to country.265 Someterrorist groups may have shared common experiences that cut across nationalboundaries. But vigorous social science investigations indicate that behaviors ofterrorist organizations differ in historical context, socio-cultural milieu, politico-economic setting, specific intentions, exact targets, and even particular tactics.266Thus, grappling with the pull of terrorist is better understood in case-to-casebasis. This paper is an attempt to describe the processes by which young personsare pulled to join terrorist groups. Using the Philippines as a case study, thisstudy examines the ASG, a terrorist organization operating largely in theSouthern Philippines. This paper concentrates on ASG’s recruitment methodsand strategies in order to pull the youth to become involved in terrorist activities. This paper contends that there are ideational and material factors that pullthe youth to join the ASG. A nuanced understanding of these ideational and *Also published in Youth and Terrorism: A Selection of Articles (Kuala Lumpur:Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism, 2011), pp. 39-50. This is also a revisedand shortened version of a paper delivered at the International Symposium on the Dynamics ofYouth and Terrorism organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism,Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 8 May 2011. 264C. Sobek, and A. Braithwaite, “Victim of Success: American Dominance andTerrorism”, Conflict Management and Peace Science Volume 22 (2005), pp. 135-148. 265Center for Nonproliferation Studies (2002). Literature Review of Existing TerrorisBehavior Modeling. CA: Monterey Institute of International Studies. 266Paul Davis K. and Kim Cragin. Social Science for Counterterrorism: Putting the PiecesTogether. CA: RAND, 2009. Also see Bonnie Cordes, Brian Jenkins, Konrad Kellen with GailBass, Daniel Relles, William Sater, Mario Juncosa, William Fowler and Geraldine Petty (1985). AConceptual Framework for Analyzing Terrorist Groups. CA: RAND. 94
  • 94. material pull factors are essential for a comprehensive grasp of the ASG threatand for the formulation of a policy that aims to counter the threat posed by thisterrorist group.The Pull Factors of Terrorism There are many factors that pull young people to terrorist groups. Thesepull factors can be ideational and material that are mutually reinforcing.Ideational factors may be in the form of ideology endorsed by a certain religiousbelief, philosophical perspective or cultural outlook. Material factors, on thehand, may be in the form of monetary inducement, logistical assistance, perksand other financial benefits. These pull factors are best utilized with an effectiverecruitment strategy being pursued by a terrorist group to increase itsmembership and to keep the organization alive. Ideational Pull A particular study on terrorism has shown that the major pull factor thatdraws young persons towards terrorist acts is ideology.267 Ideology is deemed tobe the main ideational pull mechanism “that makes possible the translation ofdiscontent into specific political goals” of young individuals being lured to jointerrorist groups.268 It is posited that ideologies are “important organizers ofexperience and act as moral codes and motivations for actions” of youngrecruits.269 It is further argued that in the assessment of the perceived benefitsof, and motivations for, terrorist acts of the youth; deeply understanding thevirulent ideology of terrorist groups is essential. Ideology provides meaning tothe emptiness felt by young people and defines their “reasons for existence”.One study even asserts ideology is a great pull of terrorist in attracting youngpeople, to wit: The young people don’t know why they exist…they suffer from an emptiness of meaning…[hu]man is more than ensemble of material needs, that he is in truth and spiritual being, which means he has essential spiritual needs, which are even not approximately recognized nor understood, let alone satisfied…the atmosphere in which today’s terrorists have grown up…they feel powerless.270 267Jeremy Ginges, “Deterring the Terrorist: A Psychological Evaluation of DifferentStrategies for Deterring Terrorism”, Terrorism and Political Violence. Volume 19, Number 1(1997), pp. 170-185. 268Ibid. 269Ibid. 270Ibid. Also see O. Billig, “The Lawyer Terrorist and His Comrade”, Political PsychologyVolume 6, Number 1 (1985), pp. 29-46. 95
  • 95. Profiles of youth joining terrorist organizations through ideologicalmotivations are mostly students, young professionals and learned individualsrecruited from schools, universities and working places. Ideology is a pull factorin the radicalization of small but significant minority of this type of youngpersons dissatisfied with the society in which they inevitably found themselves.271Radical ideology introduces the youth to violent ideas that eventually lead themto enter terrorist groups and commit acts of terrorism. Material Pull While ideology is indeed a pull factor of terrorist, there are young recruitswho are induced to join terrorist groups not because of ideology but largely due tomaterial considerations. Young persons succumbing to this pull are mostly out-of-school youth in depressed areas or impoverished communities where povertyis pervasive and the rate of illiteracy is high. This type of young persons areinduced to join terrorist groups and commit acts of terrorism through the lure ofmoney, arms, and material needs of their families and love-ones. Using thematerial pull, terrorist groups buy the loyalties of their young recruits throughtangible inducements in the form of money, perks, arms and other concretebenefits. Terrorist groups buy loyalties of young members to perform varioustasks: combatants, bombers, lookouts, mules, or simply errand persons.272 The Pull of Recruitment Though a terrorist organization has an ideology and material resources toentice young people to join, a well- planned recruitment strategy is also a crucialpull. Without a systematic recruitment strategy, a terrorist group cannotefficiently and even automatically pull the youth to its side. Recruitment strategies of terrorist groups can be classified into two:benign strategy and coercive strategy. A benign strategy utilizes persuasive tools to entice recruits to join aterrorist group. This kind of recruitment strategy allows terrorist organizationsto actively reach out the youth by visiting them in schools, youth camps, refugeeareas, boarding houses and even amusement places.273 Terrorist organizationsdeliberately spot young persons and radicalize them through the convincingpower of ideology or, in most cases, through material inducements, if theideological indoctrination fails. 271European Commission’s Experts Group on Violent Radicalization. RadicalizationProcesses Leading to Acts of Terrorism (Brussels: European Commission, 2008). 272 Homeland Security Institute. Recruitment and Radicalization of School-Aged Youthby International Terrorist Groups (VA: US Department of Education, 2009). 273Ibid. 96
  • 96. A coercive strategy, on the other hand, uses “threat” and “fear” factors topull young persons to join terrorist groups. This is the case where young personsare forced into membership either by threatening to kill them and their families.There are cases where young persons are kidnapped and forced them to committerrorist acts against their will.274 There are also cases where young sisters ofpersons associated with terrorist groups are forced to marry young men to be newmembers. Terrorist groups resort to this coercive recruitment strategy as adesperate measure to keep the organization alive, particularly in the context ofdwindling membership.The Abu Sayyaf Case The ASG is an excellent case in the Philippines to examine the processesby which young persons are pulled to enter terrorist organizations. ASG’s Ideological Pull Abdurajak Janjalani recruited many followers in Zamboanga City, Basilan,Sulo and Tawi-Tawi (ZAMBASULTA) because of his powerful sermons orKhutbahs that express his mastery of Salafi faith or Wahabi ideology. Janjalaniused Salafism and Wahabism to analyze the state of Islam in Mindanao and thesituation of Muslim people in the Southern Philippines. Janjalani was able topull young Muslims in Mindanao to join his through the power of Wahabiideology that he preached in various mosques. From initial followers of almost 100 in Basilan in 1989, it grew to almost300 in 1990 when disgruntled members of Moro National Liberation Front(MNLF) in Sulo and Tawi-Tawi joined him. Janjalani, who was once a memberof the MNLF, also convinced young MNLF followers to join him until his groupreached a membership of almost 1,000 in 1991. It was during this year whenJanjalani’s group mounted its first terrorist attack: the 1991 bombing of M/VDoulous, a Christian-owned ship propagating Christian faith. Janjalani claimedresponsibility for this bombing using the name “Abu Sayyaf Group”. This got theire of the Philippine military and police that erroneously described the group asMujahideen Commando Freedom Fighter (MCFF) in several intelligence reports. Janjalani was able to win the hearts and minds of former MNLF fightersand other young Moro because he offered an alternative ideology that effectivelytouched the sentiments and aspirations of Muslims in Mindanao. In his inner-circle, he recruited younger and more passionate Muslim leaders who studiedIslamic theology in Saudi Arabia, Libya, Pakistan and Egypt. These youngMuslim leaders had common remorse against the MNLF, which entered intopeace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. These leaders alsoshared common anger against the so-called Christian-dominated Philippinegovernment based in what they called “Imperial Manila”. 274Ibid. 97
  • 97. Because of significant number of followers already, Janjalani named hisgroup in 1993 into Al- Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah (AHAI) or the IslamicMovement. Within this movement, Janjalani formed a consultative group calledMajilis Shura, which officially proclaimed the foundation of AHAI in 1994 duringits First Assembly. On 18 November 1994, amidst heavy speculation that the ASG was createdby the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA), Abu Abdu Said, then spokesman of the group, issued a document calledSurat Kasabunnal” or “A Voice of Truth”. This document vehemently denouncedthe view that the AFP or the CIA created the ASG. It argued that the ASG startedas a movement called Juma’a Abu Sayyaf. By 1998, the ASG reached a membership of around 1,300. But themomentum of increasing membership was cut short when Abdurajak Janjalaniwas killed in a firefight with the police in Lamitan, Basilan in December 1998.But before he died, Janjalani delivered eight radical ideological discourses calledKhutbahs, which may be considered as primary sources of Janjalani’s radicalIslamic ideology. These discourses explained Janjalani’s Quranic perspective ofJihad Fi-Sabil-lillah, which he lamented, was misinterpreted by many Muslims.He even denounced the ulama (Muslim scholars) for their little knowledge of theQuran and lamented that most Muslims in the Philippines calling themselves, asMoros were not really practicing the true meaning of Islam compared with theircounterparts in West Asia. These eight discourses also revealed Janjalani’s deep grasp of WahabiIslam, which considered other Muslims heretical. The Islamic theology ofWahabism greatly informed Janjalani’s radical ideology, which attracted youngMoros to follow him. His death, however, marked the waning of the ideologicalluster of the ASG. ASG’s Material Pull With no ideological beacon to unify the group, the ASG becamefactionalized. Some factions degenerated into bandit groups engaged inpredatory activities like kidnap-for-ransom activities (KRA), smugglingoperations of arms and drugs, and extortion activities. Lacking ideology to winthe hearts and minds of members, ASG leaders in the post-Abdurajak periodresorted to material inducements to buy loyalties and recruit new members. Khadaffy Janjalani, the younger brother who replaced the founder, did nothave the ideological zeal of the older brother. Being young and gullible, Khadaffywas even manipulated by more criminally minded ASG commanders like GalibAndang (Commander Robot) and Abu Sabaya. The bandit factions of the ASG ledby Commander Robot and Abu Sabaya ruled the ASG. Though Khadaffy 98
  • 98. attempted to revive the Islamist agenda of the ASG by concentrating onideological propagation, his tragic death in 2006 failed to realize his goal. During the leadership of Khadaffy, the ASG went into KRA spree. Thebiggest KRA project of the ASG was the Sipadan Kidnapping in 2000 led byCommander Robot. The Sipadan Kidnapping incident involved a ransom ofUS$25 million offered by Libyan President Muammar Khadaffy who called theamount a “development aid”. With huge money involved, young impoverishedMoros lined-up for membership in the ASG. Some parents even volunteeredtheir sons to work for ASG with the expectation of financial payment. In 2000, the ASG reached a membership of more than 1,500 according tomilitary estimates. But insiders claimed that ASG followers during this periodwere so huge that the group could not account them anymore. In fact, the ASGacted like a “Robinhood” distributing part of its loot to local communities. Thus,the ASG was able to get local support from their influenced and affectedcommunities that in turn gave the group “early warning signals” and evenbarricades during military offensives. New younger members are even paid towork for ASG as second and third security layers for their makeshift camps.Parents of young ASG members were even issued a monthly supply of rice and amonthly financial honorarium ranging from US$100 to US$500. Throughmaterial inducements, the ASG was able pull members despite the lack ofideological agitation or religious propaganda. ASG’s Recruitment Pull To keep the organization alive, the ASG implemented a combination ofbenign and coercive recruitment strategy. Its benign recruitment method wasideological propaganda through Islamic propagation. This method was effectiveduring the time of Abdurajak Janjalani. After his death, the ASG continued itsbenign recruitment scheme through material inducements discussed above. As a result of intensified military operations, membership of the ASGstarted to decline sharply. From the highest peak of more than 1,500 members in2000, the ASG membership was reduced to less than 500 in 2005. To recover,the ASG resorted to coercive methods of recruitment. ASG commanders resortedto scare tactics like threatening to kill members and their families. Some ASGcommanders even used deception to recruit members, e.g. having young Muslimscarry their firearms and taking pictures of them, then using the pictures toblackmail the kids into joining the group. Forced marriages were even utilized tofind new recruits. Though there were anecdotal stories of some young personsbeing kidnapped to force them to join the ASG, these cases have not beenproperly documented and vigorously studied. 99
  • 99. Conclusion Like other terrorist groups in the world, the ASG is an adaptive group thatuses a variety of methods in order to recruit young members and sustain the lifeof the organization. In fact, the ASG is a very resilient organization whose lifedepends on the use of many survival methods in order to replenish itsmembership. In other words, the ASG is an adaptive adversary. As furtherexplained by the Homeland Security Institute: Terrorist groups are adaptive adversaries who use a variety of tools and tactics to reach potential recruits and supporters, which too often include young persons. Groups systematically prey upon the vulnerabilities of youth in various contexts, offering a range of incentives that are intended to make membership in the group attractive. In some cases, young persons have also been forcibly recruited or deceived into participating in terrorist activities. Indeed, terrorist organizations have pull factors to attract members.These pull factors may be in the form of ideology or through materialinducements. Ideational and material pull factors are best utilized with aneffective recruitment strategy that can be benign or coercive. In the case of the ASG, the employment of different pull factors is contextbound. During its earlier period under the leadership of Abdurajak, the power ofideology convinced members to join the group. But in the post-Abdurajak period,particularly under Khadaffy, the ASG resorted to material inducement to attractmembers. At present, there is an attempt to revive the ideological appeal of the ASGunder Yasser Igasan who is currently the Head of ASG’s Sharia Court. But themajority of ASG commanders at present have degenerated into banditry. Underthis current situation, the pull factors of ASG will largely emanate from the use ofmoney to attract followers. Crafting a counter-terrorism policy must be informedby this present reality. 100
  • 100. CHAPTER 9 Terrorism and National Security: Emerging Issues and Continuing Trends A Decade After 9/11* A decade after September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, terrorismcontinues to pose an enormous threat not only to Philippine national security butalso to regional stability and world peace.275 This virulent threat is becoming more and more dynamic and iscontinuously evolving into a highly complex and uncompromising form thatmakes the threat even harder to prevent, if not to totally eliminate. It has been said that 9/11 gave terrorism its new ugly face. Ten years after 9/11, we now learned that terrorists have the ability to face-lift and change its already nasty image. It has the proclivity to innovate in orderto survive the harsh environment of counter terrorism. Like a chameleon,terrorists can blend with their surroundings to evade arrest and pursue theirclandestine operations. The changing face of terrorism continues to pose a tremendous challengefor global, regional and national counter terrorism, particularly if lawenforcement authorities have a static view and traditional understanding of thewhole gamut of problems associated with this menace. Globally, Al-Qaeda remains to be the main international terrorist groupwith worldwide influence. However, the July 22, 2011 terrorist attacks on Norway that killed 76persons have aptly demonstrated that Al Qaeda, which promotes IslamicFundamentalism, does not have the monopoly of terrorism. Even a “lone wolf”embracing Christian Fundamentalism can also commit hideous terrorist acts. Through the decisive counter-terrorism efforts of the United Statessupported by its allies and partners in the global war on terrorism (GWOT), Al-Qaeda’s original global infrastructure has been practically crippled. Its complexand carefully woven global network has been utterly discovered, effectivelydisrupted and some even totally paralyzed. *This chapter is also published in IAG Policy Review (September 2011). 275Thischapter is based on the speech delivered by the author at the 5th National Convention of thePhilippine Society for Industrial Security, Inc. held at the Waterfront Hotel, Cebu City on 9 September2011. 101
  • 101. Al Qaeda founder, Osama bin Laden, is already dead. In fact, almost two-thirds of the original leaders and members of Al-Qaeda have been neutralized todate as a result of GWOT. Its central leadership has practically crumbled and itsregional affiliates and adherents successfully dispersed. After ten years of vigorously waging the war on terror, Al-Qaeda is nolonger a strong notorious force as it used to be. Al Qaeda is now having difficulties mounting another catastrophic attacksbeyond its main areas of operations in Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan,Somalia and Yemen. With this, American President Barrack Obama, in hisintroduction to the current U.S. Counter Terrorism Strategy, proudly declaresthat Al Qaeda has been put “on the path to defeat”. But that is not the reason for the whole world to be complacent. While Al Qaeda has no doubt weakened ten years after 9/11, it is not yet aspent force. Al Qaeda may have been seriously wounded in battle, but it is not yetdead. It still gets its life support from remaining followers and inspiredadherents worldwide. Thus, there is still a need for us to be more anxious because Al Qaeda isstill a wicked force to contend with. As stressed by US Defense Secretary LeonPanetta, “We have made serious inroads in weakening al Qaeda. [But] theresmore to be done. There are these nodes now in Yemen, in Somalia and otherareas that we have to continue to go after." The 2010 Country Reports on Terrorism prepared by the US StateDepartment admits that Al Qaeda continues to pose a threat. There is no doubt that Al Qaeda still has the malevolent intent andgrowing capabilities to wreak terrorist havocs. Some, if not many, of its regionalaffiliates and global adherents are still alive and ready to make trouble. Almost500 Al Qaeda-linked and Al Qaeda-inspired commanders - with their ownassociate members worldwide numbering around 10,000 - are still active todisturb peace and undermine global, regional and Philippine national security. In Pakistan alone, there are still around 300 fierce Al Qaeda fightersassociated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). InAfghanistan, around 100 hardcore Al Qaeda operatives are still active and stillgetting support from Talibans. Even in the United States, there are at least 40Americans who have traveled to Somalia to join the Al Qaeda inspired Al Shabab. It is also important to note that some Moro rebels have also beenreportedly affiliated with Al Shabab (locally known as Markasos Shabab). Thereare also reports of an undetermined number of Al Qaeda-inspired personalitiesstaying in the Philippines. 102
  • 102. Hence, there is a need for us to face the grim reality that ideology of AlQaedaism lives on even after the death of Osama bin Laden. The violent extremist ideology of Al Qaeda still resonates to like-mindedgroups worldwide such as Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) of Uzbekistan, the IslamicArmy of Great Britain, the Eastern Turkistan Movement of Xinjiang (China), theAl-Harakatul-Al Islamiya of the Philippines, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi of Pakistan,the Harkatul Jehadul Islami operating in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, andJemaah Islamiyah of Indonesia, among many others. Remaining masterminds of terror associated with Al Qaeda have proven tobe very resilient, keenly observant and highly elusive. Though Al Qaeda may have already lost its steam as a result of the series ofdemocratic uprisings in the Arab world, it can still morph into a newer face underthe leadership of Ayman Al Zawahiri whose brand of Islam contains the keyingredients for violent extremism. Al Zawahiri has even released a video lastAugust 2011 urging Al Qaeda followers worldwide to avenge the death of Osamabin Laden. Through the use of Internet and Islamic propagation activities, Al Qaedastill has the commitment to promote religious intolerance, particularly to youngand gullible Muslim population worldwide. It can still inspire and instigatesectarian violence in conflict-affected areas of the world with disgruntled Muslimpopulation that includes the Philippines. In fact, Al-Qaeda is producing amagazine called Inspire to spread its violent extremist ideology worldwide. At present, Al Qaeda is already weak as a group. But it can still throw its remaining weight around because Al Qaeda is stillrelatively influential as a movement. As a movement, Al Qaeda has become a “complex adaptive system” thathas the survival instinct to evolve by adjusting to its “constantly changing”environment. While Al Qaeda celebrates its victories, it also learns from itsmistakes. As a complex adaptive movement, Al Qaeda now operates throughwhat Seth Jones calls five tiers: central al Qaeda, affiliated groups, allied groups,allied networks, and inspired individuals. Al Qaeda is still determined to destroy America and other Western targets. Based on the seized documents of Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of hisdeath, Al Qaeda planned to attack oil tankers to create economic chaos in theWest. The US also warned of possible Al-Qaeda attacks in the mainland using asmall plane. India has recently unearthed Al Qaeda plans to attack its majorcities through its commander, Ilyas Kashmiri. Even in China, the Al Qaeda 103
  • 103. linked East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), based in Xinjiang Provincewhere Uyghur separatists are active, and is also planning future attacks. In Egypt, the home country of the new Al Qaeda chief Al Zawahiri, AlQaeda has re-established a cell in Sinai to plan attacks, particularly against policestations. In Spain, an Islamic militant with a Moroccan descent was arrested forpropagating violent extremism and for endorsing terrorist attacks on Westerntargets. In mounting attacks, Al Qaeda has already mastered the use of suicideterrorism, particularly in Afghanistan, Algeria, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan,Somalia and Yemen - with a strong possibility of exporting these skills to thePhilippines. Al Qaeda’s use of indiscriminate bombings of vulnerable targets hasmade terrorism its new repulsive face. The use of these skills continues to informthe present and future activities of its affiliates, adherents and followers aroundthe world. Worst, Al Qaeda is developing new explosives to wreak havoc. Al Qaeda’s affiliates in Yemen have produced a new chemical bomb madeof poison ricin, a white powdery toxin that if annihilated in malls, airports orsubways is very lethal. Al Qaeda operatives in the United Kingdom have alsocreated a new version of a liquid bomb, an improved version of the nitroglycerinexplosive invented by Ramsey Yousef while in the Philippines in 1994. In other words, Al Qaeda has weakened organizationally. But the security threat it poses has not been totally eliminated. Al Qaeda is battered, but it is still breathing and moving. It still ha s thegreat illusion of creating a Pan-Islamic caliphate throughout the Islamic worldthat includes Southeast Asia. In Southeast Asia, the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) has alsoweakened a decade after 9/11. Most of its key operatives have also been killedand arrested, particularly those responsible in the 2002 Bali bombing and othersubsequent bombings in Indonesia and the Philippines. Some of its membershave left terrorism behind as a result of serious rehabilitation and de-radicalization programs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Like Al Qaeda, JI organizational set-up is already in utter disarray. Itsoriginal Mantiqi structure is practically demolished. In fact, JI has already lost itsoriginal luster and is now heavily factionalized. However, terror threats in Southeast Asia persist because around 700remaining JI members are still active in Java, Indonesia and to a lesser extent inCambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. 104
  • 104. Currently, JI is rapidly evolving into a new venomous form. In Indonesia, for example, personalities recently accused of terrorist actshave ceased to identify themselves with JI. They have been identified withanother group called Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) legally established by AbuBakar Bashir who is also known to be a JI leader. Among the known JI personalities in Indonesia, we need to pay attentionto Aris Sumarsono. Sumarsono is a JI military chief and a protégé of Abdullah Sungkar, thefounder of JI. He is believed to have helped prepare the bombs used in the 2002Bali bombings that killed 202 people. Sumarsono is being rumored now to have already replaced Omar Patekwho became the main link of Al Qaeda with JI. He was reported to have visitedthe Philippines and established links with the ASG and other Moro rebels.Sumarsono is also believed to have established links with Basit Usman, a masterbomber operating in Central Mindanao. Al Qaeda and JI influences have reached the Philippines through the AbuSayyaf Group (ASG) and some Muslim armed groups associated with Al KhobarGroup (AKG) and the so-called Special Operations Group (SOG) of the MoroIslamic Liberation Front (MILF). It is already a public knowledge that as early as the 1990s, Al Qaedapresence in the Philippines was already established through the activities ofMohammad Jamal Khalifa who is the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden.Ramsey Yousef, the perpetrator of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, wentto the Philippines in 1994 to hide and design the Bojinka Plot, which aimed tobomb the twin tower of New York City using 11 jetliners. Khalik Sheid Mohammad, identified as the principal architect of 9/11bombings, was also in the Philippines in 1995 to work with Yousef in designingthe Bojinka Plot and the twin plots to assassinate Pope John Paul II and USPresident Bill Clinton. But the person that revealed Al Qaeda operations in thePhilippines was Abdul Hakim Murad who was arrested in the Philippines in 1995for his participation in the Bojinka Plot. JI presence in the Philippines was also established in the late 1990s inCentral Mindanao through a training camp in Mt. Cararao. The 2000 Rizal Day Bombings were attributed to JI. Father Rahman AlGhozi, JI principal bomb maker operating in the Philippines, confessed that heprovided the necessary explosives for the 2000 Rizal Day Bombings. NasirAbbas, a former JI instructor and now working for the Indonesian government 105
  • 105. on de-radicalization programs, admitted that he belonged to the JI Mantiqi 3 inthe Philippines, which planned the 2000 Rizal Day Bombing. In Mindanao, JI has become more of a trademark to describe foreignmilitary jihadists entering the Philippines to preach the gospel of violentextremism. Locally, Abu Sayyaf calls them Java men if they are Indonesians. Among the Moro armed groups in the Philippines, JI links with the ASG ismore robust and active at present. Three high profile JI personalities, namelyMarwan (Malaysian), Mauwiyah (Singaporean) and Qayyim (Indonesian) are stillworking or seeking refuge with ASG commanders. Other “low-profile” JIpersonalities operating in the Philippines have the following aliases: Sanusi,Bahar, Abu Jihad, Usman, Mustaqueem and Hamdan. It is estimated that around 30 JI personalities are still in the Philippineshiding in Sulo, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi with ASG followers. Some are said to beoperating in Central Mindanao together with Al Khobar, the so-called MILF-SOGand some personalities allegedly identified with the Bangsamoro IslamicFreedom Fighter (BIFF) now called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement(BIFM) of Umbra Kato. Speaking on BIFM, this new armed group can make the peace talksbetween the Philippine government and the MILF problematic. With a currentestimated strength of more than 1,000 armed followers (Kato has a self-proclaimed number of 5,000) pursuing an armed struggle to advance theBangsamoro right for self-determination, the BIFM can make peace in Mindanaovery elusive. The BIFM has become a residual armed Moro group that is a party to thecomplex conflict in Mindanao but not a party to the now intractable peaceprocess. BIFM reported ties with some personalities associated with theMisuari’s Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), JI, the so-called MILF-SOGand other armed groups complicate the already complex armed violence in theSouthern Philippines. Philippine law enforcement authorities tagged JI-MILF-SOG behind theAugust 2, 2011 bombing in Cotabato City that killed a person and wounding of 10others. The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) used in the January 25, 2011Makati bus bombing, on the other hand, carried the JI-Al Khobar-MILF-ASGsignature called by explosive experts as the “Bandung device”. The ASG is one of the groups suspected to be responsible for the Makatibus bombing that killed five persons and wounded at least 14 others. The ASG, however, is already a very tiny group of less than 100-armedfollowers. Though the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has estimated thestrength of the ASG to be around 400, followers of ASG are, in fact, difficult to 106
  • 106. estimate because of its links with various armed groups associated with localbandits, warlords, local politicians and even followers of the MILF and theMNLF. ASG’s encounter with the Philippine Marines in Patikul, Sulo on July 28,2011 (that led to the death of 7 and wounding of 21 Marines) has demonstratedthat the ASG, though already weakened, is also not yet, strictly speaking, a spentforce like its idol, Al Qaeda. The instruction of President Benigno Simeon AquinoIII to crush the ASG is a tantamount admission that the ASG is still a very potentforce to contend with. Though the ASG continues to be a miniscule group compared with thestrength of the AFP, it can still inflict tremendous damages against military forcesnot only because of ASGs mastery of the terrain but also because of ASGs newprecarious combatants who are aggressively young and brutally bred in war. Military forces are trained to fight the ASG. But new ASG combatants liveto fight and they fight to live. There is now a new ASG whose followers areyounger, more exuberant, more perilous and more enterprising. The new ASG has become a loose network of a few Moro rebels operatingwith many young Muslim mercenaries who have become established bandits andhardened criminals engaged in extortions, arms smuggling, drug trafficking andkidnapping for ransom. Some ASG adherents are protected by local warlords andcorrupt public officials who are entrepreneurs of violence in Mindanao. As a result, the ASG has become so resilient. It gets its staying power fromthe predatory politics and violent economies of Mindanao that create individualsto embrace violent extremism and terrorism. In short, terrorism emanating largely from ASG and its cohorts continue topose serious threats to Philippine national security because terrorism is evolvingto a form we never knew before. Al Qaeda’s violent extremist ideology that endorses acts of terrorism stillresonates to Muslim Filipinos who are disgruntled with the situation or notsatisfied with their current socio-economic, political and personal conditions.This ideology is being used to justify barbaric acts of ASG for socio-economic,political and personal reasons. Remaining leaders of ASG prey on young andilliterate Muslim Filipinos to commit acts of terrorism. The 2010 Country Reports on Terrorism laments that the Philippinescontinues to be one of the world’s terrorist safe havens despite the fact thatterrorist acts in the country have declined in 2010. While the global war on terror has given us a better understanding ofterrorist threats ten years after 9/11, the present threat we face is dynamic and 107
  • 107. has the ability to metamorphose into something else in order to survive. Somethreats have regrettably mutated into a more terrifying form with their growingnexus with crimes, banditry, clan conflicts, warlordism, and other expressions ofarmed violence. The current terrorist threats we face, particularly in the Philippines, aredeeply enmeshed with a host of many other issues associated with internal armedconflicts, private armed violence, warlordism, rido or clan warfare, personalvendetta, and ordinary crimes. To confront the threat of terrorism, the Philippines passed in 2007 theHuman Security Act, which serves as the country’s anti-terrorism law. But thegovernment is currently facing difficulties in implementing this law. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has also passed in2007 the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism. But ASEAN also has aproblem enforcing this convention. The more nuanced approach to address terrorist threats is found in theUnited Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy adopted by the UN GeneralAssembly in 2006. This strategy promotes the four measures of counterterrorism, to wit: • Measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism • Measures to prevent and combat terrorism • Measures to build States capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in this regard • Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism All these measures point to the inconvenient truth that terrorist threatscannot be addressed by the military or law enforcement authorities alone.Terrorist threats are deeply rooted in many complex issues that are beyond thecapacities of law enforcement authorities to handle. Thus, addressing terrorist threats requires a whole-of-government approach. But the government cannot do it alone. It requires the support of the wholesociety. The whole-of-government approach in sync with the whole-of-societyapproach can lead to the whole-of-nation approach to combat terrorism. But terrorism has a regional dimension needing a whole-of-region approach. Implementing these approaches are easier said than done. 108
  • 108. But it is important to say these in order to raise our awareness on the need todevelop an innovative approach to confront a national security threat we callterrorism. 109
  • 109. CHAPTER 10 Current Landscape of Terrorist Threats in the Philippines* A day before the feast of the Black Nazarene, no less than PresidentBenigno Simeon Aquino III publicly announced a bombing plot from localterrorist groups.276 The President strongly warned devotees about “the risk in attending theprocession” and urged believers “to exercise the maximum vigilance anddiscipline leading up to, and during, the procession." The government evendeclared the whole of Metro Manila under full alert status on January 9 at theheight of the Black Nazarene rite, deployed thousands of police with bombdetection squads, and suspended mobile phone services as part of counter-terrorism measures. After a peaceful 22-hour procession, Malacañang “lifted” the “full alertstatus” on January 10 as no bombing incident happened. But police and defense establishments say that Metro Manila is still in“high alert status” because the city is still under terror threats. Six to 9 suspectedterrorist bombers are reportedly still at large and law enforcement authorities arecurrently tracking them down. Among the suspected terrorists who aimed to disrupt the Black Nazareneprocession, the defense department specifically identified the following bombersassociated with known dissident terrorist groups in the country: MontasserEsmael Ali (alias Guiday Montassir) from the so-called Special Operations Group(SOG) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Sheikh Omar Samunsang(alias Omar Abella) from the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM), andJamil Sali of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). These groups are suspected to haveestablished links with the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Al-Qaeda. The Philippines faces a continuing threat of terrorism. The US StateDepartment even laments that the Philippines continues to be one of the world’ssafe havens for terrorists, despite the country’s numerous achievements incounter-terrorism a decade after September 11, 2011 (9/11). *Updated version of a paper published in Rappler (12 January 2012) at 276 The Black Nazarene procession is practiced in the Philippines every January 9 of theyear. 110
  • 110. There are still active groups with the intent and capabilities to wreakterrorist havoc in the country. A decade after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks,these groups have not been totally eliminated. They have, in fact, evolved andhave become more resilient, adaptive, innovative and enterprising.The ASG The Abu Sayyaf is the main symbol of terrorism in the Philippines. Its tieswith Al-Qaeda and JI have been strongly established. The ASG masterminded several landmark terrorist bombings in thePhilippines like the Zamboanga City bombing of 2002, the Davao City Airportbombing of 2003, the Super ferry bombing of February 2004 and the ValentinesDay bombing of 2005. The ASG is also being suspected of having participated in the January 25,2011 bus bombing in Makati City. Aside from bombing operations, the ASG isalso notorious for numerous kidnap-for-ransom activities such as the Sipadankidnapping of 2000, the Pearl Farm Beach Resort kidnapping of 2001, the CesDrillon kidnapping of 2008, the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC) kidnapping of 2009, and many others. The ASG is believed to be currently holding Warren Richard Rodwell, anAustralian national kidnapped on December 5, 2011 in Zamboanga Sibugay.Rodwell was transferred to Basilan and is currently in Sulu in the hands of newand young ASG commanders. There is no doubt that ASG has suffered numerous setbacks from the lossof its senior leaders including Abdurajak Janjalani (the founder), Edwin Angeles(the right-hand man), Khadaffy Janjalani (the successor), Galib Andang(Commander Robot), Aldam Tilao (Abu Sabaya), Alhamser Limbong(Commander Kosovo), and Jainal Antel Sali (Abu Solaiman), among manyothers. However, the ASG is a resilient group with the ability to replenish its ranksby luring young, gullible and impoverished individuals to join the “club.”Moreover, the ASG is implementing a combination of benign and coerciverecruitment strategies to sustain the life of the organization. Problems of gangsterism, warlordism, landlordism, clan feuding andviolent adventurism also contribute to the staying power of the ASG. The ASG is believed to be headed now by a veteran ASG commander,Radullan Sahiron. Though Yassir Igasan was initially rumored to have succeededKhadafy Janjalani, Igasan is the current head of the ASG’s Sharia Court. BothSahiron and Igasan are based in Sulu along with other commanders like JumdalGumbahali (Dr. Abu) and Hajan Sawadjaan. 111
  • 111. In Basilan, the known ASG commanders are Khair Mundos, Puruji Indama, andIsnilon Hapilon. However, Hapilon has reportedly died on December 20, 2011and has been replaced by a young commander named Nadzmir Alih. But recent information says that Hapilon is still alive and mentoringCommander Alih. Based on the research conducted by the Philippine Institutefor Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR), Nadzmir Alih is 36 yearsold, medium built, 5” 4 ‘ in height, with fair complexion and good looking. Hewas born in Basilan and known to be an adopted son of Abdurajak Janjalani, thefounder of the ASG. Alih has presently two wives: one from Sulu and one fromZamboanga City. His wives from Sulu and Zamboanga City gave Nadzmir Alihwide network with armed groups in the two areas. In Sulu, Alih is said to be closewith Yassir Igasan. In fact, PIPVTR learned that Alih is currently taking over theleadership of Igasan who is reportedly sick, according to a PIPVTR source. InBasilan, Alih is known to be a protégé of Isnilon Hapilon, one of the top originalcommanders of the ASG. Being an adopted son of Abdurajak Janjalani, a protégé of Isnilon Hapilon,and a close associate of Yassir Igasan, Nadzmir Alih is being considered by theASG as its aspiring Amir. He has good credentials having taken up Islamicstudies in Libya and Pakistan. He was even rumored to have attended collegecourses at the University of the Philippines in Baguio City and Ateneo de Cebu.Allegedly, Commander Ali was holding the Australian kidnap victim and wasresponsible for the hostage taking of Al Baker Atyani, the Jordanian journalist. Because the ASG is now known for its kidnap-for-ransom activities, thegroup has been described to be a mere bandit group. Indeed, the ASG is largely composed now of “lawless elements” engaged inbanditry and many criminal acts. But there are still a significant few who remainideological with links with Salafi-Jihadist movements abroad. The US StateDepartment regards the ASG as a foreign terrorist organization. The ASG frequently operates in Zambasulta area (Zamboanga, Basilan,Sulu and Tawi-Tawi). But the ASG has the fetish to attack Manila. For thispurpose, the ASG has a twin-organization in Manila called the Rajah SolaimanIslamic Movement (RSIM).The RSIM Founded in 2001 allegedly by Ahmad Santos, the RSIM is a clandestineorganization of a radical element of Muslim converts or Balik Islam. Since Santoswas arrested in 2005, the RSIM has been declared virtually dead. The RSIM is believed to be headed now by Khalil Pareja, Santos’ brother-in-law. Pareja was also arrested in 2009 but was eventually released from jail in2010. Pareja was accused of plotting a terror attack during the 2006 Summit of 112
  • 112. the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cebu City. Pareja hailsfrom Cebu City. It is now believed that Pareja is reviving the RSIM to mountterror attacks in Manila. It must be recalled that the RSIM was accused of carrying out the Superferry bombing in 2004 and participated in the Valentines Day bombing in MakatiCity in 2005. The RSIM was also identified to be the mastermind of a foiledterror attack on January 9, 2005 during the Black Nazarene procession. Aside from its link with ASG, the RSIM is also believed to have establishedlinks with JI, Al-Qaeda and the so-called MILF-SOG. As such, the RSIM is alsoregarded as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department. The USTreasury Department has listed the RSIM as “Specially Designated GlobalTerrorist” group.Other groups Aside from the ASG and the RSIM, there are other armed groups inMindanao with the capabilities to make bombs and wreak terrorist havocs. The so-called MILF-SOG is well known in Central Mindanao formasterminding many bombing activities in the area. Though the MILFvehemently denies the existence of the MILF-SOG, the police and the militaryestablishments believe that the MILF-SOG is being headed by Basit Usman, abomb-making expert with a price on his head worth US$1 million from the USRewards for Justice Program. Aside from its links with the ASG, JI and Al-Qaeda, Usman is alsoallegedly linked with Al-Khobar Group (AKG) and the Bangsamoro IslamicFreedom Movement (BIFM). The AKG is notorious in Central Mindanao for its bus extortion activities.Though its key leaders have been arrested and locked in jail, there are followerswho continue to use the name to mount extortion operations in Koronadal City,Kidapawan City, Tacurong City and even in General Santos City. The BIFM, on the other hand, is founded by Ameril Umbra Kato, a formercommander of the 105th Base Command of the MILF. The BIFM is presentlyaccused of planting several improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in several townsof Maguindanao, particularly in Cotabato City. Though Kato was reported to havedied last December 2011, credible sources say that Kato is alive and kicking. Because of the ongoing peace talks with the MILF, it is not prudent andproper to describe the MILF as a terrorist group. But there are personalities associated with the MILF who are accused ofterroristic acts. 113
  • 113. Even the MNLF is officially not described by the Philippine government asa terrorist group because of the 1996 Peace Agreement. But there are MNLF“rouge personalities” who have also been accused of terrorist acts, particularlythose associated with the so-called Nur Misuari Break Away Group (MBG). The MBG is believed to be supporting the cause of an emerging armedgroup in Mindanao called the Awliya Group of Freedom Fighters. Operatingmainly in Sulu, the Awliya Group was identified to be the principal group behindthe suicide attack of a military detachment in Talipao, Sulu on September 25,2011.Common grievances All groups identified above have already developed the superb capability tomake bombs. They share not only common grievances and followers, they alsoshare bomb-making skills. These skills are not only being shared among radicalMuslim groups. Bomb-making skills have been shared with members of the NewPeople’s Army operating in Mindanao. All these groups may have differences in strategic intentions. But theyshare common tactical skills in making bombs made usually of 81 mm mortarsand triggered by a mobile phone. Bomb experts call it a “Bandung device”, which is also being used inAfghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Southern Thailand and elsewhere in the worldwith groups embracing violent extremism. Unless we address the underlying conditions that encourage these groups toembrace violent extremism, the Philippines will always face the threat ofterrorism. Unless we convince these groups to embrace peace and leave the use ofviolence, the Philippines will be, regrettably, in constant fear of terrorist threats. 114
  • 114. ANNEX A A BRIEF HISTORY OF AL-HARAKATUL ISLAMIYYAH As narrated by Qadhafy Abu Bakr Janjalani Ustadz Abdur-Razzaq Abubakar Janjalani went back home on1983 from a four (4) year Islamic Special Course at the UmmulQura University in Makka, Saudi Arabia. He went back straight tohis home town in Tabuk, Isabela, Basilan. And he began his dawahmission in a Madrassah in that place. His mission, call the Muslimsin his home town to go to Jihad Fi Sabilillah... He used to visit Moro National Liberation Fronts (MNLF) campto share his knowledge and invite the fighters to go back to theQuran and Sunnah of the Last Prophet Muhammad (saw). Sincemost of the so called Mujahideen of the MNLF that time are notaware about the Fiqhul Jihad. The young Abdur-Razzaq was able toorganized some young Mujahideen to become daee inside the front.Their mission, is to reeducate the Mujahideen about the rightaqeedah of Islam about Jihad Fi Sabilillah and the purpose of it... And because of their eagerness to practice what they preach, theyoung Guru and his students pushed themselves to launch theirfirst operation. Although that during that time theyre still insidethe front (MNLF). Armed with "barong" (a small bladed weapon like sword, use byMoros in Sulu region) and a flying feathered iron, they went to thecity to seize firearms from a group of military men who areguarding a hospital. They prepared drinks mixed with sleeping pillsfor the soldiers and let one tricycle driver deliver it for the military,saying it is from an officer who is celebrating his birthday. Theydrank it and fell asleep. After making sure all the soldiers are"down", they immediately went to the place. But, as theyapproached the place, they noticed the mercury light which waslocated near the hospital was off. Not knowing that the said lightwas automatic, they thought that their mission was messed up - sothey aborted and withdrew. And learned later on that those soldierswere still sleeping up to the following morning. Their first missionhas failed. But the Guru and his students didnt stop with that failure. As amatter of fact, that was just the beginning. They started collectingfirearms by buying in the black market, using their own money, 115
  • 115. from sadaqah and zakat from concerned Muslim brothers andsisters. They also started buying explosives such as hand grenades. In 1986, Ustadz Abdur-Razzaq went to Libya by virtue of aScholarship to pursue his studies. Actually, the young Guru wantsto stay in the country to continue on his mission in giving lectureson Jihad Fi Sabilillah. But, its a request from his father that heshould grab that scholarship and become a doctorate in IslamicStudies, someday, insha-Allah... So, he did studied in one of theuniversity in Tripoli and took up the four (4) year course in Dawah. He went back home in 1991 after the completion of his studies inthe College of Dawah. He then, continued his mission in calling thebrothers to go to Jihad Fi Sabilillah. And this makes his father upsetbecause what his father wanted him to do is to manage the newlybuilt Madrassah beside their home in Tabuk. But the Guru wants toshare his knowledge to all the brothers. There are times that whenhe leads the prayer his father will not pray with him inside themasjid, because of the "cold war" between them... Ustadz Abdur-Razzaq started to visit provinces like Zamboanga,Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Gen. Santos City and other nearby places tocontinue his works on dawah, calling the Muslims to join the JihadFi Sabilillah. As he traveled, he also solicited funds, sadaqah andzakat from the concerned Muslim brothers to buy firearms and lateron distributes it to selected MNLF fighters. But, once Ustadz Abdur-Razzaq asked his students if there arechanges inside the front, his students answered no. Knowing thatmost of the top leaders of the MNLF that time are "communist" bydoctrine, so he organized again all his students to set a group ofMukhlis (Sincere) Mujahideen in the Way of Allah (swt). In 1992, they established the Camp Madinah in Brgy. Kapayawan,Isabela, Basilan. One of the brothers who joined them is RadullanSahiron who went home from Sabah after hearing that theres aGuru who really wages Jihad against the Mushrikeen, and eleven(11) others from Sulu and the rests are the students from Basilan. Again, they continued collecting firearms, but this time - its fortheir own group. They bought some of their weapons at the blackmarket, seized from the military and policemen, and others areobtained through credit. And in the span of one (1) year, theyreached the number of sixty (60) Mujahideen operating in Basilan,Gen. Santos and in Davao. 116
  • 116. The First Kidnapping Operation In that same year, 1992, the group of Ustadz Abdur-Razzaqlaunched their first kidnapping operation. This happened in DavaoCity, they took one known businesswoman and was successfullyransomed. The ransom money was then used to buy more firearmsfor the group and others were distributed among the Mujahideen.The Birth of Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah 1993 was the year when Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah was born.This is the time when they decided to get out of the MNLF officiallyand become as one new group of Mujahideen. Although, the jamaahwas established, theyre were not known with their new name but asthe Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), where the tag was taken from theKunya (alias) of Ustadz Abdu-Razzaq Janjalani. Also in 1993, the group of Ustadz Abdur-Razzaq Janjalanilaunched their second kidnapping operation. They held the son ofone of the prominent businessman in Basilan and again wassuccessfully ransomed. After the released of the hostage, the military launched theiroperation against the mujahideen. And this is the first time theyused their OV-10 Bronco bomber plane. The fierce fighting lastedfor one week and leave one Shahid (martyred) on the part of thegroup. Contrary to what the AFP-Southern Command claimed thatthey killed 49 freedom fighters. Allahu Akbar!!! After that longbombing week, the mujahideen still managed to withdraw, andwent to Sulu. And as the group stayed in Sulu, the "Guru" Ustadz Abdur-Razzaq Janjalani continued in his work as a daee - calling andawakening the Muslims to join Jihad Fi Sabilillah, to raise the Deenof Allah (swt) and fight the Mushrikeen. Also in this same year, they launched another kidnappingoperation and held one American missionary and linguist. ThisAmerican linguist is a translator, who translated the Bible fromEnglish to Samal dialect - made specially for the Badjao tribe, manyof whom are muslims!!! By this time, theyre not asking for money. They demanded thewithdrawal of all foreign fishing vessels in the Sulu Sea, others arepolitical in nature and an educational program for Muslim Youths. 117
  • 117. Right after the released of the American missionary, again themilitary launched their assault against the mujahideen. But,Alhamdulillah, they managed to withdraw going to othermunicipalities.SOME IMPORTANT DATES AND OPERATIONS OF THEAl-HARAKATUL Al-ISLAMIYYAH May 4, 1994 Basilan: Kidnapping of Fr. Cirilo Nacorda andnineteen (19) teachers and a driver. They also held sixteen (16)mushrikeen males, excuted fifteen (15), one survived and escaped. February 28, 1995 Jolo: The day when Qaddafy AbubakarJanjalani, the brother of Ustadz Abdur-Razzaq was arrestedtogether with some six (6) other mujahideen in Jolo, Sulu. April 4, 1995 Ipil, Zamboanga: The group seized Ipil,Zamboanga. December 18, 1998: The Day when Ustadz Abdur Razzaq wasMartyred (Shahid). June 1999: Establishment of Camp Ustadz Abdur-Razzaq inPuno Mahadje ("Big Mountain"), Basilan. May 27, 2001: The group launched the Dos Palmas Operationto Palawan. June 2, 2001: The Hospital Siege in Lamitan, Basilan.FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS1. HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR JIHAD IS LEGITIMATE INTHE LIGHT OF ISLAM?2. WHY THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah KILLS THIERFELLOW MUSLIMS?3. WHY THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah PRACTICEKIDNAPPING?4. WHY THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah KILLS INNOCENTCIVILIANS AND NOT ONLY MILITARY?5. WHY THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah WONT GO TOPEACE NEGOTIATIONS?6. WHY THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah RAPES THEIR(WOMEN) HOSTAGES? 118
  • 118. 7. ACCORDING TO THE NEWS, THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah ARE A BUNCH OF DRUG ADDICTS, IS THIS TRUE?HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR JIHAD IS LEGITIMATE INTHE LIGHT OF ISLAM?• The legitimacy of our Jihad is purely based on the teachingsof the Noble Quran and in the Sunnah of the Last MessengerMuhammad (saw) - from the Aqeedah of al-Walaa-u-wal-Baraa tothe Aqeedah of Jihad Fi Sabilillah that was practiced by the LastProphet Muhammad (saw) and his noble companions.• As our Dhalil (Basis) - Allah (swt) said:"And fight in the Way of Allah (swt) and know that Allah isAll-Hearer, All-Knower". Surah al-Baqarah 244"Fight those who (1) believe not in Allah (swt), (2) nor in the LastDay, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah (swt)and His Messenger (saw), (4) and those who acknowledge not thereligion of truth (ie. Islam) among the people of Scriptures (Jewsand Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission,and feel themselves subdued." Surah At-Tawbah 29"And fight them until there is no more FITNAH (disbeliefand ploytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allah), and thereligion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in thewhole of the world]...." Surah An-Anfal 39"Then fight in the Cause of Allah (swt), you are not tasked(held responsible) except for yourself, and incite the believers (tofight along with you), it may be that Allah (swt) will restrain theevil might of the disbelievers. And Allah (swt) is Stronger in mightand Stronger in punishing". Surah An-Nisaa 84"Fight against them so that Allah (swt) will punish themby your hands and disgrace them and give you victory overthem and heal the breasts of a believing people". Surah at-Tawbah14"March forth, whether you are light (being healthy, young andwealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor), and strive hard withyour wealth and your lives in the Cause of Allah (swt). This isbetter for you, if you but know.". Surah at-Tawbah 41... and many more verses from the Noble Quraan and from theahadith of the Last Messenger Muhammad (saw)... 119
  • 119. WHY Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah KILLS THEIR FELLOWMUSLIMS?• We dont kill MUSLIMS but rather we kill people whoclaimed themselves to be Muslims. They are called MURTADIN.This kind of people - we see them praying five times a day,performing all Islamic rites, but working with the enemy and withthe Shaytan Forces against the Muslims, especially fightingMujahideen. They submitted themselves to the Shaytan PhilippineGovernment, which is not Allahs government. Allah (swt) said inHis Noble Book:"And whosoever does not judge by what Allah (swt) has revealed,such are the Kafirun... such are the Dhalimun... such are theFasiqun..." Surah al-Maidah 44, 45, 47"Fight those who (1) believe not in Allah (swt), (2) nor in the LastDay, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah (swt)and His Messenger (saw)..." Surah at-Tawbah 29• Surah at-Tawbah 29 clearly states to fight those who forbidnot that which has been forbidden by Allah (swt) and HisMessenger (saw) - IT IS FORBIDDEN BY ALLAH (SWT) - THATBELIEVERS SHOULD MAKE HIS ENEMY AS THEIR AWLIYAAAND WHAT MORE IF SUBMITTING TO THEIR MAN-MADELAWS.• These verses tells us who are the enemies of Islam, andenough for us the Words of Allah (swt) as a basis for all ouractions...WHY THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah WONT ACCEPTANY PEACE NEGOTIATION?• There are some differences among Islamic Scholars aboutthis issue. There are some who says that we can go to peacenegotiations like the Treaty of Hudhaibiyah and some scholars saidnever go to any peace negotiations. There are also some scholarswho said that we can make peace negotiations with the Kuffar if theMuslims are really weak."We can have peace negotiations with the Kuffar, only if - it will bean advantage to the Muslim Ummah. But this kind of negotiationhas its CONDITIONS, as follows: 120
  • 120. 1. It should not be included in the Treaty, that a part of anyMuslim land can be taken by the Kuffar even a span of a hand.(Nihayatul Muhtaj Vol. 8 Page 58)2. If JIHAD is Fardu Ayn - there should not be any kind ofPeace Treaty. Like, if the Kuffar enters the Muslim territories, thenJIHAD is Fardu Ayn. (Fathul Ali Vol. 1, Page 982)3. If theres a condition in the Treaty that will result in the Lawsof Allah (swt) can not be implemented - then the Treaty is VOID.4. If theres a condition in the Treaty that will result in theMuslims to be in an inferior position, then the Treaty is VOID.(based on a hadith from the Book Ila as-Sunnan, Vol. 12 Page 8)5. If theres a condition in the Treaty that will violate anyIslamic Law, then the Treaty is VOID.6. The Treaty should not contain any condition(s) that willallow any symbols, signs or practices of disbelief [KUFUR - i.e.churches, sending of missionaries, propagation of any religion,ETC.] (FROM THE BOOK ad-DHIFA AN ARADHIL MUSLIMIN("Defence of Muslim Lands") BY SHAHID DR. ABDULLAHAZZAM).WHY THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah KILLS CIVILIANSAND NOT ONLY MILITARY?• Allah (swt) said in His Noble Quran:"Fight those who (1) believe not in Allah (swt), (2) nor in the LastDay, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah (swt)and His Messenger (saw), (4) and those who acknowledge not thereligion of truth (ie. Islam) among the people of Scriptures (Jewsand Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission,and feel themselves subdued." Surah At-Tawbah 29This is just one of the many verses from the Noble Quran that wecan use as basis for our actions. The military and the civilians thatsupport them are one and the same.WHY THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah PRACTICEKIDNAPPING FOR RANSOM?• First, we would like to make it clear that our kidnappingoperations are not for personal interests or just to gain money forpersonal use. Let it be known to everyone that we are on waragainst the forces of Shaytan in the Philippines, its allies andsupporters. And whatever we gain (ie. ghanaim) from this war is tobe use for our future operations, and in buying more war materials 121
  • 121. and of course, in maintaining our fighters supplies and otherneccessities."And make ready against them all you can of POWER, includingsteeds of WAR (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery) to TERRORIZEthe enemy of ALLAH and your enemy, and others besides whom,you may not know but whom ALLAH does know. And whateveryou shall spend Fi Sabilillah shall be repaid unto you, and youshall not be treated unjustly". Surah al-Anfal 60Second, as followers of Prophet Muhammad (saw), we based ouractions on the Noble Quran and in his (saw) Sunnah. Allah (swt)said:"So, when you meet (in fight - JIhad Fi Sabilillah) those whodisbelieve, smite (their) necks till when you have killed andwounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, ie. takethem as captives). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity ( them without ransom) or ransom (according to whatbenefits Islam), until war lays down its burden...." SurahMuhammadThose whom we kidnapped are clear supporters of our ENEMY(they symphatized and support the PHILIPPINE KUFFARGOVERNMENT by paying their taxes.)And as they say; their GOVERNMENT is of the PEOPLE, by thePEOPLE, and for the PEOPLE. Therefore, their people as a whole isthe GOVERNMENT. So, we can kidnap anybody from among them.WHY THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah RAPES THEIR(WOMEN) HOSTAGES?• Again, we would like to emphasize that we are on war againstthe disbelievers as what Allah (swt) commanded us believers inSurah At-Tawbah 29. And using the word RAPE is only to discreditour Mujahideen - so as the Muslims will not support our Jihadagainst the Kuffar. And if we capture any women from them, its forus - either we free them with or without ransom or make them asSabiya [plural Sabaya (i.e. concubine)]. As basis, Allah (swt)said:"And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with theorphan girls then marry (other) women of your choice, two orthree, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to dealjustly (with them), then only one or that your right hand 122
  • 122. possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice".Surah An-Nisaa 3"Also (forbidden are) women already married, except thosewhom your right hand posses. Thus has Allah ordained foryou..." Surah An-Nisaa 24ACCORDING TO THE NEWS, THE Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah ARE A BUNCH OF DRUG ADDICTS, IS THISTRUE?• Of course its not true, and this accusation is only todiscredit the credibility of our mujahideen. Islam does not allowthis kind of practice. As a matter of fact, its Haram for us to takeanything that intoxicates our mind and body even smokingcigarettes. Allah (swt) says in His Noble Quran:"O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks) andgambling and Al-Ansab [animals that are sacrificed (slaughtered)on altars and for the idols] and Azlam (arrows for seeking luck ordecision) are abominations of Shaytans handiwork. So avoid(strictly all) that (abominations) in order that you may besuccessful." Al-Maidah 90"And we say; Allahu Alam (Allah Knows Best)..."Source: 123
  • 123. ANNEX B THE DOS PALMAS OPERATION & THE HOSPITAL SIEGE IN LAMITAN As narrated by Abu Sulayman May 27, 2001 - The Mujahideen departed to Dos Palmas inPalawan, a private beach resort 300 nautical miles travel from theSouthern Islands. They left right after Salatul Dhuhur and arrivedin the target area before dawn. So far, this is the most well-plannedoperation of the Harakatul Islamiyyah.Upon reaching the beach resort, they immediately executed theirplan. They were seen by the guard posted in front of the dock. Theyapproached him and pretended to be government military men.Then they disarmed the shocked security guard. They also made thesaid guard called his colleague and told that there are military menin the beach. Same thing happen, they also disarmed theresponding guard.They made their next move. Divided into many groups, theyentered the cottages and took 17 hostages and one cook from therestaurant. Within 15 minutes, they accomplished their mission andtook the total of 20 hostages. They got also some ghanaim in thatoperation.[The day before this, some of the would-be hostages joked on thebeach. They said, "What if, the Abu Sayyaf arrive and kidnap us?",someone answered, "It is hard for them to reach this area becausethis is already very far from their area". - this was narrated by thehostages to the mujahideen during their captivity].They rushed to the high seas after taking all the hostages. Then theMujahideen chorus in saying Takbirat (saying Allahu Akbar) loudlymany times. Only at this point that the hostages realized who theircaptors were.They remained for a couple of days in the high seas and were able tocapture 10 fishermen. Though theyre considered as captives, thegroup promised them that they will not be harmed if only they willfollow instructions and give them their supplies. While sailing, one 124
  • 124. of the hostages talked to them and said that he can pay ransom forhis release. May 31, 2001, Midnight. After 4 days in the high seas, theyarrived in the coastal area of Basilan. And they received a reportthat there are some government troops near that place. That timetheyre staying at one mountain of Tuburan town. June 1, 2001. Early morning, 2 Platoons of Taghut Forcesclimbed the mountain and there they saw some mujahideen andsome hostages taking a bath in a river. And because of this, theyfired at the mujahideen and a gun battle ensued. The mujahideenforces used their 60mm mortar. And the forces of Shaytanresponded with their 105 mm howitzers, but they hit their ownmen. The fierce fighting lasted for almost 2 hours. There were morethan 10 killed on the part of the Kuffar Forces and many arewounded. Mujahideen has one wounded, Kosovo, with no casualty,(masha-Allah). After the battle against the forces of Taghut, the Mujahideendecided to withdraw to take a rest. Before Isha, the group took hold of a vehicle to ride going toLamitan town. One platoon (around 30) from the mujahideen andthe seventeen (17) hostages rode the vehicle, while the remainingforty (40) mujahideen will go on foot towards Lamitan town. Butbefore they departed, they beheaded first the 2 security guards andthe cook. And they moved on. The Hospital Siege in Lamitan As their vehicle entered the town proper close to midnight,they passed by a military checkpoint of the Kuffar. The sentry wascaught by surprise, and Abu Ahmad (a.k.a. Abu Sabaya) shouted"Were the men of the Governor, this is an emergency and we haveto bring somebody to a hospital". Before the soldiers could react,they immediately left the place and continued on their travel. Midnight, they arrived at the Dr. Jose Maria TorresMemorial Hospital in Lamitan, Basilan. As they arrived in the said hospital, they were seen by thesecurity on duty and ran away. The group entered the hospital andtook 4 medical staff; 2 nurses, a midwife and 1 male utility crew.Some of them went to the neighboring church and the convent. Butthe priest and his militiaman-bodyguard escaped away after thelater fired at them. They were not also able to find the nuns in the 125
  • 125. convent. But they took some ghanaim from the hospital and in theconvent but most are from the church. They gathered in the hospital and then stayed there. After anhour, a jeepney full of policemen responded after hearing the gunfire. But they were blocked by some of the mujahideen who areposted outside the hospital. The mujahideen force fired their M203grenade launchers and their 90RR at the approaching policemen.They didnt able to damage the vehicle but the policemen ran away. After half an hour, soldiers arrived with their APCs. As theforces of Taghut approach the place, they were also firing their 50cal heavy machine gun at the same time hitting some houses nearthe hospital. The fierce fighting between the Mujahideen and theforces of Shaytan started. 2 AM, two vehicles full of elite special forces from thePhilippine Army arrived. They stopped right in front of the church.They are not aware that there are 5 mujahideen in the churchsterrace who are searching for the priest. Seeing this, themujahideen abruptly fired at the forces of Shaytan using their two(2) M203 grenade launchers, two (2) M14 and one (1) M16 rifles.The enemy were almost wipe-out, Allahu Akbar!!!. Before Salatul Fajr, the remaining forty (40) mujahideenwho walked towards the town reached their target - the house of arich Chinese businessman, in the center of the town. As they weretrying to find a way to get inside the compound, they wereapproached by a retired military colonel whose a resident of thatplace - thinking that they were government forces. Theyimmediately killed him on the spot. But some militiamen returnedfire at them and hit their guide, causing him to be martyred. Andbecause of this, they dont know what to do - they decided towithdraw outside of the town. Leaving the first platoon inside thehospital all by themselves. At the heat of the battle, some brothers are negotiating withthe relatives of the hostages about their ransoms. The first one thattalked to them at the high seas was being ransomed by his relatives.He was released from the hospital. They also released 2 morecaptives, a boy and a woman without ransom for humanitarianreasons. The said male hostage was released midday and when he wasout of the hospital he went to the government authority and toldthem whos inside the hospital. Hearing this information from one 126
  • 126. of the main hostages, they doubled the intensity of their operationagainst the mujahideen until afternoon. The forces of Taghut didnt want to miss their chance, theyfired their guns here and there - targeting even the churchs tower,bell and the statue of Virgin Mary thinking that those are snipers. Before Asr, the group made a mishuarah (consultation), andsome proposed to make a withdrawal and bring their hostages atgun point. But some of them hesitated to withdraw that timebecause they said the forces of Taghut can see them where theyreheading. So, they moved their scheduled withdrawal just beforeMaghrib so that they can use the darkness of the night as cover. Sothey waited and busied themselves in saying Dhikr and made Sabr. After Salatul Asr, the mujahideen heard some loud Takbirs(i.e.. Allahu Akbar!) not far from the hospital. While hearing theTakbirs, they also heard continuous rapid gun fires. Because of this,they thought that the brothers who withdrawed that dawn returnedto back them up. So, they shouted Takbirs also inside the hospital.Some mujahideen decided to go out to look whats going on outside.They brought their 90RR, they went out. They were surprisedseeing no more forces of Taghut outside. [According to the militaryreport which leaked later on, the Philippine forces were beingattacked by thousands of mujahideen who are wearing white robesand long beard, Allahu Akbar!.] "(Remember) when you sought help of your Lord and Heanswered you (saying); "I will help you with a thousand angelseach behind the other (following one another) in succession."Surah al-Anfal 9 And to make sure, they even went out to the main highwayand there they saw one APC steering backwards from their position.Kosovo saw an opportunity, aimed the 90RR and fired at the saidAPC. The APC was hit at its side and smoked then it stopped. Oneofficer and a military crew were killed inside the APC. After this,they went back inside the hospital. They informed their companions about the situation outside.They told the other mujahideens that there were no longer militaryoutside and that they can now execute their plan. So they did. They passed through a small door at the back of the hospitaland walked away immediately. But, as they walked a couple ofmeters away from the hospital, they were rained by gunfire from thefront and their sides. There are still some soldiers and militiamen 127
  • 127. left after that what they called attack by a thousand mujahideenreinforcement. Because of this, some of the hostages andmujahideen were wounded. So, they decided to left some woundedhostages and those who have relatives with them - so that they canfind ransom to those who were left behind with the mujahideen. They continued their withdrawal. And as they walked away,they used their M60 light machine gun and M203 grenadelaunchers to clear their way. They walked till midnight. They reached the boundary goingto the next town where they rest and slept. After Salatul Fajr, theycontinued their withdrawal until they reached the next town. Wherethey considered it safe. This hide and seek war between the Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah and the Philippine Taghut forces lasted up to one (1)year. And within this year, countless fierce fighting happened indifferent part of the island province of Basilan. But regardless ofthese incidents, they managed to take ransom from the localhostages. And some of the women were made Sabaya by themujahideen. One American hostage was also beheaded as a gift tothe celebration of the Kuffar Independence Day. This operation later on reached Zamboanga del Norte wherethe Philippine Taghut forces exerted their full efforts to save theremaining hostages from the mujahideen - a nurse (who became apracticing Muslim while being held as hostage) and the Americancouple. But this effort resulted in the death of the male Americanand the local nurse from the bullets of the Philippine Taghut forces.The female american received some wounds and was rescued. After few days, the remaining Mujahideen decided to go backto Sulu to rejoin the main group. So, they contacted for a boat topick them up. Not knowing, the boat operator was arrested a fewdays before. So he was sent together with a civilian agent to pickthem up bringing with them a tracking device. When the scheduled time came and picked them up. Theystart sailing towards Sulu, not knowing the patrol and speed boatsof the Kuffar are already following them. Then a fierce sea battleensued that resulted the Mujahideens boat capsizing and themartyrdom of the several Mujahideen including Abu Ahmad (a.k.a.Abu Sabaya, Aldam Tilao in real life), and the wounding andcapture of some them. 128
  • 128. [During his life time, Abu Sabaya (Aldam Tilao), used to tellhis comrades - to hide his body when he ever become a Shahid sothat the enemy of Islam can not rejoice of his supposed death andmake his body as a trophy that can be presented in the public. Andup to this day, the forces of Philippine Taghut didnt able to find hisbody including the two (2) brothers who were missing with him.They were only able to retrieved his back-pack with his personalbelonging inside (sattelite phone, sunglass, drivers license, cal.45pistol). Allah (swt) granted his Dua, Masha-Allah] The Hikmah (wisdom) of this operation: This was madebecause Palawan became the center of tourism in the Philippinesthat brought a lot of Fitnah for the Muslim Ummah in the region.This operation resulted in bad effects on the economy of thePhilippine Taghut Govenment that cost them Billions of Pesos ofloses in revenues. Alhamdulillah.Source: 129
  • 129. ANNEX C List of Selected Attacks Attributed to ASG 2000-20112000 • April 23 - ASG gunmen raid the Malaysian diving resort of Sipadan, off Borneo, and flee across the sea border to their Jolo island stronghold with 10 Western tourists and 11 resort workers. • May 27 - The kidnappers issue political demands including a separate Muslim state, an inquiry into alleged human rights abuses in Sabah and the restoration of fishing rights. They later demand cash multimillion- dollar ransoms. • July 1 - Filipino television evangelist Wilde Almeda of the Jesus Miracle Crusade (JMC) and 12 of his "prayer warriors" visit the ASG lair. A German journalist is seized the following day. • July 9 - A three-member French television crew was abducted. • August 27 - French, South African and German hostages are freed. • August 28 - American Muslim convert Jeffrey Schilling is abducted. • September 9 - Finnish, German and French hostages are freed. • September 10 - ASG raids Pandanan island near Sipadan and seizes three Malaysians. • September 16 - The government troops launch military assault against ASG in Jolo. Two kidnapped French journalists escape during the fighting. • October 2 - JMC Evangelist "Wilde Almeda" and 12 "prayer warriors" are released by volunteer. • October 25 - Troops rescue the three Malaysians seized in Pandanan.2001 • April 12 - Jeffrey Schilling is rescued, leaving Filipino scuba diving instructor, Roland Ullah, in the gunmens hands. • May 22 - Suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen raid the luxurious Pearl Farm beach resort on Samal island in southern Philippines, killing two resort workers wounding three others, but no hostages were taken. • May 28 - Suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen raid the Dos Palmas resort off the western Philippines island of Palawan and seize 20 hostages including a US couple and former Manila Times owner Reghis Romero. Arroyo rules out ransom and orders the military to go after the kidnappers. • May 29 - Malacañang imposes a news blackout in Basilan province where the Abu Sayyaf are reported to have gone. • May 30 - US State Department Spokesman Philip Reeker calls for the "swift, safe and unconditional release of all the hostages." An Olympus camera and an ATM card of one the hostages are found in Cagayan de 130
  • 130. Tawi-Tawi island. Pictures of Abu Sayyaf leaders are released to media by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. • May 31 - The military fails to locate the bandits and the hostages despite search and rescue operations in Jolo, Basilan and Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi. • June 1 - Military troops engage Abu Sayyaf bandits in Tuburan town in Basilan. ASG spokesman Abu Sabaya threatens to behead two of the hostages. • June 2 - Abu Sayyaf invaded Lamitan town and seize the Jose Maria Torres Memorial Hospital and the Saint Peters church. Soldiers surround the bandits and engage them in a day-long firefight. Several hostages, including businessman Reghis Romero, were able to escape. Witnesses say the bandits escape from Lamitan at around 5:30 in the afternoon, taking four medical personnel from the hospital. • June 3 - Soldiers recover the bodies of hostages Sonny Dacquer and Armando Bayona in Barangay Bulanting. They were beheaded. • June 4 - Military officials ask for a state of emergency in Basilan. President Arroyo turns the request down. • June 5 - At least 16 soldiers are reported killed and 44 others wounded during a firefight between government troops and Abu Sayyaf bandits in Mount Sinangkapan in Tuburan town. President Arroyo promises P5 million to the family of retired Col. Fernando Bajet for killing ASG chieftain Abu Sulayman, alias Kumander Yusuf on June 2, 2000. ASG leaders contact a government designated intermediary for possible negotiations. • June 6 - ASG leader Abu Sabaya tells Radio Mindanao Network that US hostage Martin Burnham sustained a gunshot wound on the back during a recent exchange of gunfire.2002 • July 21 - A provincial governor and three others were wounded when fighters of the Abu Sayyaf ambushed them in the southern Philippines, the military said. • August - Six Filipino Jehovahs Witnesses were kidnapped and two of them were beheaded.[33] • October - One American serviceman was killed and another seriously injured by a bomb blast in Zamboanga City. [34]2003 • February 12 - The Philippines expelled an Iraqi diplomat, accusing the envoy of having ties to the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group. Second Secretary Husham Husain has been given 48 hours to leave the country, according to a statement by Philippine Foreign Secretary Blas Ople. The government said it had intelligence that the Iraqi diplomat has ties to the Islamic extremist group. The decision was taken more than a month before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. 131
  • 131. • March 5 - Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility for the bombing of Davao International Airport in the southern Philippines, killing 21 and injuring 148.[35]2004 • February 24 - A bomb explodes on Super ferry 14 off the coast of Manila, causing it to sink and killing 116 people. This attack is the worst terrorist attack at sea. • April 9 - A key leader of the Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf was killed, along with five of his men, during a firefight with government troops on a southern Philippine island. Hamsiraji Sali and his men were killed when a platoon of the Philippine armys elite Scout Rangers, who had been on the terrorists trail, attacked them around midday on the island of Basilan, an Abu Sayyaf stronghold about 885 kilometers, or 550 miles, south of the capital, Manila. Four government soldiers, including a commanding officer, were injured. • April 10 - Around 50 prisoners including many suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf escaped from jail in the southern Philippines, the officials said. Three of the escaped prisoners were later killed and three others have since been recaptured, while three jail guards were wounded in the incident on the island of Basilan. They still did not have a full headcount of those who escaped, but local army commander Colonel Raymundo Ferrer said 53 of the 137 prisoners in the jail on the outskirts of Isabela Cityhad had broken out.[36]2005 • November 17 - A prominent leader of the Islamist group Abu Sayyaf, Jatib Usman, has been killed in ongoing clashes between rebels and the military. Usman was confronted in the most southeastern province of Tawi-Tawi, an island region which is close to the Borneo coast of Malaysia.[37]2006 • February 3 - Suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen knocked on door in a farm in Patikul, Mindanao, and opened fire after asking residents if they were Christian. Six people are confirmed dead, including a nine-month baby girl, and five others are seriously wounded. • March 20 - Declassified documents seized from Saddam Hussein’s government were said to have revealed that Al-Qaeda agents financed by Saddam entered the Philippines through the country’s southern backdoor.[38] • September 19 - A Filipino Marine officer was killed after the government forces encountered a large group of Abu Sayyaf terrorists earlier day in the outskirts of Patikul town in Sulu, southern Philippines, a military official 132
  • 132. reported. Five Marine soldiers also were wounded in the clash with some 80 terrorists believed to be led by Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron, alias commander Putol, one of the top terrorist leader based in Sulu province, said the spokesman.2007 • January 17 - A top Abu Sayyaf leader , Jainal Antel Sali Jr., aka Abu Sulaiman — is killed "in a fierce gun battle with army special forces" on Jolo.[39] • July 11 - Eight Filipino government soldiers were killed, nine others injured and six missing following a fierce clash with Abu Sayyaf rebels backed by armed villagers in the southern island province of Basilan, according to a military source. • August - The military said it lost 26 soldiers and killed around 30 militants in three days of fighting on the volatile island of Jolo, in the beginning of month. The heaviest toll occurred after militants ambushed a military convoy. [40]2008 • January 17 - Abu Sayyaf militants raided a convent in the remote southern Philippine island province of Tawi-Tawi and killed a Catholic missionary during a kidnapping attempt.[41] • February 14 - Failed assassination plot of the President of the Philippines, Gloria Arroyo. • June 8 - ABS-CBN Journalist Ces Drilon and her TV Crew kidnapped. 10 days later they were released after families paid a portion of the ransom.2009 • January 15 - Three Red Cross officials, Swiss Andreas Notter, Filipino Mary Jane Lacaba and Italian Eugenio Vagni were kidnapped. Andreas Notter and Mary Jane Lacaba were released four months later. Eugenio Vagni is released six months later on July 12 (Manila time). • April 14 - Abu Sayyaf soldiers have executed one of two hostages they took during a raid on a Christian community in Lamitan City in Basilan on Good Friday, the military said. The body of Cosme Aballes was recovered Sunday by Marines who are pursuing the bandits. The bandits were with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and of kidnap for ransom groups. Aballes and Ernan Chavez were taken by at least 40 Abu Sayyaf, rogue M.I.L.F. rebels and KFR elements when they raided Sitio Arco in Lamitan City. On their way out, the kidnappers shot dead a resident, Jacinto Clemente. The kidnappers are still holding Chavez, Estrella said the bandits raided Sitio Arco to disrupt the Christian activities during the Lenten season and to extort. Marines are pursuing the kidnappers in the outskirts of Lamitan City. Including Chavez, Estrella said, the Abu Sayyaf 133
  • 133. is holding seven hostages in Basilan, including three teachers kidnapped in Zamboanga in January. • May 18 - Abu Sayyaf gunmen in Basilan beheaded a 61-year-old man who was abducted from this city about three weeks before, the police said. • July 12 - The Italian Red Cross hostage, Eugenio Vagni, was released. • August 12 - A group of Abu Sayyaf soldiers and members of the M.I.L.F. ambush a group of A.F.P. (Armed Forces of the Philippines) soldiers as they conducted a clearing operation in the mountains of Tipo-Tipo, Basilan. 23 A.F.P. soldiers were killed in the engagement, 20 of which were members of the Philippine Marines Corps. In addition, 31 Abu Sayyaf soldiers were killed in an initial body count. The figure is likely to rise. • September 21- A.F.P. overrun a camp in the south belonging to the Abu Sayyaf, killing nearly 20 militants, the authorities said. 5 A.F.P. were wounded. • September 29 - Two United States soldiers are killed in Jolo, near the town of Indanan, by Abu Sayyaf soldiers. • October 14 - An Irish priest is kidnapped from outside his home near Pagadian city in Mindanao. He was released on November 11, 2009. • November 9 - A school teacher in Jolo was captured on October 19 and beheaded by Abu Sayyaf soldiers. • November 10 - Abu Sayyaf soldiers captures several Chinese and Filipino nationals in Basilan.2010 • January 21 - Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants detonated a bomb near the house of a Basilan province mayor. One teenager was injured. • February 21 - One Abu Sayyaf senior leaders, Albader Parad, has been killed.February 27 - Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants killed one militiaman and 12 civilians in Maluso. • March 16 - Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants killed a police officer in Zamboanga.2011 • January 12 - four traveling merchants and a guide were killed and one wounded when suspected Abu Sayyaf militants ambushed them in Basilan. • January 18 - One soldier was killed when government forces clashed with Abu Sayyaf militants in the province of Basilan.Source: Wikipedia 134
  • 134. PHILIPPINE INSTITUTE FOR PEACE, VIOLENCE AND TERRORISM RESEARCH 2nd Floor, CPDRI Room, Asian Institute of Tourism, University of the Philippines Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City 1101 Philippines Telephone +632 9946972 Fax: +632 4333870 Website: The PIPVTR is an independent academic research institute and think-tank duly registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Theinstitute aims to conduct rigorous research and investigative studies on theunderlying factors or root causes of political violence and terrorism in thePhilippines and abroad. It also aims to study various responses to threats ofpolitical violence and terrorism in the Philippines and examines the implicationsof these threats for local peace and development, national security, regionalstabiliy and global order. The PIPVTR establishes networks with likeminded institutions in thePhilippines and abroad in order to exchange research findings, publications andexperts. Through its research outputs and activities, the institute intends toenrich existing scholarly literature on political violence and terrorism. Moreimportantly, the PIPVTR intends to provide valuable inputs to policy-making inorder to enable government to develop a more effective counter-terrorismresponse. It also offers regular threat assessment reports and security briefingsto private firms, foreign embassies and concerned non-governmentalorganizations on the topic. The PIPVTR has organized the following events:Round Table Discussion on Youth and Terrorism, co-organized by the SoutheastAsia Regional Center for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), PIPVTR SeminarRoom, Quezon City, 30 March 2011.Round Table Discussion on Understanding Violent Religious Radicalization: AMultidisciplinary Perspective, organized with the Head of the Centerfor Excellence on National Security (CENS) of the S. Rajarantnam School ofInternational Studies (RSIS) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), PIPVTR Seminar Room, Quezon City, 28 March 2011.Round Table Discussion on Mainstreaming the Indigenous Peoples Issues andConcerns in the National Agenda, co-organized by the Institute for Autonomyand Governance and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Electronic Library, 2ndfloor, AIM Conference Center, corner Benavidez and Trazierra Streets, MakatiCity. 11 March 11, 2011.Round Table Discussion on Terrorism: Threat to Tourism and Public Safety, co-organized by the Asian Institute of Tourism (AIT) and Center for Political andDemocratic Reforms, Inc. (CPDRI), AIT Seminar Room, Quezon City, 22February 2011.International Forum on Asia Pacific Security, co-organized by the Institute ofDefense Analyses (ISA), Council for Asian Transnational Threats Research 135
  • 135. (CATR) and the Asia Pacific Security Forum (APSF), held at Dusit Thani Hotel,Makati City, 29 October 2010.10th Bi-Annual Conference of the Council for Asian Transnational ThreatResearch (CATR), New World Hotel, 27-28 October 2010.Round Table Discussion on PNOY’s Policy on the Peace Process, PIPVTRSeminar Room, Quezon City. 22 September 2010.Round Table Discussion on Media Reporting of Terrorism and the Abu SayyafThreat: Scoop and Scope, Aguinaldo Conference Room, AFPCOC, CampAguinaldo, Quezon City, 29 July 2010.Round Table Discussion on Crime-Terrorism Nexus, Lakambini ConferenceRoom, AFPCOC, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, 26 May 2010.Round Table Discussion on The Future of Philippine Communist Movement,Main Restaurant, co-organized by the Civil Relations Service (CRS) of the ArmedForces of the Philippines (APF), AFPCOC, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, 22April 2010.Round Table Discussion on The GRP-MILF Peace Process: The ContinuingSearch for A Negotiated Solution to a Deep-Rooted Armed Conflicts, co-organized by the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies and the Centre forHumanitarian Dialogue, Aguinaldo Conference Room, AFPCOC, CampAguinaldo, Quezon City, 5 February 2010.Round Table Discussion on Kalayaan Island Group and Baselines Controversiesin the South China Sea, co-organized by the Yuchengco Center and the Center forArchipelagic Maritime Security Studies, Aguinaldo Conference Room, AFPCOC,Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, 23 October 2009.Round Table Discussion on the Roles of CAFGUs and CVOs in CounteringTerrorism and Insurgency in the Philippines, co-organized by the Institute ofBangsamoro Studies and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, AguinaldoConference Room, AFPCOC, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, 9 October 2009.Round Table Discussion on Counter Terrorism and National Security, AguinaldoConference Room, AFPCOC, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, 16 September 2009.Round Table Discussion on “Achievements and Challenges of Counter Terrorismin the Philippines Seven Years After 9/11”, Aguinaldo Conference Room,AFPCOC, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, 24 October 2008.International Workshop on Countering the Financing of Terrorism, coorganizedby World Check International and the International Center for Political Violenceand Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) held at Sulo Hotel, 7-8 July 2008. 136
  • 136. About the Author Rommel C. Banlaoi is the Chairman of the Board and the ExecutiveDirector of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research(PIPVTR) and Head of its Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies.He is a recipient of Albani Peace Prize Award (Peace Education) in 2011. Hecurrently teaches at the Department of International Studies of Miriam College,Philippines. He worked as professor of political science at the National DefenseCollege of the Philippines (where he became Vice President), assistant professorin international studies at De La Salle University, instructor in political science atthe University of the Philippines (Los Banos), and University Research Associateat the University of the Philippines (Diliman), where he took his BA, MA and PhD(ABD status) all in Political Science. He also became an Executive Director ofStrategic and Integrative Studies Center (SISC), Director for Research of WorldCiti Colleges (WCC) and Founding Center Director of the Mayors DevelopmentCenter (MDC) of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP). He iscurrently a Senior Fellow at the Yuchengco Center of De La Salle University. An author of a terrorism trilogy: Philippine Security in the Age of Terror(2010), Counter-Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia (2009) and War onTerrorism in Southeast Asia (2004), Prof. Banlaoi has also authored at least 75journal articles and book chapters published in the Philippines and abroad onregional security issues, Philippine foreign and defense policy, Philippineelectoral politics, terrorism, and the peace process. Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR) 137