Posts filed under ‘Makati’

Mission Possible: Stolen American chopper recovered in Mindanao, Philippines

MIKEINMANILA EXCLUSIVE: UPDATE 3
13 bikes, 3 ATVs, SUVs, sports cars, guns galore and more recovered in a major raid. Second raid recovers around two dozen more bikes. NBI in Northern Mindanao identifies alleged owner of car dealerships as professional rider and car & bike dealer, report says 25 cars and 18 bikes recovered in major transpacific anti-grand theft auto raid.

One mans search for his unique Martin Bro’s custom ride leads to major bike gang GTA bust in Mindanao. PHOTO Law Enforcement handout

The story reads like a plot for Die Hard Six, for Skip Woods, the writer of Die Hard 5, GI Joe The Rise of Cobra, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.It’s often said the best stories are true to life. For the plot,  which would also fit on Fox’s ‘The Good Guys’, it starts from the simple recovery of a stolen vehicle —  a motorcycle,  a Martin Brothers original. Key figures:  a ‘major writer’  based in Texas who works in  Hollywood.

He loves his bike, a custom Martin Brothers bike. He loved long drives and would head out from wide open spaces in California to flatlands and expanse of open space of the Southwest to Texas. Reality paints a better picture than film here… he and his bike he loved – a man free to roam.

The bike and him were inseparable, then, his bike was stolen in Houston Texas.The writer, Skip Woods, like any other victim went to Police, who traced the bike theft to a gang that ships expensive American-made motorcycles like Harleys and his Martin Brothers custom to Asia via Mexico and Los Angeles.

One mans search for his unique Martin Bro’s custom ride leads to major bike gang GTA bust in Mindanao. PHOTO: Law Enforcement handout

Not content to go out and buy a new one with insurance money, he hired private investigators, Orion Support Inc., who traced the bike and upon that, the custom bike was seen in Asia in the Philippines.

Tuesday, led by local Philippine National Police Provincial Director  Buboy Mijares, Agent Wency Galindez of NBI Cagayan De Oro, along with US Law enforcement – at least one FBI agent and OSI private invetigators – the team searching for the rare bike found much more than Skip’s bike.

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May 10, 2011 at 1:44 am Leave a comment

Makati Bombings: A look back at other tragic events

Remembering other ‘Makati Bombings’


There are i m sure more incidents – but,  this is cross section of the types of attacks and some of the ones i was clearly able to find reference to online. I’ll update these over th days ahead.

The Makati Bombing Inquiry continues; I chose to call it still a bombing as theory’s of a accidental explosion may yet prove to be part of the overall impact of destruction in the area. – this was originally a comment on ‘Coffee with Amee’ -but I decide to make it a post of my own.

Meaning, as investigators have told me in interviews there was more than one explosion. A primary- and a secondary. What they are worried over is that the secondary explosion – yes there were two – may have been strong enough to scatter evidence from the first and add its own signature to the overall forensic investigation.

In rpeorts I’ve written for a news organization – the event status of the investigation a few items I’ve put on the site of mikeinmanila.info;

Raised the overall history of terror attacks at the Philippines premier shopping district that go back to the late 1970’s-1980’s. Rustan’s and Shoemart package counters were the favorite target then – so were the food courts. But – who were behind those attacks – people died were hurt and injured some say it was ‘justified’ because at the time it was revolution versus a dictatorship- yet the injured were hurt just the same. Yrt, there has never been any remorse said by those who took part- If you wonder where they are today – don’t look far – they are on your T.V. sets. One is in charge of children’s programs for major TV network. Yet that is the past…

[] …A terrorist group calling itself the April 6 Liberation Movement, after a massive 1978 anti-Marcos demonstration in Manila, had warned the travel agents to boycott the convention. Even though terrorists had set off some 20 bombs since August, killing one person and injuring scores,..

The April 6 Movement is the most visible, and most violence-prone, member of a new constellation of radical opposition groups that is sometimes called the Third Force, because it is both anti-Marcos and antiCommunist. The Third Force is composed mainly of middle-class Filipinos, [] TIME

I also remeber in the 1990’s the attack on the greenbelt theater by Al Qaeda’s early cell in manila – headed by Khalid Sheik mohamad and ramsey Youseff. The greenbelt theater was hit although damage was minimal there were injuries.

[] Dec. 1, 1994, Greenbelt Theater, Manila, Philippines, Ramzi Yousef (Organizer), Khalid Shaikh Mohammed – “This detonation was a test run for a bombing timer Yousef had built. ” [] Source: United States vs. Ramzi Yousef, et. al. indictment.

Participants Ramzi Yousef (Organizer) , Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (Facilitator) , Wali Khan Amin Shah (Facilitator)
Participants Abdul Hakim Murad (Facilitator)

Gangs have had grenade attacks and one or two disco’s were shot up and bombed as well over the decades. But, most peoples memories dont go back that far – most only remember for example the 2005 Valentines day and the Rizal day bombings of 2000.

But it is important to also mention the Makati’ bomb squad has prevented numerous attempts most go unreported – others are overlooked- two officers I knew and still remember ran with a bomb in December 2000 saving perhaps hundreds from injury taking the bomb to a then empty lot across EDSA from the Dusit -giving their lives to try and defuse a bomb there. it had been placed near SM Makati and the Dusit Hotel.

They saved perhaps as many as were lost in Fridays blast but there is little mention of SPO4 Roberto Gutierrez or Inspector Nestor Salvador, now, they got the medal of valor in 2001. Both died in the explosion of a bomb left by Jemaah Islamiah,
Scores of these attacks take place many often foiled, when something does happen though
– people are quick to judge, putting it in the politics of the moment. In 2000 the attacks helped fuel public anger versus then President Estrada – who – in that particular case was innocent – I stood with Erap at Chinese medical center when he visited a boy we later called Emanuel, he must be about twelve now – I saw tears in Estrada’s eyes – even in the police and PSG with him – yet my editors and producers – ironically still working at the TV network, refused my story since they had their own minds made up as to ‘who dun it’.
Fathur Roman Al Ghozi the mastermind was initially ignored by media in his attempts to claim responsibility – months later; after EDSA 2 people finally realized the bombings were the work of JI or Jemaah Islamiah. To to those spinning this for politcal benifit.
There is little from this though to comfort those who lost someone – or a part of themselves at blast scene of these kind of attacks or tragic accident what-ever it turns out to be or a combination of both.

I’ll wait for the investigation and continue to file my reports lets just hope those with their own agenda’s don’t spin this thing out of control. or in the madness of chaos of terrorism sometimes political pundits and spin doctors will use anything to push their own agenda in the face of tragedy for their clients own ends.

→ No CommentsTags: Arroyo · ASEAN · asia

October 23, 2007 at 4:18 am 1 comment

When a blogger goes bad: a Fishmarket rotten

Over the two decades I’ve been in this field as a journalist I, more often than not, do not react to other writers or bloggers’ opinions on subjects – but as I sometimes look over the reports to see whats there I sometimes get frustrated when I see a report so callous, so uncaring, so insensitive to others that it makes my blood boil.

The hyperlink below is to one such blogger – whose opinions below are syndicated by the ‘blogger news network’. OK,  a nice idea, but  with pitfalls of profession being that sometimes non-journalist writers often take liberties with facts they don’t or can’t even begin to write about because they just don’t know. In other words,  they are ignorant of the realities of what they are writing about and make cute opinions about topics to get away with filling space.

Nancy Reyes describes herself as a retired doctor. Well,  what kind of doctor could be so insensitive to human suffering she just blurts out a line like below:

[] …”The Korean hostages: Part of missionary life no one mentions
Blogger News Network – Here in the Philippines, the NPA specializes in Chinese businessmen. It’s a game, and the ransom is small, since China doesn’t help them, they only charge “… []

Having covered so many kidnappings I don’t even want to remember. I can’t begin to think if a real journalist or columnist wrote this the ramifications for such a line would be – one, they would be fired, two, they would lose most of the readers or advertisers they have. Lastly, they would probably get a visit from law enforcement since partly – her article ‘gives advice’ on who and who not kidnap.

Am I over reacting? NO – I’ve been to a shallow gravesides when not far from her ‘hometown’ of Gapan, Nueva Ecija, a mother clutched the rotten body of her son – filled with worms  – and cried and  screamed. Her son had been kidnapped. I was part of news team and police who had somehow gotten the information from aprehended kidnapper where the child was buried.

The child’s only crime was he was mestizo – a Filipino-Chinese. A son a mother loved; a sad fact was that he had ancestors who came from another part of Asia and because of that he was picked up in mall in Quezon City.  Then the family begged, borrowed, and sold everything to get the boy back  from hoodlums who who were too lazy to find work other than victimizing others. They took money from the family twice – who sold everything they could to get what ever was demanded – they borrowed more the second time.

But still the kidnappers – the vile and criminal men who not only killed the child tortured him – kept him in a septic tank with just enough space for him to stand his head above the filthy water  until they decided he was too sick to return so they killed him. Hardly the ‘harmless’ image Dra. Reyes seeks to portray of the men like these – who have killed hundreds and destroyed thousands of families lives. A number of these people from her own town. But perhaps she doesn’t live in Gapan,  or in Cabantaun or in the areas she so callously doesn’t seem to care about.

I as part the coverage team that dealt with Abu Sayyaf kidnappings had to talk and be the go-between for families of victims of both the Sipadan and Dos Palmas kidnappings. I talked for hours days and weeks with their families – I knew them and still keep in touch in with them – both the family members and victims themselves.

I’ve gone out with both NBI, PNP, and others search teams – I’ve been there when most of the time these men – grown men – come back weeping seeing the evils that are often done to the victims of these children, women, old men and old women who are taken by those whose only desire is making easy money. 9 times out of 10 are themselves killed – but masterminds often go away free and clear. Other times, they get away with it for a while but as in life what comes around goes around. They more often than not get what they deserve – but often too late for anyone they happen to victimize.

I don’t know why anyone who claims to be a healer can be so hurtful, why a so-called news organization like blogger news network let this get published.

But sadly the fact of the matter is, the topic is written by what in life is often the most dangerous thing – a person with little or no knowledge for the facts who couldn’t care less so long as what they write makes a few dollars for the banner ads on the sidebar.

I defend your right to you opinion with my life  as others who really do this work for living – journalism, but tell you flatly – you’re wrong. Kidnapping is never little thing and crime can never be so gently dismissed as to almost laughingly describe events of human suffering without the proper context the events are in. Please learn the facts and please do keep on writing. But for Gods sake, please do not dismiss something so heinous as this type of crime is as just a joke.

Otherwise that is what you become – a bad joke- with nobody laughing.

September 2, 2007 at 5:21 pm Leave a comment

AAP Philippine-American Friendship Day picnic at Sofitel

Fil-am friendshp Party at Sofitel

Fireworks display:

Every year the American community of Manila gathers to celebrate Independance day and Fil-Am friendship day. Last year the events took place at the International School in Taguig. It was a fun picnic and as ussual there were marching bands, kids games, a party and fun for all. I featured it on FYITv.net and my youtube site:

FYITv.net

This year the event takes place at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

flyer:

american-independence-day-flyer-high.jpg

(more…)

June 30, 2007 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

Philippine Call center gets SMS bomb threat – false alarm but…

A call center based in the former Fort Bonifacio area of Taguig was the subject of the bomb threat that led to the evacuation of over 2,000 employee’s Monday night.

Identified in media reports as the Amber Creek company – Police and security officials were quick to downplay the threat – even after extensive EOD, Swat, and private security anti-terrorism units were deployed to area – per official reports no device was found.

Call center in Taguig gets bomb threat

Call center in Taguig gets bomb threat

The disruption to service comes as call centers are facing increasing problems of rising costs on a weaker US dollar – this days trading at 45 pesos to the Dollar has some BPO companies looking at a serious level of cost saving s of being  set up in the Philippines on contracts based at a time when the US dollar was almost  at 57 pesos to one greenback.

However -the weaker Dollar means that costs are even higher than the Philippines in other outsourced areas such as Ireland and Canada – today Canada’s dollar traded at 92 cents Canadian to one greenback – the costs savings of basing in Canada for some US outsourced firms has lessened to point that many are shifting back to back-up zones in places like Nevada and Connecticut – where wages are lower actually than Toronto and Quebec in general with the new exchange rate levels expected to see a ‘Canuk’ dollar reaching equality with its south of the border US cousins at nearly the same level in the month or so some predict.

Overall outsourcing has become such a investment draw to the region – the philippines in particular is now seen as the top investment destination in the region with vietnam coming in at close second. Or so Japan’s Nikkei reports.

However last night terror related incident seems to have been a false alarm – the idea of threat to such a vital industry here was clearly not lost on security firms who grabbed cameras and prevent as much as they could media’s reporting on anything related to the incident as much as they could. The whole area is private property even if it is a public place.

It is the sum of all fears for couturiers like the Philippines now seen a prime investment destination because of its ability to bounce back from bombing spree’s and other problems that has made it an attractive destination for many industries including IP based services – yet fears remain as clear as the worried faces of officials who laughed off the insident as a prank – that may have been a worker trying to get off work early.

Yet – privately knowing the fickle nature of clients these centers represent threats or actual incidents could result in contract displacement or termination.

You can be sure authorities are keeping an eye on the possibility that the threat is being closely looked at considering warnings over possible JI-Abu Sayyaf  teams in Manila  as also some group attempting to test and gauge response times and study evacuation plans.

Experts I have talked to are closely looking into that possible….  idea that there may be more here than meets the eye even the possibility of business rivals seeking to disrupt services or disgruntled employee’s seeking notoriety.

We’ll keep an eye on this one and see what happens – if it was a prank as it seems to be – then the person who sent the bogus threat should be found, punished, and charged for whatever possible crime is available in the law books. Afterall text messages are admissible as evidence in court.

Let’s see where this goes….

May 23, 2007 at 1:20 am 2 comments

International Poll Watchers in Mindanao: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia

A group of 21 poll watchers from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia have set up shop in Mindanao to look over the Philippine election process,

The observer mission is being coordinated by the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) and supported with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Asia Foundation.

In all some 219 observers from the US, EU, Canada, the UK and the UN are looking at the conduct of the election process. Some have also come to learn how to watch and what to look for in election related issues and concerns for when elections take place in their own countries.

 

For this group of mostly Muslim observers during their deployment in the ARMM, the observer team members will be hosted by six local Muslim civil society groups that have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) on April 3, 2007.

The goal is make sure that this group gets a chance to see what is going on and report any irregularities if any are found in the conduct of the polls. The observers for this group from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia – come from countries that do also have elections – however have very different government systems –

Hence each of the observers do bring some issues from their home countries that does show more localized understanding than many western observers – Pakistan for example – is run by former general who took power after a coup. Bangladesh – just had a major upheaval with local political reform being meted out by a sweeping move at anti-corruption and very public arrests of old styled political figures and oligarch’s there. Thailand – well – we all so that coup however peaceful – it still does not have democratically elected leadership at this time – although elections are promised and expected soon there and a major Islamic insurgency is ongoing. Indonesia – like the Philippines is dealing with post dictatorship adjustments to democratic space – and so far it has done well – its government is elected. Malaysia is a democracy – but – still has some post Mahathir issues – reform there seems close at hand with the changes made so far and freedom given to people like Anwar Ibrihim.

Sri Lanka is also facing insurgency – seperatists Tamils hold a mjaor section of the country – but for the most part is a democracy: .

 

 

May 9, 2007 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

Patronage Politics blamed: For Political Murders & Mayhem in the Philippines

The 90 day long Philippine election campaign period for the mid term polls for Congressional and local positions has so far resulted in 75 election related murders.

A briefing given by the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported.

GMANews.TV

</b> Election-related violence cases rise to 108

Saksi: Election-related violence cases rise to 108

» Comelec: Cell phones not barred, just watched

» SunStar: Benguet town ‘loses’ 40 cops to poll duty

» GO to question resolution naming LP as dominant minority

» Poll execs will call which areas to put under Comelec control

» Comelec mulls control over Bantayan Island

» Report: NPAs briefly hold Kampi bets hostage in Agusan Norte

“The PNP, as of May 1 the fatalities included two lawmakers (congressmen), a vice-governor, two mayors, three city councilors, 19 village chairmen and 16 village officials.” Senior Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr added that, “Another 32 casualties were supporters of the political candidates or civilians who happened to be in the area when the attacks took place.”.

Police officials however are quick to point out that 75 election related murders however violent this may seem is actually an improvement over past elections. “The number of casualties is still low compared to the 189 reported killed and 279 wounded in the 2004 campaign period”. PNP Spokesman Gen. Pagdilao clarified; overall the situation has improved since the last election.

Partly the decision by the Philippine election commission or COMELEC to place 60 cities and municipalities and two provinces were placed under ‘Comelec control is seen by Police as major reason for the drop in half violent incidents and killings.

Far from Over: 2 weeks till Election Day .

The Philippines Police is at a higher alert level during the election period with assault teams backing up armed police in the streets and mobile and fixed checkpoints spread throughout several areas of COMELEC control.

 

In part to keep warring political factions with heavily armed bodyguards from clashing, “417 cities and municipalities tagged as areas of immediate concern while 216 cities and municipalities were listed areas of concern.”.

Political clans and Warlord Politics:

In some parts of the Country there are those who still rule ‘warlord style’ a throwback to the 1950’s over parts of the country far from the public eye, In some cases even in urban areas with either private militias of bodyguards or often using, ‘active duty’ Military or Policemen.

To the “private Warriors’ whose pay and lifestyle are augmented by the nearly feudal system of old ‘Politics of patronage’.

But while these groups are often in far flung areas.

It is when rival political groups clash the outcome can be extremely violent. In the Central Luzon Province of Nueva Ecjica, an example of what happens when heavily armed political groups cross paths was displayed the often ugly side of ‘politics of the gun’ at it’s worst.

“The shootout in Jaen, Nueva Ecija between the camps of Nueva Ecija congressman Rodolfo Antonino and former Jaen Mayor Antonio Esquivel left four people dead and 14 more wounded – one of the bloodiest election related incidents this campaign.” Babe Romoldez, a columnist of Philippine Star newspaper wrote in in a Op-Ed piece, ” There’s no question a lot of business activity depends on the result of the elections, but of equal concern is for the process to be perceived as clean and honest. Unfortunately, election-related violence is getting more intense, “

The clash between warring political groups has led led to the deployment of 1,000 combat troops to the province and COMELEC (Commission of Elections) control.

In another election related killing a Mayor attending a complaint haring was gunned down on the streets of the Philippines second largest city of Cebu, while even on the campaign trail – violence has become part of the campaign, “Another violent incident involves San Carlos City, Pangasinan mayor Julian Resuello, who was fatally shot during a rally on Saturday. This further intensified perceptions that election violence is getting out of hand”

Local Government Politcal reform urged:

Political patronage which according to some of the top leaders of major LGU’s is often funded by graft ridden political cronyism and illegal ‘rackets’ that is typical at the local level of Government in areas far from the capitol – and – even sometimes in towns and cities of the major metropolitan zenes.

Barely two weeks remains in the campaign till election day on May 14th, In the last week the violence has escalated with 22 new incidents reported – this coming alongside three active insurgent groups clashes with government forces has led the US, UK, and Australia as well as many EU countries to issue warnings to their nationals living or visiting the Philippines to exercise extreme caution and avoid all Political gatherings.

“It is a cycle that needs to be broken, Political leaders to stay in power are expected by the people to hand out ‘favors’, You need funds to do this – so those not wealthy enough become forced to fund these activities with graft. Which leads to ineffective projects and governance,” A leading local official said on condition of anonymity, “Reforms are needed at the local level of politics too, or in the end it will be warfare every time there is an election as groups battle for control of local economies through political feuds and violence.”

With 75 Dead and 12 days to go and at least another week till winning candidates will be proclaimed the danger of more violence looms of violence is in the air already as political rivals claim victory amidst threats of more violence if their candidates do not win.

ABS-CBN News:

Fearless Palace forecast: 8-4 for TU 5/3/2007 4:26:52 AM
COMELEC picks Lakas, LP as dominant parties 5/3/2007 4:26:35 AM
Erap warns of ‘revolt of the masses’ if there is cheating 5/3/2007 2:37:11 AM

 

PNP concerned by swift rise of election violence

PNP concerned by swift rise of election violence

06:09 AM 05/03/2007

‘The threats of violence echo all the way down line from all sides of the politcal spectrum if they don’t win from the leaders at the top down to the lowest councilor.’ A senior national police official declining to be named told the author, “I’m more worried about what happens after the votes are counted and how that goes – if it goes bad – scenes of violence on large scale in some places might happen.’

Police officials privately fear the worst but say they expect if the polls are credible post-election violence ‘Won’t happen’. One thing is certain, as the frenzied campaign period is nearing climax, expect election-related deaths to soar as the Philippine Political warfare nears the homestretch.

May 3, 2007 at 11:21 am 2 comments

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