Posts filed under ‘News and politics’

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.

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

Fast and furious: Typhoon Mirinae aka Santi headed to Philippines

Typhoon Mirinae (Santi): Enters Philippines AOR on Beeline to Manila a new storm fast and furious

28 October 2009 No Comment

JTWC-Mirinae (Santi)As if the Philippines has not had enough of bad weather the US Navy and US Air Force Joint typhoon warning center is forecasting a direct path to Manila for a new Typhoon with a international name Mirinae, the Korean word for ‘Galaxy’,

The Storm is forecast by Military and Civilian meteorologists to be in general vicinity of Manila by Halloween evening, meaning that a fast moving storm may the one knocking on doors in the Philippines instead of  kids trick or treating and the rap tap tapping on the chanber door may be people telling residents to head for higher ground, if anything is consolation the storm being fast moving means a quick slam-bam-thank-you ma’am hit which in disaster terms is often kinder than a prolonged deluge that no one in the country wants to see more off.

The Typhoon is a medium sized one and its path taking it towards manila comes at a bad time for thousands who have just cleaned away debris from flood waters. Lake levels and dams have somewhat normalized at this time a week of hot dry weather with only occasional showers has had a impact on the water levels.

The other consolation is the three weeks of storms as well as constant pounding has brought the alert levels up for disaster awareness teams and those who deal with rescue and response. The season still has till February to go the last few years have relatively spared the capitol region in the past but the wave of storms is actually quite typical in number albeit these have come earlier than normal for the country.

In comparison at this time before Typhoon Lupits approach to the country, Manila’s NDCC was already posting advisories and taking steps. Plans so well laid out that at the end of the day – no one died – no one needed to be rescued and even if the storm did not hit but a small portion of the Northern most tip of Luzon.

Ramil’s preventive steps perhaps – but I hope not – will not allow some to fall back to complacency and being prepared for worst made for the best of news – even for me a journalist – who basically earns from bad news. (Sorry but – if it bleeds it leads! Sad but true in the news biz!) became a non-story for a change.

Ramil final NDCC Situational Update
A. Affected Population/Pre-emptive Evacuation of Population (Details in Tab A)
· A total of 1,271 families / 5,239 persons conducted pre-emptive evacuation in 43
barangays, 19 municipalities and 2 cities in 7 provinces of Regions I, II and CAR
Reg/Prov/City No. of NO. OF AFFECTED
Brgys
Affected FAM PERS
NO. OF
EVACUATION
CENTERS
I – Ilocos Norte, La Union,
Pangasinan (Dagupan City)
12 390 1,370 0
II – Cagayan, Isabela 13 433 1,852 0
CAR – Benguet, Mt. Province 18 448 2,017 19
· As of 24 October, evacuees had returned to their homes except in the
Province of Benguet where 402 families / 1,866 persons are still inside 19
evacuation centers
Ramil Damage
· In Region II, forty-five (45) houses were damaged, with 16 totally and 29 partially
all in Aparri, Cagayan, to include three (3) houses were totally damaged when a
20-meter seawall collapsed in San Antonio, Aparri, Cagayan on 20 October due to
storm surge causing 65 families / 182 persons to evacuate: 41 families/78 persons at
Brgy. Maura and 24 families/104 persons at Brgy San Antonio
Typhoon Santi headed to towards Luzon but will not affect the country in next 24 hours per PAGASATyphoon Santi headed to towards Luzon but will not affect the country in next 24 hours per PAGASA

PAGASA Warning:  Mirinae to be named ‘Santi’ once it enters RP area of responsibility

The Typhoon East of Central Luzon has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility and was named “SANTI”.
Location of Center:
(as of 10:00 p.m.)
1,210 km East of Casiguran, Aurora
Coordinates: 16.3°N, 135.0°E
Strength: Maximum sustained winds of 140 kph near the center
and gustiness of up to 170 kph
Movement: West at 24 kph
Forecast Positions/Outlook: Thursday evening:
710 km East of Casiguran, Aurora
Friday evening:
250 km East of Casiguran, Aurora
Saturday evening:
50 km East of Dagupan City or
30 km South of Baguio City
No Public Storm Warning Signals Raised
This disturbance will not affect any part of the country within the next 24 hours.The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

October 29, 2009 at 4:09 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

Libby ‘scoots’ jail time with pardon but $250k fine remains

Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby who leaked the name of a CIA agent who was critical of the White House actions that led to the war in Iraq will still face probation a huge fine and civil suits that will most likely hound him for the rest of his life. The public figure’s worst nightmare is often the stripping of the ability to work within the corridors of power and end of high-profile life and the wheeling and dealing that goes with it.

‘Scooter’ doesn’t walk – he is punished -the executive clemency action by the President is a privilege he has – something perhaps he can wield in the weeks months and more ahead if any other white house insiders face trouble on his watch.

Would i have been better to put him behind bars for thirty months? that’s somethings lawyers debate on – I mean paris hilton got a reprieve and lesser jail time in a way because some felt the popularity and notoriety of being tough on those who walk the lights and places of power should be made to suffer more in sentences – something of making an ‘example’ of them.

But justice is supposed to be fair – regardless of social stature – wealth and or influence. In similar circumstances others might have been fined or have collar placed on them and home arrest. Or so the President says in his statement.

So While not ‘Scott free’ Libby will scoot away from jail and try and to rebuild his life an family. An outcast fallen and perhaps stripped of all if not most of his power and influence and forever etched as the man who leaked a name of as some call it – those oh so secret ‘carte blanche’ untouchables of Langley – whose identities are protected to the grave even if at times their actions run against all that is enshrined in a document whose main essence is “these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” except those whose names must be kept secret? Even if their actions run against those wants of their commander in chief?

Sadly there is a new aristocracy in America made of privileged lawyers and fringe groups and others who lord it over the rest of the People. But take comfort in this thought that this will nt last forever. Since after all – “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”…

SO Scooter, punished, humiliated, and most likely a life story for Hollywood in the works – did not get away with his actions. He is punished and the President’s clemency act – his only reprieve will go forth into the night – Independence declared and lesson learned that his liberty and freedom to pursue his happiness comes on Independence day.

Ironic…

Here’s GW’s statement:

Fact sheet Grant of Executive Clemency
The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected Lewis Libby’s request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals for the serious convictions of perjury and obstruction of justice. As a result, Mr. Libby will be required to turn himself over to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.

I have said throughout this process that it would not be appropriate to comment or intervene in this case until Mr. Libby’s appeals have been exhausted. But with the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision.

From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department. Dozens of White House staff and administration officials dutifully cooperated.

After the investigation was under way, the Justice Department appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel in charge of the case. Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.

This case has generated significant commentary and debate. Critics of the investigation have argued that a special counsel should not have been appointed, nor should the investigation have been pursued after the Justice Department learned who leaked Ms. Plame’s name to columnist Robert Novak. Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation. Finally, critics say the punishment does not fit the crime: Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service and was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury.

Others point out that a jury of citizens weighed all the evidence and listened to all the testimony and found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice. They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable. They say that had Mr. Libby only told the truth, he would have never been indicted in the first place.

Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points. I have made my own evaluation. In preparing for the decision I am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case.

Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.

I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.

The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby’s case is an appropriate exercise of this power.

# # #

July 4, 2007 at 12:28 am 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

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

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