Note: This is the speech in 1968 of then Senator Ninoy Aquino, in which many, including his on Benigno Aquino III, claim he “exposed” the Jabidah massacre. Ninoy refers to the episode only as the “Corregidor Affair’. When he mentions “Corregidor Massacre,” he uses the qualifying adjective ‘so-called’. You judge for yourself what he thought of the episode.
Jabidah! Special Forces
By Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr.
[Delivered at the Legislative Building, Manila, on March 28, 1968]
Who is Jabidah?
What is Jabidah?
Jabidah, Mr. President, is the name of a ravishing, stunning and beautiful woman in Muslim lore and legend.
As Muslim legend has it, Jabidah turned a countless number of Muslim men.
As it turns out now, however, her name might well have been Helen — Helen whose matchless beauty launched a thousand ships and laid the great Greek states to siege and waste.
For as things are, as I found them in my flying spot investigation of the muddled Corregidor Affair at its root, in the Sulu isles, Jabidah is the codename for a sinister design of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
It is the codename for a supposedly super-secret, twin-goaled operation of President Marcos to wipe out the opposition — literally, if need be — in 1969 and to set this country on a high foreign adventure.
It is the codename, Mr. President, for Mr. Marcos’ special operation to insure his continuity in power and achieve territorial gains.
It is an operation so wrapped in fantasy and in fancy that — pardon the pun, Mr. President — it is not at all funny.
It is an operation with all the trappings of a James Bond fiction, including the beautiful women and cold-blooded killings, and of a Lawrence of Arabia military romanticism, including the great adversities and vile perfidies, that it jumps out as too fantastic, too unreal and too make-believe, except the facts I and the figures, the personages, are all there.
And what is the truth?
But before I unfold here the sorry and sordid tale behind the Corregidor Affair, Mr. President, permit me to explain why I checked out of my scheduled privileged speech last Thursday afternoon, the afternoon after the so-called Corregidor massacres smashed out in the banner headlines of the metropolitan dailies.
I checked out for three reasons:
Firstly, after interviewing the self-asserted massacre survivor, Jibin Arula, doubt nagged me that there had indeed been a massacre, many more massacres.
Secondly, I had to check out the international repercussions. ,
Thirdly, I wanted to check and verify the story where it started, at its roots.
I deny, I deplore, and I condemn the talk being peddled by the agents and the image-builders of the President that I had checked out of my scheduled privileged speech after getting into an arrangement of reciprocal accommodation with Mr. Marcos.
This is a lie, as bald and as blatant as their denial of presidential wire-tapping and bugging in the last elections. And they know it.
And now, what is the truth?
The story weaves itself, a tale of kinetic romance, spy camps, subversion and infiltration, and a special strike force licensed to kill, all in the styles and symbols of the late Ian Fleming.
The story came to me six weeks ago when some Muslim leaders informed me of clandestine recruitments and trainings going on in the Sulu archipelago.
And they posed a number of questions to me:
■ Why are our boys being recruited?
■ Why are they leaving their homes?
■ What is their mission in the President’s service?
■ Is President Marcos organizing his own private army to strike and seize the country if he senses, as he might be sensing, he will lose the ’69 polls?
These, and other related questions, popped up in our skull sessions.
I dismissed it then, however. The pattern it formed was too fiction-like, too James Bondish. It appeared to me, as I have said, too much woven in the plots of Fleming.
The boss of James Bond, by the way, is a certain “M”. I am sure Fleming’s “M” does not stand for “Marcos.”
Then, some four weeks ago, a former head of the country’s intelligence service informed me of a plot hatched by President Marcos himself. It was, as I was told, a plot so bold, so daring and so adventurous that, in sum, it boiled down to a calculated gamble.
It was, as it struck me, a gamble that would violate the Constitution and obtain justification in the flush of its triumph and its success.
Again, I refused to give it credence. It sounded so bizarre, so fantastic, so imaginative, I told myself. And it could not be.
Surely, I told myself, a man who had repeatedly professed himself as a man committed to civilized norms and sworn to uphold the law, like President Marcos, could not have hatched such a plot.
But soon after, I was interviewed by a famed international Journalist, a newspaperman with whom I had chewed the fat in complete undress before. And he called my attention to what he held to be alarming coincidence that built in his analytical mind a web of high-octane adventure.
With all this, I started piecing the bits together. I started digging up.
I was on the verge of blowing the lid off the plot, as some columnists correctly reported, Mr. President, when the Corregidor Affair exploded.
The tale, as it wove itself, had a girl, a girl named Sophia. And there was, as characterization demanded in fiction, a man, a man of some good looks, cunning, daring, ambition and, of course, a strong sense of romance, a certain Major Abdullatif Martelino.
For plot and setting, there were the secret recruitment, secret orientation, secret training and secret mission — things supposedly known only to a handful of men in the highest authority.
The girl, by the way, was beautiful, as beautiful as the camp was ugly.
And they were all — characters, setting and plot — hush-hush, top secret. Or supposed to be.
The Slip Showed
As it was, however, I found out they were far from a tightly guarded secret, as far from hidden under the cloak as was their dagger. And if they were a secret at all, they were an open secret in the Sulu islands.
In fact, as the newsmen who joined me and I found out, they were talked about as freely by the people on the islands as were smuggling and the other nefarious operations in the southern backdoor.
It all started, our findings went, in September, just before the last elections, when Major Abdullatif Martelino, otherwise known as Major Eddie Martelino of the Philippine Air Force, arrived in Jolo, blended into the Muslim community and started recruiting the cream of the Muslim youth.
For your background, Major Martelino is the head of the Defense Department’s Civil Affairs Office — and a living legend of sorts. He is a man as much known for his romantic escapades as for his tremendous political staying power, things some may even envy him.
His unchronicled life’s story shows he worked for President Carlos P. Garcia, then surfaced as an undercover agent of President Diosdado Macapagal after Mr. Garcia lost the presidency in 1961. And so he stayed in the graces of power.
He was a top man of Defense Secretary Macario Peralta, supplying the Liberals with supposedly “damaging” items against then presidential challenger Ferdinand E. Marcos as Mr. Marcos and Mr. Macapagal battled for the people’s will and votes in the 1965 elections. When it was all over, with Mr. Marcos the victor and Mr. Macapagal toppled, Major Martelino surfaced as Mr. Marcos’ top political double agent.
And so he has stayed, holding the same post he held under President Macapagal in the defense establishment.
His name has been linked to many a major scandal personality — from Cavite’s smuggling lords to the Octopus of Cotabato. This, however, has failed to do him damage.
How he got himself to head the Marcos special forces, it seems, springs from his supposed forte: he is supposedly good in developing the minority groups, like the Ilongots and the Dumagats.
For reasons which he alone knows, Major Eddie Martelino renounced his Catholic faith, embraced the Muslim religion and took on the name Major Abdullatif Martelino. Soon after, however, he wooed and married the beautiful Sophia.
All this, of course, scandalized the Christian leaders in Jolo. And they denounced — discreetly, to be sure — with lay leaders in Manila.
They had a worse scandal to report, however, after they got word that Major Martelino had fled with the wife of a Philippine Navyman, also a Simunul beauty.
Happily for Major Abdullatif, all the reports failed to make an impression on Manila’s permissive society. Some even thought it was cute.
All this, Mr. President, you may say, comes up to a man’s romantic adventures over which we, in this chamber, ought not to waste valuable time. I submit, however, they must now be raised — not to vilify the man, but because the Corregidor Affair and all its consequences weave around Major Abdullatif Martelino.
Our Man, Abdul
For what transpired, prior to the Corregidor fiasco, are:
■ Major Martelino went into massive recruitment of Tausug young men, ages 18 to 30, in Jolo, in Siasi, in Tandubas, in Sanga-Sanga, in Bongao, in Bato-Bato and in Simunul — islands of the Sulu archipelago — in September, October, November and December 1967.
■ Major Martelino recruited those with a working knowledge of the Tausug dialect, with experience in smuggling and kumpit sailing, with familiarity of the neighboring islands, with pleasing personality, and preferably with high school or college education. In other words, the cream of the Tausug young men.
■ Major Martelino, as come-on and inducement, promised the Tausug young men they would be integrated into the armed forces as paratroopers, as the elite nucleus of a new strike force under the personal command and direction of President Marcos, after a six-month crash training.
■ Major Martelino, as a ploy to get the Tausug elders behind him, promised to distribute land to the faithful once his special secret mission had been accomplished and he had proclaimed himself Sultan of the “liberated territory.”
■ Major Martelino set up a secret training camp on Simunul island, later another one on Corregidor. The Simunul camp, as I said earlier, he named after his wife Sophia.
A sneak inspection I made on Simunul, Mr. President, showed the camp deserted, save for a few enlisted men and some basic equipment. Simunul’s special forces group, I was told, had been shipped out aboard a Philippine Navy LSM, the “RPS Oriental Mindoro” — destination unknown, mission undisclosed.
In my first privileged speech delivered in this august chamber last February, Mr. President, I adverted to the sinister motives behind the civic action centers of President Marcos.
I said then:
“An obsession to create impact is behind the presidential project to create armed forces civic action centers in every province. One cannot avoid suspecting the AFP civic action centers are geared to brainwash the barrio leaders into blind acceptance and propagation of the so-called Marcos government achievements.
“Rapport between central authority is a must, I affirm. But I oppose, as I am sure you, Mr. President, will oppose, converting the barrio units of our government into tools and instruments of central authority.
“I do hope, sincerely, that I am wrong, that the Chief Executive is minded with aspirations more lofty than merely ensuring his continuity in power. But I fear the object behind the design is far from selfless.
“I shall be glad to be proved to be fearing out of nothing more than fear, but my fear builds before my eyes a disquieting evolution of our barrio councils — from the democratic simplest units of government they were intended by law to be, into cogs of a unipersonal political machine.
“As I see it, in the civic action centers run by the military, our barrio captains and councilmen will be herded and told in endless monologues of the greatness of the Great Achiever. Propaganda brochures depicting his life and labors will flood the centers in tons, all designed to condition the mass mind and build up the Marcos Cult.
“It will not take too much imagination to see how these centers will operate. All barrio leaders will be invited to attend ‘seminars’ in these civic action centers, there to be fed not only food for the body but also for the mind and the spirit. They will be told there of the greatness — false, true, or half-true and half-false — of the Great Provider.
“To complete the picture, imagine all these civic action centers connected by ribbons of communications and controlled by an operations center in, say, Camp Aguinaldo. Here is the beginning of massive thought control, all done in the name of democracy.
“In all these, I am reminded of how governments and countries were subverted and taken over by those with the will and the resolve in Eastern Europe, in Latin America, even in our own Asia. Always, it was done very covertly, very subtly.
“Again, I say, I hope I fear wrongly.”
Mr. President, my worst fears are being borne out by facts.
On Simunul Island, I saw the recruiting base for a special forces unit called “Jabidah” and their camp, “Camp Sophia”, named after the beautiful 18-year-old Muslim maiden taken for a wife by the commanding officer of the Jabidahs, Major Abdullatif Martelino. Camp Sophia was the recruiting station for the Jabidahs.
The Jabidahs are composed of some of the best young men of the Sulu islands. Young men with a good background in smuggling and knowledge of a neighboring country were given priority in enlistment.
The camp was located inside a coconut plantation off the beaten track, fenced in by some six strands of barbed wire. Watchtowers were built all along the perimeter line.
I brought with me, Mr. President, pictures showing the camp and all the things that went with it. I will refer back to these pictures as soon as I get through the details.
The boys were trapped by a bizarre plan and an even more bizarre mission.
Given unorthodox uniforms and brand-new carbines and thompson submachineguns, the recruits were told that they would form the nucleus of a special force, an elite group within the Armed Forces of the Philippines that would spearhead a mission to end all missions.
Sign language was the medium of communications, sinister-looking patches and rings with encrusted skull and crossbones were their distinguishing marks, the marks of their esprit de corps.
This is the badge of the Jabidahs. (Senator Aquino digs into his coat pocket, shows a military badge). It is yellow in background, with a black skull, with a drip of blood on the skull’s forehead, and with black crossbones.
Bon Voyage — To Where?
This is their other badge. (He shows another badge). It shows a crescent moon and a star — and it has an Arabic word. The Arabic word says, “Selamat Jalan,” or “Bon Voyage.” I wonder where these bold people are going?
This is the Ranger patch (he shows the patch) we discovered on the island. And this, Mr. President, is their ring (he shows a ring). It is a solid ring with a skull engraved with the crossbones.
These, Mr. President, are the distinguishing marks of the Jabidahs in and off uniform. In other words, they were given all the unorthodox uniforms, all the languages of signs, all the emblems and the rings, all that goes into esprit de corps, all the marks of the Gestapo and the SS of Hitler.
And the recruits went through all the phases of their rigid and rigorous training schedules because they had been led to believe they had a cause worth dying for.
The entire operation had a cover, of course. All officers were supposedly “Civil Affairs Officers” and the boys were supposedly being trained to man the various civic action centers to be established by President Marcos in every provincial capital of the country.
The boys were taught how to survive in the jungles without food and clothing. They called this survival training.
They were taught how to kill in the most bizarre way. In effect, they went through the training of Fleming’s James Bond. And after their training, they were to join an elite presidential
force, a presidential force licensed to kill.
Secrecy was supposed to be the hallmark of the organization. And regular PC troopers assigned in Sulu were told to keep off the Jabidah area.
But this turned out to be a mockery.
Everyone in the Sulu isles knew exactly what was going on inside Camp Sophia. Major Martelino, after two drinks, spoke freely of his grand plan to “liberate” an area with his Jabidahs. And he always boasted the faithful would be rewarded with free land.
The Jabidahs were linked directly with Malacañang and the Infrastructure Operation Center at Camp Aguinaldo.
A look at the sophisticated gadgets in the radio room of Camp Sophia revealed that, aside from the regular radio units of the military establishment that linked laterally with other military units, Camp Sophia was supplied with a costly transceiver set — a Collins single-side band, better known to radio ham operators as a “KMW-2.” This is one of the more expensive transceiver sets available in the market, with a range that can cover half the globe, given a good antenna.
North vs. South
The camp was made of makeshift twigs and the bunks were made of ipil-ipil to simulate living conditions in the jungle. The recruits were divided into two groups called the Subangan and the Sadlupan groups. (These are Tausug words for “north” and “south”.)
Recruitment began in September and ended sometime in the middle of December last year.
Then on December 30, the recruits, numbering some 135, were told to board a Philippine Navy vessel, the RP-68, or “RPS Mindoro,” and were ferried to their new camp on Corregidor island. The Jabidahs landed on Corregidor on January 3.
Shortly before the Jabidahs landed on Corregidor, a top-level team of defense officials led by then Defense Undersecretary Manuel Syquio and Brig. Gen. Romeo Espino, commander of the Philippine Army, inspected the campsite. The old Corregidor hospital was cordoned off and declared a restricted area.
The Jabidahs were to stay inside the bombed-out hospital for the remainder of their training.
Some of the late recruits were airlifted from Sanga-Sanga to Nichols Air Base and later transferred to Corregidor.
The early days of the recruits on Corregidor proved thrilling.
The boys reported to their parents back in Sulu — and I have many letters to prove this — that their training was as exciting as it was exacting. But they all looked forward to the day when they would be inducted as regular Philippine Army troopers.
Jungle training of the special forces continued.
The recruits were marched into the Corregidor jungles for weeks on survival training. The boys took every phase of the rigorous work with aplomb.
But then, towards the fourth week of February, the Muslim boys started becoming restless.
Since their arrival on Corregidor, they had not been paid their allowances of P50 a month. Some of the married recruits wanted to send money to their folks in Sulu.
So on February 25 or 26, the recruits, mostly from the Tawi-Tawi area, signed a petition addressed to President Marcos demanding their delayed pay of two months and an improvement in their living quarters, food and clothing. They coupled this petition with a prayer that the President visit them, inasmuch as they were supposed to be his own personal special forces.
Major M, Not Mr. M
Instead of Mr. Marcos, Major Abdullatif Martelino showed up sometime on February 27. He told the boys that their pay was forthcoming and that if they would not be paid, they could resign and the government would send them back home.
Then, on March 3 or 4, Major Martelino called for the four Muslim leaders of the petition and he allegedly told them that they could go home ahead of the other boys who had petitioned President Marcos.
The four leaders were brought to Manila and never returned to Corregidor.
The boys became restive. They wanted to know what had happened to their four leaders. But they were simply told that their leaders had gone home ahead.
Suspicion that the four had been liquidated started to seep in, then gained momentum.
The petitioning recruits, now numbering 58, were confined to quarters and told to await transportation back to Sulu. As of March 1, all the petitioners were considered resigned from the Special Forces.
So, out of 135 who came from Simunul, 62 signed the petition. Of the 62, a total of 58 remained in camp as of March 1 — and they were considered resigned.
Then on March 16, some 24 recruits were told that a Philippine Navy boat was docking early that morning to ferry them back to Sulu. They gathered their personal belongings and shortly before dawn they were brought to the island pier. They boarded the RP-68, the same vessel that had brought them from Simunul earlier in January.
The remaining recruits, however, started to worry about the fate of their comrades. They doubted the assurances of their officers that the other boys had gone home.
And with some reason, it seems.
For, first, their four leaders had disappeared. They had not come back. And the recruits worried about these four, their four leaders.
Then 24 of their own brothers were taken out. Again, these did not return. Again, the remaining recruits worried. They worried some more.
Some feared their petitioning companions had been “massacred”.
Then, on March 18, another 12 recruits were told to prepare for home. At 2 a.m. on March 18, the second batch of 12 recruits left the campsite and was never heard from.
So now we have 24 recruits leaving on March 18, another group leaving on March 16 or March 17.
At 4 a.m. that same day, another batch of 12 recruits was transported to the Corregidor airstrip, purportedly for evacuation to Sulu. This batch, too, was never heard of, never heard from.
Jibin Arula, in his sworn statement, said that upon reaching the airstrip they were told to get off their weapons carrier. They were told to form a line.
They were now in civilian clothes and unarmed, while their escorts carried Armalites, automatic carbines, and other Special Forces weapons.
With all the stored-up suspicion in his mind, Jibin Arula must have thought that his time to be killed had come.
We can only conjecture at this point what happened.
Arula must have made a dash for his life, thinking that they had been brought to the airstrip for the “slaughter”.
Told to halt by his escorts, he kept running.
His escorts shot him in the leg to force him to stop.
He kept going — and the rest is his story.
But what happened to his eleven companions?
Were they really “massacred”?
Some say that when the firing started with Jibin Arula, his companions ducked. So that Arula was correct when he said that he saw his companions fall to the ground.
But were they shot? Or did they duck because of the firing?
The army says that the eleven are alive. As soon as the army authorities produce the other eleven recruits, the sorry mess of Corregidor should find its end.
However, if the Army cannot produce these men, the question will press: What happened to them? They, the army authorities, will have to stand the accusation of murder and maybe — even mass slaughter.
Meanwhile, in Jolo yesterday, I met the first batch of 24 recruits aboard RP-68. This group was earlier reported missing — or, even worse, believed “massacred”.
William Patarasa, 16 years old, one of the leaders of the petitioners, in effect corroborated all the points raised by Jibin Arula. But he denied knowledge of any massacre.
Like Jibin Arula, up to yesterday he claimed he had no knowledge of what had happened to their four leaders called by Major Martelino last March 3. He confirmed, though, me suspicion among the petitioners that the four had been “liquidated” by Major Martelino’s boys.
One of the leaders has since presented himself to army authorities.
This morning, the Manila Times, in its banner headline, quoted me as saying that I believed there was no mass massacre on Corregidor island.
And I submit it was not a hasty conclusion, but one borne out by careful deductions. What brought me to this conclusion:
1. Massacre means, to my mind, the wanton killing of men — maybe premeditated, but definitely committed according to a previous plan. I submit that there was no plan to kill the Muslim recruits.
2. What would have been the motive for the “massacre”? Some quarters have advanced the theory that the trainees were liquidated in order to silence them. But then, 24 boys have already shown up in Jolo safe and healthy. To release 24 men who can spill the beans and liquidate the remaining 24 “to seal” their lips would defy logic.
3. Jibin Arula has been telling the truth all along. However, his fears, which in his place may be considered valid, may not be supported by the recent turn of events. Twenty-four recruits have turned up.
Crux of the Story
I went to Sulu with a sworn statement of Jibin Arula. I checked out everything Jibin Arula had told me — the description of the camp, the names of the boys — and everything that Jibin Arula had told me checked out.
It must be emphasized here that Jibin Arula never said that the four were murdered. All he said was that they were taken by Major Martelino and they never returned. Jibin Arula said that 24 were called and these never returned. He said that 12 were called and these, too, never returned. He said they were lined up on the airstrip and then they were mowed down.
Here is the crux of the story. Were they mowed down? Or was the firing made when Jibin Arula, thinking he was going to be killed, dashed for his life?
This, I believe, ought to be the center of the investigation.
And if the Army can produce the eleven people with Jibin Arula unharmed and alive, then the Army would escape the burden of being made to account for massacre.
When the armed forces produces the eleven companions of Arula and the other twelve recruits that left at 2 a.m., March 18, I am sure the whole “massacre” story can find its logical end.
But the story does not end here.
I submit that it is only here that the story begins.
President Marcos must render to the nation a better explanation why the organization has to remain secret and its objectives to be known only to himself and a handful of his confidants.
This we cannot — and must not — allow to pass.
And Monkees, Too
Some questions press, in fact:
Are the Jabidahs really intended for civic action work? They are under the Civil Affairs Office and directly under the Secretary of National Defense.
If they are to perform civic action work, why should they be trained like James Bond? Why should they be taught the art of silent killing, the techniques of insurgency, infiltration and sabotage?
Why were they never listed on the regular roster of the Armed Forces of the Philippines?
They were never inducted with the regular forces. Their rate of pay violates all established military rules. All forms in the Jabidah camp are mere mimeograph sheets.
How come some ex-convicts were included among their instructors?
There were among them, among the Jabidahs, many ex-Huks, otherwise known as “Monkees” in my part of the country and operating in Central Luzon. Some unexplained killings have been taking place regularly in Pampanga and Tarlac and the civilian authorities in the area attribute these killings not to the Huks but to a group of men called “Monkees”, reportedly members of an “irregular force” of the Philippine Constabulary.
How many “Monkees” have been trained by these Civil Affairs officers?
An Ilocano ex-convict was among the instructors. Why was this man allowed to join the Jabidahs?
If the Tausugs were recruited for purposes other than civic action, then for what?
Where did the funds for the Jabidahs come from? And who financed Major Abdullatif Martelino in his romantic escapades? He reportedly built a house worth P10,000.00 (still to be finished) for beautiful Sophia on Simunul.
Did the army sanction his behaviour which may aptly be described as “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman” in the name of the Jabidah project? In effect, was he allowed to violate the laws of the country with the knowledge and consent of Mr. “M”?
What future is in store for the civic action centers? Is this the norm of conduct to be followed by our barrio officials under civic action?
Will barrio officials ever be able to stand up against these Jabidahs, these experts in the silent wars, these shock troops of Mr. “M”?
Now, about the so-called Corregidor massacre, Mr. President. I would, if there were truth, be among the first to rise and articulate the indignation and revulsion of a nation sickened and shocked by such deliberate, purposeful and wanton killing of helpless and hapless men.
And I would, if there had been truth, be among those to voice my own nausea, my anger and my disgust.
I am afraid that many of us had been too quick to anger, too quick to deplore and denounce. For the truth, as I found it in Sulu, is: the probability of a mass massacre is dim.
I could make big political capital out of all of this. I could pillory, nail on the public cross and damn President Marco and the men who served under him in this operation. I could rouse the people against them, all of them.
But, Mr. President, I say: Let us pin blame only where the blame is. And, by my findings, a wanton massacre is not among the things that we must hang on Mr. Marcos’ conscience and Mr. Marcos’ soul.
For the fact is: There must have been or there could have been killings. Maybe, I will even submit, some of the companions of Arula could have been shot. Only a fair investigation will bring out the facts.
But of the asserted mass massacre of 60, we can now safely say that the figure has been reduced — by 24, who have shown up in Jolo; by 25, adding Jibin Arula; by 26, adding the leader who has shown up: by 29, adding the three who reportedly have reported.
So that, now, we are looking for 31 men — 31 men of the Jabidahs who have resigned.
There have been some killings, yes. But these are killings that come under the heading of murder. And, for this, the guilty must be hauled before our justice and made to account and to pay.
Mr. President, yesterday I was in Simunul, in Sanga-Sanga, in Bongao and in Siasi, and I was met by crying and grieving mothers. Sweethearts and wives came to me, asking me if I knew if — indeed — their brothers, husbands and loved ones had been massacred on Corregidor as reported. I had no answer, Mr. President.
I merely told them that President Marcos had told me that some of the boys had been sent home. And so, I told them further, I had come to their island to find out if their menfolk had — indeed — returned.
There is unrest among the Tausugs in Sulu, Mr. President. They want to find out — to find out what had gone wrong with their men, what had become of their men. They want to know whether their men had really been massacred on Corregidor.
I believe a just, a quick investigation by this Chamber within the next 48 hours will at least alleviate the mass suffering now gripping our people in Sulu. This, we must do.
And lest we whip up this nation into a fit of disgust and hate, let us set the facts straight — quickly. And let us let the chips fall where they must.
But, Mr. President, Mr. Marcos is far from lily-white in all this.
Ploys and Plots
What I have gathered impels me to rise and denounce him, to call him to account — lest he be further emboldened into thinking the country sleeps and slumbers while he plots, schemes, and conspires.
And so, Mr. President, I charge President Marcos with building a secret strike force under his personal command — to form the shock troops of his cherished garrison state.
I charge President Marcos with picking men of dubious backgrounds, men with criminal records even, and the so-called Monkees, the killer ex-Huks, to form the core of this force — to insure they will do as he bids and wipe out the opposition, if needed.
I charge President Marcos with failure to instill secrecy and cynical use of the intelligence funds for this sinister operation — to advance himself, for personal gains — in violation of the Constitution.
I charge President Marcos with failure to instill secrecy and discipline in the armed forces, failure amounting to criminal neglect.
I charge President Marcos with failure to infuse our armed forces trainees with proper orientation, a failure that showed itself in the crack-up and breakdown of the Corregidor trainees, which the general staff itself admitted.
Why were they not subjected to psychological training? In the regular armies of the world, Special Forces men are picked from the regular forces. And they pick men who have proven themselves in combat.
But these men, the men of Camp Sophia and Corregidor, were raw recruits. They were young boys. They were boys out of the high schools and colleges of Sulu. And they were immediately pressed into the Special Forces. And, therefore, under the rigors of training, they could — as asserted — have cracked up.
I charge President Marcos, too, with failure to see to it that the defense funds are properly used. In other words, he is guilty of defense funds misuse.
And I also charge President Marcos with careless recruitment in the Tawi-Tawi islands group, a carelessness that opened us to infiltration by the counter-insurgency forces of a neighboring country.
And as a result of all the bunglings and muffings that have attended this so-called Corregidor Affair, President Marcos is as guilty as his Jabidah officers of jeopardizing and damaging Philippine foreign relations, which may take a long time in healing.