Thursday, July 29, 2004

Gracia Burnham-Did she or did she not?

Dear Mouse,

I saw her poker face. She did not smile to the people she met while boarding the van after she testified against the ASG. It was a face that harbored grief, anger and despair for the last two years.

In the news, she confirmed ransom payment after it had been denied by the both governments.It had been the policy of the US Government not to give in to the demands of the terrorists/kidnappers,so they claim.

Gracia Burnham confirms ransom, clears military

AMERICAN missionary Gracia Burnham on Thursday cleared the military of accusations it had colluded with her former abductors, the Abu Sayyaf bandits. She also confirmed that a P15-million ransom had been paid for her and her husband's release. But she said they were not set free even then, because the gang asked for $1 million more.Burnham made these statements during her much-awaited testimony before Judge Lorifel Pahimna of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court, during the hearing on the Dos Palmas kidnapping incident in May 2001, Department of Justice officials said in a press conference Thursday.The hearing was held in a heavily guarded special courtroom in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig. Burnham was represented by Alvin Price, a legal consultant of the US Embassy.During the proceedings, Burnham identified six of her captors, including ranking ASG leader Alhamser Manatad Limbong, alias Kosovo."There was no collusion between the ASG and the military," State Prosecutor Nestor Lazaro quoted the witness as saying.Acting Justice Secretary Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez said Burnham's statement, "given under oath and in open court, should clarify any misunderstanding that her book might have created."Burnham had written in her book, "In the Presence of My Enemies," published last year, that the late Abu Sabaya, one of the gang's leaders, had held negotiations with a military general. The DoJ investigated the allegation, but has yet to release its findings.

Are they referring to page 222, last paragraph ?

Our food supply at this time actually quite good for a most unusual reason. The armed forces were feeding us! A group of the met some of our guys and handed over quantities of rice, dried fish, coffee and sugar. This happened several times over the course of few weeks. (Take note, it happened not only once).

Why in the world did President Arroyo's troops provide the ASG with their daily bread? We were told that it was because Sabaya was wheeling and dealing with the AFP general of that area over howto split up any ransom that might be paid. Arlyn dela Cruz had warned us about that. " You know this is going to be really big deal", she said " and everybody's going to expect their share."

Sabaya was willing to give the general 20 per cent of the action. But the messenger reported back that this was not enough. The general wanted 50 per cent-when his own government steadfastly condemned the ransom concept altogether. We weren't really at this, as over the years, we had read newspaper articles about the generals wives installing floorsof smuggled marble in Corinthian Gardens, an elite section of Manila and about their children's attending the best schools abroad. Those things don't happen on a Filipino general's salary.

We soon learned from Radyo Agong that negotiations had broken down.

Cat sez, it is difficult to prove the alleged negotiation between Sabaya and the general without a face. Dead men tell no tales and as I have blogged before, Sabaya's death was shrouded with mystery. Janjalani is still missing.Who are going to testify?

May kasabihan, pag may usok, siyempre may naninigarilyo..oops.

The Ca t


At 12:33 AM, Blogger rolly said...

Cat, the only thing that bothers me about the whole scenario is why would the abductors be so reckless divulging information in the first place? From myu point of view, hostages are kept in lock and are just given food, otherwise, escape would not be an impossibility. If this is not the case, how much information could she have been given. If she bases her allegations of collusion between government troops and the abductors on phone conversations, it can be that it was planted to make the military look bad. But of course, i'm not discounting the possibility of a collusion either. Again, greed knows no culture or race.


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