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Oct 20

Testimony

The latest news is C-4 bomb component used in Glorietta blast – PNP chemist and Glorietta death toll rises to 9. For its part, Makati blast a ‘terror act,’ military says: Leftists, rightists, extremists eyed.

After 24 hours of no groups coming forward to claim responsibility for the blast, ‘RSM spokesman’ owns up to Glorietta 2 blast although it’s far from being confirmed. What have come in, prior to this news, were denials: Abu Sayyaf denies hand in Makati bomb attack while MILF offers help in deadly blast probe.

All we know are slender clues to a whole that has yet to be literally pieced together: Investigators to scour Glorietta underground for blast clues.

The past is now. Perhaps it’s the part of me that constantly refers to the past, to make sense of the present, that draws me at this time, to the eyewitness accounts being published on line. The point when eyewitness bear witness to what they saw, where testimony makes the transition from an oral story to one written down, and thus, becomes a story that can enter history, is the point where journalism and history connect. Or perhaps it’s the need to keep yesterday’s events on a human scale, knowing it’s that scale that is the best antidote to whoever perpetrated the bombing.

So let us begin with the testimony.

Of Law and Badminton was there:

True enough, when we were on the third floor of Glorietta 2, we were able to find Toby’s. I told my friend to go there and make her purchase, while I would be browsing at the tiangge stores right outside. I was looking at the latest fashionable blouses, muttering to myself that I would never be able to pull them off. I still tried on one blouse, but to no avail. Hindi talaga bagay…shucks.

I received a text message from my friend at around 1:25 P.M., telling me that she was near Timezone waiting for me, but urging me to take my time. Immediately after I got her text, I tried to locate her. Not able to find her, I decided to call her up.

Just when the phone was ringing, I heard a very loud explosion nearby coupled with a very intense shake which felt like an Intensity 10 earthquake. I almost fell to the ground because of the impact! I felt like I was in twilight zone or something, as I watched debris falling everywhere and smoke billowing from behind. Suddenly, people were screaming and shouting and pushing me. I had no choice but to follow the crowd. I began to wonder whether my friend was safe and as I was about to call her up, I heard what seemed like another explosion. I froze for a second, terrified, not knowing where to go. At that very second, I felt terror grip my body, wondering if there were still several bombs about to go off, and wondering if we were running headlong into another bomb. I don’t know how my legs were able to function but before I knew it, I was walking straight into Landmark.

Thankfully, the guards removed the table and opened the doors wide in order to receive the big crowd emanating from Glorietta 2. As I stepped into what felt like safe ground, I received a call from my friend asking me where I was. I was relieved upon hearing her voice knowing that at least she was OK. I told her I was at Landmark and not to worry about me. I called up my husband to tell him what happened. Fortunately he was just nearby and that he would pick me up immediately. I couldn’t contact my friend anymore since the network (Globe) was already busy. Good thing there was no traffic in sending text messages. After texting her and knowing she was ok, and that her driver was about to pick her up, it was only at that moment that I suddenly felt relieved.

Cindy.cIndy.ciNdy.cinDy.cindY also relates,

Earlier that day we agreed to dine in Pizza Hut which was in the second floor of Glorietta 2. We proceeded to Pizza Hut and placed our orders. Moments later a loud bang was heard. I didn’t move thinking that it was nothing serious. I actually thought that it was some activity prepared by Glorietta. But the whole Glorietta trembled like there was an earthquake. The ceiling almost fell but luckily only small debris fell from the ceiling. My friend was pushing me to stand. Immediately I packed my things. We turned our heads and saw heavy white smoke outside the establishment. People were screaming and running away from the smoke. That was the time that I realized that it was an explosion and that it might not be the only one. We panicked! I grabbed my friend’s hand and we ran toward the escalators in the activity area. Pizza Hut was just about 20 meters away where the bombing happened. We were lucky that the direction of the bomb explosion was in the direction of Park Square and not toward the activity area. At the bottom of the escalator, some insulators of the mall can be found. Debris kept falling inside and the smoke was approaching the activity area. I told my friend to ran headed for SM. We ran and never looked back. People from SM didn’t know that there was a bombing incident at Glorietta. Later a group of women and security guards were screaming and running toward us. At that instant we ran to MRT station, bought tickets and finally got out of the place.

Welcome to my life! published her mother’s story:

On the way back to office, while on board the escalator, we heard a loud blast. I was stunned as I watched the ceiling of the floor below me collapse like domino tiles and orange plastic pipes started to fall too. I saw the sales girls from the collapsed stores running for their lives. I was thinking someone must have been killed down there. I was stunned and stood still on the moving escalator until my friend Milette hugged me and shouted, “RUN!”. It jolted me and made me realize that the floor in which we were in could also collapse. I grabbed her hand and ran as fast as I could to Landmark department store which is connected to the mall we came from. My heart was pounding. Our other friends got separated from us but we all made ourway safely back to office on foot.

flipflopping my way around town recounts that “there, but for the grace of God, go I,” feeling many people had:

Apparently, Mommy was also at Glorietta looking for the Baby Couture stall as she was supposed to buy a bag for her god daughter. Thank God for Mommy’s bad sense of direction, she somehow got lost and went the other way from where the stall was. (note: the Baby Couture is located at Glorietta 2 together with the other baby/kiddie shops at the 2nd floor). Then she heard a loud bang and felt the vibration. Thinking it must be an earthquake she entered Abensons and asked the salesman if she can stay there for safety. What scared her was when she saw a lot of people rushing out from the mall, some were hysterical, some were crying… then she heard some screaming “may bomba may bomba!” (there’s a bomb! there’s a bomb!).

There were those in the vicinity of the blast, as Bryanton Post relates:

Melissa, a friend whom I was supposed to meet last night, was eating in Via Mare in Landmark when the blast occurred. Had she decided to eat in Glorietta after a physical exam in one of the clinics there, she later told me, she would have been included among the casualties. The impact, she said, was so strong that it was even felt in Landmark. An earthquake, people around her kept saying. No, she said to herself. It felt more like the whole mall had just taken a roller coaster ride, she told me.

If that was even felt in Landmark, I can’t simply imagine the impact in Glorietta.

Another account is by O-C Mumzie, who was in a gym in the area:

Ten minutes behind schedule now, I focused on the remaining tasks on my to-do list. I hurried to the locker room to change, gather my things and check-out. And then it happened… the building rocked and the sound of exploding glass and screams rang out. Glorietta 2 had just been bombed. And then a second blast.

At that point, we didn’t know what it was. For some reason though, I feared the worse. My friend, Maricar, asked me what happened and I just said “I think it was a bomb”. I guess it was the screams that told me. We peered though the 3rd floor gym lobby and saw the security guard rolling down the steel partitions. Beyond, we could see thick clouds of smoke (we learned later was pulverized cement) billowing from inside the mall and the screams of terror became more audible. I heard the receptionist say the blast came from nearby Timezone. My God! The children! With that thought, I knew I had to focus and look after my own safety. It was a mother’s instinct in me that suddenly took control of my every move– I needed to be safe for my own children.

Immediately I helped Maricar take control. After gathering my things, I helped her clean out her locker and carried one of her bags. I told her we should exit though the ground floor of the gym that would lead us directly outside the mall and into an open park. In seconds, we were out and joined the hundreds already gathered in the safety of open ground. I called my husband, my kids, my sisters and friends who mattered to me most just to let them know I’m okay. My car was stranded ar the car park with my driver so my husband sent his driver to pick me up at the packed Starbucks at 6750.

But here’s a curious thing, which to me, will gain significance as the various eyewitness accounts are cross-checked and the specific circumstances begin to emerge. Take this account by As the world turns, who was there in Glorietta 2 at the time of the blast:

For the life of me, I couldn’t understand how I failed to feel the earthquake-like blast, as described by those interviewed in TV newscasts, in Glorietta 2 yesterday, when the rest of the people beside who were also there, watching from the second floor, not very far from the scene of the blast, those at the activity center below, running, scampering towards the exit doors. We were looking at each other wondering what was going on! We weren’t panicky, we were simply bewildered. What I heard were the ear-splitting squeaks of shutters and doors of shops and stores being shot and hurled down in hurried succession.

I took the escalator studiedly. I stayed and waited for a while at the ground floor where some mall security people were gathered trying to piece the information they got from their receivers, for news because I was curious. I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to know if there was a fire because smoke filled the area. I asked a security guard what was that all about. He simply replied, “Ma’am, I do not have an official word yet, you are safe, please stay calm and walk towards the exit door carefully.” When I got out of the exit door facing the Shangri-la Hotel, all the people were politely and courteously requested by the security guards to cross towards the tent because they were sealing the perimeters off in and around Glorietta.

The smoke wafting out of the door smelled of gunpowder or firecrackers, I distinctly remember. I couldn’t leave the tent because it rained. Besides, the immediate surroundings were filled with cars – firetrucks, ambulance, private cars, police cars, news companies’, etc. The paths towards Landmark were completely sealed off.

gimmepeanutbutter wasn’t as close to the scene:

Kuya Tim and I arrived at the venue earlier than my calltime so we had to wait for a while. After around 30 minutes of staring into space, I suddenly heard something that sounded like thunder. I didn’t mind it at first–until people started running out of Glorietta. At this point I kinda got scared. I got even more nervous when the prod team started asking us if we were ready to run. Fortunately, we didn’t have to.

Meet Joebacs recounts,

Immediately after most of the food we ordered were already on our table, tragedy struck a few meters away. We didn’t actually hear anything. The glass window of the restaurant didn’t shake, no abnormal audible sound caught our ear. We only learned that something was amiss when throngs of people, literally, poured out onto the streets.

A lot of stories swirled, different accounts of what happened. The alleged location of the blast were quite varied. We thought the ceiling in one of the stores just caved in. We only learned about the seriousness of what transpired when we saw a teenager still in schock with a gash on her feet…

Some, like Yugatech, were spared the worst of it but were left bewildered like the Mall employees they encountered:

Since my car was parked at the underground of 6750, most of my encounters where with Glorietta employees still busy doing their jobs despite the rush and ensuing panic.

I asked the lady at the parking gate why they haven’t been let go for the day considering the imminent danger. She was wondering of the same thing too.

When I got out on the street, it was packed with people - shoppers, employees, policemen, traffic enforcers and tons of vehicles trying to drive away from the scene. So was I.

Lost In My Headspace provides not only an account of what it was like in Glorietta, but among the most famous amateur videos of the event, too. This haunting photo by noelldeg says it all, for the survivors. My Mobile Blog — blogging minus the PC has photos of some of the casualties. See the Glorietta Blast mutlimedia photo, too.

Behind the Stories relates what it’s like for reporters to be alerted of a breaking story and then rushing to cover it:

I was about to eat my lunch when the day desk editor called, and was panicking when he told me that an explosion happened at Glorietta. And much as I wanted to panic too, I merely stayed calm. I immediately got out of the Crame press office, left my just-to-be-eaten yummy lunch and took the MRT.

Fifteen minutes later I was at the scene, and as usual engaged myself in a brief word war with security guards. Hohohoho hahaha while I tried to get to the other side of Glorietta, with all luck..my heels broke. So I went back to SM and bought a pair of cheap flipflops to get me through.

Finally arriving at the scene moments later, I saw how the Glorietta 2 entrance was reduced in rubble, and all those shattered glasses, and the cadavers yet to be brought to the morgue. Sure, this one was a very memorable coverage for me. It was I witnessing yet another part of history unfold.

But it was really devastating. I held back tears. I knew I had to work. I knew I had to do away with emotions. I knew I had to accept that this world is cruel.

A tragedy also results in questions being asked. And tough questions need to be asked. Not later, but now. To postpone them out of a misplaced sense of compassion for the victims will do more harm than good in the long run.The security measures of the Ayala Malls (and malls in general) comes in for criticism by The Banker’s Council:

Ah, those large doorway-detectors. Those that beep incessantly when we the general public pass through them. And what do the guards do when the big gray machine sounds out that it has detected a metallic object? NOTHING.

I have passed by that area many times. Sometimes I bring my backpack and laptop. Other times I just have my Pacsafe wallet around my neck. And everytime, the machine sounds its alarm. And everytime, the guards do not ask me (or anyone else) to “please empty your pockets and go through the machine again.”

And to think that they have a secondary security-cum-detection device – the handheld metal detector, such as this.

So what are those machines for in the first place?

Come to think of it, if the damage was caused by an exploding LPG tank, wouldn’t a fire break out?

Come to think of it (again), if the damage was caused by an exploding LPG tank, I’d probably agree that there was no security lapse and that the incident, unfortunate as it was, could have been an accident, though magnified many many times.

Anyway, back to the security situation.

The other news reports say that the blast site had traces of components used in the making of plastic explosives such as the military-use C4. So I guess the metal detectors would have been of no help.

Are the security guards, metal detectors and other high-tech gadgets enough of a deterrent to those who would intentionally cause havoc in such a place filled with civilians?

Similar thoughts are in Prudence and Madness and in A Day in the Life.. In IndioSign, there’s an observation about the limitations of modern buildings. In her blog, Stella Arnaldo who also has no love lost for Ayala Malls security, points to security shortcomings but also discusses something that no one can ignore:

Even before Sen. Trillanes pointed his fingers at the Presidentita GMA and her henchmen being behind the Glorietta blasts, the man on the street and your friendly neighborhood cab drivers were already thinking the same. I spoke to a few later in the evening. Pinoys aren’t stupid although our politicians make us out to be. (If this was the handiwork of terrorists, by yesterday evening, they would have claimed responsibility for the blast already because they are a proud bunch.)

Of course you can say it’s just another conspiracy theory but really, the public, especially the masa have come to distrust the Presidentita and her people. We can’t put anything past her. Almost everyone believes she is capable of doing anything just to perpetuate herself in power and refocus the public’s attention away from her government’s latest foibles. As usual, the Presidentita’s text brigade (Hello NTC: Check out 0905-346-8994) is actively trying to spin the bombings against her critics especially politicians in the opposition. While she tells them to stop politicking and taking advantage of the incident, her handlers are doing it for her. Amateurs talaga!

Mind you, these thoughts have entered the minds of people normally not inclined to have a say, either way, when it comes to politics. zalveen-ice’s Site, I think, is an example of a skeptical public. See, also, A Pinoy Investment Banker’s Homepage (I take it that the blogger is representative of the core constituency of the administration, the upper and professional classes):

Do you know what our consensus was as we speculated on the incident? It was probably the handiwork of people loyal to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) to divert media attention away from her in the light of a series of scandals which had rocked her administration. Since our initial feedback was that it was simply a LPG explosion, we even thought that whoever planned the thing was hare-brained and stupid to begin with. (Of course, we know now that it was not exploding LPG tanks which caused the damage but more like C-4). We have become cynical of GMA to have thought this way, rightly or wrongly. She really has a serious credibility problem with her constituency.

See The Warrior Lawyer and The Four-eyed Journal and Tongue in, Anew and Do my stories piss you off? as well as Random Thoughts.

From New Philippine Revolution comes an effort to whittle down the (large) list of suspects, and his list has the American CIA and a rogue group from the AFP at the top. On the other hand, Philippine Commentary is firmly convinced that the prime suspect remains Muslim groups. As he puts it,

I for one cannot even imagine the possibility of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordering such a thing, much less some rogue supporters who would act without her knowledge. She may be corrupt as events have proven, and craven enough to try to hold onto power by almost any means. But I just don’t believe she, or any of her people would be ruthless enough to do this. If anything she would rather run away than fight, as shown in the Angelo dela Cruz incident in Iraq, and in her pusillanimous handling of the Mindanao situation, both of which were actually determined by the civil society uproar against showing any kind of spine against the terrorists.

Still, you would expect people to instinctively rally around the flag. I see very little of that taking place.

But with the need to experience what other people went through, comes another pressing human need -to understand and make sense of a tragedy. Akomismo puts the blast in the context of previous terrorist attacks. So does Touched by an Angel. People will grasp at anything to try to find a pattern.

Take a look at pine for pine analyzing the list of casualties. Take this text message quoted by rockersworld.com:

13 days after Pacquiao’s victory against Eric Morales, naganap ang WoWowee Stampede.
13 days after Pacquiao’s victory against Larios, Mayon Volcano erupted, many died in mudflow.
13 days after Pacquiao’s victory against Barrera, Glorietta explosion..

We are all part of a process of national grieving, which echoes the manner in which individuals come to terms with a loved one’s demise.

Mon Casiple’s analysis is the most chilling. Remember, this is a person not given to off-the-cuff statements or for letting his emotions veto his circumspection. He goes through the list of potential suspects and the implications if any specific group is proven to be behind the blast:

The Glorietta bombing basically creates an atmosphere of unease, tension, and fear among the populace. If there are others that followed, it may create panic or cause cumulative harm on the body politic. Such a situation puts pressure on a target political opponent and/or derails its normal activities. It may precede a decisive extra-constitutional move.

A convenient culprit remains the Abu Sayyaf or some other Moro rebel group. This is possible but military offensives against them have led to disarrays in their organization and capabilities. Small bombings in the South can be expected of these groups but a massive bombing in Metro Manila–such as the one in Glorietta–raises questions.

Two other groups have the capability for such an obviously carefully-planned bombing. One is the rebel group in the military. The other is the military itself.

Their engaging in the Glorietta bombing would mean a political connection or an incursion into the political arena by the rebel military. Assuming a political motive, the bombing would represent a demonstration of political strength–and nothing else. It flies against the logic of the present stage of the political crisis where the pressure is on the president and not on the opposition. Such a move can only weaken the political momentum of the opposition. The only logical reason–not necessarily tenable politically–is to prepare for a much more decisive strike at the center of power.

Involvement of military elements in the chain of command in the Glorietta bombing would mean that a section of the military has taken sides in the political conflict on the side of the president. The logic is to create a reason for an imposition of martial or some form of national emergency. There is a precedent in the past–that of the series of bombings Marcos did to justify martial rule in 1972.

The Glorietta bombing will not immediately produce any clear indication as to the motive(s) of the perpetrator. Succeeding incidents will create the patterns that make clear a decisive political–albeit extra-constitutional–strategy. Whatever happens, we have entered the final stretch of the political crisis.

An appeal for collective action comes from Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas!:

There are many ways where we can take a collective action to show our unity in expressing our disgust over the bombing. We can make a call on every Filipino homes to display a Philippine flag. Or we can all wear a black shirt on a particular day. Or we can ask the church to toll the bells, honk our cars, hit the pan, make a noise on a particular time. Or we can all just go to Glorietta, no speaches, no banners, no placards, just a show of numbers. Or we can spread the slogan, Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas (too self serving), to express our sentiment on our love for our country. The point is, we have experienced a collective wound. To bring about a positive outcome from this incident, we, the citizens minus the politicians, have to make a collective action.

I only disagree insofar as anyone would think it’s possible to move one way, without the politicians. Even saints had assholes. But Welcome to my World, a Filipino overseas, says it well:

This incident reminds me of the time when the good people of London also became victims of terrorist bombings. Instead of calling for arms and declaring war, then Prime Minister Tony Blair actually called out for all British citizens to remain vigilant and not to cower to the cowardice acts of these misleaded uneducated individuals. To not sink to their level. To not change one’s way of life, for if we succumb to these senseless barbaric acts then they have truly won. For their goal is not to simply kill a huge number of our countrymen, but to create fear to change our way of life. To terrorize a society is to instill fear, regardless of the means, may it be through the taking of lives or through a simple perceived threat.

Again, to my mind, we would do better focusing on the physical and emotional scars of a national trauma barely 24 hours old; and formulating, in our minds, the questions that must be answered, frankly and completely, for we, the people, to be satisfied that the explanations we are getting are genuine.

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453 comments

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  1. Equalizer

    Profile of the Mastermind of the Ayala Mall Bombing

    A completely ruthless person who is willing to do ANYTHING in pursuit of his or her objectives. It does not matter to this person what the costs are, even the “human” costs.

    This person must be desperate. He or she decided to strike at the very heart of the business district to make a point. He or she is sending a very clear warning to all :“The worst is yet to come”.

    This person means business. The stakes are too high now. No more turning back .Every day matters. His or her “clock” is ticking away very fast…

    The more desperate he or she becomes, the more desperate will be his or her NEXT moves. It is his or her downward spiral to the abyss of desperation.

    Is he or she afraid of retribution from men? Nope. He or she thinks that
    there is always an exception to the rule that “no one is above the law”.

    Worried about Divine retribution? Nope. That person must think that God is always on his or her side. No different from those ruthless suicide bombers in the Middle East.

    God save our country from this person.

  2. Equalizer

    “There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust.” Demosthenes

  3. BrianB

    “The Glorietta bombing will not immediately produce any clear indication as to the motive(s) of the perpetrator. Succeeding incidents will create the patterns that make clear a decisive political–albeit extra-constitutional–strategy. Whatever happens, we have entered the final stretch of the political crisis.”

    “this is a person not given to off-the-cuff statements or for letting his emotions veto his circumspection.”

    Just because he still knows where his commas go means he is still capable of circumspection. Watching Free Euro movies tonight at Shang. Taking my new friend. Have no fear at all of TERRORISTS.

  4. Equalizer

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

  5. Equalizer

    First They Came…

    When the Nazis came for the communists
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews
    I remained silent;
    I wasn’t a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

    Pastor Martin Niemöller

  6. rollchan

    @Equalizer: Burke’s quote, I really do believe that. Thanks for that post.

    ==========================================================

    Rajah Solaiman Group claimed for the bombings. They should all be pulverize, icluding the MILF and the ASG!

  7. LTA

    Gov’t identifies terror group in Manila!

    NATIONAL Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said the Rajah Sulayman Group (RSG) is the biggest terrorist threat in Metro Manila.

    Gonzales said in a radio interview that government is giving attention to the RSG because most of its members are “balik Islam” and it obtains funds from the Middle East although it is a small organization.

    “Ito ang medyo pinakamalaki ang sakit ng ulo natin dahil ito ay mga dating Kristiyano. Ibig sabihin mga taga-Luzon ito eh, taga-Maynila, taga-Pangasinan, taga-Nueva Ecija. So alam nila iyung pasikot-sikot dito sa Maynila (They are quite a big headache to use because they are former Christians. This means that they are from Luzon, from Manila, from Pangasinan, from Nueva Ecija. So they know the ins and outs of Manila),” he said.

  8. ramrod

    Where are these “experts” the government is talking about? 24 Hours is more than enough, all we’re seeing are foot dragging, jargon, and confusion-generating talk.
    If it was a serious terrorist bombing (Islamist/NPA, etc.), the body count could have been more, the target should be a crowded area, and the deaths or injuries should have been more than blast-related or “shock wave” induced. We should have seen more blood, dismemberment, and terror. As it is, it was a clean blomb, more percussive (just for loud noise) than destructive, they did not find traces, of course they never will. RDX is the signature of C4, if they insist on looking for the detonator in this case a blasting cap it has already been blown to smithereens. If this were tradditional terrorists, shrapnel should have found, (nails, ball bearings, etc.) but there isn’t. This was intentional, clean, and well aimed, with deliberate calculation for as low collateral damage as possible, designed to “make a loud noise.” Terrorists, the genuine ones’ message is “HATE” so in their attacks its always calculated for maximum casualty, grim, bloody, terror.
    Only old tacticians are so predictable, beware of pacifists, they are as destructive as those who cry “foul!”

  9. frombelow

    So, all issues are apparently being placed at the back burner or totally being forgotten

  10. vic

    “Where are these “experts” the government is talking about? 24 Hours is more than enough, all we’re seeing are foot dragging, jargon, and confusion-generating talk”..ramrod..

    The experts don’t know what they are talking about, especially the ones getting their info from the intelligence community, because these Intelligence Service people were and are busy “shadowing” the wrong people. They instead are busy digging intel on the President’s and the administration’s perceived enemies, the group the Chiefs (all the president’s men) fondly called the de-stabilizers.. and the real destabilizers are nowhere to be found..

  11. ramrod

    Behind every orchestrated “disaster” is the objective of effecting a redirection of the current situation. Aside from the collateral damage (as these callous people call the injured, dead, and damage to property), the economy, our way of life, and our trust in each other are the also casualties. In a worst case scenario, we will all be going at each other’s throats, Christians against Muslims, against Leftists, and against Rightists. If we allow ourselves to be “misdirected” the Filipino people will be reduced to these denominations, classified by hatred and narrowmindedness. The business climate will be grim indeed, capital flight, decrease in investments, the upper class and upper middle class will initiate a systematic migration. Whatever momemtum the opposition and the people may have established in the search for truth and better government prior to this incident will fizzle like new year’s sparklers. Or we could be pacified by an insincere call for sympathy for those who are injured and those who died. There is a time for grieving, but are we expected to grieve forever? Should grieving mean becoming docile sheep to be led by the noses to the slaughter? Or should grieving lead to an unquenchable desire for justice that will strengthen our resolve for change?

    This orchestrated disaster is designed to direct/misdirect us, to cower us, or to divide us.

    As always, there is a need to be intelligently vigilant.

  12. qwert

    “Where are these “experts” the government is talking about? 24 Hours is more than enough, all we’re seeing are foot dragging, jargon, and confusion-generating talk.”- ramrod

    “And while Chief Inspector Reynold Rosero said the explosion originated underground, authorities are still clueless on what kind of explosive caused the blast, which killed at least nine people and injured over a hundred others on Friday afternoon.
    Rosero added that the post-blast investigation might take more days as the blast site is knee-deep flooded with water from the sprinklers and as its ceiling is on the verge of collapsing.” – By Thea Alberto
    INQUIRER.net

    Sorry ram, looks like were going to wait for a few more days…

  13. ramrod

    qwert,

    If thats the case, I’m afraid they will never find anything. The water will wash out traces of the explosive, very convenient, it washed itself. I heard earlier that they found traces of RDX (C4 related). What a shame, if they confirmed C4, not many people has access to it, only the military and mining companies (legally), then it will appear we were attacked by angry miners. The MILF, RSM, have nothing to gain by bombing this area, they can get national attention just by ambushing our soldiers in their territory where they have they have terrain advantage.

  14. Manila Bay Watch

    Ramrod,

    “The MILF, RSM, have nothing to gain by bombing this area, they can get national attention just by ambushing our soldiers in their territory where they have they have terrain advantage.”

    I think so too!

  15. mlq3

    ramrod, since you have more military experience here than most readers, can you suggest what citizens should look out for: what questions come to mind immediately to those with military training?

    from what we have seen, by means of photos, videos, eyewitness accounts, can any initial conclusions be reached about the type of explosive used? what about the timing (not rush hour) the nature of the blast (upwards and not sidewards), the lack of a major fire, etc.

    and i’d be interested in your reaction to this piece:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2176122

  16. LTA

    “So, all issues are apparently being placed at the back burner or totally being forgotten .from below”

    It’s all about connections of events.Connect the dots….
    You will see the emerging picture…

  17. ramrod

    mlq3,

    Thank you for the link. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an expert in this field, as I said I have long been seduced by the business side of the “force” and my exposure right now is limited to informal get togethers (if our wives allow us) with mistahs over beer and sisig. I’m seriously thinking of inviting you to one of these get togethers one day, with their permission of course so you can hear firsthand our not so serious banter.

    As for the article “Resign, Retire, and Renounce by Fred Kaplan, upon reading it I find that there is not much difference between the war rooms of the US and the Philippines. A good leader (like the President) has to master the elements of group dynamics. In a particular group, even with generals, there are one or two (or more) dominant members whose opinions, views, and decisions strongly influences the rest, get a hold of these individuals and you hold the group in a vice like grip. In the military, of course rank and seniority plays a big role but not always. Once this pecking order is established, its easy to direct the group in any direction as it is just a matter of following “lawful orders” as they say. If you are conditioned to it, it is easier to follow orders than to question them. The generals in the article who had a bout of conscience after retirement were just behaving normally, it is unthinkable at this level (generals) to think about dissenting. Even if you have any doubts following orders, training almost always takes over and the loyalty reflex takes over. Loyalty, or at least a particular brand of it is ingrained in the officers since the start, and this concept of loyalty helps the officers decide between staying, resigning, and renouncing. This unique concept of loyalty is best understood if we take a look at the LOYALTY PLEDGE which goes“If you work for a man, in heaven’s name work for him, speak well of him, and stand by the institution he represents. If you continuously gripe (or is it growl?) or complain, why, resign your position? And when on the outside, damn to your hearts content. But as long as you are part of the institution, love it, do not condemn it, for if you do, the first high wind that comes along will blow you away, and probably, you will never know why.” This is basically a modified version of Elbart Hubbard’s poem, you see this in the offices and barracks. So you see, renouncing after you’re out of service is acceptable. All other considerations, loss of benefits, dishonorable discharge, etc. come after this “rationalization.”

  18. Manila Bay Watch

    Same thing they say in the UK forces, a member of the UK forces is expected not to say anything derogatroy against the British military institution for as he/she accepts ‘the Queen’s shilling.’

    This is very different however from speaking against a superior (although may not acceptable in theory even in least reputable military anywhere in the world) for there is still that standing doctrine that speaking against an individual to denounce the wrong committed by that individual or individuals in the military is NOT SPEAKING AGAINST THE institution.

  19. Manila Bay Watch

    Oooops, “FOR AS LONG as he/she accepts ‘the Queen’s shilling.”

  20. ramrod

    mbw,

    If you need to learn a European language in prep for European posting, what would it be? My boss says French, is this okay?

  21. ramrod

    Oooops, “FOR AS LONG as he/she accepts ‘the Queen’s shilling.” – mbw

    Aha!

  22. Manila Bay Watch

    Ramrod,

    I reckon French is as good a foreign language as any to learn. But I say that because that’s the foreign language I know and know very well. Apart from that, I’d say French along with English of course are the two major languages of the EU and I suppose, it is very convenient to know French.

    However, in principle German is the most widely spoken foreign language in Europe (next to English) population wise, i.e., 78 million Germans on top of most of the Eastern European nations that now have joined the EU, all 10 of them speak German widely and German is considered the language of business in those countries.

    I learned both German and French at the beginning and became fluent in French (not in German), both were easy to learn so if I were you, I’d learn both. But if you speak French, you can deal with almost anyone in the EU too because as I say, it is one of the 2 major languages in the EU.

  23. Chabeli

    Ramrod, your analyses are very informative. Good job.

  24. Manila Bay Watch

    Ramrod,

    Depending on the European posting if it’s in France or in the EU Capital, then by all means, you must learn French. (Very easy to learn!)

  25. ramrod

    mbw,

    Have you read this? This was posted quite some time ago, see Oplan Greenbase. Its quite interesting, especially the bombing of Sasa Wharf (Davao). I couldn’t also find any good reason why the MILF would do such a thing as the warehouses of the plantations are located here and these companies have had a very good relationship with the rebels (giving them work). In fact, I will be going there next month for a plantation visit. Its a yearly thing that I do which is not particulary enjoyable as you have to take a ride in a Cessna plane, but I always survive by praying the rosary while in the air.

    http://www.sundalo.bravehost.com/From%20the%20Soldiers.htm

  26. vic

    I think the Military are conditioned from the very beginning to take orders from their civilian masters and carry them to fruition even if they, personally not in agreement with the mission.

    Nothing can demonstrate this more than the Royal 22nd Regiment known as the “Van Doos”. Quebecois (people of Quebec) in a substantial Majority is against the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, and that would be also assumed that personally the Generals who command the Van Doos ( all Quebecois member infantry) and the soldiers themselves do not agree with the mission, but not a single personnel of the Van Doos say anything against it. In fact they are as eager to complete the mission and go back home. For soldiers if ordered by a lawfully mandated Civilian Commanders, forward they march into battlefields and ready to offer the ultimate sacrifice, not a whimper against the Command and their Civilian Masters…

  27. ramrod

    mbw,

    I sent you something with a link but its “awaiting moderation.”

    Okay, so French it is, I find the language quite sexy anyway.

  28. Manila Bay Watch

    Ramrod,

    Do I take it you are going to be posted in France! If so, wonderful — you will love it there and if you speak French, they’d adore you.

    Let me know if so… cvj and I have met in person already if you are planning to meet him in Singapore, I’ll ask him to give you my number.

    A très bientôt!

  29. ramrod

    vic, mbw

    Some time ago mlq3 referred this book to me, I was lucky to buy the last one in National Bookstore Megamall. Its “Closer than Brothers” by Al McCoy, it is basically quite an extensive research into two classes in the PMA, ’40 and ’71, and shows the different schools of thought in the Philippine military today. From here you will understand Honasan and even Trillanes better.

    http://www.amazon.com/Closer-Than-Brothers-Philippine-Military/dp/0300077653/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-4514866-9906846?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191726744&sr=8-1

  30. ramrod

    hi guys,

    I sent a link for a book “Closer than Brothers” by Al McCoy, its still awaiting moderation, if haven’t read it yet, please do. Its the least I can do for my friends who are oftentimes judged unfairly.

    I have to go now or I will face sanctions from my own domestic dictator.

  31. ramrod

    mbw,

    I was scheduled to go to Singapore this Nov 5 for our regular management meeting. Unfortunately, our Managing Director got this idea of web conferencing, so we won’t have to travel from the far reaches of SEA (south east asia) to meet, outdo each other’s powerpoint presentations, and argue. Of course, we all miss out on the dinner and beer afterwards. I think this experiment will not work.

  32. Dr. D.

    ramrod… what questions come to mind immediately to those with military training?

    from what we have seen, by means of photos, videos, eyewitness accounts, can any initial conclusions be reached about the type of explosive used? what about the timing (not rush hour) the nature of the blast (upwards and not sidewards), the lack of a major fire, etc. — MLQ3

    Sir Ramrod, I think you didn’t answer the first part of Manolo’s question. Can we know your take on these, sir?

  33. coffeewithamee

    ramrod,

    just wanted to drop a line and say that i found your analysis informing and quite interesting.

  34. Marie

    The turn of events and timing of the bombing is, to me, really suspicious. Somebody (somebodies) must be feeling relieved and happy now coz the perpetuating political/economic/moral issue is no longer in the headlines. Thanks to the bombing?? Oh my lord, if this is the kind of mentality they have, we’re in constant danger. Let’s be observant and watchful!

  35. Francis

    Since everyone is interested about blast effect (structural effect not political or psychological):

    A truck can contain about 4,000+ kilos of TNT
    A car can contain 200 to 1500+ kilos of TNT
    A briefcase can contain about 20+ kilos of TNT
    A pipe bomb about 2 to 3 kilos of TNT
    (a 60mm mortar contains about 1kilo of explosive)

    The Rizal Day bombing executed by the Islamic groups used about 1 kilo equivalent of TNT (they used ammonium nitrate-based according to the confessions)

    History tells us the Islamic bombings are always targeted at multiple sites (even if they do it in Mindanao) this is to ensure they will have at least one detonation.

    All I can say is that the recent bombing is an EVIL act. Whatever the intent of it was.

    Below is a link with more detailed numbers on the difference between TNT and nitrate based explosives.
    http://stason.org/TULARC/science-engineering/chemistry/13-8-What-is-the-chemical-structure-of-common-explosives.html

  36. Shaman of Malilipot

    The only difference between the London bombing and the Glorietta bombing is that Tony Blair had the trust of the British people while GMA is generally distrusted and mistrusted by the Filipino people. Any call from her will always be eyed with skepticism and suspicion, or even cynicism.

  37. Manila Bay Watch

    The UK has already posted a negative travel advisory against RP:

    UK warns citizens on travel to RP

    By Cynthia Balana
    Inquirer
    Last updated 01:38am (Mla time) 10/21/2007

    MANILA, Philippines — The United Kingdom has cautioned its citizens about traveling to the Philippines in the wake of the Glorietta 2 mall bombing last Friday, advising them that there was “a high threat from terrorism throughout the Philippines.”

    France’s travel advisory that was posted in June and valid until 21st Oct is not as bad as the UK’s and only advises its citizens not to travel to Western Mindanao, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu.

  38. Tsokolet

    We were expecting for the COA report to appear in the main page & headlines on the following day, but the unexpected loss of lives and this cowardly act grabbed the news. My prayers to the souls of the innocent victims.

  39. LTA

    I nominate Gloria Pidal and her top henchmen ,Ronnie D’
    Puno,Gonzales and Mr Esperon for the Nobel WAR Prize! Well deserved!

  40. Equalizer

    To the Real Mastermind:

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
    Abraham Lincoln

  41. Equalizer

    To the Real Mastermind:

    Isaiah 1:15″ And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”

  42. Abe N. Margallo

    Manolo, ramrod,

    I guess in Insurgent Pinoy generals, US too I had the chance in April 2006 to grapple with some of the issues in Fred Kaplan’s “Resign, Retire, Renounce.”

    As it is, resignation is an option not only to senior military officers but also to any civil servant, military or not, from senators and congressmen to public school teachers and government clerks. If these public agencies have already lost their trust in the president or in the legitimacy of her regime, they have the power, the right and the duty to resign either individually or en masse.

    So, for instance, if these public servants truly believe that President Arroyo: 1) Betrayed their trust by failing satisfactorily to explain up to this time why she was sorry for calling COMELEC Commissioner Garcilliano as recorded in the “Garci tapes”; 2) Was totally remiss in her duty to faithfully execute the laws of the land by not ordering the immediate prosecution of COMELEC Chairman Abalos for the crime of bribing a member of her cabinet in connection with ZTE deal; or 3) Allowed multi-acts of bribery to take place in the president’s official residence, they are essentially obligated “to fall on their swords.”

    The self-sacrifice of resignation as an expression of dissent could be more efficient than certain extra-constitutional means or perhaps even the exercise of People Power through street protests.

  43. john marzan

    matanong lang, what explosives were used during the rizal day bombing at yung superferry bombing? c4 rin?

  44. deVilsadVc8

    We were expecting for the COA report to appear in the main page & headlines on the following day, but the unexpected loss of lives and this cowardly act grabbed the news.

    it must be fate. it must be an act of God. it must be foreordained. but always, and everytime this admin is on the verge of collapsing, something always comes up to save it. which leads me to think that: Gloria, God did put you there. and he’s keeping you there! no other explanation for it. God wants you to do something special. perhaps its the end time and you’re part of the scourge that will be unleashed. much like what Bush has been for the american people.

    Pat Evangelista, on her column, says somethings I agree with wholeheartedly. but esp this:

    I’m in no position to point fingers at anyone. I know too little, and it would be an insult to those who have suffered and died to make this political. What I know is this: that no matter how many times this story is told, and however it can be arranged or rearranged, it is a narrative that will never make sense, the same way this country so rarely does.

  45. deVilsadVc8

    much like how I hated when DJB used the marines’ beheadings as a springboard for his HSA advocacy, so also does my stomach turn when the opposition are more quicker to denounce this admin as the culprit rather than give allowance for grievance of the dead.

    much like how Bush picked up the memories of the dead in the 9/11 bombing and flung it at the american people to serve his own agenda.

    shameless.

  46. Equalizer

    “”Laban sa kanila, kailangan tibayin natin ang loob, magkapitbisig, magsikap at magsakripisyo at huwag magpadala sa mga nagbubunsod ng gulo, takot, at hidwaan sa halip sama-sama tayong magmatyag sa mga banta sa paligid at balakid, at patuloy na lumikha ng yaman at trabaho para sa bayan,” said President Arroyo.ABS-CBN”

    Translation(What she is really trying to say:”Lets’s Move On! Forget the ZTE Scandal,the Briberies in the Palace,Catch us if You Can!”

  47. ramrod

    Lets pray that this incident will not reduce us, Filipinos into divisiveness, Christians against Moslems, against Rightists, against Leftists – breaking us down into narrowminded hate groups, eying each other with suspicion, killing each other, when what we should be doing is to join hands in search for the truth.

  48. Equalizer

    THE DEATH of democracy in our country is not likely to be the result of political assassination. It will be a slow extinction from the apathy of the public to the innumerable cases of official corruption in Gloria Arroyo’s government.NESTOR MATA,MALAYA

  49. Abe N. Margallo

    I know too little, and it would be an insult to those who have suffered and died to make this political. Pat Evangelista

    I’m sorry Pat and Devilsavdc8 but unfortunately it is very political.

    RR Raneses had said it so eloquently in his blog a day before the blast how I wish I had written it myself:

    If there’s one great danger the Philippines faces now, it’s not that too much politics is going on but that too little of it is actually present. From the President, her opponents, political commentators, down to the average citizen and the working classes everyone seems to be afflicted with an infectious itch to scratch politics away the moment it makes its presence felt. It is a fatal allergy – one that numbs the senses and inhibits one’s capacity for judgment, although, even this has become an undesired endeavor as well, it seems. The symptoms are difficult to recognize because the endless, at times irritating appeals to objective facts and accurate, unopinionated observations provide easy and quick medication. Interestingly, death certificates are also fact-obsessed: time of death up to the last second, cause of death in the most accurate prognosis. This is the danger of too little politics: the elevation to the highest pedestal of life and death in their barest, naked fact.

    But it is a widely unrecognized danger because danger itself has become endangered. The dangerous does not have any hold on our imagination anymore because even it has become safe. Come to think of it, there are no more genuinely dangerous spaces nowadays really. Even the mountains and the oceans have lost their capacity to make us tremble in danger. That’s why politics because it is dangerous to life-itself has come to be tamed; is seen to be in need of taming. But politics, because it is unencumbered action has a propensity to be tragic and to result in tragedy. What is happening in the Philippines (and elsewhere) is how one political philosopher beautifully put – a tragedy of tragedy. We have become beings no longer fascinated by the spontaneity of action. In fact, i think there is a spreading (and alarming) desire for numbness. No longer laziness, but numbness. We want everything planned, collectivized, organized and compartmentalized. Like the laws of the market, we want everything predictable, governed by the invisible hand which will manage, harmonize and govern our self-interests. And because we have demonized tragedy, we no longer recognize its spectral presence among us.

    Why are we afraid of politics? This I guess is the most important question crying out for an answer. And the question behind it is a more fundamental human question: why are we afraid of fear?

  50. Equalizer

    “Lets pray that this incident will not reduce us, Filipinos into divisiveness, Christians against Moslems, against Rightists, against Leftists – breaking us down into narrowminded hate groups, eying each other with suspicion, killing each other, when what we should be doing is to join hands in search for the truth.RAMROD”

    Sir Ramrod:Tungkulin natin, sir, na igalang ang pagbubuwis ng buhay ng Sundalo tagapagtangol ng Pilipino,sa pamamagitan ng pagiging tunay sa ating pagka-Pilipino – Maka-Diyos,Makabayan at MAKATAO.

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