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How to deal with Abu Sayyaf

/ 12:33 AM May 07, 2016

FORMER senator and now Philippine Red Cross chair Dick Gordon is right: We need a very strong government to deal with the Abu Sayyaf.

If we don’t stop the bandit group, foreign governments might do it for us.

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And at the rate the Abu Sayyaf has been kidnapping—and killing—foreigners, it is not farfetched for elite foreign military units to intrude into our shores to save their kidnapped nationals.

What a shame that would be for our country and people!

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The next government should be ruthless toward the Abu Sayyaf bandits who kill their innocent hostages without mercy, for that is the only language they understand.

However, the next government should also improve the lot of the Muslims who have been neglected for generations.

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The beheading of Canadian John Ridsdel on April 25 would not have happened if our military relentlessly pursued his captors from the time he and his companions were kidnapped from Samal Island in Davao del Norte.

The entire resources of both the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), which has jurisdiction over the scene of the kidnapping, and the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), which has jurisdiction over where Ridsdel and his companions were taken, should have been brought to bear on the Abu Sayyaf.

President Noynoy’s wishy-washy leadership—as well as that of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s—made bandit groups like the Abu Sayyaf undertake kidnappings with impunity.

* * *

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During the time of President Marcos, the Abu Sayyaf or similar kidnap groups didn’t exist.

If they did, they were immediately dealt with.

The military during the Marcos regime played the Moro kidnappers’ kind of game: its “lost command” held hostage the relatives of the kidnappers until they released their hostages.

* * *

After casino junket operator Kim Wong has turned over to the government the last tranche of funds he promised to return, there is no longer any reason for the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) not to drop the money laundering charges against him in court.

The P250 million Wong handed to the AMLC on Wednesday completed his return of the money he got from hackers who stole $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank.

Wong didn’t know the money paid to him by some Chinese casino players was stolen from Bangladesh and laundered in the country.

When he learned the source of the money, without any hesitation he returned it in tranches: first, $4.6 million; then P38 million; P200 million; and finally P250 million.

It must have been very hard for the Chinese-Filipino businessman to return all those amounts since some of them had already been spent for the operation of his junket business.

But return the money he did.

As I’ve been saying in this space, I’ve known Wong since he was a 16-year-old errand boy at a girlie bar in Malate, Manila, in 1980.

His boss at the bar then, Sofio Tiu, said the young Kim could be trusted with money.

Judging from his return of the stolen money, Kim hasn’t changed.

Unless the AMLC wants to shake him down, it should immediately ask the courts to drop Wong’s name from the charge sheet.

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, AMLC, Canadian John Ridsdel, Dick Gordon, Kidnapping, Kim Wong, Samal Island
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