EDITORIAL | March 11, 2018
The 50th anniversary of the infamous Jabidah Massacre will be marked on March 18.
It is expected there will be commemoration tour to Corregidor, the place where the massacre was said to have taken place on March 18, 1968. Such tour is an annual event sponsored by the regional government of Muslim Mindanao since Mujiv Hataman was placed by Noynoy Aquino at the helm of ARMM.
In Marawi, still recovering from a five-month siege, civil society organization leaders will spearhead a commemoration. Invitations were out with the hope to gather many participants. Again, this is under ARMM’s auspices in line with its official declaration of March 18 as a Bangsamoro Day.
What is the Jabidah Massacre?
It is a supposed massacre of Moro young military officers mostly from Sulu and the islands who were recruited to train at Corregidor under codename “Merdeka” for the purpose of infiltrating Sabah amid the Philippine claim that the North Borneo territory belonged to the Philippines.
The actual number of casualty varied from one report to another. All but one survived in the person of Bidin Arula, whose testimony rocked the country but unfortunately for him, he died as an unknown hero somewhere in Sabah.
But for 50 years of being commemorated, there are still doubts as to whether such infamous slaughter of young Moro military officials really happened. There are those who believe it is one that never was, or had never been. They believe the Jabidah Massacre was an orchestrated hoax to help the ouster of the late Ferdinand E. Marcos, then Philippine strongman at the time.
Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., was pushing hard to oust Marcos and take over the presidency. Ninoy was no doubt leader of the reds and he needed the help of the Muslim community to topple down Marcos. There should be a way for the community to up-rise against the powers that be. And the fabrication of the Jabidah Massacre – or a concoction – best suited the plan.
The media sensations of the Jabidah Massacre and the Sabah claim which is of regional scope triggered the Muslim rebellion. Rashid Lucman, head of the Bangsa Moro Liberation Organization, a known ally of Ninoy sent some 90 young Moros to be known later as The Top 90’s to neighbor Malaysia who readily agreed to host the training of the Moro youth for the purpose of waging a war against Manila in order to establish an independent Moro state out of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan.
Malaysia readily hosted the training understandably for its interest – national security. Malaysia was bothered, first, by Disodado Macapagal reviving the Philippine claim of Sabah and, second, the alleged massacre of some 70 Moro young officers who were allegedly trained by the military to infiltrate Sabah.
The Philippines which was not receiving so much international aid like what it is receiving at the present almost knocked down to its knees when MNLF-led armed rebellion gained the support and sympathy of majority of the Moro people. This prompted Marcos to send his first lady Imelda to Libya and asked the socialist leader Khadafy to help bring the MNLF to the negotiating table.
Imelda’s visit to Libya had resulted to the signing of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) followed by many peace accords most of which for decades have not been implemented. But one thing became certain: Although Ninoy’s life was overtaken by a bullet and did not succeed to become president, his family reaped the fruits of his struggle. His widow Corazon became the president when the United States brought Marcos to Hawaii at the height of the so-called EDSA Revolution of 1986. Later their son Noynoy landed to the presidency.
So is Jabidah Massacre really a hoax?
There are many questions that remained clearly unanswered for 50 years that help make people doubt. To quote a part of an article, these include, among others, the following:
- Why was there no single cadaver of the so-called killed recruits recovered and bodily presented?
- How was a wounded Arula able to swim in the shark-infested waters between Corregidor and Cavite?
- Why was there no single immediate relative of any of the victims who openly came out and complain?
- Why do the MNLF and MILF care less about Arula?
With these, it depends upon one if he believes that the Jabidah Massacre really happened or not. (RSP)