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Darlan Palencia Barcelon

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Historical yet Controversial Island: Map of Corregidor Island where Jabidah Massacre was consumated

Historical yet Controversial Island: Map of Corregidor Island where Jabidah Massacre was consumated

Alat,Jolo,Sulu, [01.14.14] Two surviving  members of Jabidah Special Force has come out in the open to shed light about the appalling story surrounding Jabidah Massacre, so that the world will know what had happened  in the island of Corregidor, forty six years ago.

One has succeeded and became a member of the elite airborne unit in the Philippine Army is a retired  sergeant. While  the other  became a veteran freedom fighter  of the Moro National Liberation Front [MNLF], after his dream  was shattered by that villainous carnage.

The two major persona who unmasked the enigma – were Mihajul Saliddin Paradji, who is fondly called Hajji Ayub. He is now 62 years old, while  Hajji Abdurajah “Jack” Abdulla is 70 years old. Perhaps they are both gifted by Allah with long life to tell their own stories about the massacre. They are both full blooded Tausugs born in the province of Sulu.

Their own vivid revelations about their distant pasts, are  filled with colorful and interesting  exploits. An account   that will give answers to the nagging enigma about the conspiracy that was willfully kept by the powerful Filipino oligarchs. Unknown to many including the present generation, the deceptiveness hatched by the Philippine and Malaysian governments to distort the rightful owners of North Borneo and Sarawak – has a strong relevance to the present Philippine tumultuous territorial claim over Sabah and Sarawak.

Jabidah Massacre was just among the multi-faceted  cover-ups to hide the truth and it is deeply rooted to the conspiracy that killed the Sultan of Sulu in 1936 in order  to make North Borneo and Sarawak their perpetual milking cow. The collusion between Malaysia and Philippines was dramatically played by installing a politically appointed “Sultanate of Sulu” who is subsisting on a meager annual rent of U$5,300 dollars.

The “Oplan Merdeka” who was vigorously pursued  and was implemented during the Marcos regime was a pig-headed design, to retake Sabah at the expense of the Jabidah Commandos, that is why the bloods of the martyred young Tausugs in the remote airstrip of Corregidor Island will never be forgotten.

Recruitment

The clandistine plot to foment dissent in Sabah was under a Code name “Operation Merdeka”. Merdeka,  is a Malay term for freedom. The recruitment of Tausugs  began in the early part of July 1967  and was conducted in the province of  Sulu.

According to the sources, Mihajul Saliddin Paradji and Abdurajah “Jack” Abdulla;  they were approached by Antonio “Joe” Santos, a mechanic who was then frequenting Jolo. Santos convinced them to join the training including other young Tausugs for the special military unit.

Their dream to be a soldiers has  brought them to the training camp in Simunul island.

Training

The project supervised by Manuel Syquio as project leader and then Major Eduardo Martelino as operation officer. Other military officers  who played major roles in the conduct of military training both in Simunul Island and in Corregidor Island were both identified – by Paradji and Abdulla.

They were Eduardo Batalla, Rolando Abadilla, 2nd Lt. Munar, 1Lt Buenaventura, 1Lt. Makid, 2nd Lt. Philip Lauzon, Captain Ruiz, Captain Sotico and Captain Latonero – majority of the military officers were junior officers at the time of the military training.

Martelino became so effective as an operation officer, because he married a Tausug woman and became a Muslim convert with an assumed Muslim name as Abdul Latiff Martelino.

Simunul Island. The first phase of the special military training was conducted inside Camp Sophia in Simunul Island, Tawi-Tawi from August to December 1967.

Simunul Island. The first phase of the special military training was conducted inside Camp Sophia in Simunul Island, Tawi-Tawi from August to December 1967.

The first phase of the special military training was conducted inside Camp Sophia in Simunul Island, Tawi-Tawi from August to December 1967.

The  training dealt mainly about  basic commando exercises focused on the agility and basic military tactics as their daily routines.

After three months rigorous training in Simunul, the troops were transferred to Corregidor on December 30,1967 aboard on a Philippine Navy ship.The training continue and was geared into a specialized commando training course as the six months course is nearing to its final leg. Demolition courseusing grenades,lay ambush, night navigation, escape and evasion tactics including counter-intelligence were introduced to us in the course, Paradji revealed.

Mutiny

The restiveness started when the Jabidah Commando trainees discovered the real objective of “Oplan Merdeka” is to destabilize North Borneo. Agitated by the real mission’s objectives, the growing uneasiness has aggravated further the situation due to the unpaid three months salaries. Members of Banji group, a group of Jabidah trainees has plotted against their training officers  to redress their grievance so that they can  go back home to Sulu.

Mihajul Saliddin Paradji, who is fondly called Hajji Ayub. He is now 62 years old

Mihajul Saliddin Paradji, who is fondly called Hajji Ayub. He is now 62 years old

According to Paradji, their desires to have a decent job  was defeated. The reason why we joined the training was to be a soldier and to have a salary to support their family, he said.

While finalizing our plan to register our grievances, a manhandling incident against a trainee happened unexpectedly.The action made by then Lieutenant Eduardo Batalla against our troop member snapped our patience particularly the Banji group, Paradji revealed.

I confronted Lieutenant Batalla and poked my M1 semi-automatic rifle [carbine] and told him, “Do not try to pull your pistol  because I will kill you!”. I was surprised and taken aback when he spoke to me in Tausug “Ayaw kita, niyo mag buno” [Let us not quarrel]

The misunderstanding was settled. However, then Major Martelino “Abdul Latiff” disarmed the Banji group and ordered the remaining trainees to go out from the barracks. Suddenly the entire camp went dark and the sentry was controlled by heavily armed military officers, Paradji recalled.

Twenty four [24] trainees, including me  were ordered to be shipped out of Corregidor the following day. While travelling out of Corregidor, we were confined on the ship deck.  When we were in Cebu,  message from the  former Sulu congressman Salih Ututalom was received by the ship’s captain ordering him  to bring us to Jolo.

Massacre

After we arrived in Jolo  from Corregidor after a days of sea voyage, we were surprised by the throng of people asking us the where about of other trainees. Unknown to us while were are travelling back home, a bloody massacre was already consummated.

The presence of former senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr who went to Jolo after Arula revealed the story, his visit to Jolo has finally confirmed the bloody end of the fourteen Tausugs who were killed in Corregidor island.

That was  the only  time  we knew  about the fate of the fourteen trainees that they were killed.

According to Abdurajah “Jack” Abdulla, the eleven bodies   were thrown in a deep tunnel in Corregidor without any  religious burial rites.  The eleven trainees were killed through machine guns in a remote airstrip of Corregidor.

Only Jibin Arula survived in the massacre.

Hajji Abdurajah “Jack” Abdulla is 70 years old.

Hajji Abdurajah “Jack” Abdulla is 70 years old.

Abdurajah “Jack” Abdulla is a member of “Kubing” group of the Jabidah Commando group at the time of their training course. While the issue about the massacre remain hugging the headlines and the senate investigation is being hatch by then Senator Ninoy Aquino, we were ordered to hide in some military camps to evade the inquiry.

After the massacre, they were transferred to Fort  Ramon Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija to pursue is career as a soldier.

In October 1969, five ranger group including himself received meritorious medal in Fort Bonifacio. Later in January 1970 he was assigned in Malacañang Palace as a Presidential Guard. he became a trusted man of General Fabian Ver, the Chief of Staff during Martial Law.

During the height of Muslim rebellion in Sulu, his family were tortured by the military who were operating against the Moro Islamic liberation Front. Also at the same time, while still serving with the military, Jack’s brother and his brother-in-law were killed by the Philipine military.

Revealations

Twist of fate has separated Mihajul Saliddin Paradji and Abdurajah “Jack” Abdulla because of Jabidah massacre, however, faith in Allah, has brought them back again as one – they are now both a religious leaders in their home province of Sulu. In retrospect, they have a common belief that the massacre in Correigidor Island that has transpired forty six years ago, was just a morsel of the ongoing conspiracies being committed by the Philippine government against Tausugs.

Paradji and Abdulla who both witnessed the war in Mindanao, they simply admitted the fact that Jabidah massacre was directly linked to hide the conspiracy that killed Jamalul Kiram II in 1936.

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