Reds blame military for bombings in 3 Mindanao cities

In a press statement, the NDF-Southern Mindanao said the bombing incidents that rocked the region last January 10 were orchestrated “to justify the passage of an anti-terrorism bill and a counterpart pact by the ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members (who are holding a summit) in Cebu.”

Rubi del Mundo, regional spokesperson of the underground coalition, pointed out that "there is a renewed strong international and home front opposition against the Bush government's occupation in Iraq.”

“As a lame duck President, Bush is fast losing the moral high ground to justify its continued war for oil occupation in Iraq. Failing to convince its own citizens, the US is driven to push nations like the Philippines and the ASEAN to orchestrate state terrorism, justify the war on terror, and adopt measures to stifle the opposition and civil liberties in the guise of anti-terrorism, " he stressed.

The NDF echoed claims by rebel military officers that the previous bombings in Mindanao were orchestrated by former defense secretary Angelo Reyes with President Arroyo's prior knowledge.

“The latest Mindanao bombings serve to push foreign delegates of the ongoing summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cebu City to sign a convention urging the ASEAN to improve cross-border cooperation and share intelligence information against terrorist organizations,” the group added.

“But if the Arroyo government, the war hounds of her regime and the US think that the Filipinos will fall for their dirty tricks, they are dead wrong. Her regime's duplicity and extreme puppetry to the dictates of the Imperialist US will be its own doom," Del Mundo said.

The January 10 bombings hit the cities of Cotabato, General Santos and Kidapawan and left seven people dead and at least 20 others injured.

The type of explosives used suggests that the bombings were the handiwork of the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiah, according to Chief Supt. German Doria, police regional director.

In Cotabato City, police operatives identified Commander Kule Mamagong, reportedly a top leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) operating in North Cotabato, as one of the suspects in the recent bomb attack.

Mamagong and 20 others, including seven alleged top MILF officials in North Cotabato, were charged with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder for the October 10, 2006 bombing in central Mindanao.