MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 17 Dec) – Police have filed charges against one Macmod Manibpil as a suspect in the December 9, 2014 bombing of a bus in Maramag, Bukidnon which killed 10 people and injured 42 others. Manibpil, who reportedly bolted the Kidapawan City Jail, is also a suspect in the 2006 bombing in Kabacan, North Cotabato.
Inspector Jiselle Longakit, spokesperson of the Bukidnon provincial police office, said Manibpil belongs to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Let’s try weaving together the facts presented by the police. If Manibpil really belongs to the BIFF, it is implied that he was with the MILF at the time he allegedly carried out the Kabacan bombing. The BIFF only came about as fallout of the 2008 Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain fiasco. Before the BIFF, authorities were quick to point an accusing finger at the MILF (almost) every time a bombing occurred in parts of Mindanao even if a ceasefire between the government and the rebel group was already in place.
Police claimed a sketch based on the description made by two witnesses matched the photo of Manibpil photo in the rogues gallery. Nonetheless, they added that aside from “furtherance of their (BIFF) cause”, they are also looking at extortion and business rivalry as the other possible motives. That’s another way of saying they’re not 100-percent sure as yet of BIFF involvement for reasons other than the BIFF’s denial they had a hand in the incident.
Meawhile, Maj. Christian Uy of the 4th Infantry Division said that an official from Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. told the Regional Peace and Order Council that the company received text messages demanding P50,000 monthly or one of their buses would be bombed. Such story tends to give credence to the extortion angle except that the amount being demanded seems too small compared to the degree of brutality of the act.
Why the supposed extortionists only demanded P50,000 a month – just a drop in the bucket of RTMI’s daily revenues – raises more questions than there are answers. If it was indeed extortion, why settle for a pittance? Why not P500,000 or even a million pesos a month? Would a real extortionist take the risk of carrying out a bombing for a measly sum? The pieces simply don’t fit.
Then a day after the Dec. 9 bombing, an alarmist text message warning that MILF forces would block some highways, harass or kill Christians, and attack government facilities because the peace agreement was no longer in effect, went around. Of course, such text message was baseless and meant to mislead people who are not following the progress of the Bangsamoro process.
Yet, while that text message sounded stupid, we can only hope that it was not related to the Dec. 9 and Nov. 9 bombings in Bukidnon and the previous bombings that occurred in other parts of Mindanao. If it was related to the recent acts of violence against innocent civilians, then it’s clear that some sectors would want to see the Bangsamoro aborted.
War creates widows and orphans. But peace also has its own “casualties”, aside from those who died in the bombings. The absence of war means slow promotion of military officials and reduced arms sales, among others. The stakes are so high the death of a dozen or more civilians would mean nothing to the saboteurs. Corporate and institutional greed has been known to commit far worse atrocities.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)