In the capital, five policemen were arrested for stealing most of the $326,000 ransom that was supposed to be delivered to the kidnappers of a Malaysian businessman. The kidnapping took place on March 7, and the kidnappers were tracked down and caught. The kidnappers revealed that they had received only a third of the ransom, and had seen five cops dividing up the rest.
The Philippine House of Representatives has begun the process of removing the chief anti-corruption official from office for impeding attempts to prosecute former president Arroyo for corruption. It's not unknown for senior officials to quietly kill investigations of former presidents, but in this case, the current president Aquino is backing aggressive prosecution of corruption in high places. The popular pressure to punish corruption has been increasing in the past decades, and at this point, members of the national legislature and other senior military and civilian officials are being prosecuted and convicted. But the higher you go, the more resistance you will encounter. The number of corrupt officials is large, and they will try and protect each other. But most Filipinos recognize that the weak economy and poor government performance can all be traced to the widespread corruption.
March 21, 2011: In the south, a clash with NPA gunmen left a soldier, and at least one rebel dead.
March 20, 2011: In the south, some 40 NPA gunmen attacked a police compound, killing one cop and wounding several more before withdrawing because of the energetic return fire from police.
March 19, 2011: Abu Sayyaf terrorists seized three fisherman off the southern island of Jolo, and demanded ransom. Islamic terrorists are increasingly using kidnapping to raise money to fund their operations (which largely consist of fleeing police and troops).
March 18, 2011: On Basilan, it was announced that a number of local informants shared a $70,000 reward for providing information last month that led to finding, and killing, a wanted Abu Sayyaf commander. For their safety (from reprisal), the informants were not named.
March 14, 2011: In the capital, police captured terrorist leader Abdul Karim. This man was a Christian convert who tried to organize a terror cell composed of converts. Karim was able to organize some attacks, but has mainly been on the run for the past few years.
March 10, 2011: On the southern island of Sacol, helicopters and ground troops went after a group of about twenty Abu Sayyaf, including a senior leader. The Abu Sayyaf men escaped the raid, and later got off the island in speedboats. On nearby Jolo island, Abu Sayyaf used a roadside bomb to kill five civilians.