Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
At this speical time of the year we pause to give thanks for all the blessings bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father.  We also give thanks to our men in uniform who stand in harms way to protect our freedom and way of life.  Many thanks and may God bless and keep you all safe. 
(We also extend our prayers to our Filipino brothers in uniform who stand in defense of the Philippine nation every day.)

CPP/NPA: NPA Seizes Four Arms in Valencia City, Bukidnon

Just recently posted to the CPP Website (Nov 17): NPA Seizes Four Arms in Valencia City, Bukidnon

Mamerto Bagani
NPA (Mt. Kitanglad Sub-Regional Command)

November 15, at around 6 :30 in the morning— A platoon of the New People’s Army successfully raided the residence of a heinous criminal leader and active asset of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Sityo Kibalaog, Brgy. Lilingayon, Valencia City, Bukidnon. Conrado Zulita was killed in the incident. The NPA unit seized one garand rifle, a carbine, a .45 pistol, a .38 revolver, three rifle grenades, bullets, clips and magazines. Zulita’s group has long been detested by the people. He masterminded a string of murder and robbery cases in Lilingayon since August 2002. Several murder victims were his former cohorts who opted to quit from his group. Not even a single family member of his victims dared to file charges in the reactionary state for fearing his threats and violent reprisal.....

CPP/NDF: Without the people’s vigilance, the “Trial of the Century” may end up as “The Farce of the Century”

Posted to the CPP Website (Nov 22): Without the people’s vigilance, the “Trial of the Century” may end up as “The Farce of the Century”

Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris)

Now on its third year, justice still remains elusive for the families and friends of the victims of the Ampatuan massacre, the most brutal carnage in recent history. Under the Aquino government, the court case against the Ampatuan clan has become even more tortuous and is turning into a farce. Since the case opened, the legal procedure, swamped with motions filed by the litigators for and in behalf of the Ampatuan accused, is almost at a standstill. Justice delayed is justice denied. This casts much doubt on the sincerity of the Aquino government to genuinely try the case and convict the sociopathic murderers. It dismays the people that nearly 100 of the suspects remain at large and, thus far, only two of the principal suspects have been arraigned. The trial is inundated with legal roadblocks that by now the cries of the families of the victims are drowned out; justice continues to be a blur. Is the Aquino government serious in dealing with the case against the Ampatuans? The NDFP-Mindanao firmly believes it is not......Thus, the people must not allow the “trial of the century” to tragically turn into “the farce of the century,” which, if left unguarded, will bring great injustice not only to the victims, their families and the mass media community but to the nation as well. It is only through the collective will and mobilization of the mass media community with the broad masses of the people that justice for the victims and families of the Ampatuan massacre can ultimately be realized. Arm in arm with the families of the victims, we must challenge the Aquino government to prove, once and for all, that it can convict the Ampatuan warlords, and arrest and punish those who still remain at large.

PHL Embassy: Arrested Fil-Am, three others 'plotted' terrorist attacks in PHL

From GMANews (Nov 22): PHL Embassy: Arrested Fil-Am, three others 'plotted' terrorist attacks in PHL

The Philippine Embassy in the United States said Ralph Kenneth De Leon and the three other suspected terrorists arrested on Monday, allegedly planned to mount attacks against Americans in different countries including the Philippines. In a news release on Tuesday, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. said Chief Supt. Armand Ramolete, the Embassy’s Police Attaché, has requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for additional information about the "alleged plot to kill Americans and bomb US bases abroad, including in the Philippines.".... De Leon is a permanent US resident who was born in the Philippines. The embassy said "all four were charged for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists." Consul General Helen Barber-Dela Vega of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles said they have been informed by the FBI on Monday about De Leon's arrest. He is detained at a facility in San Bernardino County..... In Manila, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police assured Americans of their protection while in the Philippines, stressing that so far, there are no serious terrorist threat in the country.....

Military beefs up security for US officials, facilities

From the Business Mirror (Nov 22): Military beefs up security for US officials, facilities

THE military has beefed up security to all American officials and personnel and US facilities in the country although the Armed Forces said it has no specific intelligence report about possible targets of terrorist attacks in connection with the arrest of four suspects including a Filipino-American in the United States.Oo, nag-augment kami, hindi lahat pero sa mga vital installations din,” Maj. Gen. Francisco Cruz Jr., Armed Forces deputy chief of staff for personnel (J-2) said. Cruz said the military remains on alert status when it comes to global and local terrorism with or without a specific threat. “Wala naman kaming natatanggap e. Parati naman tayong naka-alert with or without specific threat lalo na sa mga embassies, automatic iyan, maximum security sila parati. Of course, parati namang target ang Philippines e, hindi ba?” he said. Cruz said they were still trying to verify the report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that among the targets of the arrested terrorists are Americans and US facilities in the Philippines. The FBI earlier announced the arrest of 23-year-old Ralph Kenneth de Leon, a US permanent resident born in the Philippines; 34-year-old American Sohiel Omar Kabir; Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales and Arifeen David Gojali. The FBI said the group planned to use the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to execute their terror activities in the country. The ASG is composed of a handful of Muslim extremists involved in the high-profile kidnap-for-ransom activities against foreign and local tourists. The bandit group operates in Basilan and Sulu.

Public vigilance on terror acts urged

From the Philippine Star (Nov 22): Public vigilance on terror acts urged

The military on Thursday urged the public to help in the fight against terrorism in the wake of reports that some terrorist supporters had considered the Philippines as among their possible targets. Maj. Emmanuel Garcia, acting spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said efforts are being undertaken to secure all individuals in the country. “The AFP is maintaining its efforts to safeguard and protect every individual in the country, Filipinos or foreigners alike, posed by threats particularly from terrorist elements,” Garcia said in a text message. "Along this line, we are appealing to our people to help by being observant and alert in the communities or workplace,” he added. Garcia was asked to react to reports that terrorists in Southern California, who were charged for trying to attack US military bases, had considered the Philippines as a possible target. Accused of providing support to terrorists were Miguel Alejandro Santana, Arifeen David Gojali, Sohiel Omar Kabir and Filipino-American Ralph de Leon. The offense is punishable with jail term that lasts for up to 15 years. The suspects also considered staging atrocities in Palestine and Afghanistan, authorities said. Wire reports said the four were arrested last week in Istanbul while on their way to Afghanistan supposedly to train terrorists. Garcia said they are coordinating with other law enforcement agencies and their international partners to ensure public safety. “We encourage everyone to report to authorities any unusual activities or suspicious individuals which may come to their attention,” the military official said. “The threat of terrorism is not confined in the Philippines. It is a global threat. The fight against terrorism is the responsibility of everybody,” he added.

Spate of illegal arrests in Basilan alarms ARMM guv

From the Philippine Star (Nov 22): Spate of illegal arrests in Basilan alarms ARMM guv

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman on Thursday revealed the series of possible illegal arrests of suspected members of the bandit group, Abu Sayyaf, in Basilan province. Reports said that the series of arrests of suspected Abu Sayyaf members were carried out by intelligence units on plainclothes.  Hataman said that the number of arrests of innocent suspects has reached an alarming level and residents of the province are terrified. He said that he has met with Basilan Gov. Jum akbar and Vice Govover Al-Rasheed Sakalahul and discussed measures to stop the “indiscriminate” arrests. He said that according to reports the intelligence agents are members of wht Philippine Natgional Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group based in the region. “I have prepared the reports of the number of cases of illegally arrested and will be submitted to President Benigno Aquino III so he will know the condition of the people terrorized by these intelligence operatives,” Hataman said. He added: “The president will be informed of the alarming [number] of arrests of innocent victims." Hataman said he is not against the arrest of Abu Sayyaf suspects. However, he said, that the authorities should have enough evidence that the people they will apprehend are real suspects. He said the latest victim of illegal arrest was Romy Sumanpil, cousin of Basilan Asscoiation of Barangay Council (ABC) chairman Manan Sumanpil. Another victim of the "indiscriminate" arrest was the barangay captian of Lantawan. “Mamaya maubos na ang resident ng Basilan dahil sa mistaken arrest na 'yan,” Hataman said. Hataman suspected that the intelligence operatives are after the rewards put up by the government for the arrest of Abu Sayyaf members. “Because of the rewards some might be [using] the victims to collect the rewards,” the acting ARMM governor added. “We can no longer tolerate this abuse. If they are brave enough they should run after the real Abu Sayyaf like Khair Mundos and the others who are just there in the mountains and not the civilians,” Hataman said. Hataman vowed to file cases against the security operatives who are involved in the indiscriminate arrest.

MILF apprehensive of proposed MNLF's role in framework deal

From the Philippine Star (Nov 22): MILF apprehensive of proposed MNLF's role in framework deal

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has reservations on a resolution of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) seeking to form a mechanism that would involve the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in overseeing the Bangsamoro framework agreement. An MILF statement quoted a source from the MILF Central Committee as saying that the group has “strong reservation” on Resolution 10, which was issued after the 39th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers I Djibouti. The statement was posted on the MILF website, which contains the official statements of the group on different issues. Resolution 10 calls upon the OIC Secretary-General to hold a session to contain any impact that may result from the Bangsamoro framework agreement between the MILF and the government and link it with the 1996 peace deal with the MNLF. The same resolution calls on the OIC Secretary-General to “develop a mechanism between MNLF, MILF and GPH (Government of the Philippines) to oversee the implementation of these two agreements.”  The statement said the MILF Central Committee source had described the mechanism as “unnecessary” since “it will only complicate the gains of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement.”....

Aquino urged to revoke order on civilian militias

From Rappler (Nov 22): Aquino urged to revoke order on civilian militias

It has been 3 years since the private army of a powerful political clan was linked to the massacre of 58 people in Maguindanao, yet the Aquino administration has made no progress in demobilizing militias and paramilitary forces, an international human rights group said Thursday, November 22. A day before the third anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre, Human Rights Watch urged President Benigno Aquino III anew to fulfill his election promise and revoke Executive Order 546 issued by then president and now Pampanga Rep Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006.... EO 546 allows local officials to deploy Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units and Civilian Volunteer Organizations as auxiliary bodies for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to fight insurgents. But Human Rights Watch said the alleged mastermind of the massacre, the Ampatuan family, invoked EO 546 to justify the recruitment of private army members in the guise of fighting the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other rebel groups in the province..... As the country prepares for the May 2013 elections, there are renewed concerns that EO 546 will once again be used by politicians to arm their private groups..... In addition to the call to repeal EO 546, Human Rights Watch also urged the President to:
  • Issue an executive order banning all paramilitary and militia forces
  • Issue an executive order requiring all government officials to report firearms acquired for
  • professional or personal use for themselves or immediate family members
  • Amend Executive Order 194 to limit the number and caliber of firearms that civilians can own.
  • Order an appropriate government agency, such as the Commission on Audit, to investigate whether public funds have been used directly or indirectly for creating, arming, and supporting militia forces, and if so, the source of the funds.

PH asks FBI for info on 'foiled terror plot'

From Rappler (Nov 22): PH asks FBI for info on 'foiled terror plot'

The Philippine embassy in the United States is now coordinating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to get more information on the foiled terror plot that involved a US permanent resident born in the Philippines. Ralph Kenneth De Leon, 23, and two others were arrested in California on Sunday, November 18. They were reportedly trying to leave the US for Afghanistan to join the Al Qaeda and the Taliban. A 4th suspect was arrested in Afghanistan.They were charged with "conspiring to provide material support to terrorists" who were preparing a plot that involved "killing Americans and bombing US bases abroad, including the Philippines.""The Philippine embassy is coordinating with authorities in the United States in connection with the filing of a criminal complaint in California against a Filipino and three other men for allegedly plotting to mount terrorist attacks that included targets in the Philippines," Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said in a statement released on Thursday, November 22.The four were planning to engage in "violent jihad," an earlier CBS News report quoted FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller...... Consul General Helen Barber-Dela Vega of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles was informed of De Leon's arrest on Monday. Consul Charmaine Chua is scheduled to be granted access to De Leon at a detention facility in San Bernardino County, Cuisia added. It is the embassy’s police attaché, Chief Supt Armand Ramolete, who is personally coordinating with the FBI for additional information on the alleged plot, the embassy added.

Army discovers abandoned NPA camp in Agusan del Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): Army discovers abandoned NPA camp in Agusan del Sur

Troopers from the Philippine Army's 3rd Special Forces Battalion discovered an abandoned New People's Army (NPA) camp capable of housing 50 rebel fighters during patrol operations in the forested area of Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte early this week. Recovered from the rebel base were empty bottles of dextrose and other medical items believed to be used by the NPAs in treating their comrades wounded in battle with government forces. Lt. Col. Potenciano C. Camba, 3rd Special Forces Battalion commander, said the discovery of the abandoned rebel base highlights the military's success in making the area untenable for the communist guerrillas. The Army has been conducting regular security patrols in the Kitcharao area to prevent rebel groups from attacking civilian settlements. “The conduct of the pursuit operations by the military is to assure the populace in the area that the NPA can no longer sow terror to the community. However, we also appeal to these NPAs to let their wounded comrades have the proper medical attention they need by bringing them to the licensed medical practitioners in government hospitals," he stressed.

PN to acquire 3 more MPACs

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): PN to acquire 3 more MPACs

In line with its efforts to boost its interdiction capability, the Philippine Navy has said it is acquiring three more multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) to add to the eight units already in service. Col. Omar Tonsay, PN spokesperson, said the three MPACs are already in the acquisition program. "These are already in the program and in Stage 1 of the acquisition process," he added. Stage 1 refers to acquisition planning and requirement definition, while Stage 2 will determine who the possible proponent of the project will be. Stages 3 and 4 refer to the actual costing and possible delivery date of the project. Tonsay declined to comment on how long the acquisition process will take or whether it will be completed in a year. "I cannot comment on dates as a lot can happen in one year," the PN spokesperson said. Three of the PN's MPACs were sourced from Taiwan while the remaining five were ordered from Filipino shipbuilder Propmech Corporation, which is based in Subic Bay, Zambales. These ships are 16.5 meters long, 4.76 meters wide, have a draft of one meter, a top speed of 45 knots and a range of 300 nautical miles. The hull is made of high-quality aluminum and is crewed by one officer and four enlisted personnel. It is capable of carrying 16 fully-equipped troopers or two tons of cargo. The MPAC is capable of operating in territorial waters up to "Sea State 3" (slight waves) without any system degradation. It is armed with one .50 caliber and two 7.62mm machine guns.

$85M Australian education grant to solidify peace in Mindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): $85M Australian education grant to solidify peace in Mindanao

The benefits of the peace agreement between the government and the Moro International Liberation Front have started to materialize with the Australian grant of Aus$ 85 million aimed at solidifying the gains of peace through investments in education. Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro said the Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM) bankrolled by Australia is a giant leap towards a steady and continuous improvement in the quality of basic education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). “The success of this endeavor will mean much not only to the children of ARMM but to all Filipinos. We have started a spark, it is a spark that should reach every community, every household, every child in Muslim Mindanao. This spark will become a real beam of hope to Muslims and to all Filipinos,” said Luistro. In line with President Aquino’s marching orders, BEAM resources will be utilized to boost programs in kindergarten education and upgrade the reading program for young learners. The grant, a single largest donation given to a region, will also fund further improvement in the Madaris education, strengthen technical vocational programs for out-of-school youths, build more classrooms and open more schools in the ARMM. “This project will benefit the last, the lost and the least in the most isolated barangays in the ARMM,” Luistro added. BEAM will cover five provinces and two cities. Specifically, the program targets 95 percent of ARMM public schools, benefiting 2,347 public elementary and secondary schools, 50 private madaris, 2,382 Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) recipient barangays, 300 barangays without public elementary schools, and 20,000 out-of-school youths (OSYs).....

Peralta assumes command of 2nd Infantry Division

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): Peralta assumes command of 2nd Infantry Division

Former Philippine Military Academy (PMA) chief, Major Gen. Nonato Alfredo T. Peralta Jr., formally assumed command of the 2nd Infantry Division on Thursday. The assumption of command ceremony transpired at the 2nd Infantry Division headquarters in Tanay, Rizal. Present was Philippine Army (PA) chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista. Col. Cirilito E. Sobejana, acting Army spokesperson, said Peralta replaced Major Gen. Eduardo D. Del Rosario who recently retired from the military service after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56. Peralta was the 53rd superintendent of the PMA based in Fort Gregorio Del Pilar in Baguio City. He held other key positions in the military since his commission in 1979 including as Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, J-7; Head of Tactics Group of the Philippine Military Academy; Commander of the 403 Infantry Brigade; Commander of Task Force Zamboanga; Deputy Commander of the 104th Brigade and of the Joint Task Force Comet; Defense and Armed Forces Attaché and Vice Dean of the Military Attaché Corps in Indonesia; Executive Officer of the O/DCS for Intelligence, J2; Battalion Commander of the 50th Infantry; and Company Commander of Hunter and Charlie Companies of the 31st Infantry Battalion. As testimony to his diligence and professionalism, Peralta is the recipient of three Distinguished Service Stars, an Outstanding Achievement Medal and other numerous Military Merit Medals, Military Commendation Medals, and Campaign Medals. Peralta is a member of the PMA “Matapat” Class of 1979.

PNP says no imminent terror threat in PHL

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): PNP says no imminent terror threat in PHL

The Philippine National Police said on Thursday there is no looming terrorist threat in the country. Alert bells on possible terror attacks went off after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested three suspects, including an American citizen of Filipino descent in California, last Friday. The three were on their way to Afghanistan with strong indications to possibly join Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives in conducting operations against U.S. and allied targets in the region. "There is no serious or specific threat (on the Philippines) based on recent intelligence assessment," said PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. Despite the lack of terror attack indications, he said all PNP units tasked to cover important civilian installations, are on alert.

PHL protests China e-Passport with West Philippine Sea map

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): PHL protests China e-Passport with West Philippine Sea map

The Philippines has protested China’s new passport that includes a map of the entire South China Sea, of which Beijing is asserting ownership, calling it “unacceptable” and a violation of the country's sovereignty. In its boldest assertion to date, Beijing unveiled its new e-Passport that features a map of the South China Sea, where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have competing claims. “The Philippines strongly protests the inclusion of the nine-dash lines in the e-Passport as such image covers an area that is clearly part of the Philippines’ territory and maritime domain,” said Manila’s note verbale or diplomatic note to China which was read by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to the media. In its protest, which was transmitted to the Chinese Embassy on Wednesday, Manila accused Beijing of violating a non-aggression pact that China signed with the Association of Southrast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which calls on all claimants “to refrain from actions that complicate and escalate the dispute.” “The Philippines demands that China respect the territory and maritime domain of the Philippines,” the protest letter said. It also reiterated that the West Philippine Sea, including “the waters, islands, rocks and other maritime features in its continental shelf within the 200-nautical mile from the baselines form an integral part of the Philippine territory and maritime jurisdiction.”.....

81-mm vintage bomb successfully detonated in Tagbilaran City

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): 81-mm vintage bomb successfully detonated in Tagbilaran City

In another heroic stunt, the commander of the 2nd Special forces company based in Balilihan town successfully defused an 81-milimeter mortar bomb that was excavated from a private property in Barangay Cogon here on Wednesday. Captain Elmer Namocat said the presence of the explosive unearthed from a construction area was reported to the city police which cordoned off the area and immediately coordinated with the 2nd Special Forces battalion of the Philippine Army. The 4th company demolition team of the 2nd Special Forces led by Namocat decided to defuse the bomb at the site in Barangay Cogon after finding it unsafe for travel. Barangay Cogon Chairman Philip Besas immediately informed residents of the development as part of safety procedures. Around 2:55 p.m. Wednesday, the bomb was successfully detonated by Namocat without damage to life and property. The site was cleared while the construction and civilians went back to their normal activities. Last month, a bomb found at the Bohol Beach Club was also detonated by Namocat, the only military officer in the province trained in bomb disposal.

Abu Sayyaf bandit falls in Basilan

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): Abu Sayyaf bandit falls in Basilan

Combined military and police operatives have arrested a member of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group in the island province of Basilan on Thursday. Capt. Alberto Caber, spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said the bandit was arrested Thursday in the port of Isabela City, the capital of Basilan province. Caber identified the arrested Abu Sayyaf bandit as Abu Jaid also known as "Ajing," who was arrested on the strength of a warrant of arrest for kidnapping and murder. The warrant of arrest was issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 1 Judge Leo Jay Principe, Caber said. Jaid was involved in the 2001 kidnapping and beheading of two workers of the Golden Harvest Plantation in Barangay Tairan in Lantawan, Basilan, according to Caber. Jaid is now in Zamboanga City for proper disposition, he said. Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, 1st Infantry Division commander, lauded the military and policemen for the arrest. “This is the fruit of our Bayanihan in our communities, and strong support from our local officials,” Cruz said.

Sayyaf executioner arrested in Basilan province

From the Mindanao Examiner (Nov 22):  Sayyaf executioner arrested in Basilan province

Security forces arrested an Abu Sayyaf rebel involved in the brutal killings of 11 farmers in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, an army spokesman said on Thursday. Capt. Alberto Caber said policemen, backed by soldiers, tracked down and arrested Abu Jaid in Isabela City. “Jaid is involved in the 2001 kidnapping and beheading of farmers in Lantawan (town),” he told the Mindanao Examiner. He said Jaid was brought to Zamboanga City where he would be further investigated. The farmers were among those abducted by the Abu Sayyaf and used as shield from pursuing soldiers at a rubber plantation in the town of Lantawan. “This is the fruit of our (Oplan) Bayanihan in the communities and the strong support from local officials,” said Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, commander of the 1st Infantry Division. Bayanihan refers to the military’s Internal Peace and Security Plan.

Leonen named SC Justice; MILF welcomes his appointment

From MindaNews (Nov 21): Leonen named SC Justice; MILF welcomes his appointment

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has appointed government peace panel chair Mario Victor (Marvic) F. Leonen as the new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a move welcomed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front with whom government signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro on October 15 in Malacañan Palace. “We welcome the appointment! My sincerest congratulations! He deserves it,” MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal told MindaNews in a text message. The President has yet to name Leonen’s replacement in the peace panel that hopes to finish with the MILF next month the annexes to the FAB on wealth and power-sharing and normalization. The Framework and the annexes complete the comprehensive peace agreement.  Leonen, who is turning 50 next month, was Dean of the University of the Philippines’ College of Law when he was named GPH peace panel chair on July 15, 2010, just two weeks after President Aquino’s oath-taking. Appointed at 47, he was the youngest GPH peace panel chair in the 38-year history of the peace negotiations with the Moro liberation fronts. He is the youngest Justice appointed to the Supreme Court since 1938. In a statement, Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said Leonen’s appointment “will not affect the peace process in any negative way” because the negotiations are on track and “moving towards the completion of the Comprehensive Agreement by the end of the year.” “OPAPP and the Panel are ready to ensure the necessary leadership for the Panel to successfully complete its tasks,” the statement read.....