Mindanao Islands, August 5, 2003 By Lino Dela Cruz (Star) Who could understand the Magdalo mutineers better than their brothers in arms? But in this case, ironically, it could be none other than the enemy they hunted.

The Abu Sayyaf — hunted as terrorists and considered the enemy by government soldiers — came out with a statement in Iligan City expressing sympathy for the junior officers and enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who staged a mutiny in Makati City on July 27.

A certain Abu Solaiman, one of the group’s spokesmen, told Radio Mindanao Network yesterday morning that the corruption in the military is not new and has already become institutionalized.

He said it is common knowledge that some military officers have been offering government-issued firearms, munitions and other war materiel for sale.

Solaiman added that there was even a time that an armored personnel carrier (APC) was offered on the "market."

"Corruption has led some members of the government Armed Forces to plunder their own resources," Solaiman said.

He also expressed sympathy for the Magdalo group, who sacrificed their careers in the military when they mounted the Oakwood siege.

While these soldiers are now going to the "dustbin of history," he said, their revelations show that corruption in the military has become institutionalized.

In his statement, Solaiman compared the Magdalo group to the Abu Sayyaf, whom he said possess the "Islamic spirit, which does not run out of noble souls."

Addressing the military, Solaiman said "we are on a much higher moral ground and the sickness in your society makes us more determined in our struggle."

Meanwhile, other Moro groups said the soldiers’ revelations regarding the involvement of the military in the Davao City bombings, including the lobbing of a grenade at a mosque there, "vindicated" Muslims.

These Moro groups said the investigation into the Magdalo group’s allegations will clear the Muslims.

They said Muslims have become the target of the government’s war on terror — citing instances wherein Muslim communities have been raided and their residents rounded up.

The Magdalo group occupied the Oakwood Premier Ayala Center luxury apartments for 22 hours, from about 1 a.m. of July 27, to nearly midnight.

The group demanded the resignations of President Arroyo and her Cabinet, particularly Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes and Intelligence Service of the AFP chief Victor Corpus. Corpus has already resigned.

The mutineers named their group after the minority faction of the Katipunan led by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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