PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org


ORLANDO
'love & prayers'


PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

WORLD'S GAY COMMUNITIES RALLY AFTER ORLANDO ATTACK
[CBCP on Orlando attack: Our differences can never justify hatred]


JUNE 14 -Mourners light candles placed on rainbow flag draped with a black crape outside Barcelona's city hall during a vigil at Sant Jaume Square in Barcelona on June 13, 2016, called by LGTBicat community in remembrance of victims after a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in the worst mass shooting in US history. US anti-terror strategy came under fresh scrutiny after a gunman previously cleared of jihadist ties launched a hate-fueled rampage in a Florida gay club that left 50 dead. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO Crowds flocked to vigils around the world on Monday in shock at the shooting of dozens of Florida club-goers in the deadliest ever attack targeting gay people. Thousands lined the streets in the central London district of Soho, long a hub for the gay community in Britain, bursting into chants of “we’re here, we’re queer, we will not live in fear” under rainbow flags. A policeman at the scene estimated the crowd at between 5,000 and 7,000 strong, as other rallies took place in cities from Berlin to Bangkok.  “It’s about solidarity, it’s a way for our voice to be to be heard — to try to tell everybody that love wins,” said Julius Reuben, 35, wearing towering heels and a long black dress. “It made me feel more insecure,” he added. “We shouldn’t have to protect ourselves so much, we should be accepted for who we are.”  The crowd in London released 49 brightly coloured balloons into the sky for each one of the victims of Sunday’s massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in modern US history. Standing outside the Admiral Duncan, a pub where three people died when a neo-Nazi planted a nail bomb in a homophobic attack in 1999, Jennifer Hersey, a 36-year-old originally from Texas, wiped away a tear as she looked out onto the crowd. “It’s amazing, because people could be scared. It’s better that people gather and meet together. Every time that something horrible happens, people come out,” she told AFP. READ MORE...RELATED, CBCP on Orlando attack - 'Our differences can never justify hatred'... RELATED2, Drag Queen: Orlando Killer Was My Friend... RELATED3, Orlando killer expressed support for multiple Islamist groups...

ALSO: Second Canadian in Philippines executed by Abu Sayyaf militants


JUNE 14 -Robert Hall and his partner, Marites Flor.
(CNN)A Canadian national has been beheaded in the Philippines by Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf after a ransom payment deadline passed, the Philippines government confirmed Tuesday. Robert Hall was one of four people kidnapped by the group last September in the southern Philippines. His execution follows that of fellow Canadian hostage John Ridsdel on April 25 when the militants did not receive the requested ransom. "We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr. Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past nine months," the statement from Sonny Coloma, a Presidential spokesperson. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that it was likely Hall had been executed: "It is with deep sadness that I have reason to believe that a Canadian citizen, Robert Hall, held hostage in the Philippines since September 21, 2015, has been killed by his captors," Trudeau said in a statement, adding that officials were working to officially confirm his death. What is Abu Sayyaf? What is Abu Sayyaf? 01:07 "The vicious and brutal actions of the hostage-takers have led to a needless death. Canada holds the terrorist group who took him hostage fully responsible for this cold-blooded and senseless murder," Trudeau said. Severed head 'found in plastic bag' The Philippines military said the head of a Caucasian-looking man was found in a plastic bag near a church in the town of Jolo, off the southern island of Mindanao late Monday, hours after they received intelligence reports that Hall was decapitated by the Abu Sayyaf. The militant group originally asked for 300 million Philippine pesos ($6.5 million) in ransom per hostage to be paid by April 25. READ MORE...RELATED,
Troops search for body of hostage...

ALSO: Abu spokesman - Hostage killing was for Rody
[RELATED: Canada calls for better protection for foreign tourists in PH]


JUNE 15 -Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte. AFP FILE PHOTO / NOEL CELIS
ZAMBOANGA CITY—The Abu Sayyaf beheaded Canadian hostage Robert Hall to embarrass incoming President Rodrigo Duterte, according to the spokesperson of the notorious bandit group. “Para kay Duterte, ang bagong Presidente, ito ay alamin mo kung ano gagawin namin sa Canadian (This is for Duterte, the new President. This is for you to know what we will do to the Canadian),” Abu Raami, the spokesperson, said on Monday. An hour after the phone interview with the Inquirer, Raami announced that the Abu Sayyaf executed Hall because the P600 million it demanded as ransom for his release had not been delivered before the 3 p.m. deadline. Another Canadian, John Ridsdel, was beheaded by the kidnappers on April 25 in Sulu province, where he, along with Hall and his partner, Filipino Maritess Flor, and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad were brought by armed men who raided an exclusive marina in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte province on Sept. 21 last year. Sekkingstad, Flor and Dutch Ewold Horn are among seven hostages still being held by the Abu Sayyaf bandits. In Manila, President Aquino informed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the latest killing in a late-night call on Monday, soon after the government verified Hall’s death. Mr. Aquino discussed how government forces were dealing with the Abu Sayyaf bandits who have pledged allegiance to Islamic State, according to well-placed sources. “We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr. Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past nine months,” Mr. Aquino said in a statement. Trudeau maintained that despite the deaths of two Canadian hostages, his government would not give in to demands of paying ransom to terrorist groups, like the Abu Sayyaf. “I want to reiterate that terrorist hostage-takings only fuel more violence and instability. Canada will not give into their fear-mongering tactics and despicable attitude toward the suffering of others,” he said in a statement. Head recovered Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, confirmed on Tuesday that a severed head found dumped beside Jolo Cathedral in Sulu was Hall’s after comparing it to videos and photos of the hostage. READ MORE...RELATED, Canada calls for better protection for foreign tourists in PH...

ALSO: ‘Emergency powers for Rody vs Abus’; Kidnap'em back or kill 'em - Ping
[RELATED: Family - Beheaded Canadian loved the Philippines]


JUNE 15 -A human head believed to have belonged to Canadian Robert Hall was found outside the Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu hours after the deadline for delivery of the ransom for his release expired last Monday. AP
With the nation still in shock after the beheading by the Abu Sayyaf of one more of its foreign hostages, incoming senator Panfilo Lacson said granting emergency powers to president-elect Rodrigo Duterte would help his administration neutralize the terror group once and for all. A human head believed to have belonged to Canadian Robert Hall was found outside the Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu hours after the deadline for delivery of the ransom for his release expired last Monday. On his Twitter account, Lacson – a former national police chief – said Congress should grant Duterte emergency powers so he can deal more effectively with the terror menace as well as with the other serious problems besetting the country like illegal drugs and heavy traffic. He said authorities should match the Abu Sayyaf’s brazenness and brutality with severe countermeasures. “No better time to address the Abu Sayyaf problem than under President Duterte. Kidnap them back or kill them. It may need very good intel work though,” Lacson said. Then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of emergency in Maguindanao following the massacre in November 2009 of 58 people allegedly on orders from then governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. Hall, fellow Canadian John Ridsdel, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Maritess Flor were snatched from a Samal Island resort by the terrorists in September last year. Ridsdel was beheaded last April 25 after the P300-million ransom demanded for his release was not delivered. READ MORE...RELATED,
Family - Beheaded Canadian loved the Philippines...

ALSO: Duterte Peace Team, NDFP start preliminary talks in Oslo


JUNE 15 -President-elect Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s chosen peace panel on Tuesday began its informal meeting with Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front headed by Jose Ma. Sison in Oslo, Norway. Jesus Dureza, Facebook
Representatives of the incoming Duterte administration has started preliminary talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Oslo, Norway in preparation for the planned resumption of the peace negotiations next month. Incoming presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza, who announced the start of the preliminary talks on his Facebook account on Wednesday, said the ambiance of the meeting was “good.”  He said the talks begun 5 p.m. of June 14 at the Leysebu Hotel at the outskirts of Oslo and ended at 11 p.m. over dinner. “The ambiance of our first meeting is good because it has been four years since the negotiations were stalled,” Dureza told ABS-CBN News in Filipino. “Whatever we agree on, we can’t sign yet because [we] have not assumed office. Once we assume office and upon the instruction of President-elect (Rodrigo) Duterte, it would be easier to do the next step to bring about peace in the country,” he added. The NDFP represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army in the peace negotiations with the government. The Duterte administration was represented by incoming peace adviser Jesus Dureza, incoming labor secretary Silvestre Bello and former Pangasinan Rep. Hernani Braganza. They flew to Norway on June 10 as instructed by Duterte to resume stalled peace negotiations. Those who attended the meeting in behalf of NDF include CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison, chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, Fidel Agcaoili, Julie de Lima-Sison, and Connie Ledesma. Shared optimism Dureza said the topics discussed with Sison and the NDFP panel includes the resumption and mechanics of peace negotiations. In their initial meeting, Dureza said both parties expressed optimism on attaining peace for the nation. “There is evident shared optimism on both sides due to the declaration of President-elect Rody Duterte to seek an early sustainable peace for the nation,” Dureza said in his Facebook update. “Both sides agreed that since the government participants have not yet assumed office, the consensus points, if any, will be initialed for authentication purposes at the close of the informal talks and to be formalized soon after President-elect Duterte's government has assumed office,” he added. READ MORE...RELATED, Coming soon - Duterte tourism package in Davao...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

World’s gay communities rally after Orlando attack


Mourners light candles placed on rainbow flag draped with a black crape outside Barcelona's city hall during a vigil at Sant Jaume Square in Barcelona on June 13, 2016, called by LGTBicat community in remembrance of victims after a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in the worst mass shooting in US history. US anti-terror strategy came under fresh scrutiny after a gunman previously cleared of jihadist ties launched a hate-fueled rampage in a Florida gay club that left 50 dead. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO

MANILA, JUNE 20, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Agence France-Presse June 14, 2016 - Crowds flocked to vigils around the world on Monday in shock at the shooting of dozens of Florida club-goers in the deadliest ever attack targeting gay people.

Thousands lined the streets in the central London district of Soho, long a hub for the gay community in Britain, bursting into chants of “we’re here, we’re queer, we will not live in fear” under rainbow flags.

A policeman at the scene estimated the crowd at between 5,000 and 7,000 strong, as other rallies took place in cities from Berlin to Bangkok.

 “It’s about solidarity, it’s a way for our voice to be to be heard — to try to tell everybody that love wins,” said Julius Reuben, 35, wearing towering heels and a long black dress.

“It made me feel more insecure,” he added. “We shouldn’t have to protect ourselves so much, we should be accepted for who we are.”

The crowd in London released 49 brightly coloured balloons into the sky for each one of the victims of Sunday’s massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

Standing outside the Admiral Duncan, a pub where three people died when a neo-Nazi planted a nail bomb in a homophobic attack in 1999, Jennifer Hersey, a 36-year-old originally from Texas, wiped away a tear as she looked out onto the crowd.

“It’s amazing, because people could be scared. It’s better that people gather and meet together. Every time that something horrible happens, people come out,” she told AFP.

READ MORE...

The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour party Jeremy Corbyn attended the vigil as did London mayor Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to hold the post.

“It was an attack on our freedoms and our values,” Khan said in a television interview before the rally. “What’s really important is that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the victims and their families in Orlando.”

‘Act of hate’

In Australia, the landmark Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit with the rainbow colours of the gay community flag as hundreds gathered to condemn terror and homophobia.

“This could have happened anywhere,” Paul Savage told AFP at a candlelit vigil for the victims on the busy strip that hosts Sydney’s annual Mardi Gras pride march.

“He could easily have walked into a bar in Sydney,” he said, though he added that Australia’s tighter gun laws were “much more helpful” in preventing the mass shootings that claim hundreds of lives each year in the United States.


A pride flag stands a half mast during a memorial service in San Diego, California on June 12, 2016, for the victims of the Orlando Nighclub shooting. Fifty people died when a gunman allegedly inspired by the Islamic State group opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Florida, in the worst terror attack on US soil since September 11, 2001. / AFP PHOTO / Sandy Huffaker

In Berlin, more than 100 people gathered outside the US embassy to lay flowers, light candles and wave rainbow flags.

Helmut Metzner, a leading member of the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany, condemned what he called an attack on the global gay “family”.

“We must stand united and defend our lifestyle and not back down. That is what the terrorists want, and that’s a favour we won’t do them,” he told AFP.

US President Barack Obama denounced the attack at the Pulse nightclub by slain shooter Omar Mateen, which also wounded 53, as “an act of terror and an act of hate”.

In an outpouring of solidarity similar to that seen after the Paris and Brussels attacks, social media were awash with messages of support for the families of the victims.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the Eiffel Tower would be lit up in rainbow colours in solidarity, as the city still reels from November jihadist attacks in which 130 people were killed.


A picture taken on June 13, 2016 shows the Eiffel Tower in Paris illuminated in rainbow colours to pay homage to the victims of a shooting at a gay nighclub in Orlando. Forty-nine people were killed and 53 others wounded when a heavily armed gunman opened fire and seized hostages at a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida — the worst terror attack on US soil since September 11, 2001. / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON

“Paris is with Orlando,” Anne Hidalgo wrote on Twitter.

The Islamic State group, which was behind the Paris and Brussels attacks, also claimed responsibility for the Florida bloodshed.

In one of several vigils across the United States, hundreds gathered in New York’s Greenwich Village on Sunday to leave flowers beside a sign reading “Stop Hate”, and the One World Trade Center’s spire was lit up in rainbow colours.

Leaders around the world sent condolences, with Pope Francis expressing shock at Mateen’s “homicidal folly and senseless hatred”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the need for tolerance amid fears the attack could stoke anti-migrant hostility in Europe, where populist parties are on the rise as the continent struggles with its worst migration crisis since World War II.

“Although such deadly attacks cause profound sadness in us, we are resolved to continue with our open and tolerant lifestyle,” Merkel said.


A group of mens embraces each other as they part during a vigil in solidarity outside Manhattan’s historic Stonewall Inn to express their support for the victims killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in New York on June 13 ,2016. The American gunman who launched a murderous assault on a gay nightclub in Orlando was radicalized by Islamist propaganda, officials said Monday, as they grappled with the worst terror attack on US soil since 9/11.

----------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

CBCP on Orlando attack: Our differences can never justify hatred By Eva Visperas (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 15, 2016 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0


In a statement titled “We are brothers and sisters,” CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said, “A tragedy like this challenges us to ask ourselves how we can all, not Americans alone, become a better people after having recovered from our grief.” CBCP

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) grieves and unites itself with those who mourn in prayer for the Orlando tragedy that killed 50 people, including the gunman, and wounding 53 more, even as it urges government to educate the nation in the ways of respect for all life.

In a statement titled “We are brothers and sisters,” CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said, “A tragedy like this challenges us to ask ourselves how we can all, not Americans alone, become a better people after having recovered from our grief.”

“We call on all Christians to show the world that our fidelity to Christ and our citizenship in his kingdom are far more important than whatever else may keep us in disagreement,” he said.

Villegas underscored three things: first, he said the Orlando shooting in Florida, “was a hate crime – the murder of persons because of disgust for their sexual orientation.”

“Bearing in the depth of his or her soul the image of the Creator, no human person should ever be the object of disgust,” he said.


Archbishop Socrates Villegas (CBCPNews)

He added, “While we may have reasons to disagree with sexual preferences, or reprove certain forms of sexual activity, this can never justify hatred, let alone, murder of another human being.”

READ MORE...

Regrettably, this tragedy occurs in the midst of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, he said.

But this grim event merely underscores how right Pope Francis was in convoking this year as a year of mercy, he added.

Villegas said the heartlessness with which so many were cut down in their youth or in the prime of life only makes clear how much the world needs mercy. As important as it is to be right, it is far more important to be merciful, he said.

Second, according to Villegas, “we can and should never reconcile ourselves with violence in society – whether this be the violence of lawless elements, the violence of the self-righteous, the violence of vigilante groups, or the violence of government.”

He said violence leaves only mourning, and loss, and bitterness in its wake.

“We cannot and should not accept a society that tolerates and perhaps even foments forms of violence, even if this should be in the name of restoring law and order,” he said.

Third, Villegas said while the whole world is rightly shocked by the brutality of the tragedy at Orlando, “from this darkness we see the light that Pope Francis holds out to us through his exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.

“No matter that we may disapprove of the actions, decisions and choices of others, there is absolutely no reason to reject the person, no justification for cruelty, no reason for making outcasts of them,” he said.

He said this is a project which Filipinos should join for many are still forced to the peripheries because the norms of “decent society” forbid association with them.


The statement was released by the Holy See Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, referring to what is now the deadliest mass shooting in American history as a “terrible massacre.”: "The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with it’s dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred." PagadianDiocese.org

“Pope Francis sternly warns us that this cannot be Christian. We must continue the dialogue and the conversation with them over the things about which we disagree, but this dialogue must always be an encounter of brothers and sisters, an encounter of friends in the Lord,” he added.

He said bishops have asked school administrators and youth leaders to be particularly vigilant about cases of bullying, ostracism and harassment.

Muslim groups denounce attack The Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID) also condemned yesterday the acts of terror in Orlando where 50 people were massacred and the slaying staged by the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao.

PCID’s Amina Rasul Bernardo said they offer their condolences to the families of the slain.

“There is no possible justification for such heinous acts,” Bernardo said.

She said that the Holy Qur’an forbids murder, citing Surah 5:32: “… If any one slew a person –unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.”

Bernardo said that the “Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said ‘Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. - With Jose Rodel Clapano, Paolo Romero

---------------------------

RELATED FROM MSN 'DAILY BEAST' NEWS WIRE

Drag Queen: Orlando Killer Was My Friend The Daily Beast Katie Zavadski, Lynn Waddell 1 day ago


Flags fly at half-staff around the Washington Monument at daybreak in Washington with the US Capitol in the background Monday, June 13, 2016. President Barack Obama ordered flags lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the Orlando nightclub shootings. (AP Photo/J. David Ake.)

FORT PIERCE, Florida — Years before he shot up an Orlando gay club in what became the largest mass shooting in American history, Omar Mateen regularly picked up lunch from a drag queen at Ruby Tuesday.

He may have even gone to see a drag show or two, a former high school classmate told The Daily Beast.

About 10 years ago, Mateen, a few years out of high school, was working at the supplement store GNC. Samuel King, a year ahead of him in high school, was working next door at the restaurant chain. Mateen was a few years out of playing football in high school while King, who is openly gay, had long, flowing extensions, and prettier hair than most of his female co-workers.

“He always had a smile on his face,” King told The Daily Beast on Sunday. “Maybe it’s because he was working in customer service.”

After seeing the trending news story about the Orlando shooting, King posted his disbelief on Facebook. “I can’t believe i knew this dude…. He worked at GNC at the treasure coast mall when i was at Ruby Tuesday’s and he Graduated from the same high school in 2004,” he wrote. “He was a jokester and at the time didn’t have an issue with the LGBT community.”


© The Associated Press This undated image shows Omar Mateen, who authorities say killed dozens of people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, June 12, 2016. The gunman opened fire inside the crowded gay nightclub before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. (MySpace via AP)

Mateen’s father told NBC News that Mateen “got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago” and that he “thought that might be related to the shooting.”

But King saw none of that homophobia. Quite the opposite: He said Mateen knew that he and many of his co-workers at Ruby Tuesday were gay, and didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

“That’s the thing that’s pinning me to the wall the most, that it was a gay nightclub,” King said. “Because he would come into the [the restaurant] and laugh with us.

“He might’ve even sat down at the bar and had a drink and laughed with the bartenders, knowing that they were lesbians,” King added.

These interactions shed new light on a man believed to be motivated by blind hatred for gay people. By the end of his rampage, Mateen had killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in the most deadly terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. During his attack on a sea of dancing young men, Mateen called 911 and pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS, announcing himself as a terrorist and mentioning the Boston marathon attackers.

Yet if Mateen was a religious extremist, King didn’t know it, and the topic of religion never came up in conversations. Instead, the two men would greet each other on the street. King likely showed him, like the rest of the employees and regulars, photos in full costume from his performances.

“I can’t pinpoint a date that he went with us, but he probably gone there with us once,” he said.

Syed Shafeeq Rahman, Imam at the Islamic Center in Fort Pierce where Mateen worshipped, said he had been a sunny child who enjoyed skipping but something had changed in recent years.

“He would not talk to anybody, but would just smile,” he said.

Recent co-workers described Mateen’s demeanor as aggressive and anti-gay. Daniel Gilroy, who worked with Mateen at the security company G4S, toldFlorida Today that he was “unhinged and unstable.”

“I quit because everything he said was toxic, and the company wouldn’t do anything,” Gilroy told the news outlet. “This guy was unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people.”

He said Mateen stalked him with dozens of text messages a day, but the company didn’t take action because Mateen was Muslim.

“When I saw his picture on the news, I thought, of course, he did that,” fellow security guard Eric Baumer told Newsday. “He had bad things to say about everybody—blacks, Jews, gays, a lot of politicians, our soldiers. He had a lot of hate in him. He told me America destroyed Afghanistan.”

Indeed, it was a co-worker’s tip that set off an FBI investigation into the man in 2013.

“The FBI first became aware of him in 2013 when he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible terrorist ties,” Ronald Hopper, an assistant agent in charge of the FBI’s Tampa division, said at a press conference. The ties were unconfirmed.

The following year, the agency investigated his potential links to an American suicide bomber in Syria, Moner Abu-Salha, but found the connections negligible. Mateen was still able to purchase both weapons he brought to the attack legally last week, according to Trevor Velinor, an assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Tampa.

Mateen had worked at G4S since 2007, and cleared their security checks when he was hired and again in 2013. The company said they were made aware that Mateen had been questioned by the FBI in 2013 and knew that the investigations had closed.

“We were not made aware of any alleged connections between Mateen and terrorist activities, and were unaware of any further FBI investigations,” G4S communications director Monica Lewman-Garcia told The Daily Beast in a statement.

Mateen had a gun because of his work as a security officer.

 
2012 VIDEO documentary shows Omar Mateen working security during BP oil spill Omar Mateen in documentary 'The Big Fix' A clip from the 2012 documentary "The Big Fix" shows Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen working security during the BP oil spill cleanup. WARNING: graphic language is used by Mateen in the clip. ORLANDOSENTINEL.COM

G4S provides guards to more than two dozen juvenile detention centers in Florida, and Mateen’s ex-wife told TheWashington Post that he’d worked at one such facility near their Fort Pierce home. A spokesperson at the St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center directed queries about Mateen to the State of Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. The agency directed inquiries to G4S, which did not return requests for comment.

But the company’s employees have been accused of abusing children in the centers where they work. A male Palmetto Youth Academy guard was arrested in 2014 on charges that he sexually assaulted two teenage boys, ages 15 and 17. A judge set his bond at $250,000, but the disposition of the case remains unclear. A female employee in Tampa was accused of engaging in sex acts with a boy that same year.

“I’m amazed at the amount of violence that goes on over there, both against staff and other inmates,” Assistant State Attorney Vicki Nichols, Martin County Florida’s juvenile prosecutor, told the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers of one facility that employs G4S guards.

Residents of Mateen’s quiet neighborhood, made up largely of retirees, construction workers, and families with toddlers, were shocked by news of his rampage on Sunday. The Woodland Condominium complex where he lived was roped off with yellow police tape as the FBI and local authorities investigated the gunman’s residence.

The area has many Hispanic immigrants, residents gathered outside the complex said, but doesn’t have a large Middle Eastern or Muslim community.

Esmeralda Gonzalez, whose parents live adjacent to the gunman’s parents said that she hadn’t seen Omar but his father “seems really nice.”

“You see it in the news and all the sudden it happens right next to you. My mom is scared and wondering if they should sell the house,” she told The Daily Beast.

Mateen’s father Seddique Mir Mateen did appear to have extreme views, however. In videos on his YouTube channel he has previously paid tribute to the Afghan Taliban.

Early Monday, he posted a new video in which he described his “sadness” over the death of his son. “I did not know and did not understand that he has anger in his heart,” he said. “Only God can punish homosexuality… This is not an issue for humans to punish.”


Seddique Mateen LINKEDIN GOOGLE+ PINTEREST REDDIT PRINT ORDER REPRINT OF THIS STORY The father of Omar Mateen, the Orlando mass shooter, posted a video overnight Sunday in which he expressed his regret and sorrow over his son’s actions and said he had no idea what the young man had been planning. MIAMIHERALD.COM

The 29-year-old Mateen, who has a 3-year-old child, married Sitora Yusufiy, an immigrant from Uzbekistan in 2007. The couple officially divorced in 2009, but Yusufiy told reporters on Sunday that they only lived together for a few months, during which time he beat and emotionally abused her. From her home in Colorado, Yusufiy told reporters on Sunday that Mateem was bipolar and abused steroids.

“A few months after we were married I saw his instability, I saw his bipolar, and he would get mad out of nowhere, and that’s when I started worrying about my safety,” she said. “Then after a few months he started abusing me physically, very often, and not allowing me to speak to my family, and keeping me hostage from them.”

At Mateen’s regular house of worship, the Fort Pierce Islamic Center, Imam Rahman assured visitors that the community had no idea about the storm brewing in the gunman’s heart—or the FBI’s investigations into him.

Meanwhile protesters outside called for authorities to shut down the Islamic center, with some driving by urging people to “burn it down.”

Rahman, also a medical doctor, said that Omar Mateen attended the mosque service Friday night with his young son curled up next to him. “He was the last to arrive and the first to leave,” he said, but recalled nothing else about Mateen wasn’t regular in his attendance.

“One hundred and thirty people came Friday so I don’t notice,” Rahman said.

Fellow members of the mosque said they knew little about Mateen. “He wasn’t rude, but he wasn’t very friendly either,” said Mohammad Jamil. Sometimes he would come for prayers in his security uniform and Jamil noted he was very muscular. “He would say, hello, but that was about it.”

As tradition, the women and small children gathered in a separate room for their feast. The mood was somber and Lucy Haq, a member, said the crowd was lighter than normal. She said that Mateen and other radical Islamic terrorists like him hurt all Muslims. “What they are doing is not Islam,” she said.

Rahman, who has been Imam at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce since 2005, said Mateen was sporadic in his attendance to prayers. He might come for prayers two or three times in a week and might not show the following week.

Mateen’s father, by accounts was more outgoing. Rahman said the elder Mateen was in the insurance business and offered his services to fellow worshippers and he offered to help with any problems. “He said he knew police chief and authorities and he could help us if we ever had problems.”

“Always told if anything bad was happening we could contact the father and he would take care of it,” Rahman said.

Rahman said the center did not promote violence and that Mateen did not get his radical ideas from the center. “We do not want these things to happen. We condemn radical Islam.”

The FBI has not talked to Rahman. “What could I share with them? I have nothing because we did not know. Of course we would have called them. In our religion it says he who kills one person kills all mankind.”

-----------------------------

REUTERS WORLD NEWS

Orlando killer expressed support for multiple Islamist groups ORLANDO, FLA. | BY LETITIA STEIN AND JARRETT RENSHAW


People take part in a candlelight memorial service the day after a mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 13, 2016

Orlando nightclub killer Omar Mateen had expressed sympathy for a variety of Islamist extremists, including groups in the Middle East that are sworn enemies, the FBI said on Monday, as a picture began to emerge of the angry, violent man who carried out America's deadliest mass shooting.

U.S. authorities said they had found no direct links between Islamic State and Mateen, the U.S.-born son of Afghan immigrants who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday.

Mateen, 29, was shot dead by police who stormed the Pulse club with armored cars after a three-hour siege. In 911 calls during his rampage, the killer expressed allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

But Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said Mateen had made comments favorable to multiple armed Islamist movements and people, which "adds a little bit to the confusion about his motives." President Barack Obama said Mateen was likely a homegrown extremist.

"So far, we see no indication that this was a plot directed from outside the United States and we see no indication that he was part of any kind of network," Comey told reporters in Washington. "We're highly confident this killer was radicalized at least in some part through the internet."


THE KILLER: Orlando nightclub gunman seen as self-radicalized, home-grown

Islamic State, which controls territory in Iraq and Syria, reiterated on Monday a claim of responsibility, although it offered no signs to indicate coordination with the gunman.

In calls to authorities on Sunday, Mateen also mentioned support for the Boston Marathon bombers and a Florida man who became a Nusra Front suicide bomber in Syria, Comey said. Nusra is an al Qaeda offshoot which is at odds with Islamic State in Syria's civil war.

Co-workers reported Mateen to the FBI in 2013 after he had made "inflammatory and contradictory" statements, including a claim that he had family connections to al Qaeda and membership of Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah, a bitter rival.

The FBI's Miami office investigated Mateen for 10 months and interviewed him twice but found no evidence of a crime or connection with a militant group. Comey said the FBI was also "working to understand what role anti-gay bigotry may have played" in the attack.

The massacre reverberated on the presidential campaign trail, where Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the two likely opponents in the Nov. 8 election, clashed over how to confront violent Islamist extremists.

Trump proposed suspending immigration to the United States from countries with a history of terrorism against America, Europe or U.S. allies, while Clinton warned against demonizing Muslims and called for tougher gun safety measures.

Obama is to visit Orlando on Thursday to pay respects to families of the victims.

RELATED COVERAGE

The day before a killing spree, Omar Mateen was calm, father says
Orlando shooter is example of homegrown extremism: Obama

'NEEDLES IN NATIONWIDE HAYSTACK'

The Orlando killings followed the massacre of 14 people in San Bernardino, California, last year and raised the question of whether the United States will have to confront jihadist attacks in the homeland for years to come.

Comey said tracking apparent lone wolf attackers like Mateen was like finding "needles in a nationwide haystack" while also trying to work out what kind of people could become radicalized.

The Florida shooting spree began early on Sunday when the club was packed with some 350 revelers at a Latin music night. Many fled as the gunman raked the crowd with bullets from an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle and a pistol.

An initial wave of officers charged into the club and trapped Mateen in a bathroom, Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters. That allowed many patrons to flee, although others were trapped in the restroom with Mateen, leading to a standoff.

Police negotiated with Mateen for about three hours before breaking a hole in the wall, which allowed hostages to escape.

Mateen also emerged from the hole and was shot dead by officers, police said.

Some 53 people were wounded and 29 remain hospitalized at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Michael Cheatham, chief trauma surgeon at the hospital, told Fox News he expects all of the survivors in the hospital to survive.

RELATED VIDEO
Video
U.S. lawmakers honor Orlando victims, then feud over gun policy
Video
Who is Omar Mateen?
Video
"An evil person came here": Florida gun store owner
Video
Orlando shooter's father: 'I don't forgive him'
Video
Florida gunman was "mentally ill": ex-wife

DANCING, THEN DEATH

Amanda Alvear's last Snapchat video post began with a shot of her on the dance floor of the nightclub surrounded by friends. It ended with gunshots ringing out over the music.

Alvear, 25, was identified by police as one of those killed at Pulse. Her friend Mercedez Flores, 26, who worked for Target, was also on the list.

Another victim was Edward Sotomayor, 34, a marketing manager at a Florida-based gay-themed travel company. He was a legend in the industry, his boss, Al Ferguson, said.

Pastor Deyni Ventura visited a survivor in the hospital, whom she identified only as Norman, who had taken refuge in a handicapped bathroom stall crammed with 30 people.

Norman could hear the shooter laughing loudly as he sprayed gunfire over and under the bathroom stall. "They couldn't see the shooter but they could hear him laughing," Ventura said, intimating a loud cackling laugh.

Norman, who was shot four times, crawled over the bodies of his friends to safety. Everyone else in the stall died, Ventura said.

RELATED COVERAGE

› Muslim leaders condemn Florida massacre, brace for backlash
› Dalai Lama: must not see all Muslims as terrorists after Orlando
>Hispanics shaken by heavy toll at Orlando club massacre

Most of the people fatally shot were Latino, more than half of them of Puerto Rican origin and at least three of them Mexican citizens.

Hundreds of people attended a vigil on Monday night for the dead in downtown Orlando.

VIOLENT AND ANGRY

Law enforcement officials searched for clues as to whether anyone had worked with Mateen on the attack, said Lee Bentley, the U.S. attorney for the middle district of Florida.

But officials said they believed there had been no other attackers and had no evidence of a threat to the public.

Mateen's ex-wife, Sitora Yusifiy, described him as mentally unstable and violent toward her.

"He would get mad out of nowhere. That's when I started worrying about my safety and then after a few months he started abusing me physically very often," she told reporters. The couple split in 2009 after four months of marriage.

When Mateen met with his father the day before the killing, he betrayed nothing of the rage that would soon erupt. “I didn't notice anything wrong,” Seddique Mateen said in an interview. “He was very slick.”

 
Janet Jackson - Shoulda Known Better - A Tribute To The Victims of the Orlando Shooting (Fan Video)

In the close-knit Muslim community of about 100 families in Fort Pierce, Florida, Mateen was known as quiet with few friends.

"He wasn't a people person. He was not extremely friendly but he wasn't rude either," said Mohammed Jameel, 54, who worshipped at his mosque.

Mateen was an armed guard at a gated retirement community, and had worked for the global security firm G4S (GFS.L) for nine years..

He told the FBI during its investigation of him that he had made pro-Islamist remarks because he was angry at co-workers who he felt were discriminating against him and teasing him for being a Muslim, Comey said.

(Additional reporting by Barbara Liston and Yara Bayoumy in Fort Pierce, Fla., Zachary Fagenson in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Fiona Ortiz in Chicago, Omar Fahmy in Cairo, Michelle Martin in Berlin and Susan Heavey, Megan Cassella, David Alexander and Jonathan Landay in Washington; Writing by John Whitesides and Alistair Bell; Editing by Peter Cooney and Mary Milliken)


CNN PHILIPPINES

Second Canadian in Philippines executed by Abu Sayyaf militants By Zahra Ullah, Chieu Luu, Angela Dewan, CNN Updated 6:00 AM ET, Tue June 14, 2016


Robert Hall and his partner, Marites Flor.

(CNN)A Canadian national has been beheaded in the Philippines by Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf after a ransom payment deadline passed, the Philippines government confirmed Tuesday.

Robert Hall was one of four people kidnapped by the group last September in the southern Philippines. His execution follows that of fellow Canadian hostage John Ridsdel on April 25 when the militants did not receive the requested ransom.


"We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr. Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past nine months," the statement from Sonny Coloma, a Presidential spokesperson.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that it was likely Hall had been executed: "It is with deep sadness that I have reason to believe that a Canadian citizen, Robert Hall, held hostage in the Philippines since September 21, 2015, has been killed by his captors," Trudeau said in a statement, adding that officials were working to officially confirm his death.

What is Abu Sayyaf?



"The vicious and brutal actions of the hostage-takers have led to a needless death. Canada holds the terrorist group who took him hostage fully responsible for this cold-blooded and senseless murder," Trudeau said.

Severed head 'found in plastic bag'

The Philippines military said the head of a Caucasian-looking man was found in a plastic bag near a church in the town of Jolo, off the southern island of Mindanao late Monday, hours after they received intelligence reports that Hall was decapitated by the Abu Sayyaf.

The militant group originally asked for 300 million Philippine pesos ($6.5 million) in ransom per hostage to be paid by April 25.

READ MORE...

The two Canadian men -- along with Hall's Filipina partner, Marites Flor, and Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad -- were taken in a raid on the Oceanview Resort on Samal Island, which lies off the coast of the southern island of Mindanao.


CNN Map -Samal Island © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap

Hall, Ridsdel and Flor were visiting the resort's marina on their yacht, while Sekkingstad was the manager of the property.
The apparent execution comes after Abu Sayyaf released a "final" video of the three hostages pleading with Filipino President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and their embassies for assistance.

READ: Militants kill Canadian hostage John Ridsdel in the Philippines

The video showed Flor wearing a headscarf, Hall and Sekkingstad addressing Duterte in a local dialect, according to jihadist monitoring group SITE Intelligence.

The hostage situation is seen as a test of Duterte's pledge to crack down on militant activity.

MORE: Who are Abu Sayyaf militants?

Even though he has not yet been inaugurated, Duterte apologized to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over Ridsdel's execution, vowing to crack down on militancy in his country.

"You can rest assured that when the time comes, we will be able to apprehend the criminals and exact justice," he promised Trudeau.

Some members of Abu Sayyaf pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014, though the connection between the groups remain tenuous.

In the video, however, the male hostages were pictured wearing orange T-shirts, mirroring ISIS videos in which hostages are forced to wear orange jumpsuits in a grim reference to prisoners at Guantanamo, the U.S.' controversial military prison in Cuba.


ROBERT HALL

Canadian hostage killed by militants in the Philippines

Trudeau said that Monday marked "yet another difficult day for Canada and for Canadians as we grieve as a nation for the loss of both John Ridsdel, who was killed on April 25, and Robert Hall."

"With the tragic loss of two Canadians, I want to reiterate that terrorist hostage-takings only fuel more violence and instability. Canada will not give into their fear-mongering tactics and despicable attitude toward the suffering of others," Trudeau said.

"On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Hall. They have suffered a terrible loss, and this is a devastating moment for them."

CNN's Kathy Qiano reported from Jakarta, CNN's Zahra Ullah and Chieu Luu reported from Hong Kong and journalist Angela Dewan wrote from London.

--------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Troops search for body of hostage By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 16, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Robert Hall was abducted from Samal island resort last September along with another Canadian, a Norwegian and a Filipino. AP

MANILA, Philippines – Security forces are continuing a massive search for the missing body of Canadian Robert Hall, whom the Abu Sayyaf beheaded last Monday.

Hall’s decapitated head, placed in a plastic bag and left by two unidentified men riding a motorcycle, was recovered Monday evening near the Jolo Cathedral.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman for Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said troops and police forces have been searching for the remains for two days now.

“No remains have been recovered yet by the troops on the ground here,” he said.

Tan said the police and the local government of Jolo have mobilized the village leaders to help them locate the body of Hall.

Hall was abducted from Samal island resort last September along with another Canadian, a Norwegian and a Filipino.

The other Canadian, former mining executive John Ridsdel, was beheaded in April after a ransom demand of P300 million was not paid.

The fate of Hall’s Filipina girlfriend Marites Flor and resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad of Norway remain uncertain.

The Abu Sayyaf imposed a deadline for the payment of a large ransom for Hall which lapsed Monday. The police later found a severed head of a Caucasian man outside a cathedral in Jolo. Officials later confirmed his death.

The Abu Sayyaf has released a gruesome video of Hall’s beheading. It showed Hall in an orange shirt kneeling in front of a black Islamic State-style flag in a jungle area before he was killed.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) urged the public not to patronize or share the videos of the Abu Sayyaf.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said the police Anti-Cybercrime Group is working to take down the video from the Internet.

On the other hand, Hall’s family in Canada said in a statement that every option to free him was considered and efforts to that end were “vast and exhaustive.”

In the end, the family said it agreed with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s directive that money not be paid to hostage takers who seek to undermine fundamental Canadian values.

“Our family, even in our darkest hour, agrees wholeheartedly with Canada’s policy of not paying ransom to those who would seek to undermine the fundamental values with which my father lived his life,” the family statement read.

“We stand with the ideals that built this country: strength of character; resilience of spirit and refusal to succumb to the demands of the wretched, in order to satisfy the bloodlust of the weak.”

Trudeau has steadfastly refused to entertain the thought of paying ransom to hostage takers.

In the wake of Ridsdel’s execution, Trudeau said Canada would never pay a ransom for the hostages in the Philippines, and last month persuaded leaders of the other G7 countries to reiterate their opposition to paying ransom.

On Monday, he reiterated that paying ransom would put more Canadians in danger.

The family said it would remember Hall, a father and grandfather who was born in 1949, as a self-made man who worked his entire life to raise his family above the hardships of his own youth. Hall was born in Calgary, but lived in various places in Western Canada.

His family said he owned and operated many small businesses in his life, from a small engine repair shop to a pizza stand. He spent 25 years building his custom welding business, which specialized in everything from custom truck decks to aircraft repair. Outside of business he had a passion for flying, sailing and sports.

The family said he discovered the Philippines on one of his many trips abroad and called it his paradise on Earth.

“He loved everything about the Philippines. The people, he said, are warm and gracious. He took an active interest in his community and his neighbors, and coached a local soccer team.”

The United States and the Philippines have both listed the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organization for carrying out kidnappings, beheadings and bombings.

The group emerged in the early 1990s as an extremist offshoot of a decades long Muslim separatist rebellion in Mindanao. – With Roel Pareño, Cecille Suerte Felipe, AP


INQUIRER

Abus: Killing was for Rody
MAYOR CHALLENGED TO STOP BEHEADINGS:  SHARES: 15.5K VIEW COMMENTS By: Julie S. Alipala @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Mindanao 12:01 AM June 15th, 2016


Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte. AFP FILE PHOTO / NOEL CELIS

ZAMBOANGA CITY—The Abu Sayyaf beheaded Canadian hostage Robert Hall to embarrass incoming President Rodrigo Duterte, according to the spokesperson of the notorious bandit group.

“Para kay Duterte, ang bagong Presidente, ito ay alamin mo kung ano gagawin namin sa Canadian (This is for Duterte, the new President. This is for you to know what we will do to the Canadian),” Abu Raami, the spokesperson, said on Monday.

An hour after the phone interview with the Inquirer, Raami announced that the Abu Sayyaf executed Hall because the P600 million it demanded as ransom for his release had not been delivered before the 3 p.m. deadline.

Another Canadian, John Ridsdel, was beheaded by the kidnappers on April 25 in Sulu province, where he, along with Hall and his partner, Filipino Maritess Flor, and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad were brought by armed men who raided an exclusive marina in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte province on Sept. 21 last year.

Sekkingstad, Flor and Dutch Ewold Horn are among seven hostages still being held by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

In Manila, President Aquino informed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the latest killing in a late-night call on Monday, soon after the government verified Hall’s death.

Mr. Aquino discussed how government forces were dealing with the Abu Sayyaf bandits who have pledged allegiance to Islamic State, according to well-placed sources.

“We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr. Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past nine months,” Mr. Aquino said in a statement.

Trudeau maintained that despite the deaths of two Canadian hostages, his government would not give in to demands of paying ransom to terrorist groups, like the Abu Sayyaf.

“I want to reiterate that terrorist hostage-takings only fuel more violence and instability. Canada will not give into their fear-mongering tactics and despicable attitude toward the suffering of others,” he said in a statement.

Head recovered

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, confirmed on Tuesday that a severed head found dumped beside Jolo Cathedral in Sulu was Hall’s after comparing it to videos and photos of the hostage.

READ MORE...

The head was placed inside a black trash bag left by two young men on board a motorcycle along Sanchez Street, 1.7 kilometers away from Camp Teodulfo Bautista, home of the 2nd Marine Brigade, in the vicinity of Plaza Rizal around 9:05 p.m. on Monday, according to Supt. Junpikar Sittin, Jolo police chief.

Raami said the beheading was intended for Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of Davao City who is to formally assume the presidency in two weeks after winning in the May 9 elections.

“You promised [Trudeau] that you will get them (hostages) alive and that what happened to Ridsdel will not be repeated,” he said in Filipino. “Let’s see if you will not be embarrassed.”

Duterte said in a press conference in May in Davao City that he had apologized to Trudeau for Ridsdel’s death. “We will try our very best to see to it that nothing of this nature will happen again,” he recalled telling the Canadian leader.

Media silence

The incoming President has not spoken to journalists for almost two weeks since his aides imposed a media policy that his statements would only be coursed through government information networks.

“I think the concern about the Abu Sayyaf should be addressed to the present administration because he is not yet the President,” Duterte’s spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, told reporters at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City.

“What I know is President-elect Duterte will not tolerate or condone the illegality in this country. He will do everything in this power to stop all these … . That’s his commitment, to stop all these cases of criminality,” Panelo added.

The incoming national security adviser, Hermogenes Esperon, said in Manila that the Duterte administration would “take a stronger action against lawlessness in the South.”

“We cannot allow this situation to continue, this should end once and for all,” Esperon told Reuters.

Condolences

Malacañang extended its sympathy and condolences to Hall’s family.

“We truly regret that our people’s cherished tradition of extending gracious hospitality toward foreign nationals has been marred by a small band of criminals whose despicable actions have been abetted by the extortion of ransom from their previous victims,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a text message.

Coloma thanked the Canadian government and people “for their steadfast support and understanding which has been extremely helpful in our determined efforts to end this decades-old problem.”

For the past two months, he said the military and police had been conducting operations that “degraded the capability of our enemies and limited their movements.”

On Monday afternoon, the President met with his Cabinet security cluster to receive updates from Jolo, canceling his attendance at the launch of a call center facility in Pasay City.

The recovered head was flown to Manila on Tuesday and turned over to the Philippine National Police’s crime laboratory for forensic examination.

Tan said efforts were ongoing to recover the body of the victim. With reports from Nikko Dizon, Christine O. Avendaño, Jaymee T. Gamil, Julie M. Aurelio and Estrella Torres in Manila; Yuji Vincent Gonzales, Inquirer.net; the wires

----------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Canada calls for better protection for foreign tourists in PH June 15, 2016 (updated) Share3 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share47 By Samuel P. Medenilla, Elena L. Aben, Hannah L. Torregoza, and AP

As Canada mourns the death of its second national in the hands of the Abu Sayaff, it called on the Philippine government to give better protection for foreign tourists visiting Philippines.

“We would like to see more foreign tourists to choose the Philippines as a destination of choice. And obviously security and safety for foreign tourists and community is very, very important. I cannot emphasize this enough that a safe and secure environment for foreigners who are visiting is necessary,” Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder stressed during a press briefing of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Makati City yesterday.

Reeder issued the statement after authorities confirmed that Canadian national Robert Hall of Calgary, Canada was beheaded by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf shortly after 3 p.m Monday after the group failed to received their ransom demand of P300 million ($6.5 million).

The same group beheaded Hall’s compatriot, John Ridsdel, a former mining executive last April after the bandits failed to get the same amount of ransom demand.

Hall, Ridsdel, Norweigian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingtad and Hall’s girlfriend Filipina Maritess Flor were abducted by armed men from an island resort in Samal, Davao del Norte in September last year and brought to Sulu by boat.

Jolo residents told police two motorcycle-riding men abandoned a striped plastic bag in front of the Jolo cathedral shortly before 9 p.m. Monday.

When police opened the bag, it contained the decapitated head of Hall, who according to sources was beheaded in Barangay Bud Bunga by the followers of ASG leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan. Yesterday, the decapitated head was flown to Camp Crame for forensic examination.

A militant video obtained by police officials and seen by The Associated Press showed Hall in an orange shirt and kneeling in front of a black Islamic State-style flag before he was killed in a jungle area.

NO RANSOM POLICY

In Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was “compelling reason to believe” that Hall had been killed by his captors upon receiving information. “We have every reason to believe that the reports are unfortunately true,” Trudeau said.

He said he was “horrified” by the killings and reaffirmed Canada’s refusal to pay ransoms.

“The government of Canada will not and cannot pay ransoms for hostages to terrorist groups, as doing so would endanger the lives of more Canadians,” Trudeau said in a statement. (With a report from Nonoy Lacson)


PHILSTAR

‘Emergency powers for Rody vs Sayyaf’ By Marvin Sy and Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 15, 2016 - 12:00am 2 119 googleplus0 0


A human head believed to have belonged to Canadian Robert Hall was found outside the Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu hours after the deadline for delivery of the ransom for his release expired last Monday. AP

Ping: Kidnap them back or kill them

MANILA, Philippines – With the nation still in shock after the beheading by the Abu Sayyaf of one more of its foreign hostages, incoming senator Panfilo Lacson said granting emergency powers to president-elect Rodrigo Duterte would help his administration neutralize the terror group once and for all.

A human head believed to have belonged to Canadian Robert Hall was found outside the Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu hours after the deadline for delivery of the ransom for his release expired last Monday.

On his Twitter account, Lacson – a former national police chief – said Congress should grant Duterte emergency powers so he can deal more effectively with the terror menace as well as with the other serious problems besetting the country like illegal drugs and heavy traffic. He said authorities should match the Abu Sayyaf’s brazenness and brutality with severe countermeasures.

“No better time to address the Abu Sayyaf problem than under President Duterte. Kidnap them back or kill them. It may need very good intel work though,” Lacson said.

Then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of emergency in Maguindanao following the massacre in November 2009 of 58 people allegedly on orders from then governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.

Hall, fellow Canadian John Ridsdel, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Maritess Flor were snatched from a Samal Island resort by the terrorists in September last year. Ridsdel was beheaded last April 25 after the P300-million ransom demanded for his release was not delivered.

READ MORE...

A Duterte spokesman expressed confidence he would undertake measures to stop beheadings, kidnappings and other criminal acts, especially those perpetrated by terror groups.

“Since the president is a very strategic thinker, I’m sure he will be able to do something or a series of actions that will drastically reduce similar activities,” Ernesto Abella, one of the spokesmen for Duterte, said.

Abella said Filipinos can look forward to a “more peaceful nation” under the next administration.

“Kidnappings and beheadings are always gruesome and brutal things that should not be ensued,” he added.

Another Duterte spokesman Salvador Panelo reiterated that the next president is bent on suppressing crime.

“I’m sure president-elect Duterte will solve that kind of problem. He has solved other problems of equal magnitude. I don’t see any problem of him doing that,” Panelo said.

“I’m sure he will respond to the situation... Since he is against all forms of criminality and illegality, he would be outraged by that (beheading).”

Martial law

For the next chief of the Philippine National Police, placing certain areas in Mindanao under martial law might do the trick.

“If it (martial law) would solve the problem, then we better do it,” Chief Superintendent Ronald dela Rosa said in Filipino.

 Dela Rosa is Duterte’s personal choice to replace PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez.


DUTERTE'S PNP CHIEF DE LA ROSA

Incoming AFP chief, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya has submitted a report to Duterte detailing his plans on how he intends to run the affairs of the military in troubled areas, including placing Sulu under martial rule.

“It’s about time! If you want solution to this security problem, that’s the best action,” said one of the senior officers favoring a limited military rule.

Placing Sulu under martial law, they said, would effectively cut the lines between the Abu Sayyaf bandits and their civilian contacts as the military would be directly taking control of provincial and local governments in the province.

One officer even suggested that in the entire duration of military rule, civilian travels in and out of the province must be restricted.

“Nobody should be allowed to just leave the island province without prior clearance from the military’s designated authorities,” he said.

Another officer complained that soldiers pursuing the bandits could not penetrate communities where the terrorists and their families live.

“They just hide their weapons and mingled in civilian communities. These civilians, mostly relatives, have been providing Abu Sayyaf members sanctuaries and are even helping them in keeping and hiding the hostages,” he said.

In one incident, troops witnessed the payment of ransom right inside the residence of a political warlord in the province.

“All our efforts were merely confined to monitoring the activities of the political warlord because the very strict government restrictions prevented us from taking direct action due to the presence of civilians at the place,” he said.

But putting any region under martial law should be in accordance with the conditions set by law, according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

CHR chairman Chito Gascon said they are prepared to monitor the situation in areas where it would be implemented.


CHR Chief Gascon:

“The security forces – military and police – are mandated to protect the country and its people from all threats to their safety and security,” Gascon told The STAR yesterday.

“In order to be able to effectively perform this, they can employ all means and methods that they are lawfully entitled to do,” he added.

Gascon said the Constitution provides for conditions before the country or any part of it is placed under martial law.

“All needs to be done is these be complied with,” he said, referring to the conditions set by the law. “The CHR is prepared to monitor.”

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives, meanwhile, were cool to the proposal.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said he is against the imposition of martial law even if it would be limited to Abu Sayyaf-infested parts of Mindanao.

“I believe the strong leadership of president-elect Duterte, particularly in his own part of the country, would suffice (in addressing the Abu Sayyaf),” Belmonte said.

Anak Mindanao party-list Rep. Makmod Mending described the proposal as premature, saying Dela Rosa should try countering the Abu Sayyaf with the current powers and resources of the PNP.

“For all we know, it is the leadership of a General Bato that can solve this,” Mending said, referring to Dela Rosa’s moniker.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said he would support the imposition of limited martial law as long as the executive branch can justify it before Congress.

But even before the release of official findings confirming Hall’s execution, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has issued a statement condemning the “inhuman and cruel act” of the Abu Sayyaf.

“We are deeply outraged by their continued attempts to sow fear and terror in our country,” the DFA said.

“This inhuman and cruel act, carried out by the Abu Sayyaf group, reveals that their criminal activities are driven purely by financial motives,” it added.

The DFA also extended its condolences to Hall’s family and loved ones.

“We strongly reiterate that the Philippine government does not tolerate, nor does it negotiate with, terrorists. We reiterate our utmost opposition to terrorism in all its forms,” the DFA said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was “likely” Hall had been killed.

In a statement, Trudeau said that Canada “will not give into their fear mongering tactics and despicable attitude toward the suffering of others.”

Catholic prelates also condemned Hall’s execution but stressed the government should stick to its policy of not paying ransom.

Marbel South Cotabato Bishop Dinualdo Gutierres said Hall’s death should not be reason for authorities to give in to the demands of terrorists. “It will just encourage criminals,” he said, referring to paying of ransom.

He added the beheading of Hall is “against love, God and human dignity” and that it tramples on the rights of civilized society.

He urged the people to pray and work toward preventing another atrocity.


Roman Catholic Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez, Diozese of Marbel, Mindanao, The Philippines

The South Cotabato prelate also said the government should help in securing the lives of its citizens.

He proposed that travel to certain parts of the country be restricted. “No ransom, no hostage-taking. No visitor, no hostage,” he said.

Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, for his part, admitted getting furious on hearing news of Hall’s execution. “But as Christians we pray for those who were responsible for this horrendous act. Love will melt and destroy evil,” he said.

No findings yet PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said a decapitated head believed to be that of Hall’s was turned over to Trauma Station Hospital, Kampo Heneral Teodolo Bautista (KHTB) for proper identification.

Mayor said the PNP has also expressed condolences to the family of the slain kidnap victim.

“Further, may I appeal to the members of the media to respect the mourning of the family and let us not highlight such kind of unlawful activity that might add to the sorrow of the bereaved family and his countrymen,” Mayor added.

He said the brutality of the terrorists usually directed at innocent people deserves the condemnation of all peace-loving people.

The spokesman said the PNP – in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines – is doing its best to eliminate the terror group and thwart further threats to peace and security.

Chief Superintendent Emmanuel Aranas, director of the PNP-Crime Laboratory, said elements of the Special Action Force – in coordination with the Explosives Ordnance Division (EOD) of the Army’s 35the Infantry Brigade (IB) – retrieved the head inside a plastic bag dumped outside Mt. Carmel Cathedral.

“The decapitated head was transported to Zamboanga City via Huey PAF helicopter midnight of June 13, arrived at 1 a.m. About 2:30 a.m. on June 14, the PAF C-130 carrying the decapitated head reached the Villamor Airbase at 4:30 p.m.,” he added.

He added a SOCO team from Camp Crame examined the remains, took samples, and documented the procedure.

As of press time, the Crime Lab chief said it was still premature to conclude the head belonged to Hall.

“It would be better to establish the identity of the victim, because this is a beheading, we do not treat this case as an ordinary one, so we need to stick to procedures to identify it,” he said. - With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Paolo Romero, Jaime Laude, Pia Lee-Brago, Janvic Mateo, Evelyn Macairan

-------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Family: Beheaded Canadian loved the Philippines By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated June 15, 2016 - 11:27am 4 2057 googleplus1 0


Robert Hall was the second Canadian hostage beheaded by the group after John Ridsdel last April 25. AP

MANILA, Philippines – Canadian Robert Hall, who was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf Group, loved everything about the Philippines which he considers his home.

Hall had been held hostage by the militant group and September 2015 and was beheaded earlier this week after a deadline for ransom payment passed.

RELATED: Family of beheaded Canadian backs no ransom policy

"He loved everything about the Philippines. The people, he said, are warm and gracious. He took an active interest in his community and his neighbors, and coached a local soccer team," the Hall family said in a statement.

After retirement, Hall used his years of experience, many technical and artistic skills, to become a consultant.

The Canadian traveled the world through his consulting from Chile to China, Australia and Thailand. He discovered the Philippines in one of his trips and decided to live in the country.

"He was resolved to live there, to sail across the Pacific, with or without company, and make his home in what he called his paradise on earth," the family said.

Hall lived in Davao City which his family described as "one of the safest places in South East Asia."

"With its mild weather, friendly people and in the company of other expats, he knew that he had found his home," the Hall family said.

Macleans, a Canadian publication, described Hall as a "lifelong dreamer" who sold all his possessions to live in the Philippines and be closer to his Filipino girlfriend, Marites Flor, who was similarly captured by the Abu Sayyaf and held hostage.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the Canadian flag in the Peace Tower in Ottawa, lowered over the weekend for the victims of the massacre in Orlando, said that it "flies lowered yet for another sad event"—Hall's death.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted that the government would not pay ransom for hostages by the Abu Sayyaf, a terror group based in southern Philippines. In this photo, Trudeau holds a news conference in Shima, Japan on Friday, May 27, 2016., following the G7 Summit. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP

The relatives of the victim said that they agree with Trudeau's policy of not paying ransom to hostage takers who seek to undermine fundamental values wit which Hall lived his life.

"We stand with the ideals that built this Country; strength of character, resilience of spirit, and refusal to succumb to the demands of the wretched, in order to satisfy the bloodlust of the weak," the statement read.

RELATED: ‘Emergency powers for Rody vs Sayyaf’


PHILSTAR

Incoming Duterte admin, NDFP start preliminary talks in Oslo By Alexis Romero and Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated June 15, 2016 - 5:57pm 5 26 googleplus0 0


President-elect Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s chosen peace panel on Tuesday began its informal meeting with Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front headed by Jose Ma. Sison in Oslo, Norway. Jesus Dureza, Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Representatives of the incoming Duterte administration has started preliminary talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Oslo, Norway in preparation for the planned resumption of the peace negotiations next month.

Incoming presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza, who announced the start of the preliminary talks on his Facebook account on Wednesday, said the ambiance of the meeting was “good.”

He said the talks begun 5 p.m. of June 14 at the Leysebu Hotel at the outskirts of Oslo and ended at 11 p.m. over dinner.

“The ambiance of our first meeting is good because it has been four years since the negotiations were stalled,” Dureza told ABS-CBN News in Filipino.

“Whatever we agree on, we can’t sign yet because [we] have not assumed office. Once we assume office and upon the instruction of President-elect (Rodrigo) Duterte, it would be easier to do the next step to bring about peace in the country,” he added.

The NDFP represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army in the peace negotiations with the government.

The Duterte administration was represented by incoming peace adviser Jesus Dureza, incoming labor secretary Silvestre Bello and former Pangasinan Rep. Hernani Braganza. They flew to Norway on June 10 as instructed by Duterte to resume stalled peace negotiations.

Those who attended the meeting in behalf of NDF include CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison, chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, Fidel Agcaoili, Julie de Lima-Sison, and Connie Ledesma. Shared optimism Dureza said the topics discussed with Sison and the NDFP panel includes the resumption and mechanics of peace negotiations. In their initial meeting, Dureza said both parties expressed optimism on attaining peace for the nation.

“There is evident shared optimism on both sides due to the declaration of President-elect Rody Duterte to seek an early sustainable peace for the nation,” Dureza said in his Facebook update.

 

“Both sides agreed that since the government participants have not yet assumed office, the consensus points, if any, will be initialed for authentication purposes at the close of the informal talks and to be formalized soon after President-elect Duterte's government has assumed office,” he added.

READ MORE...

Online photos posted by Dureza showed representatives from both sides smiling as they tackle ways to resume the negotiations, which were stalled in 2013. 'Ticklish issue' Talks between the government and the communists were stalled after negotiators failed to reach a deal on jailed rebel leaders.

The thorny issue that led to the collapse of the talks was the demand to release communist rebels whom the NDF claimed are peace consultants.

NDF negotiators pointed out that the government has the obligation to free their jailed comrades as a signatory to the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). The 1995 deal prohibits the arrest and detention of peace consultants. The government panel, however, rejected the NDF’s demand, saying the identity of those who are supposed to be covered by the JASIG especially those using aliases cannot be validated.

Last month, president-elect Rodrigo Duterte said he is open to freeing political prisoners even before the end of the talks but some conditions should be met. He said the rebels should return to the negotiating table, shun violence and deal “in good faith.”

Duterte also said that he is ready to provide a safe conduct pass to Sison to enable him return to the country and participate in the talks. Sison, who was jailed during the Marcos dictatorship but released after the first EDSA Revolution, has been on self-exile in The Netherlands since 1987.

Agcaoili, however, believes that Sison’s homecoming remains a “ticklish” issue as he may be arrested by the international police in transit points because he has been labeled a terrorist by the United States. No talks with terrorists Meanwhile, Dureza also clarified the reports that he is open to the negotiations with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“Please allow me at the same time to correct the report by some media outlets bannering the story that i am open to negotiations with the ASG and the BIFF," he said.

"True, I have even directly negotiated with the ASG just recently to seek the release of my friend John Ridsdel whom they nevertheless beheaded as the families could not raise the demanded ransom amount. But negotiating with them in the context of what we are doing with the Bangsamoro and the CPP/NPA/NDF is definitely not the way forward,” Dureza said.

He said that the BIFF and Abu Sayyaf must face the full force of the law for their terrorism and criminal acts.

---------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Coming soon: Duterte tour package By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 15, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Photo provided by the Davao City Mayor’s Office shows British Ambassador Asif Ahmad paying a courtesy call on president-elect Rodrigo Duterte on Monday.

MANILA, Philippines – A Duterte tour package in Davao is now being drawn up as the Department of Tourism (DOT) and private sector collaborate to provide extensive information and remove misconceptions about the incoming president.

The DOT, Davao City tourism office and travel operators want a tour that will focus on the life and career of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

“We started conceptualizing to organize and package a tour that includes his life story, political highlights, policies, projects and even his home, following increased curiosity of people in Davao,” said DOT-Davao region director Roberto Alabado III.

“People are curious and there’s a big interest in people to see who he is. We want to tell his story,” Alabado, who worked closely with the Duterte family, added.

Duterte’s candidacy has raised awareness of Davao and his winning the presidency made the city an instant tourist destination.

“Before it was very hard to market Davao. But now, Duterte has provided an opportunity to showcase the place,” Alabado said.

READ MORE...

He added that hotel accommodations and flights are almost always fully booked and the supposed March-April peak season has been extended and sustained.

“He is definitely the number one promoter. Maybe, people are curious now on his anti-smoking campaign, liquor ban, peace and order and what do these really mean,” Alabado also said.

With the increased attention, the whole Davao region is seen to catch up in terms of visitor arrivals for 2016, targeting more than three million visitors from the 2.8 million recorded last year.

New tourism chief


DUTERTE'S CHOICES. President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has chosen Wanda Corazon Teo (left) to head the Department of Tourism and Ramon Lopez (right) to head the Department of Trade and Industry. Photo of Teo courtesy of NAITAS; photo of Lopez courtesy of Go Negosyo FROM RAPPLER.COM

Duterte announced Monday that Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo will lead the country’s tourism sector.

Teo owns Mt. Apo Travel and Tours and is the president of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (NAITAS), which describes itself as the biggest and the largest travel association in the country.

“Her position as NAITAS president and her experience in handling the tourism establishment business have given her insights and needed experiences so she can lead the whole industry,” Alabado said.

Outgoing Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, who personally knows Teo, said there is “no way but up” in the tourism industry if it will continuously be treated as a business of the people.

“Improve what you see needs improvement and don’t fix what ain’t broke. I have a continuing aspiration that people will believe in the potential of tourism in the country,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez and Teo are set to meet within the week to discuss transition in the department.

Meanwhile, DOT-Cordillera Administrative Region director Marie Venus Tan is hopeful that the industry will continue its upward trend as it breached the two million mark in international arrivals for the first four months of the year.

Foreign visitors in the country totaled to 2.07 million for the January-April 2016 period, or 15 percent higher than the 1.8 million recorded in 2015.

For 2016, DOT has set a new target of 6.5 million international arrivals as it continue to bank on key and emerging source markets as the total receipt is pegged at $6.5 billion.

The DOT-attached agency Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) is also upbeat on the strengthening of convergence programs with the public works and the transportation and communications departments to enhance connectivity.

“Product development of sites, road infrastructure, promotions and halal tourism should also be given priority,” said Nelly Dillera, DOT-Region 12 director.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2016 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE