By Alex P. Vidal
“They missed a great opportunity to shut up.”—Jacques Chirac
THE declaration made by National Security Council (NSC) assistant director general Jonathan Malaya that Hamas wanted to penetrate the Philippines was not only hogwash but also illogical and irresponsible.
Malaya and his boss, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año, who will reportedly “push” for the Anti-Terrorism Council to declare Hamas as a terrorist group, should shut up if they have nothing important or tangible matters to discuss about the security of the Philippines in particular, and safety of Filipinos in general.
They decided to open their mouths about Hamas probably to ride on the currency of the ongoing war between the Palestinian terrorist group and Israel.
If Israel wasn’t at war with Hamas, we doubt if Malaya would speak about Hamas’ purported “intention” to launch activities in the Philippines during the October 17 public briefing at Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon in Manila.
Let’s listen to Malaya: “We saw there was intent by Hamas to launch activities in the Philippines. In fact, in 2018, there was a Hamas bomb maker that was arrested by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and deported to Turkey.”
—Malaya showed no proof the deportee to Turkey nabbed in the Philippines was a “Hamas bomb maker.”
He added: “And also last year, there was an operative that talked to local extremist groups in order to operate in our country.”
—He said she said and they said? Which “local extremist group” in particular? What are the objectives of a Gulf-based militant organization to operate in the country (Philippines) that’s oceans away?
Citing a “PNP investigation,” Malaya alleged the Hamas operatives who tried to infiltrate the country had four main goals:
“Number one, kill Jews in the Philippines, that was the plan. Second, raise funds. And third, to use social media to spread their propaganda. And one more, to stage rallies at embassies and different places to create apparent disunity or chaos.”
—For number one: Logic 101: Is there a big population of Jews in the Philippines? Why would Hamas, known for its armed resistance only to Israel and is based in the Gaza Strip, waste time to send logistics and hit squads in faraway oriental pacific islands of the Philippines in the southeast Asia?
—For the second: Raise funds in poverty-stricken Philippines? Those providing much of the Hamas funding historically have been Palestinian expatriates and private donors in the Persian Gulf. Some Islamic charities in the West, in addition, have been channeling money to Hamas-backed social service groups. Hamas has also been collecting revenue by taxing goods moving through a sophisticated network of tunnels that circumvented the Egyptian crossing into Gaza.
—For the third: Spreading propaganda through the social media can always be done in Hamas’ home-based or in countries near the Gulf and Middle East. Why go to the Philippines?
—For the fourth: Rallies in embassies are done mostly by leftist groups for ideological and political reasons and purposes. Hamas has established a de facto authority as a terrorist group with main mission to destroy only Israel and govern the Gaza. It defies the logic to export acts of chaos and disunity in the Philippines.
Malaya pointed out that Hamas’ “attempts in 2018 and 2022 to gain a foothold in the country were foiled with the help of other nations.”
—Again, why would Hamas be interested “to gain foothold” in the Philippines when its hands are already full in Gaza?
Malaya added: “We stopped them. So this declaration of Hamas as a terrorist organization is to protect our countrymen. This is also a domestic act to ensure our security and prevent any Gaza-like scenario.”
—Again, this is hogwash. “Gaza-like scenario” in the Philippines which has nothing to do whatsoever with the Zionist movement? I don’t need to elaborate.
“This is a clear message by the Philippine government that we won’t allow Hamas to operate here,” he stressed. “We are making sure of the safety of our countrymen and… we are expressing our solidarity with the state of Israel with whom we have had a long and fruitful relation.”
—Again, Hamas will never export trouble and bloodshed in the Philippines, which is probably not even in its economic and political interests—and even terroristic radar.
Malaya made the revelations in relation to National Security Adviser Eduardo Año’s earlier announcement that the country’s Anti-Terrorism Council will push to have Hamas designated as a terrorist organization.
—All over the world Hamas has been known as a terrorist group, except in the Philippines? That’s why it is only now that Año will “push” to have it designated as a terrorist group?
Malaya added: “We know that Hamas is a terrorist organization, that’s why it was declared as such by the United States, European Union, Australia and many other countries.”
—We knew it a long time ago, sir. It’s a big surprise you are so surprised only now that it is a terrorist organization.
Año’s move to have the militant group declared as terrorists, Malaya said, is being done in solidarity with Israel and to also protect the Philippines.
—Unless Malaya and Año are campaigning for seats in the United Nations Social and Trusteeship Council, we are tempted to think they are moonlighting as peace and unity activists.
Malaya explained that declaring Hamas as a terrorist organization will help Philippine authorities apprehend them easier or faster even without arrest warrants and detain them for a certain period of time.
He said it will also stop terrorist financing since the Anti-Money Laundering Council would be able to quickly freeze the assets of persons or groups declared as terrorists.
—Enough of the soliloquy and blabbermouth.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)