MANILA (UPDATED) - Frustrated presidential candidate Ely Pamatong on Tuesday claimed that the suspects in the foiled Sept. 1 bombing of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA-3) were only framed up.
Pamatong said one of the suspects, Grandeur "Jojo" Guerrero, is his chief of staff in his organization called "United States Allied Freedom Fighters of the East (USAFFE).
Pamatong, who rose to infamy in 2004 after his supporters scattered steel spikes on EDSA following his derailed presidential bid, claims to hold a "5-star general" rank in USAFFE.
He is also a self-styled "international lawyer and spokesman" for the Nur Misuari faction of the separatist Moro National Liberation Front.
Pamatong claimed that a military plot is behind the arrest of Guerrero, Emmanuel San Pedro, and Sonny Yohanon.
He alleged that Magdalo-affiliated soldiers framed up Guerrero. "He is one of the best persons and leaders I ever had for 12 years. Iyan ang chief-of-staff ko."
"He was framed by the Magdalo faction of Senator [Antonio] Trillanes," he claimed. "Kasi ito si Senator Trillanes, sa palagay ko agent yan ng China sa Pilipinas."
"Gusto nila sirain ang 'United States freedom fighter' [sic] dahil napakalaking million-march sa Davao for American [sic] and protest against China's occupation of Philippine territories," Pamatong alleged.
He said he is ready to face the National Bureau of Investigation if he is summoned.
Charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives have been filed against the 3 suspects, who are claiming innocence.
Trillanes, meanwhile, denied Pamatong's allegations.
"That guy must be crazy but at least he betrayed the true intention of his latest stunt," he said in a text message to ABS-CBN News. "This was meant to be a diversion from the ongoing investigation against VP Binay after all."
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang said the military monitors Pamatong's group but doesn't see them as a threat.
"Pamatong has been notorious for doing these things," Catapang said.
"He is part of our continuous monitoring but he is not really a threat to us. Just so happened that he was trying to present himself as a prankster," he added.
Asked what Pamatong had to do with the arrested group, Catapang said: "I think they were close friends of Pamatong."
Catapang also believes that the foiled attack was not terrorism-related.
"I don't think it was a terror attack, because you know, they were just firecrackers," he said. "I heard it was pla-pla. We were told that there were gasoline containers, but not that big." - reports from ABS-CBN News Northern Mindanao; Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News