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

MAMASAPANO (MIS-)OPERATION FIASCO REPORTS

SENATE REPORT VOWS ANSWERS TO CONFLICTING REPORTS ON 44 FALLEN SAF MEMBERS


Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares, FACEBOOK PHOTO  Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order, said yesterday her committee report on the Mamasapano incident may  provide answers to the conflicting reports on how the 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) died on Jan. 25, 2015. She is due to submit the committee report to the Senate floor on Monday, March 16. The committee conducted five public hearings and five-closed door sessions. The senator said she has asked for a copy of the PNP Board of Inquiry (BOI) report on the incident to be used as cross-reference for the data gathered by her committee from the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The PNP report will help senators form their impressions and conclusions on the incident, she said. READ MORE...

ALSO Aquino: I was fooled on Mamasapano mission
[The President went on to criticize Napeñas anew, saying he lacked professionalism and made the wrong decisions during the botched operation. "Sinolo ni Napeñas. Siya ang nagdesisyon," Aquino said. "May times ang mga desisyon niya palpak." ]


President Benigno Aquino III in a previous speech on the Mamasapano clash. File photo MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - President Benigno Aquino III on Monday said he was fed with wrong information about the January 25 operation that left 44 police commandos dead.  "The truth is, I was given the wrong information by the people who knew most what was happening," Aquino said during a prayer gathering at Malacañang.  Aquino continued to pin blame on dismissed Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas, reiterating that the police official did not follow his directive to coordinate with military officials regarding the Mamasapano operation. "Maraming wishful thinking si napenas as opposed to reality. Pero maliwanag sa akin, binola niya ako," Aquino said. READ MORE...

ALSO By Francisco Tatad: A cock and bull story (at a supposed 'Bull Session")
["The President walked out in a huff after Lalan (lone SAF survivor)told him, ‘The SAF are very much disappointed in you, Sir, and expect you to resign’,” the source said]


A highly informed source at the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force has denounced as a pure “cock and bull story” the alleged three hour-plus “bull session” between President B. S. Aquino 3rd and the SAF commandos before last Wednesday’s assumption of command by Chief Superintendent Moro Virgilio Lazo as the new SAF commander. The bull session was supposed to have taken place behind closed doors at the SAF Headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City (Metro Manila) while, at the open-air quadrangle fronting the headquarters, the top PNP officials reportedly waited for Aquino to finish. 
“I was there the whole time,” said the source, “and I saw no such ‘three-hour bull session.’ The President stayed for not more than a few minutes after talking to PO2 Christopher Lalan, (the lone survivor of the Jan. 25 massacre in which 44 SAF commandos were killed by the combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters). The President walked out in a huff after Lalan told him, ‘The SAF are very much disappointed in you, Sir, and expect you to resign’,” the source said. READ FULL INSIDER REPORT....

ALSO EARLY NEWS STORY: President Noynoy Aquino held back reinforcement and let cops die instead?


AQUINO, inset DELES ---Aquino, the source said, cannot deny the fact that he was aware all the time of the SAF operation. “SAF Commander (Police Director Getulio) Napeñas gave it away. He said that a little less than two hours before the initial gunfighting, the joint monitoring team of the MILF and the government called for a ceasefire. As no one was supposed to have been informed of the operation except (suspended) PNP Chief Alan Purisima, Acting Chief Leonardo Espina, (Executve Secretary Paquito) Ochoa and the President, who could make this possible? No one but the President. He could have called (Presidential Adviser on Peace Process) Teresita Deles to inform the monitoring team of both sides and call for a ceasefire but unfortunately, it didn’t work,” said the source.......“If the President could make a call so early in the morning to Deles so she could in turn call on the monitoring teams to call for a ceasefire, why can’t he make a call to ask the Armed Forces to send reinforcement for the beleaguered SAF personnel?” the source asked. “Because he was advised by Deles not to do so. They were so obsessed with the peace agreement, they want to save the Bangsamoro Basic Law as they believe it was the last piece for Aquino to earn the Nobel Peace Prize,” said the source. READ FULL REPORT...

 ALSO by JoeAmerica: Mamasapano-- who was at fault, and why


JOE AMERICA: Biliran Island, Philippines; Blogging the cross-cultural experiences and observations of an American living in the Philippines. SOURCE  Click here      We have seen a frenzied hunt for culprits for the death of 44 SAF troops at the Battle of Mamasapano being carried out in the Senate, the House, and the Philippine tabloid media. As if finding someone to paste the guilt on would somehow make the pain go away.  Some of the hunting has taken a political slant, going up a hypothetical chain of command to President Aquino’s desk. One wild-eyed legislator said the President was more responsible for the deaths of the 44 than the MILF. Then a couple of weeks later, distinguished (?) Senator Santiago said virtually the same thing. Others focus on SAF General Napeñas and resigned PNP Chief Purisima, a couple of Dr. Strangeloves concocting their military plots. And of course there is a rage directed at the Moro rebels, by whatever initials they walk under. That rage even hit the peace negotiators for seeming to defend the MILF, about the last place guilt ought to be assigned. Other suspicions fall on the AFP for an extraordinarily slow response on the day of the battle. And the United States. All of the accusations tend to ignore the interrelationship of events, or the context, in which each party operated. Investigators and public critics seem determined to find culprits, almost as if they want to put a stamp on someone’s forehead. They want someone to say to say: “I did it. I killed the 44. It was me.”  READ FULL COMMENTARY...

ALSO: PNP Board Of Inquiry (BOI) requested statement from Noy but got no reply


THE BOI: PNP Board of Inquiry and CIDG chief Police Dir Benjamin Magalong SCREENGRAB, VIDEONEWS FROM RAPPLER.COM  THE PNP Board of Inquiry tasked to investigate the killing of 44 police commandos last January yesterday said it has requested a statement from President Aquino on “Operation Plan Exodus,” a police operation against Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist, but the request remains unanswered. The board coursed the request through Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, said Director Benjamin Magalong, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group who also heads the BOI. “We have expressed our intention (but) we have not received any feedback at the moment. Na-express na namin ang intention but we cannot be imposing,” Magalong told a press conference where he also disclosed that the board asked for another extension, and will submit its report on Thursday. READ FULL REPORT FROM MALAYA...

ALSO: Aquino, after praying, hits critics for being "mga KSP"  (‘Kulang sa Pansin’)


AQUINO PRAYING....Prayer for Aquino. Jesus is Lord head Eddie Villanueva leads the prayer for President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang on Monday. Malacañang Photo Bureau 
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III lashed out at his critics Monday, including those opposed to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), labeling them as attention seekers (kulang sa pansin) who cannot think clearly, are uncaring and lack faith. In an open forum during a prayer gathering organized by the Coalition of Christian Leaders, Aquino said these critics chose to sow doubt and negativism even as he strives to remain calm amid the challenges facing the country. “These KSPs only look for mistakes, but do not offer reasonable and alternative solutions. They only want chaos where they will flourish,” the President said. “These KSPs want to shake our hope. They want to capitalize on the issues we are facing to bring back the old system where they can freely take advantage of other people.”  READ MORE...

ALSO STANDARD EDITORIAL: Covering up for the President

CONTRARY to its claim of transparency, the Aquino administration has used obfuscation, misdirection, rhetoric and even threats to shield an incompetent and ethically challenged President from blame for the death of 44 police commandos in a covert operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.  The obfuscation began almost immediately after the Jan. 25 bloodbath, with President Benigno Aquino III maintaining an   inexplicable three-day silence on the tragic events of that day. When the President finally opened his mouth to speak, he played down the role of his suspended police chief, Alan Purisima, in the ill-fated operation,  claiming that he merely consulted Purisima to better understand the “intricacies” and the “jargon” of the plan to arrest the international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan.   Subsequent testimony before a Senate investigation, however, revealed that the President was being disingenuous, and that he had in fact issued orders directly to Purisima, who in turn issued directives to the Special Action Force (SAF) commander at the time, Getulio Napenas.  READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Senate report vows answers; Poe to submit Mamasapano findings March 16, Monday


Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares, FACEBOOK PHOTO

MANILA, MARCH 16, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Mario Casayuran - Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order, said yesterday her committee report on the Mamasapano incident may  provide answers to the conflicting reports on how the 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) died on Jan. 25, 2015.

She is due to submit the committee report to the Senate floor on Monday, March 16. The committee conducted five public hearings and five-closed door sessions.

The senator said she has asked for a copy of the PNP Board of Inquiry (BOI) report on the incident to be used as cross-reference for the data gathered by her committee from the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The PNP report will help senators form their impressions and conclusions on the incident, she said.

The Poe committee report might not wait for the investigation report by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the incident after its officers told government probers that they had already sent a copy of the report to the Malaysian government which had acted as arbitrator in the MILF peace talks.

The 1996 peace accord between the Philippine government, during the Ramos administration, and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) headed by Nur Misuari was brokered by Indonesia.

The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which seeks to carry out an agreement between the MILF and the peace negotiators of President Benigno S. Aquino III, now hangs in the balance in Congress because of the Mamasapano incident.

Senator Poe said her committee will issue a no-holds barred report that will cite mistakes of officers of the PNP and AFP and even of the Office of the President.

The report will cover the issue of why the President tapped Alan Purisima, despite his suspension by the Ombudsaman, to plan and implement ‘’Operation Exodus’’ to get two terrorists in the MILF-influenced area in Mamasapano.

In a radio interview by a Cebu-based radio station yesterday where she was asked what proposed legislation could arise from the results of the Mamasapano investigation, Poe said Congress should establish a chain of command in the PNP, similar to that in the AFP.

She said AFP and or NP personnel in military or police operations must be provided with radios, and not rely on text messages.

There should be a one-stop shop in the processing of documents to help families of PNP and AFP casualties hit in line of duty, so they can get their benefits without being bothered by bureaucratic red tape.

Senator Poe stressed that the PNP Internal Affairs Department should be headed by a civilian, not a PNP officer, as already provided by law (Republic Act 8551).

Sen. Ferdinand ‘’Bongbong’’ R. Marcos Jr, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Governments, lead committee among three looking into the BBL, said he might be able to conduct more hearings, some in Jolo and Zamboanga, when the security situation permits.

Marcos was non-committal on the June 8 deadline set by Congress leaders to have the BBL passed before Congress adjourns sine die.

Asked about her views on the BBL, Senator Poe said she does not agree with the BBL in its present form. She said federalism as practiced in the United States might be applicable to Muslim Mindanao.

‘’Hindi puwede yung halos wala nang hawak ang national government sa kanila. Isang bansa pa rin tayo. Huwag naman nating walain na tayo ay magkakapatid at mayroon tayong sentrong gobyerno (Muslim Mindanao should not be allowed to exercise almost all the powers of the national government. We are brothers and we need a central government),” she said.

NO WAIVER

The refusal of resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan L.M. Purisima to sign a waiver authorizing Smart Communications to release the log of cell phone numbers with which he had exchanges on January 25 “only raises suspicions of coverup and whitewash,” some lawmakers said yesterday.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, a lawyer, and Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan said the Senate should press President Aquino and Purisima to disclose their text exchanges even “without need of a court order to prove that there is no Mamasapano coverup.”

Senator Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order, had earlier disclosed that Purisima declined to sign the waiver, which is necessary for Smart Communications to track the log of time and numbers.


PHILSTAR

Aquino: I was fooled on Mamasapano mission
By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated March 9, 2015 - 5:19pm


President Benigno Aquino III in a previous speech on the Mamasapano clash. File photo

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - President Benigno Aquino III on Monday said he was fed with wrong information about the January 25 operation that left 44 police commandos dead.

"The truth is, I was given the wrong information by the people who knew most what was happening," Aquino said during a prayer gathering at Malacañang.

Aquino continued to pin blame on dismissed Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas, reiterating that the police official did not follow his directive to coordinate with military officials regarding the Mamasapano operation.

"Maraming wishful thinking si napenas as opposed to reality. Pero maliwanag sa akin, binola niya ako," Aquino said.

The President went on in criticizing Napeñas, saying he lacked professionalism and made the wrong decisions during the botched operation.

He said the operation could have been aborted after condition in the ground was changed.

"Sinolo ni Napeñas. Siya ang nagdesisyon," Aquino said. "May times ang mga desisyon niya palpak."

Aquino said there was also no sense of urgency in the text messages from Napeñas that the SAF troopers were facing imminent death.

Despite the criticisms, Aquino said he is not making Napeñas the scapegoat. He denied washing off hands.

"Kung talagang ako ang may kasalanan dito bakit hindi ko aakuin?" he said. ..


MANILA TIMES

By Francisco Tatad: A cock and bull story March 8, 2015 11:20 pm FRANCISCO S. TATAD by FRANCISCO S. TATAD

A highly informed source at the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force has denounced as a pure “cock and bull story” the alleged three hour-plus “bull session” between President B. S. Aquino 3rd and the SAF commandos before last Wednesday’s assumption of command by Chief Superintendent Moro Virgilio Lazo as the new SAF commander.

The bull session was supposed to have taken place behind closed doors at the SAF Headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City (Metro Manila) while, at the open-air quadrangle fronting the headquarters, the top PNP officials reportedly waited for Aquino to finish.

“I was there the whole time,” said the source, “and I saw no such ‘three-hour bull session.’ The President stayed for not more than a few minutes after talking to PO2 Christopher Lalan, (the lone survivor of the Jan. 25 massacre in which 44 SAF commandos were killed by the combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters). The President walked out in a huff after Lalan told him, ‘The SAF are very much disappointed in you, Sir, and expect you to resign’,” the source said.

The various Manila dailies had carried the same story about the supposed three-hour bull session without any mention of Lalan.

They did not quote any official source for their story, but made it appear that the press reporters were outside the hall when the alleged bull session was going on, and were later fed by “sources” on what had transpired inside.

The bylined stories reported the SAF men talking to Aquino about the system of promotion, hazard pay, equipment, benefits, training, the use of “ antiquated bullets,” and other “concerns.”

SAF’s only known demand— resign, Mr. President

Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, whom Aquino had shut out of the PNP chain of command during the Mamasapano operation, was later quoted as saying the President had directed that the SAF demands be complied with in 30 days.

What demands are these? Our source said the only demand he had heard was from Lalan—that Aquino resign. “Does Roxas mean we should now expect Aquino to quit in 30 days?” the source asked.

If what our source is saying is all correct, and I do not doubt it, then the attempt to lie to the nation has become total.

The public can no longer trust even apparently harmless and supposedly non-controversial news stories about the simplest official activity of government.

The beleaguered Aquino regime lies about everything, and has made not only the Congress and the Cabinet its principal partners and instruments in it, but also the uncritical press.

I myself was led to routinely repeat the cock and bull story in my Friday column (Crisis of survival deepens, March 6) without the slightest suspicion it was a complete fraud. In my 50 years in journalism, I have not had to go through anything like it. I humbly apologize to my readers.

What is of immense value, however, is that the SAF has taken a stand, although it has not been widely reported so far.

Even Aquino’s former defenders and allies on the Left are also making the same call. Many other groups have since come out reiterating the call of the National Transformation Council for Aquino and his entire regime to “step down” and allow a multi-sectoral caretaker council to take over and fix the broken constitutional order before we hold our next national elections.

44-km march for justice

At this writing, a 44-km March for Justice, organized by the PNP Academy Alumni Association for the Fallen 44, is on the road from Salitran, Dasmarinas, Cavite to the PNP Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. Led by PNPAAA board chair Tomas Rentoy, and Rev. Fr. Robert Reyes, known to many as the “running priest,” and several others, the march is supposed to end the official 40-day mourning period for the Fallen 44.

It will end in an ecumenical service at Claret School in Teacher’s Village, Quezon City. PNPAAA Chapter President Senior Superintendent Jerome Baxinela has called on the PNPAAA members not to join the march, but even non-PNP related groups had been calling on citizens en route to offer the marchers water and food when they pass, and if possible to also join the march.

If successful, this march could push the calls for Aquino’s departure to the next level.

Until now, he and his propagandists have argued that nothing in the Constitution requires him to step down before the end of June 2016.

Aquino should know that he is beaten. He had long become thoroughly impeachable for all his crimes, but has avoided impeachment and removal only because the members of Congress, who have the exclusive power to impeach, were his accomplices in the commission of those crimes.

A case of treason

To those crimes has now been added the charge of treason as a result of the Mamasapano massacre. Some of the bereaved families of the Fallen 44 have raised this charge unofficially against him, for denying reinforcement to the 44.

To them, this act was equivalent to taking the side of the enemy during the massacre. He has tried to ignore the accusation; but he is not the first Aquino to be accused of treason.

Marcos once denounced his father, the late former Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., of “treason,” for exposing without any justifiable motive a top-secret government plan to send political assets to Sabah in order to bolster the Filipino presence in the territory, which is the subject of a Philippine legal claim.

During the war, Ninoy’s own father (PNoy’s grandfather) was accused of collaborating with the Japanese while the Filipinos were fighting side by side with the Americans. He was arrested in Tokyo, brought back to be tried in Manila, but died while watching a boxing match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium before he could be tried.

The charge of treason has since been made official by lawyer Homobono Adaza and newspaperman columnist Herman Tiu Laurel who filed a complaint against Aquino and several other officials before the Ombudsman last week, although on different grounds.

They denounced as “treasonous”Aquino’s official acts related to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which seeks to carve out a separate territory for the Islamic rebel organization through the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (Babala), now pending in Congress. Aquino remains undeterred in his push for the Babala, despite the public outcry against it and the MILF.

A matter of honor

Even if the Constitution does not require him to quit, and nobody had called for his resignation or stepping down for all his previous sins against the people, after Mamasapano, he did not need a single protester or lone survivor to tell him to step down.

He should have done so on his own immediately thereafter.

In any civilized country, that’s what the head of government would have done. He would have apologized to the nation, resigned, and accepted all the consequences, particularly if he had been in charge of the wretched operation.

A Japanese defense minister once resigned after a military aircraft accidentally grazed the wing of a civilian aircraft while parking. It is a question of self-respect and honor.

The free fall

“Like a helicopter that has run out of fuel, Aquino is now on a free fall,” said one Palace source.

 “His advisers sit in stony silence, as if shell-shocked, looking at the ceiling without saying anything to each other, as though someone in their family had died, while Aquino smokes and drinks and plays video games.

Of course, his last video game was at Mamasapano and it cost us 44 of our best trained policemen. If he had not been functioning at all as president from the very beginning, he has for all intents and purposes vacated his job now.

He has not even been sleeping at the Palace, but rather at the private residence of one of his sisters. He could develop serious depression and eventually break down,” the source said.

This leaves us this question: who is minding the store? No one.

Time to pray?

Today, several paper organizations would be hosting a peace assembly in Malacañang in an effort to shore up Aquino’s rapidly sinking morale.

The assembly is reportedly organized by “Teach peace, build peace movement,” “Young Moro Professionals Network,” and “All out Peace Network,” all of doubtful existence.

Invited are members of the Armed Forces, the PNP, MILF, religious leaders, academe, civil society, “civilians,” youth, Muslims and “peace advocates.”

The presence of “religious leaders” suggests that the assembly would be offering prayers.

This is probably to allay any suspicion that Aquino had turned atheist or pagan, although he might be just a little confused about whether or not someone in his godhood should still worry about praying.

But the Catholic bishops, religious and clergy appear to have been excluded. Why?

Just because many of them are in the National Transformation Council?

They constitute the overwhelming majority, and they regularly pray for Aquino, every day. I can attest to it, for although I want him out on moral and constitutional grounds, I always include him in my prayers.

The only possible explanation, it seems, is that the proposed assembly is a purely partisan political activity, meant to assure Aquino that he could ignore the rising clamor for him to step down and just dig in.

This doesn’t make sense anymore. His best move is not to await his fate inside his bunker but to negotiate his way out and try to help in facilitating the transition that would restore the devastated constitutional order. And the time for it is now.

Obviously he is afraid of going to jail. He need not be. For although he has jailed his predecessor and three members of the Senate opposition, while protecting all his sycophants and cronies from far more serious accountabilities, it need not follow that the next government would do to him what he did to his victims.

Under our laws, he could still avoid any culpability for anything and everything he has done– from his corruption of Congress in order to railroad the Reproductive Health Law and to impeach and remove Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona; to the gross manipulation and misuse of the budget through the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP); to the denial of reinforcement to the SAF 44—if his defense lawyers could but prove the psychological equivalent of what our Lord said of his executioners on the Cross at Mount Calvary: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”


FROM PHILIPPINE PROBLEMS & ISSUES FB TIMELINE

Philippine Problems and Issues
January 30 · Edited · · .

President Noynoy Aquino held back reinforcement and let cops die instead?

NEWS STORY: - Noy held back on order to reinforce SAF — source
Written by Charlie V. Manalo Friday, 30 January 2015 00:00 Tribune.net.ph

AQUINO ON TOP OF BOTCHED MAGUINDANAO OPS

In his obsession to obtain the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as a political trophy, President Aquino deliberately ignored the pleas from the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) for additional reinforcement to rescue trapped operatives from their dire position.

This was bared to The Tribune by a source within the PNP saying not only was Aquino informed beforehand of the SAF operation against Malay-sian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Mar-wan,” believed to be a key leader of the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islam-iyah, and his alleged Filipino henchman, Abdul Basit Usman, but that he was actually on top of the operation itself.

“The President was actually monitoring the operation. Everything was being reported to him in real time,” said the source.

According to the source, Aquino was in Zamboanga that time, waiting in the wings for the outcome of the operation, ready to jump anytime to Maguindanao should the two suspected terrorists be captured.

“But when the operation went out of control as the MILF and the BIFF Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) joined forces in attacking the SAF, the President refused to send any reinforcement even as the SAF were already crying for help from heir beleaguered position,” the source said.

Aquino, the source said, cannot deny the fact that he was aware all the time of the SAF operation.

“SAF Commander (Police Director Getulio) Napeñas gave it away. He said that a little less than two hours before the initial gunfighting, the joint monitoring team of the MILF and the government called for a ceasefire. As no one was supposed to have been informed of the operation except (suspended) PNP Chief Alan Purisima, Acting Chief Leonardo Espina, (Executve Secretary Paquito) Ochoa and the President, who could make this possible? No one but the President. He could have called (Presidential Adviser on Peace Process) Teresita Deles to inform the monitoring team of both sides and call for a ceasefire but unfortunately, it didn’t work,” said the source.

In an interview with another national daily, Napeñas averred the joint monitoring team from the MILF and the government called for a ceasefire at a little past 6 am, but the “MILF did not stop shooting.”

“General Napeñas said the ceasefire was called for by the monitoring teams of both sides at a little past 6 am, less than two hours after the first shot was fired around 4:20 am. But the gun battle lasted 11 hours until 3:00 pm, and the nearest Army station is only about one kilometer away from where the gun battle was happening, but no reinforcement was sent,” said the source.

“If the President could make a call so early in the morning to Deles so she could in turn call on the monitoring teams to call for a ceasefire, why can’t he make a call to ask the Armed Forces to send reinforcement for the beleaguered SAF personnel?” the source asked.

“Because he was advised by Deles not to do so. They were so obsessed with the peace agreement, they want to save the Bangsamoro Basic Law as they believe it was the last piece for Aquino to earn the Nobel Peace Prize,” said the source.

“Never mind if 50 dedicated cops were killed,” he lamented.

Full story http://w11.zetaboards.com/NDSFP/single/?p=8267461&t=10942309

#######

PNoy, if this is true, then YOU ARE A LOUSY COMMANDER IN CHIEF!

Sec. Teresita Deles, what you did was treasonous. We can bring back the negotiation but not human lives.

As for PNoy, you could have turned the battle into a great success if you allowed the military to move in. But sadly, you chose to let them die instead. That is more like treason. Traitor is the word, being the commander in chief of the AFP and the Chief Executive leading the PNP.

Saving the peace deal?

You can always save the peace deal since the MILF has nowhere to go. Besides, you already breached their line when you allowed the PNP-SAF to assault the location, which is within MILF's 105th base jurisdiction.

You also have the right to breach that line since the MILF had already violated the earlier agreement when they allowed Marwan and Usman to stay there and when they failed to tell you about it.

As President, you should have listened to the SAF's call and not that of Deles, who knew nothing about saving lives of the men in the frontlines and who is much more interested in saving her project than saving the lives of the SAF men.

Had the Army been allowed to reinforce the SAF, only a few would have died and your courage to risk the peace talk just to save your SAF men, your own men down there, could have made you a hero and earned our loudest and longest applause.

But you chose to be selfish and coward at that. Sorry for the word.

Wrong move on that one.

How to save your image?

1st, Bomb the BIFF and MILF's 105th base command for coddling the bombers.

2nd, suspend the BBL until MILF surrenders Usman and the rest. That's what the MILF must do if they wish to save the BBL.

Make a stand, PNoy. Try to be brave and show to the Filipino nation that the nation's interest comes first and not yours.

MORE HERE

Oplan Wolverine http://w11.zetaboards.com/NDSFP/topic/10942309/1/ 

Bangsamoro Peace Deal http://w11.zetaboards.com/NDSFP/topic/10353527/


BLOGGED: JOE AMERICA DOT COM

Mamasapano: who was at fault, and why Posted by Joe America on February 15, 2015 · 286 Comments


JOE AMERICA

We have seen a frenzied hunt for culprits for the death of 44 SAF troops at the Battle of Mamasapano being carried out in the Senate, the House, and the Philippine tabloid media. As if finding someone to paste the guilt on would somehow make the pain go away.

Some of the hunting has taken a political slant, going up a hypothetical chain of command to President Aquino’s desk. One wild-eyed legislator said the President was more responsible for the deaths of the 44 than the MILF. Then a couple of weeks later, distinguished (?) Senator Santiago said virtually the same thing.

Others focus on SAF General Napeñas and resigned PNP Chief Purisima, a couple of Dr. Strangeloves concocting their military plots. And of course there is a rage directed at the Moro rebels, by whatever initials they walk under. That rage even hit the peace negotiators for seeming to defend the MILF, about the last place guilt ought to be assigned. Other suspicions fall on the AFP for an extraordinarily slow response on the day of the battle. And the United States.

All of the accusations tend to ignore the interrelationship of events, or the context, in which each party operated. Investigators and public critics seem determined to find culprits, almost as if they want to put a stamp on someone’s forehead. They want someone to say to say: “I did it. I killed the 44. It was me.”

No one will. No one should.

Many people influenced the outcome of the battle. President Aquino by authorizing the plan, PNP and AFP officers who engaged militarily in a well-intended mission to rid to the planet of two really nasty fellows, and for sure the Moro rebels who shot and shot and shot. And we must add the peacekeepers who could not keep the peace when it was needed most. And maybe even the United States, a shadow over everything, a stealth actor on a deadly stage.

My goal is to focus on the CONTEXT rather than the individuals. Without that context, the decisions would have been different. Therefore, the context is the real culprit. Within the context, we can identify those who were guided by it, and complicit in the deaths, but who were not singly at fault.

The context was shaped by years of hunt for the deadly terrorist bomber Marwan. It was shaped by various incidents and mistrusts that arose over the years that came together at Mamasapano. It was shaped by the human condition, one of ego and jealousy and personal ambition. I will consider six parties and look at their roles in shaping the context for the deaths. 1.President Aquino 2.The tandem of SAF General Napeñas and PNP Chief Purisima 3.AFP General Pangilinan 4.The Moro rebels: MILF and BIFF 5.The peace negotiators 6.The United States

I’m not going to do a recitation of all the details of involvement, timelines and where the troops were when, but will focus instead on the significance of certain events.

President Aquino

The President agreed to the high priority of getting Marwan. He had been guided over the years by Chief Purisima and his people, very likely working with intelligence supplied by the US, and he had endorsed various operating initiatives over the years. This was not his first “go” decision. Unfortunately, in the context of politics and the culture of corruption, his key man had been suspended. The man with all the secret information, the historical background, the insights into people. The President decided he needed that expertise, no matter the political implications.

Mr. Aquino’s visits or other contacts with suspended PNP Chief Purisima were entirely within his right as President. Purisima had detailed and classified knowledge that DILG Secretary Roxas and Acting PNP Chief Espina did not have. Perhaps there was fault with the President for not including Roxas and Espina in the briefings, but there was also reason not to: they had no “need to know” of the operating details; neither was ever engaged in the Marwan hunt or knew the intricacies and history of that hunt.

The President went directly to Purisima and kept it simple and secure. Purisima had hatched the plan. He should be allowed to bring it home along with the veteran operation head of the Marwan hunt, PNP General Napeñas.

The President’s final guidance to General Napeñas was “coordinate with the AFP”. That simple statement of guidance absolves the President of culpability for the way the operation turned out because Purisima and Napeñas declined to follow the President’s advice. They felt it would endanger the mission, and they had something to prove.

Any claims that President Aquino was complicit in a “botched” raid are strictly political and have little to do with the well-being of the Philippines. They merely underscore the political aspirations of the complaining parties. The politicization of some of the charges are perhaps best represented in Senator Marcos on Day 3 of the Senate inquiry when he seemed to blame Mr. Aquino for not ordering artillery to fire. He wanted MORE engagement by Mr. Aquino. Meanwhile, the tabloid press has been in an uproar for weeks under the belief that Mr. Aquino DID provide direction for the operations. Critics wanted LESS engagement by Mr. Aquino. And more.

The point of this absurdity is, of course, that politics is politics, even in fact-finding hearings. Politics is a part of the news we read and a part of the bad information that the public is given by the tabloid press.

Yes, the buck stops at Mr. Aquino’s desk, but he acted in good faith, for good aims, and had no personal control of events after Napenas and Purisima left his office. The context at the time was just that: a mission of good aims undertaken in good faith. That is the President’s part in it.

The tandem of SAF General Napeñas and PNP Chief Purisima

SAF General Napeñas and PNP Chief Purisima consciously decided to ignore the President’s guidance and cut everyone out of advance knowledge of the operation, ostensibly because it would complicate or even endanger an operation that had failed over and over again, sometimes because of suspected leaks. They would advise everyone “Time on Target”, or right before the operation began.

The context of their decision-making was mistrust and deep resentment toward the AFP formed as a sequence of several prior failed efforts to get the terrorist bomber Marwan, to wit: ◾The AFP refused to provide mechanized support for the previous operation after it had been built into the plan. The operation was cancelled. ◾The AFP undertook their own operation to get Marwan before that without consulting with SAF. The operation failed. The two services both wanted credit for the capture of Marwan. ◾When AFP was involved in prior operations, the targets evaded capture. Marwan had fled, as if informed of the SAF approach. The operations failed.

Napeñas’ counterpart at AFP was General Pangilinan.

It was clear to Napeñas and Purisima that AFP was working against them for their own ambitions. Certainly, a general who got credit for Marwan’s capture had a bright future ahead of him.

Napeñas and Purisima had had enough. They would do the mission “Time on Target”. They could not bring Espina or Roxas into the picture early because then they would likely be told to bring AFP into the picture.

No way.

General Napeñas and Chief Purisima made a conscious decision, considering all the facts at hand, and went “Time on Target” for all coordination.

This decision gives the two officers major culpability for the outcome. But not total culpability. If we consider context, it is the same kind of decision countless military leaders have faced in conflict. Consider all the circumstances, many of them on imperfect information, many without much time, many with life and death outcomes. Make your best choice. No guarantees.

And countless military leaders have paid the price for losing battles. That is an accepted tradition in the military services, as acceptable as dying in battle. It comes with the job.

The military mission was a success. But the price was too high for popular acceptance in the emotional Philippines. Napeñas and Purisima will pay the price.

Two people who have spent their lives working for the Philippine nation.

AFP General Pangilinan

Some attention has been given to the reasons for the AFP’s delays, but not enough. If the slow response on day of battle was because of inter-service animosity, General Pangilinan is just as responsible as General Napeñas for the outcome of the battle. By all evidence, he did not try to read the situation aggressively and quickly, and his units responded poorly. These were command decisions.

He can point to his achievements. But getting to first base is not an achievement when you need a home run.

One can’t help but think that if a neighboring AFP post had come under fire with only one shot, resources would have been rushed to the scene to guage and engage. But not here, even with a full-fledged firefight going on just a few kilometers from his position. Pangilinan claimed “no urgency was conveyed”, “we had no knowledge of who was where”, “our units were pinned down”, “we couldn’t fire artillery because of doctrine”. A request for artillery came in early in the morning, yet that was not read by AFP as a statement of urgency.

What was missing from AFP’s engagement was any kind of purposeful battlefield initiative. AFP was passive and made no effort to understand the scene. Why did it take hours instead of minutes to reconnoiter in broad daylight to FIND OUT what was happening? Why did the generals seem to read cell phone messages as social media chat? Where was the drive to get better information when a firestorm was going on “right over there”?

I rather think the investigation of AFP needs to be done from OUTSIDE AFP. Not inside. The prior incidents involving the Marwan hunt should be a part of this inquiry. Any stigma of a whitewashed report should be avoided.

One universal military motto is “no excuses!” General Pangilinan read every excuse in the book, and the units under his command achieved weak results, helping extract the 84th. But not the 55th.

He should pay a military leader’s proper price for his command decisions, too. He for sure helped define the context of the mission – mistrust and resentment – as it went from well-intended to tragic.

The Moro rebels: MILF and BIFF

The Moro rebel “army” is made up of a number of independent, largely uncontrollable clans headed by warlords who act for their own benefit, not that of the MILF negotiating team. Force is their language of choice. They are well armed and have fought for the right to claim their own territories. Marwan was in BIFF territory, 500 yards from MILF territory, and locals respected the dividing line between the two forces.

Moro rebel allegiances in a battle situation would be, in order of allegiance: 1.The clan or troop 2.The MILF leadership 3.The Philippine state

The MILF fighters at the scene were fighting for the clan, as were BIFF. MILF leadership wants the peace agreement to come to fruition, but this is not shared by the hard core fighters. BIFF wants the peace agreement to end, and one would suspect they were instrumental in the brutality of the battle.

The slaughter of SAF troops, done in ISIS style, is reflective of the new, intensely brutal method of Muslim extremist fighting that uses horror to instill fear, and that ignores any human decency or compassion. The deeds done were the work of clans, of warlords. Not the MILF leadership. That leadership is now in a box because they have no standing for acting without the approval of a council of warlords.

The MILF leadership system is a tangle of interests, a super-bureaucracy, at the ground level.

MILF Chief Negotiator Iqbal on Day 3 of the Senate hearings made clear that there are also emotions to deal with among the Moro people. He itemized the massacres they have suffered over the years, and the history of their disenfranchisement and neglect. He explained that the fighters were not shooting at SAF troopers but at years of oppression. He asked for patience as they worked through steps to demonstrate they are committed to the peace plan.

It is important to acknowledge the Moro context, years of disenfranchisement and oppression. General Napeñas and Chief Purisima had nothing to do with this context.

The remark went by quickly during the heat of the hearings, but Chief Negotiator Iqbal, when asked about the brutality of SAF executions, emotionally characterized it as “perhaps more than terrorism”. In other words, inhumane.

The Moro rebels committed murder in a violent and inhumane way. They turned the context to tragic, and even horrific. They are as culpable as culpable gets. There likely will be no Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) until fire-fight commanders or terrorist Usman are arrested and the MILF re-establishes a measure of trust. If that is ever done, the law, now in draft form, will be amended to prevent such wanton disregard of State civil processes in Bangsamoro territory.

Moro rebels are culpable both for murder and potentially killing the peace agreement.

MILF negotiators were pretty much like Secretary Roxas. Not consulted. In the dark. And unable to act on the day of the fighting because of the bureaucratic tangle that required getting agreement from the fighters themselves.

The fighters were busy.

The peace negotiators

The House inquiry panel turned on the peace negotiators almost as if they were a representative of the Moro rebels. Secretary Deles tried to explain the context of the MILF thinking and the House members did not want to hear it.

The peace negotiators want peace. That is why they are there. They have the most difficult of jobs, negotiating between sides that have been at war for decades. Those who refuse to listen to the peace negotiators are themselves culprits assuring further hostility.

But subordinate to the peace negotiators are other coordinating bodies, including a cease fire team.

Members of the cease fire team arrived on scene early in the morning of the battle. They immediately got bogged down in the logistics of getting people together and trying various ways to stop the shooting. They had no success until late in the afternoon, about three hours after the wipe-out of an entire SAF unit. Their failure to stop the shooting requires thorough investigation. Perhaps the reason was “we would be killed if we tried to get to the rebels”. That has some legitimacy. But the point is, like the generals, their mission was not accomplished until it was too late.

The same kinds of questions asked of General Pangilinan need to be asked of this group. Why not faster, more aggressive work? Not to relieve people of jobs or assign culprits. But to establish firmer, faster methods to get shooting stopped in the future. Sending unarmed peacekeepers between firing units is obviously not the way.

The context: ineffective cease fire methods assured the tragic ends.

The United States

Well, we can’t know what we are not supposed to know, but we can guess based on what we are told we should not know. We can bet that Purisima knew, and Espina did not.

The United States supplied information as to the location of Marwan and Usman. The US declined to put a smart bomb through the roof of Marwan’s hut as requested by General Napeñas.

The enduring Filipino political mistrust of the United States established the context for how the hunt for Marwan would be carried out: it would be ground attack, and men at risk. Cutting out all the middlemen, the discussion went like this: ◾General Napeñas: “The best way is to have the U.S. put a smart bomb through the roof.” ◾Legislature: “That would be a threat to Philippine sovereignty.”

Never mind that the United States respects Philippine sovereignty in ways that other nations do not.

How is sovereignty defined in the Philippines? Applied mistrust, or ability to command resources in the best interest of the nation?

Legislators argue intellectual constructs such as sovereignty to advance their political aims. This is done with the same moral certitude that terrorists argue religion and history to advance their political aims. When legislators restrain the Philippines from using all the resources at her command, then the Legislature has taken a decision that establishes the context in which 44 people lost their lives. Actually 66 if we remove our socio/political bias from the tabulation. The 67th, we are well to be without.

That is the problem with all this finger pointing and denial of accountability. It always circles around.

In the whole context of what transpired, the Legislature caused this needless loss of 66 lives as much as anyone.

Representative Bello, Senator Santiago . . . you did it.


MALAYA

PNP Board Of Inquiry (BOI) requested statement from Noy but got no reply By RAYMOND AFRICA on March 10, 2015


THE BOI: PNP Board of Inquiry and CIDG chief Police Dir Benjamin Magalong SCREENGRAB, VIDEONEWS FROM RAPPLER.COM

THE PNP Board of Inquiry tasked to investigate the killing of 44 police commandos last January yesterday said it has requested a statement from President Aquino on “Operation Plan Exodus,” a police operation against Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist, but the request remains unanswered.

The board coursed the request through Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, said Director Benjamin Magalong, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group who also heads the BOI.

“We have expressed our intention (but) we have not received any feedback at the moment. Na-express na namin ang intention but we cannot be imposing,” Magalong told a press conference where he also disclosed that the board asked for another extension, and will submit its report on Thursday.

Several ranking government officials have given their statements to the BOI, including Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, PNP officer in charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, resigned PNP chief Alan Purisima, sacked Director Special Action Force head Director Getulio Napeñas, and 420 other personalities.

President Aquino has been under fire for his supposed direct involvement in the execution of the SAF’s Oplan Exodus last January 25 in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. The operation left the 44 SAF commandos dead in a clash with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Aquino is also being blamed for letting Purisima call the shots during the operation while he was under preventive suspension by the Ombudsman for graft charges. Only Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas apparently knew the operation would be launched on January 25.

The BOI was supposed to submit its final report last February 26. This was moved to March 6 then to March 8. Yesterday, the BOI requested for a three-day extension.

Magalong said the delay in submission of the final results has nothing to do with alleged attempts to cover up the involvement of “higher” government officials.

“We asked for three more days for analysis, conclusion because we want that the findings be based on facts and are heavily supported by evidence,” Magalong said.

He said the board asked for another extension because it does not want to sacrifice the “quality” of its investigation and the credibility of the board and the entire PNP.

He said the BOI has already finished with the outline of the report. “We want this to be very objective.”

He said the BOI has hurdled several obstacles, including the non-cooperation of some personalities linked to the case.

There were also witnesses who gave their statements but refused to be interviewed.

In some cases, MILF commanders didn’t give their contact numbers or refused to submit to personal interviews.

ROXAS’ DECISION

Magalong said the BOI will submit a copy of its report to Espina who will forward it to Roxas. Roxas will furnish Malacañang a copy of the BOI report, and will decide if he will make the results of the investigation public.

The BOI will give copies of the report to the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights, and all other agencies conducting a probe.

Magalong clarified that the BOI is a fact-finding body and not prosecutorial in nature.

“Our results will also be good material for agencies investigating the criminal liabilities of the persons involved,” he added.

`TACTICAL LAPSES’

The BOI has partially established that “tactical lapses” are among factors that led to the death of the 44 SAF troopers who formed part of the 392 SAF commandos who executed Oplan Exodus.

A source said that the tactical lapses theory in the BOI’s unofficial report was based on several aggravating circumstances, one of which is time constraint.

“The mission could have been aborted because the troops arrived late when they (SAF) were supposed to be at the area at 2 a.m. but were delayed arriving instead at 4 a.m., at the time when the Muslims are already awake,” the source said.

The SAF troopers were out to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman in barangay Pembalakan in Mamasapano town.

The BOI unofficial report mentioned the names of Napeñas and Purisima as among those responsible for the tactical lapses.

Pembalakan and Tukanalipao villages are populated areas with MILF and BIFF members.

LENTEN BREAK HEARINGS

Because of the delayed submission of the BOI report, the 75-man ad hoc House committee tasked to deliberate on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law will have to ask the chamber’s leadership to allow the panel to resume hearings during the Lenten break.

Panel chair Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the committee is eyeing holding hearings from March 23 to April 2 to give lawmakers ample time to review the report of the PNP-BOI.

If allowed, the panel plans to finally put the BBL to a vote after holding more than 30 hearings.

“We will also have the voting of the draft bill on April 8, Wednesday. That is now the timetable, which I think is reachable for all of us and feasible as long as General Magalong submits the report on or before Thursday,” he said.


MANILA STANDARD

Aquino, after praying, hits critics for being ‘Kulang sa Pansin’ By Joyce Pangco Panares, Maricel V. Cruz | Mar. 10, 2015 at 12:01am


AQUINO PRAYING....Prayer for Aquino. Jesus is Lord head Eddie Villanueva leads the prayer for President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang on Monday. Malacañang Photo Bureau

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III lashed out at his critics Monday, including those opposed to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), labeling them as attention seekers (kulang sa pansin) who cannot think clearly, are uncaring and lack faith.

In an open forum during a prayer gathering organized by the Coalition of Christian Leaders, Aquino said these critics chose to sow doubt and negativism even as he strives to remain calm amid the challenges facing the country.

“These KSPs only look for mistakes, but do not offer reasonable and alternative solutions. They only want chaos where they will flourish,” the President said.

“These KSPs want to shake our hope. They want to capitalize on the issues we are facing to bring back the old system where they can freely take advantage of other people.”

“No matter what our decision is, in every action taken by your government, they are ready to criticize. They are just waiting for the opportunity to abuse our people again once they have returned to power,” the President added.

Aquino also challenged those criticizing the proposed BBL to offer a better alternative.

“Many of those who are complaining have not even read the BBL. They do not have any alternative to offer, and their motives are not for the good of the country,” the President said.

Once passed into law, the BBL will implement the comprehensive peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Doubts over the sincerity of the MILF emerged after its members, together with armed rebels from its splinter group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, clashed with police commandos of the Special Action Force who were out to arrest international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

The bloody operation in Mamasapano left 44 SAF troopers dead, fanning public outrage and prompting lawmakers to suspend congressional hearings on the BBL.

Aquino said Congress has committed to pass the measure by June but he would prefer an earlier date to give more time for the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

“They are projecting approval by June. I am hoping they approve way before June to give the BTA enough time to demonstrate their merit and belief that this is a better system,” the President added.

Among the leaders of the Coalition participated in yesterday’s prayer gathering were Eddie Villanueva, national chairman of the Philippines for Jesus Movement and the father of Aquino’s ally, Joel Villanueva, director-general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Catholic bishops who have been highly critical of Aquino and who have called for him to resign over the Mamasapano fiasco were not invited to the prayer meeting.

In the House of Representatives, the head of the 75-member ad hoc committee on the BBL said he would ask House leaders to allow the panel to hold sessions even after the March 20 session break.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodgriguez, chairman of the panel, said the failure of the police board of inquiry to submit its report on the Mamasapano incident by its March 6 target would also delay hearings on the draft law.

“I am quite disappointed because PNP General [Benjamin] Magalong made a promise to submit to the House of Representatives the report of the board of inquiry today but I just heard it will be extended to Thursday [March 12] … [This] will also set back the timetable we have set in the committee,” he said.

Rodriguez said his panel would want to pass the BBL at the committee level by April 8.

Rodriguez said the resumption of the BBL hearings would focus on the board’s report, as well as provisions in the draft law that some experts say are unconstitutional.

To make up for the delay, Rodriguez said he would seek permission to hold hearings during the recess from March 23 to April 2.

Rodriguez said there was still enough time for the House and the Senate to pass the measure by June, but said holding a special session on the BBL was not feasible because they were running out of time.

Congress will adjourn on March 20 for a Lenten break. It will resume sessions on May 4. Lawmakers will hold sessions again until June 12, and will adjourn again to mark the formal closing of the second regular session of 16th Congress.


MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

Covering up for the President  By Manila Standard Today | Mar. 09, 2015 at 12:01am

CONTRARY to its claim of transparency, the Aquino administration has used obfuscation, misdirection, rhetoric and even threats to shield an incompetent and ethically challenged President from blame for the death of 44 police commandos in a covert operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The obfuscation began almost immediately after the Jan. 25 bloodbath, with President Benigno Aquino III maintaining an inexplicable three-day silence on the tragic events of that day. When the President finally opened his mouth to speak, he played down the role of his suspended police chief, Alan Purisima, in the ill-fated operation, claiming that he merely consulted Purisima to better understand the “intricacies” and the “jargon” of the plan to arrest the international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan.

Subsequent testimony before a Senate investigation, however, revealed that the President was being disingenuous, and that he had in fact issued orders directly to Purisima, who in turn issued directives to the Special Action Force (SAF) commander at the time, Getulio Napenas.

On several occasions, both Purisima and Napenas had briefed the President on the progress of the operation, without the knowledge of the officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police, Leonardo Espina.

Purisima, we now know, had ordered Napenas to keep his commanding officer, Espina, in the dark about the operation, and had informed the Armed Forces about the raid only when the commandos were already at the scene—limiting the Army’s ability to support the SAF members in a timely manner.

When it became apparent that things had gone terribly awry, the President found a scapegoat in Napenas, blaming him publicly on several occasions for failing to coordinate with the Armed Forces. Later, when it became apparent that the SAF commander could not have acted alone, the President threw Purisima under the bus, claiming that his long-time friend had lied to him about the progress of the Mamasapano operation.

In Congress, Palace allies succeeded in stifling hearings on the massacre

At the same time, the administration used misdirection to take public attention away from the Mamasapano debacle. This it did by initiating new moves against opposition senators embroiled in the pork barrel scandal, and a renewed military offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a group that the government had previously dismissed as mere bandits.

The President and his allies also used the rhetoric of peace in an attempt to defuse public outrage over the Mamasapano massacre. The peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was critical, the President insisted, even though members of this same group had participated in the massacre of the police commandos.

Aquino then fatuously equated the passage of the MILF-supported Bangsamoro Basic Law with support for peace, and opposition to the flawed document as a vote for war.

The BBL, the Palace said, was “bigger than Mamasapano,” disregarding the words of the President’s own mother, the late President Cory Aquino, who said: “Reconciliation should be accompanied by justice, otherwise it will not last. While we all hope for peace it shouldn’t be peace at any cost but peace based on principle, on justice.”

As calls for the President’s resignation over the Mamasapano fiasco began to mount, Aquino’s attack dog, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, threatened those who demanded he step down, warning ominously that the state could file coup d’etat or sedition charges against them.

This has neither cowed nor silenced the President’s critics, however.

Caloocan Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iñiguez Jr. speaks of a “systemic cover-up” aimed at protecting the President at the expense of the truth.

“Mamasapano is not just about 68 persons slain on Jan. 25..... Above all, Mamasapano is a glaring example of the President’s willful violation of all tenets of good governance and accountability,” Iñiguez said.

The truth may well set us free—but it could also put this President behind bars.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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