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

COLOMA SAYS PNOY'S STATEMENT ON NAPEÑAS: 'NOT MEANT TO ASSIGN BLAME'


("Napeñas 'fooled' me")President Benigno Aquino III spoke at length for the first time about the Mamasapano mission on Monday, saying relieved SAF commander Getulio Napeñas "fooled" him on the details of the operation. AP file photo  ........Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. claimed that Aquino's purpose was to make the public understand the events that led to the deaths of 44 SAF commandos during the January 25 operation. "It's not to heap blame, but to tell the story as it actually happened para maunawaan nung mga kababayan natin iyong buong kaganapan. That is why hindi naman niya pakay talaga doon na manisi," Coloma said in an interview on GMA News TV this morning. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO PNP: BOI team will not be swayed by PNoy’s statement vs. Napeñas


PNP BOARD OF INQUIRY (BOI)  The Philippine National Police said the Board of Inquiry investigating the bloody Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash will not be swayed in finishing its report by President Benigno Aquino III's pronouncements on Monday blaming relieved Special Action Force commander Director Getulio Napeñas Jr. for the incident. At a press briefing on Tuesday, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. assured the public that BOI chief Director Benjamin Magalong, who also heads the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, and other members of the team will remain true to their investigation. "There is no setting of influence," Cerbo said, adding that members of the team will not allow their credibility to be tainted. "Mayroon na lang 1 to 2 years si Gen. Magalong sa serbisyo, do you think he will sacrifice his credibility, na sirain ang ilang dekada niyang binuong reputasyon?" Cerbo noted. "Nasa finish line na siya."  READ MORE...

ALSO: Cover-up seen in PNP BOI report delay


BOI CHAIR MAGALONG -- The Board of Inquiry investigating the Jan. 25 Mamasapano massacre sought a three-day extension to its Monday deadline to submit its report, amid criticisms that a whitewash was in the offing. “We would like to assure the families of [the 44 slain members of the Special Action Force] that this extension has nothing to do with a cover-up or whitewash. We just want to be very objective,” board chairman Director Benjamin Magalong said. But lawmakers decried the delay in the release of the police board report, and saw it as a part of a cover-up. Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said the President should be held accountable for the death of the 44 commandos. READ MORE...

ALSO: Man up on Mamasapano, Lacson urges PNoy


LACSON 
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino should have assumed responsibility over the firefight between the PNP-Special Action Force contingent and the Muslim rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on Jan. 25 that resulted in the killing of 44 police commandos, former Senator Panfilo Lacson said Sunday.
“That should have been his first response after the killings: to assume responsibility,” Lacson told DZBB radio. “Of course, that does not amount to criminal liability,” he said. Lacson said he waited for the President’s first message after the death of the 44 police commandos. “I was waiting for him to say ‘I assume responsibility and I’m ordering an in-depth investigation’,” Lacson said. He said Aquino should not have just given a stern message to the PNP and the Armed Forces for the incident. He also should have issued a strong warning to the MILF fighters who were identified as among the killers of the 44. READ MORE...

ALSO: Definitely, definitely, Gen. Napeñas did not lie to the President [“Masakit para kay General Napeñas na marining kay President na binola siya (It hurt General Napeñas to hear the President say he lied to him),” said the general legal counsel.]


General Napeñas ----Relieved police Special Action Force chief Director Getulio Napeñas turned the tables on President Aquino yesterday, criticizing him for allowing Director General Alan Purisima, who was suspended at the time, to be part of the SAF operation in Maguindanao on Jan. 25.  Through his lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre II, Napeñas also said he did not fool Aquino.  “Definitely, definitely, General Napeñas did not lie to the President,” Aguirre told The STAR. “General Napeñas submitted his cellular phone to the CIDG for forensic analysis. In all 23 pages of transcript, there was no exchange of messages between General Napeñas and the President,” Aguirre said, referring to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. READ MORE...

ALSO: Bello, an Aquino ally resigns as Akbayan representative, calls Aquino disgraceful


Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello INQUIRER FILE PHOTO 
MANILA, Philippines—Representative Walden Bello has resigned from his post as Akbayan lawmaker, the critical administration ally said Wednesday. In a text message, Bello said he resigned because of his losing support for the President “who is washing his hands of responsibility of a mission he planned and executed” and for covering up the botched operation. “I have given notice of my intention to resign as Akbayan (repreprentative) though I will remain in the party,” Bello said in a text message statement. “I am withdrawing support because I can no longer support a President engaged in brazen coverup of his role in the Mamasapano tragedy,” he said. “I am withdrawing support because I cannot support a man whose behavior is a disgrace to the presidency. As far as my future in Congress, I think our code of conduct as a party is that I cannot continue to represent an organization with which I have major policy disagreement such as on the question of support for the administration,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO TIMES EDITORIAL: Again, the President has proved himself to be a liar. What now?


from Troy Zarate de Leon’s Facebook page --Two weeks and two days ago, BS Aquino said that he was lied to by his best friend, Alan Purisima, the suspended Chief of the PNP (the Ombudsman had him suspended for corruption issues). Aquino was blaming Purisima for not telling him the truth about the grave dangers Oplan Exodus was placing the PNP-SAF companies into. Then on Monday, at the live TV production in Malacañang that was labeled a Prayer Gathering, Aquino spoke lengthily about being lied to, this time not by Purisima but by the sacked former PNP-SAF Director, General Getulio Napeñas. Aquino said, in effect, that Napeñas had made him believe all was well with the mission to capture or kill the Malaysian terrorist bomber and bombing expert Marwan and his Filipino Muslim partner Basit Usman. These new claims that BS Aquino made on Monday, while leaders of Evangelical church groups were with him in Malacañang, were too convoluted and different from what he had been saying before. The claims contradicted testimonies and copies of text messages that had been made public during the House and Senate hearings. As a result senators and congressmen have been dismayed by BS Aquino’s blabbering on Monday. READ FULL TIMES EDITORIAL FROM BEGINNING....


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Palace: PNoy's statement on Mamasapano not meant to assign blame ("Napeñas 'fooled' me")


President Benigno Aquino III spoke at length for the first time about the Mamasapano mission on Monday, saying relieved SAF commander Getulio Napeñas "fooled" him on the details of the operation. AP file photo

MANILA, MARCH 16, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Louis Bacani  - It was not President Benigno Aquino III's objective to assign blame when he revealed yesterday that he was deceived about the deadly Special Action Force (SAF) operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. claimed that Aquino's purpose was to make the public understand the events that led to the deaths of 44 SAF commandos during the January 25 operation.

"It's not to heap blame, but to tell the story as it actually happened para maunawaan nung mga kababayan natin iyong buong kaganapan. That is why hindi naman niya pakay talaga doon na manisi," Coloma said in an interview on GMA News TV this morning.

Coloma said Aquino tried to provide context and explain all the circumstances of the botched operation.

"Kasi nga maraming nuances. Napakakumplikado, napaka-risky nung operations at hindi tayo dapat din na mag-over simplify," Coloma explained, saying Aquino was able to point out the weaknesses of the mission.

Aquino spoke at length for the first time about the Mamasapano operation during a prayer gathering for him on Monday at the Palace grounds.

A combative Aquino continued to criticize relieved SAF commander Getulio Napeñas, saying he lacked professionalism for failure to coordinate with the military regarding the Mamasapano mission.

The president said he was made to believe by Napeñas that the Mamasapano operation would be carried out efficiently based on the detailed plan presented to him.

Napeñas' execution of the plan, however, made the operation a "mission impossible," Aquino lamented.

The sacked police official could have also aborted the operation when there were deviations in the plan.

"Siguro 'yung pinaka-generous way of looking at it, maraming wishful thinking si Napeñas as opposed to reality. Pero maliwanag sa akin, binola niya ako," Aquino said. ..


GMA NEWS NETWORK

PNP: BOI team will not be swayed by PNoy’s statement vs. Napeñas By AMANDA FERNANDEZ,GMA NewsMarch 10, 2015 1:02pm


PNP BOARD OF INQUIRY (BOI)

The Philippine National Police said the Board of Inquiry investigating the bloody Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash will not be swayed in finishing its report by President Benigno Aquino III's pronouncements on Monday blaming relieved Special Action Force commander Director Getulio Napeñas Jr. for the incident.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. assured the public that BOI chief Director Benjamin Magalong, who also heads the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, and other members of the team will remain true to their investigation.

"There is no setting of influence," Cerbo said, adding that members of the team will not allow their credibility to be tainted.

"Mayroon na lang 1 to 2 years si Gen. Magalong sa serbisyo, do you think he will sacrifice his credibility, na sirain ang ilang dekada niyang binuong reputasyon?" Cerbo noted. "Nasa finish line na siya."

Ahead of the release of the BOI report, Aquino on Monday said Napeñas fooled him on the operation, which led to the deaths of 67 people including 44 SAF commandos, 18 MILF fighters, and five civilians.

“Maraming wishful thinking si Napeñas compared to reality. The truth is, I was given the wrong information. Kung alam ko na ganito ang gagawin niya from the start ay hinindian ko ho itong misyon na ito. Parang ‘yung pwedeng-pwedeng maging successful na misyon, sa ginawa niyang plano, parang naging mission impossible,” he said.

"Maliwanag sa akin, binola niya ako," the President told a gathering of religious leaders in Malacañang.

On Monday, the PNP board deferred submission of its report to PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina. It was the third time that the submission was deferred.

The report was originally scheduled to be submitted by the end of February, but was deferred to March 6. Last week, it was announced that the report would be submitted, Monday, March 9.

Magalong announced that he will submit the report on Thursday.

Cerbo also stressed that the BOI team asked for a deadline so as to improve the quality of their report.

'Don't preempt report'

Also at the press briefing, Cerbo said the public should not preempt the results of the investigation.

"Huwag po muna natin husgahan ang resulta, hintayin natin ang Huwebes," he added.

Cerbo said this in reaction to Senator Grace Poe's statement, where she questioned the timing of the BOI asking for an extension on th submission of its report.

“Nagbitaw na po sila ng salita na ito (report) ay magiging handa kaya nga po ang iba ay nag-iisip kung ano po ang nangyari noong Sabado at Linggo na bigla silang nagsabi na kailangan pa nila ng oras. Alam niyo po bago pa magbitiw ng salita, dapat nakakasiguro ka na na halos kumpleto na kung magbibigay ka ng petsa so hindi nga natin maintindihan. Ayaw nga natin sila pagdudahan kaya lang siyempre we cannot help it, especially kapag naging ganito yung statement,” Poe said in a radio interview.

For his part, opposition Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito scored Aquino for putting the BOI in an awkward position.

Ejercito said the President preempted the result of the BOI report when he publicly blamed Napeñas for the incident on Monday.

“It put the Board of Inquiry in an awkward position as it just announced it was asking for an extension yesterday morning, then PNoy (Aquino’s nickname) preempted by narrating his account of the Mamasapano incident extricating himself and putting the blame on Napeñas,” Ejercito said in a text message to GMA News Online. — with Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMA News


MANILA STANDARD

Cover-up seen in PNP BOI report delay By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan, Maricel V. Cruz and Macon Ramos-Araneta | Mar. 10, 2015 at 12:01am


MAGALONG

The Board of Inquiry investigating the Jan. 25 Mamasapano massacre sought a three-day extension to its Monday deadline to submit its report, amid criticisms that a whitewash was in the offing.

“We would like to assure the families of [the 44 slain members of the Special Action Force] that this extension has nothing to do with a cover-up or whitewash. We just want to be very objective,” board chairman Director Benjamin Magalong said.

But lawmakers decried the delay in the release of the police board report, and saw it as a part of a cover-up.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said the President should be held accountable for the death of the 44 commandos.

“The search for truth, accountability and justice is now in suspended animation as the Palace and its operators are still fine-tuning their script to cover up the principal culpability of President Benigno Aquino and his US masters,” Zarate said.

“But President Benigno Simeon Aquino and his cabal should be forewarned not to underestimate the people’s will to uncover the truth behind Mamasapano. Any attempt by the board of inquiry to ‘yellow-wash’ the truth will surely be met with massive protests by the people,” Zarate added.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III said “the repeated delay in the submission of the board’s report will certainly put the report under a shadow of doubt.”

“It will be construed to hide rather bring out the truth. In short, a coverup,” Bello added.

But House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. said the idea of a cover-up was “ridiculous with so many simultaneous investigations by different parties.”

House Deputy Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said the release of the board of inquiry report should not be rushed.

But Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan said the board needed the time to doctor or edit the report to deflect responsibility away from Malacañang.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which conducted its own investigation of the incident, has submitted its findings to the Malaysian government which is brokering peace talks between the rebels and the Philippine government, drawing the ire of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who demanded a full copy of the report as well.

Former police intelligence director Rodolfo Mendoza on Monday urged Magalong to exercise his authority and subpoena the records of the MILF.

Mendoza also said obtaining the records from the telecommunications companies would unearth the truth about allegations that the President asked the Armed Forces to stand down when it could have come to the aid of the beleaguered SAF commandos.

Meanwhile, growing suspicions of a government whitewash, President Aquino again defended his decisions Monday, blaming the ground commander of the Mamasapano operation in which 44 police commandos were killed but saying nothing about the key role played by his friend and resigned police chief.

“If only I knew that that was his plan, I would have disapproved it,” Aquino said, referring to sacked Special Action Force commander Getulio Napeñas.

Aquino was speaking to some 300 members of various born-again Christian groups who “beseeched” him to finish his term, in stark contrast to Catholic bishops who have urged him to step down.

“What should have been a successful mission became mission impossible,” Aquino added, blaming Napenas Jr. for fooling him about the status of Operation Exodus, which aimed to capture or kill wanted terrorists hiding in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

Aquino said he was “given the wrong information by the people who knew most what was happening,” but he did not mention his close friend, resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima, who was serving a suspension at the time of the operation.

Aquino also insisted that he did nothing wrong during the planning and implementation of the covert operation that resulted in the death of 60 people, including the 44 police commandos.

“If I were the one at fault, why wouldn’t I take responsibility?” Aquino asked.

“Napeñas had a lot of wishful thinking as opposed to reality. It is clear to me: He fooled me,” Aquino said in Filipino.

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” he added, vowing he would not allow the same mistake to be made again.

Aquino said Napeñas disobeyed his order to properly coordinate with the Army several days before the operation, adding that he personally told Napeñas during a briefing on Jan. 9 that 160 commandos would not be enough for the operation.

Aquino said there were also two opportunities for Napeñas to abort the mission, but he did not.

Napenas’ also split up the SAF platoons to protect the way points for the 55th Special Action Company when they were already being surrounded by hundreds of armed fighters.

“There were 318 troops who could have helped the 55th Special Action Company. Instead of helping, they were ordered to go to the way points. He pushed through with the plan when the conditions had changed,” Aquino said.

The President said when Napeñas presented the mission during a briefing, he was impressed at how thorough the plan was to capture the two most wanted terrorists, Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir also known as Marwan and the foreign-trained Filipino bomb maker Abdul Bassit Usman.

“It was a great Powerpoint presentation, but it was all for show,” Aquino said.

The President cited at least five errors that Napeñas committed.

First, he said, Napeñas failed to obey his order to coordinate with the Armed Forces, so that it could move the necessary equipment, including artillery, armored vehicles and aircraft to support the mission.

But Napeñas told him he would coordinate with the Armed Forces only when the police commandos were already in place so that the operation would be secure.

Aquino said Napeñas also deployed his soldiers as late as 5:30 a.m., when their night-vision goggles would no longer work, and when most of the Muslims would be awake for morning prayers.

In the original plan, Napeñas should have deployed his people at 2:30 a.m., the President said.

“I wish I could say that Napeñas was stupid, and that he didn’t know the terrain. But he was the regional public safety battalion commander from 2007 to 2008. He knew very well the terrain; he knew the culture,” the President said.

The President also said that Napeñas failed to abort the mission even though he was late in deploying his forces.

“Why didn’t he abort the mission? I don’t know,” Aquino said.

“Napeñas made all the decisions and they were all wrong. He had no intention to follow my orders,” he added.

Napeñas was relieved after the operation went south. Purisima, who told Napeñas to keep the PNP OIC in the dark until the mission was under way and who said he would take care of coordinating with the Armed Forces, later resigned.

The Mamasapano clash occurred despite a peace agreement signed by the government and the MILF in March last year.

The MILF claimed it was acting in self defense, but autopsy reports showed that many of the SAF commandos were killed at close range, indicating they were already wounded when they were shot.

Despite his public statements on the Mamasapano operation, the President has not offered any information to the police board of inquiry tasked with investigating the case.

Magalong, who heads the board, said the President has not signified his intention to provide information about the operation.

“We have expressed our intention [to get his statement] but we have not received any feedback,” Magalong said.

All other parties involved, including top PNP and Armed Forces officials, have already been interviewed by the board and submitted their statements, he added.

He said they cannot impose any deadline for the President, however.

Also on Monday, Senator Grace Poe said Purisima could be hiding something when he declined to allow the telecommunications company to submit to the Senate a record of his conversations with the President on Jan. 25.

“From the way he has been acting, I’m sure [he’s hiding something],” said Poe when sought for comment on Puisima’s refusal to issue a waiver for the cell phone records.


MANILA STANDARD

Man up on Mamasapano, Lacson urges PNoy By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Mar. 09, 2015 at 12:01am


LACSON

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino should have assumed responsibility over the firefight between the PNP-Special Action Force contingent and the Muslim rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on Jan. 25 that resulted in the killing of 44 police commandos, former Senator Panfilo Lacson said Sunday.

“That should have been his first response after the killings: to assume responsibility,” Lacson told DZBB radio.

“Of course, that does not amount to criminal liability,” he said.

Lacson said he waited for the President’s first message after the death of the 44 police commandos.

“I was waiting for him to say ‘I assume responsibility and I’m ordering an in-depth investigation’,” Lacson said.

He said Aquino should not have just given a stern message to the PNP and the Armed Forces for the incident. He also should have issued a strong warning to the MILF fighters who were identified as among the killers of the 44.

Instead of helping the government look for the terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Basit Usman, he said, the MILF killed the policemen who were about to serve warrants of arrest on the two.

“When you say sorry, you open yourself to an embrace,” Lacson said.

“I hope that’s the ideal: the person to whom you are apologizing will embrace you and accept your sorry.

“Assuming responsibility is not tantamount to owning up to criminal liability.”

Lacson said the President should have assumed responsibility being the commander in chief and who had knowledge of the operation.

He said no when asked if Aquino should step down.

He said Aquino’s honesty and integrity remained intact and there was no reason for him to resign.


PHILSTAR

Napeñas lawyer: Definitely, definitely, Gen. Napeñas did not lie to the President By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 11, 2015 - 1:00am


File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Relieved police Special Action Force chief Director Getulio Napeñas turned the tables on President Aquino yesterday, criticizing him for allowing Director General Alan Purisima, who was suspended at the time, to be part of the SAF operation in Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

Through his lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre II, Napeñas also said he did not fool Aquino.

“Definitely, definitely, General Napeñas did not lie to the President,” Aguirre told The STAR.

“General Napeñas submitted his cellular phone to the CIDG for forensic analysis. In all 23 pages of transcript, there was no exchange of messages between General Napeñas and the President,” Aguirre said, referring to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

“Masakit para kay General Napeñas na marining kay President na binola siya (It hurt General Napeñas to hear the President say he lied to him),” said Aquirre.

Napeñas had submitted his cellular phone to the CIDG two days after the Mamasapano carnage last Jan. 25.

Aguirre also asked why Aquino did not mention the participation of Purisima in the operation to arrest Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and his Filipino cohort Basit Usman in the SAF operation in Mamasapano in the President’s remarks during a prayer meeting in Malacañang on Monday.

Aguirre questioned Aquino for blaming Napeñas for not coordinating with PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and the military in conducting the operation that resulted in the death of 44 SAF commandos.

The raiding team killed Marwan while Usman escaped.

The SAF commandos later encountered members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters that resulted in the killing of the policemen, 18 rebels and several civilians.

“Bakit naging superior ni Gen. Napeñas si Gen. Purisima na noon ay suspended na. Sinabi ng Pangulo na inutusan niya si Gen. Napeñas na makipag-coordinate kay Gen. Espina at Sec. Roxas, bakit hindi siya ang nagpatawag sa dalawa na mas madali para sa kanya?” asked Aguirre during a television interview yesterday.

Aguirre noted the President’s statement on Monday did not mention the participation of Purisima in the SAF operation, despite the fact that he is serving a six-month suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Since Napeñas faced the media in Camp Crame on Feb. 4, he never entertained any media interview again and Aguirre said it was due to the instruction of some ranking officials in the PNP to refrain from talking to the media until the Board of Inquiry (BOI) completed its investigation.

He said that it is hard to believe that a general of a police unit would not follow the orders of the President. He also asked why a suspended official would be put in charge of a sensitive operation.

During a Senate inquiry on the Mamasapano incident, Napeñas claimed that Purisima specifically told him not to tell Espina and Roxas.

Napeñas told the Senate public hearing that Purisima also told him that he would be the one to coordinate with the military.

Napeñas believed Purisima was taking orders directly from Aquino since the two met behind closed doors on Jan. 9 after Napeñas and intelligence director Sr. Supt. Fernando Mendez gave the President a briefing on the planned operation to arrest Marwan and Usman. ..


INQUIRER

Bello, an Aquino ally resigns as Akbayan representative, calls Aquino disgraceful Marc Jayson Cayabyab @MJcayabyabINQ INQUIRER.net 2:50 PM | Wednesday, March 11th, 2015


Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Representative Walden Bello has resigned from his post as Akbayan lawmaker, the critical administration ally said Wednesday.

In a text message, Bello said he resigned because of his losing support for the President “who is washing his hands of responsibility of a mission he planned and executed” and for covering up the botched operation.

“I have given notice of my intention to resign as Akbayan (repreprentative) though I will remain in the party,” Bello said in a text message statement.

“I am withdrawing support because I can no longer support a President engaged in brazen coverup of his role in the Mamasapano tragedy,” he said.

“I am withdrawing support because I cannot support a man whose behavior is a disgrace to the presidency. As far as my future in Congress, I think our code of conduct as a party is that I cannot continue to represent an organization with which I have major policy disagreement such as on the question of support for the administration,” he added.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported earlier that Bello cut his ties with Malacañang due to President’s pronouncements of washing his hands in the botched Mamasapano operation that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF), 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters and five civilians dead.

“I can no longer support this President. He can go ahead and scratch me off the list of his allies, as his spokesperson Abigail Valte has already implied,” Bello said in the report. In an ambush interview, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Bello is not a loss to the administration coalition.

“Numerically, yes, but considering that more than 90 percent of everybody belong to the majority in Congress, it doesn’t matter whether one or two drops out,” Belmonte said.

The Speaker said there is no longer a need for a loyalty check among the majority peers.

“I think it’s good for him and good as well for Congress that he can concentrate on other things,” Belmonte said of Bello.

Bello led Akbayan in supporting President Aquino in the 2010 elections. The Akbayan partylist had allied with the Liberal Party when its former representative and party chair Risa Hontiveros ran and lost for a senatorial seat both in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

A number of Akbayan members are holding government posts, including Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas, PhilHealth Insurance Corp. Office Director Hontiveros, Commission on Human Rights Chair Etta Rosales and National Antipoverty Commission Chair Joel Rocamora.


MANILA TIMES EDITORIAL

Again, the President has proved himself to be a liar. What now? March 11, 2015 12:03 am

ALL indications show that BS Aquino has a mental, psychological, psychiatric defect.

That he has the moral problem of being a compulsive liar has also been observed in the past—way before the Mamasapano Massacre.

His first big lies were about the growth of our economy. He claimed—and continues to claim—credit for the Gross Domestic Product rate of growth and the improving ratings being given to Philippine banks and the Philippine government by the credit rating companies.

Yes, it was only when he became president that our country got investment-grade rating from Moody’s, Fitch and Standard and Poor’s. But the upward trajectory of our GDP growth had been set under the Macapahal-Arroyo presidency. And this was mainly due to our Bangko Sentral’s wise monetary and interest-rate policies and the unceasingly increasing amount of remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers to their families.

The OFW remittances keep increasing—even when times are bad here due to disasters or economic factors—because the OFWs, our overseas economic heroes, will never let their families suffer deprivation and hunger.

Aquino has displayed his being a compulsive liar more blatantly since the Mamasapano Massacre on January 25 in which 44 gallant PNP-SAF commandos were killed, some brutally, by the combined armies of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and it’s supposed-to-be break-away group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Many suspect that the BIFF is really just a ploy of the MILF leadership to maintain a menacing and strong anti-government army while talking peace and pretending to decommission its regular soldiers.

Two weeks and two days ago, BS Aquino said that he was lied to by his best friend, Alan Purisima, the suspended Chief of the PNP (the Ombudsman had him suspended for corruption issues). Aquino was blaming Purisima for not telling him the truth about the grave dangers Oplan Exodus was placing the PNP-SAF companies into.

But Purisima had to contradict Aquino, through his lawyer, who said that he (Purisima) had done everything that should be done according to the plan and that he had not lied to Aquino.

Then on Monday, at the live TV production in Malacañang that was labeled a Prayer Gathering, Aquino spoke lengthily about being lied to, this time not by Purisima but by the sacked former PNP-SAF Director, General Getulio Napeñas.

Aquino said, in effect, that Napeñas had made him believe all was well with the mission to capture or kill the Malaysian terrorist bomber and bombing expert Marwan and his Filipino Muslim partner Basit Usman. He also said that if the dangers were so bad then Napeñas had performed incompetently as commander of the SAF companies because he should have aborted the mission.

That does not clear Aquino, however, of failing to send reinforcement to the beleaguered and doomed SAF commandos.

These new claims that BS Aquino made on Monday, while leaders of Evangelical church groups were with him in Malacañang, were too convoluted and different from what he had been saying before. The claims contradicted testimonies and copies of text messages that had been made public during the House and Senate hearings.

As a result senators and congressmen have been dismayed by BS Aquino’s blabbering on Monday.


GRIEVING FALLEN SAF WIDOW AND HER CHILDREN

More painful and bitter were the comments made by widows, parents, children and other relatives of our Fallen 44 SAF Heroes yesterday at the Batasang Pambansa. They had gone to the Batasan to join 94 representatives in calling on the House leadership to resume the terminated hearings on the Mamasapano tragedy. Some of them said BS Aquino in his Monday speech had “shamelessly lied about what really happened.”

“We don’t believe that Napeñas would act all by himself. They [SAF 44] were going after an international terrorist. Somebody was behind him. It would be impossible that the President would not know about this [operation] because this concerns our national security,” Ruby Senin, widow of the late PO2 Romeo Valles Senin II, said in a press Conference at the Batasan

“Magsabi lang po siya (si Presidente) ng totoo. . . ’yung buong katotohanan.

Ayaw po namin ‘yung pagtuturuan. Para naman silang mga bata na turo ng turo . . . [We just want the President to tell the truth…the whole truth. We can’t stand the finger pointing. They are like children who love to point at each other when they do something wrong’,” Felicitas Nacino, mother of the late SAF commando Nicky Nacino of Isabela, said as fought back tears.

“Hindi po kami naniniwala sa Presidente. Paiba iba po ang sinasabi niya. Noon sabi niya hindi niya alam. Tapos naging alam niya pero di siya sinunod ni Napeñas . . . at kasama pa si Purisima eh samantalang suspended siya (We don’t believe the President because he has been changing his stories every now and then. He initially said he did not know about it, then claimed that Napeñas did not obey him…and Purisima is even involved even if he is suspended),” Telly Sumbilla, mother of the late PO3 John Lloyd Sumbilla, lamented.

In yesterday morning’s Failon Ngayon on DZMM teleradyo, the celebrated anchor played a special production of Freddie Aguilar’s recording of “Anak.” The song stopped after each stanza to allow video clips of Aquino giving speeches that show how he has been a bad son for ignoring the counsel of his parents. Has that gone viral on YouTube and Facebook?

So what do we do now—now that Aquino himself has shown himself to be unworthy of continuing to be President of the Philippines?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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