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

BOI REPORT INDICTS AQUINO FOR APPROVING BUNGLED COVERT OPERATION


Report in. Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II accepts the report on the firefight in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on Jan. 25 that resulted in the killing of 44 police commandos submitted by Police Director Benjamin Magalong (L) and PNP Officer-in-Charge Leonardo Espina. Manny Palmero 
THE board of inquiry the Philippine National Police created to look into the Mamasapano incident confirmed the fears of the public and indicted President Benigno Aquino III for approving the bungled covert operation and breaking the established chain of command. Aside from Aquino, the BOI report, which was made public Friday, also said resigned PNP chief Alan Purisima and relieved Special Action Force commander Getulio Napeñas made key errors that ultimate resulted in the death of 67 people, including 44 police commandos, and critical injury to 18 others. “The President gave the go-signal and allowed the execution of Oplan Exodus after the concept of operations (CONOPS) was presented to him by Director of Special Action Force (SAF) Police Director Getulio Napeñas,” read one of the 22 conclusions in the BOI’s executive summary. “The President allowed the participation of the suspended Chief, Philippine National Police (CPNP) Police Director General Alan Purisima in the planning and execution of the Oplan Exodus despite the suspension order of the Ombudsman,” another conclusion said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace disputes chain of command findings


Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines — President Aquino did not violate the chain of command of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the planning and execution of Operation Plan Exodus as the police force is a civilian organization and he “exercises full and absolute control and supervision” over every police official.  Malacañang, through spokesman Edwin Lacierda, made the clarification last night to dispute the conclusion made by the PNP Board of Inquiry (BOI) that the President broke the chain of command when he dealt directly with then Special Action Force (SAF) commander Director Getulio Napeñas and allowed then suspended PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima to take part in Oplan Exodus that targeted high value terrorists. In a statement, Lacierda also claimed the BOI “introduced innuendos and resorted to speculations to reach some of its conclusions” without asking the President to clarify matters. “The first and most basic fact is that the Philippine National Police is a civilian institution, established to replace the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP),” he said. “The President as Chief Executive cannot be subordinated to an internal process within the PNP when he has control and supervision over all its members, regardless of rank,” Lacierda explained. READ ON....

ALSO: Marwan's death proof Oplan Exodus not defective, ex-SAF chief Napeñas says
[Napeñas said he respects President Benigno Aquino III's opinion. Asked to comment on Aquino's insistence on laying the blame on him, Napeñas said: "Pananaw nila 'yun... We respect it." —]


ex-SAF chief Napeñas   Contrary to the findings of the PNP Board of Inquiry, former Special Action Force (SAF) chief Director Getulio Napeñas Jr. said the plan for Oplan Exodus was not defective. Napeñas said the Mamasapano operation successfully neutralized Malaysian terrorist and bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, GMA News' "24 Oras" reported Sunday. The dismissed SAF chief also said it is not true that he did not listen to the input from his men. He added the "utmost secrecy and operational security" was the key to the success of the mission. The Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash resulted in the death of 44 elite police commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and five civilians. It has also put deliberations in Congress on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is based on a peace agreement signed between the governmen and the MILF, on hold. The BOI report said time-on-target coordination "[did] not conform to the established and acceptable operational concepts and protocols of the PNP."  CONTINUE READING....

ALSO: VP Binay leads rites honoring fallen 44 at PH Nat'l Police Academy (PNPA) at Silang, Cavite


Roselle Nacino, widow of Special Action Force’s PO2 Nicky Nacino, looks at a mural honoring the 44 commandos who died in Mamasapano after it was unveiled at the 35th Philippine National Police Academy’s alumni homecoming in Silang, Cavite yesterday. STAR/Ernie Peñaredondo  SILANG, Cavite, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday paid tribute to the 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) by unveiling a mural featuring the images of the policemen killed by Muslim rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25. Binay led the unveiling of the mural – painted by artists from the Erehwon Center for the Arts – as part of the series of activities held during the alumni homecoming of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) at Camp Gen. Mariano N. Castaneda. “Mamasapano is our shared sorrow,” Binay said during his remarks at the PNPA alumni homecoming. READ MORE...

ALSO: Tales of courage, heroism retold in Mamasapano report


Pictures of the slain PNP SAF killed in an alleged “misencounter” with MILF and BIFF in Mamasapano,Maguindanao displayed outside the gates of Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA 
The heart-wrenching tales of courage and heroism of the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who were sent to a daring covert mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, on Jan. 25 were retold in the 128-page report of the Philippine National Police board of inquiry. Supt. Raymond Train, commander of the 84th Special Action Company (SAC), recalled hearing his wounded men shouting “I love you, mommy!” “I love you, baby” and “I love Seaborne” while fighting for their lives under heavy fire from unknown enemies. In his own narration of encounter, Train said they reached the lair of Jemaah Islamiyah bomber Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,’’ at about 4 a.m. of Jan. 25, or some six hours after negotiating the “unfamiliar terrain” of muddy river and vast cornfields. READ MORE...

ALSO: Santiago tops graduates’ dream commencement speaker; also Pope Francis, Grace Poe


Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. PHOTO BY RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.NET  Who’s afraid of Miriam Defensor-Santiago? Not the graduating class of 2015—or the netizens who picked her as their choice commencement speaker. They actually think that she rocks. For engaging in tough talk and delivering the coolest pickup lines, Santiago was the runaway “dream graduation speaker” in the weeklong poll conducted by the Inquirer on social media. “She’s the whole package—enlightens you of what’s ahead, cracks jokes to let your mind at ease after hearing the tough journey ahead of you and gives you the light to move toward the right direction,” netizen Mona Verdida said of the outspoken senator. READ MORE...

ALSO: VP Binay hits Roxas again for his problems


Mar’s behind it. Vice President Jejomar Binay explains his belief that Secretary Mar Roxas is persecuting him during a dialog with local officials Sunday at the Pacoy Ortega Gym in San Fernando City, La Union. Christine Junio  
SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union—Beleaguered Vice President Jejomar Binay told local officials and residents here that his political rival, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, was behind his troubles at the Senate and before the Ombudsman, which are both investigating allegations of corruption against him.
“My only mistake is that I declared to run for president in 2016 too early,” Binay told media at the Ortega Sports Complex, after meeting with San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega, La Union Rep. Eufranio Eriguel and his wife, Agoo Mayor Sandra Eriguel, Luna Mayor Vic Marron, and other residents. “I thought politics was clean, but it isn’t,” he said. Binay denied the accusations against him, and said that when he was mayor, Makati became one of the country’s most progressive cities, a record of governance that qualifies him to be the next president. “Mar Roxas is behind the investigations at the Senate and the Ombudsman,” he said. Roxas ran for vice president in 2010 but lost to Binay. READ MORE...

ALSO: The perils of a scopic Mindanao view
[The argument that under the Aquino presidency the corrupt are being prosecuted will not sell until we see the President’s corrupt Liberal Party-mates face prosecution, too. That Mr. Aquino is without any capability for corruption is just as scopic as the argument that the Moro people are traitors].


EDITOR'S PICK, MARCH 15, 2015  To the barrage of criticisms against President Aquino is a common reaction from some loyal followers: Criticizing Mr. Aquino is myopic because it forgets his achievements that previous presidents failed to come up with. The predictable succeeding argument is, Mr. Aquino has sent “corrupt politicians to jail.”   On the other hand, in discussions on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), one commonly hears: “The Moro people cannot be trusted”; “They are traitors”; “They do not consider themselves Filipinos”; and other such arguments. The arguments on both issues fall under the classification of scopic reasoning which operates from a narrow point of view, leaving no room for intellectual maneuver.  The one on the President is a selectively limited perspective. Bad governance must always be denounced, even if it is the handiwork of a popular president. Good governance advocacy is always predicated on the common good, not partisanship. READ FULL VIEWPOINT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

BOI report indicts Aquino for approving bungled covert operation


Report in. Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II accepts the report on the firefight in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on Jan. 25 that resulted in the killing of 44 police commandos submitted by Police Director Benjamin Magalong (L) and PNP Officer-in-Charge Leonardo Espina. Manny Palmero

MANILA, MARCH 16, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD) THE board of inquiry the Philippine National Police created to look into the Mamasapano incident confirmed the fears of the public and indicted President Benigno Aquino III for approving the bungled covert operation and breaking the established chain of command.

Aside from Aquino, the BOI report, which was made public Friday, also said resigned PNP chief Alan Purisima and relieved Special Action Force commander Getulio Napeñas made key errors that ultimate resulted in the death of 67 people, including 44 police commandos, and critical injury to 18 others.

The Department of Interior and Local Government, which has supervisory control over the PNP, released the BOI report to the public, a day after it was submitted by the eight-man panel, headed by Director Benjamin Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

“The President gave the go-signal and allowed the execution of Oplan Exodus after the concept of operations (CONOPS) was presented to him by Director of Special Action Force (SAF) Police Director Getulio Napeñas,” read one of the 22 conclusions in the BOI’s executive summary.

“The President allowed the participation of the suspended Chief, Philippine National Police (CPNP) Police Director General Alan Purisima in the planning and execution of the Oplan Exodus despite the suspension order of the Ombudsman,” another conclusion said.

“While the President has the prerogative to deal directly with any of his subordinates, the act of dealing with Napeñas instead of [PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo] Espina bypassed the established PNP Chain of Command,” the report added.

The BOI also criticized Purisima who, the report said, violated the preventive suspension order the Ombudsman issued last December, when he participated in the planning and execution of the operation, code-named “Oplan Exodus.”

“He also violated the Special Order No. 9851, dated December 16, 2014 issued by OIC-PNP Espina, directing him and other suspended PNP officers to ‘cease and desist from performing the duties and functions of their respective offices during the pendency of the case until its termination’.”

The BOI also criticized Purisima for saying he would coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines regarding required tactical support, but failing to do so.

“The PNP Ethical Doctrine Manual cites, “Word of Honor – PNP members’ word is their bond. They stand by and commit to it.” The statement of Purisima may be construed as an assurance of providing the coordination instructed by the President,” the report said.

The BOI report also confirmed that Purisima misinformed Aquino about the actual situation when he sent text messages to the President claiming the SAF commandos were pulling out and were backed by mechanized and artillery support when there was really none.

The BOI did not spare Napeñas, whom the public feared was being turned into a scapegoat for Aquino and Purisima, and criticized him for several errors that resulted in the deadly operation.

“Despite his knowledge of the suspension order issued by the Ombudsman, Napeñas followed the instructions of suspended CPNP Purisima not to inform OIC-PNP and the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas about Oplan Exodus,” the panel said.

“Napeñas failed to effectively supervise, control and direct personnel, which resulted in heavy casualties of the SAF Commandos,” the BOI said, adding that command responsibility means that a commander is responsible for effectively supervising, controlling, and directing his personnel.

The BOI said Napeñas followed his own operational concepts although they were contrary to Aquino’s orders and violated established PNP concepts and protocols of the PNP in addition to disregarding the established peace process mechanisms with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The panel said the planning for Oplan Exodus was defective due to poor analysis of the area of operation, unrealistic assumptions, poor intelligence, absence of abort criteria, lack of flexibility, inappropriate application of TOT; and absence of coordination with the military.

“The lack of situational awareness, limited cover and concealment, ineffective communication, and sustained enemy fire prevented the 1st Special Action Battalion and 4SAB containment forces from reinforcing the beleaguered 55th Special Action Company troops,” the report said.

“There was a breakdown of command and control at all levels due to ineffective and unreliable communication among and between the operating units,” the BOI said, adding that radios malfunctioned and some ammunition of M203 grenade launchers were defective.

The BOI also found that the United States was indeed involved in the operation, but was limited only to intelligence sharing and medical evacuation. “Only SAF Commandos were involved in the actual combat operation of Oplan Exodus,” the board said.


PHILSTAR

Palace disputes chain of command findings By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 15, 2015 - 12:00am


Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines — President Aquino did not violate the chain of command of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the planning and execution of Operation Plan Exodus as the police force is a civilian organization and he “exercises full and absolute control and supervision” over every police official.

Malacañang, through spokesman Edwin Lacierda, made the clarification last night to dispute the conclusion made by the PNP Board of Inquiry (BOI) that the President broke the chain of command when he dealt directly with then Special Action Force (SAF) commander Director Getulio Napeñas and allowed then suspended PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima to take part in Oplan Exodus that targeted high value terrorists.

In a statement, Lacierda also claimed the BOI “introduced innuendos and resorted to speculations to reach some of its conclusions” without asking the President to clarify matters.

“The first and most basic fact is that the Philippine National Police is a civilian institution, established to replace the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP),” he said.

“The President as Chief Executive cannot be subordinated to an internal process within the PNP when he has control and supervision over all its members, regardless of rank,” Lacierda explained.

“The BOI itself recognized this in its report when it acknowledged that it was the President’s prerogative to issue direct orders to the Special Action Force (SAF) head,” he added.

“However, the BOI subsequently contradicted itself when it suggested that the President should have followed the PNP chain of command. In invoking the chain of command rule, it is important to point out that this rule applies only within the PNP,” Lacierda pointed out.

He said it was clear that the President himself instructed Purisima, then under suspension, to inform PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director Leonardo Espina about the Mamasapano mission.

Purisima, who has since resigned, disobeyed the President, according to Lacierda.

“The President therefore left nothing to chance. His direct orders to Purisima, if obeyed, would have ensured that the OIC Chief PNP would not have been kept in the dark,” the presidential spokesman said.

“These points are basic to a proper appreciation of the roles officials were expected to play in Mamasapano and the severity of the consequences of decisions made by those officials who disobeyed the President,” he pointed out.

‘Hastily made conclusions’

Lacierda lauded the BOI report as “thorough in scope and independent in nature,” but stressed the need for them to “separate the facts from potentially hastily-made conclusions and opinions.”

“The narration of facts was exhaustive and provides a sober basis for understanding what transpired. In gathering the facts, the BOI should have allowed the facts to speak for themselves,” he said.

He lamented, however, that the BOI failed to get the side of the President on contentious issues. “The President would have answered any questions they may have had. But no official request was made. Instead, it introduced innuendos and resorted to speculations to reach some of its conclusions,” Lacierda argued.

This, he said, was “more unfortunate” because the head of the BOI, Director Benjamin Magalong, together with other senior PNP officials, was present in a meeting with the President where the official had the opportunity to ask the President questions.

No PNP CoC

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also rebuffed the BOI’s conclusion that President Aquino broke the chain of command of the PNP, saying the President was not the commander-in-chief of the PNP in the first place.

She said that while the BOI effort was laudable, the report prepared by the body was flawed because the facts were wrong.

“Based on a wrong premise, the BOI report on the nature of the President’s role can only arrive at a wrong conclusion,” De Lima said in a statement.

“While the President has the prerogative to deal directly with any of his subordinates, the act of dealing with Napeñas instead of OIC-PNP Espina bypassed the established PNP Chain of Command,” the BOI report read.

“Comprehensive as the BOI Mamasapano Report wishes to be, it starts on the wrong premise insofar as the role of the President as commander-in-chief of the PNP is concerned,” De Lima pointed out.

“As early as 23 years ago, the Supreme Court already declared in Carpio v. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 96409; February 14, 1992) that the President is not the commander-in-chief of the PNP,” she said.

“He is not the PNP commander-in-chief because under the 1987 Constitution, the PNP is no longer part of the Armed Forces. The President is only commander-in-chief in relation to the armed forces. The PNP, being a civilian agency, is not part of the armed forces,” De Lima maintained.

“In relation to the PNP, the President is the Chief Executive, in the same way that he acts as the Chief Executive to all the civilian agencies of the Executive bureaucracy,” she added.

“The PNP’s mistaken 28-year tradition of treating itself as part of the armed forces and the President as its commander-in-chief can never ripen into a statutory provision or legal principle, most especially since the Supreme Court has already declared the contrary as early as 23 years ago,” she said.

The justice secretary opined that the board should have instead “confronted this misplaced military culture and tradition within the PNP – as underpinned by its most basic belief that it is still part of the armed forces – head on.”

She said the PNP is not the Armed Forces of the Philippines that has a singular and unitary line of command from the commander-in-chief to the lowliest private. De Lima said the PNP has several lines of command and authority that include not only the President or the PNP Chief, but also the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and the governors and mayors of provinces, cities and municipalities.

“Notwithstanding the failure of the PNP Manual to reflect the President’s proper constitutional role as Chief Executive in the PNP command structure, the PNP Manual can neither limit nor bind the President’s plenary control and supervision over the PNP as its Chief Executive,” she said.

“In this sense, the PNP BOI cannot assume to impose upon the President his role and corresponding accountabilities as commander-in-chief of the PNP, without itself understanding the very nature of the PNP as a civilian agency that should relate to the President as its Chief Executive,” she said.

Criminal liability

In an earlierinterview over dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the DOJ is studying possible criminal liability of those involved in the Mamasapano encounter, including Purisima.

In its report released Thursday, the BOI recommended further investigation “where the facts of this report indicate possible violations of existing laws and regulations.”

“The investigation of the DOJ is going into criminal liability,” Valte said.

She said the DOJ and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) – which is under DOJ – has already requested for an official copy of the BOI report from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“So it is safe to assume that the contents of the BOI report will form part of the investigation of these agencies,” she added.

The BOI report said Purisima violated the preventive suspension order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman when he participated in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus, as well as Special Order No. 9851 dated Dec.16, 2014 issued by Espina, directing him and other suspended PNP officers to “cease and desists from performing the duties and functions of their respective offices during the pendency of the case until its termination.”

Valte also said President Aquino has not ordered an investigation into why some police officials can’t seem to trust the military with sensitive information.

Napeñas earlier said he opted not to tell the military about Oplan Exodus during its planning stage as the latter might have already been “compromised.”

The BOI report said the alleged loose handling by some military men of sensitive information might be due to “intermarriages” between them and villagers.

“There is no order from the President to look into it... I also remember that exchange. The President said ‘but then you coordinate with the one who can make the movement happen.’ And if I remember correctly, it was said, I think this is during the Senate hearing, the Oplan Exodus itself in the planning also mentioned that there had to be coordination with the 6th ID (Infantry Division),” Valte said. – Evelyn Macairan, Cecille Suerte Felipe ..


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Marwan's death proof Oplan Exodus not defective, ex-SAF chief Napeñas says March 15, 2015 8:26pm


Napeñas

Contrary to the findings of the PNP Board of Inquiry, former Special Action Force (SAF) chief Director Getulio Napeñas Jr. said the plan for Oplan Exodus was not defective.

Napeñas said the Mamasapano operation successfully neutralized Malaysian terrorist and bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, GMA News' "24 Oras" reported Sunday.

The dismissed SAF chief also said it is not true that he did not listen to the input from his men.

He added the "utmost secrecy and operational security" was the key to the success of the mission.

The Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash resulted in the death of 44 elite police commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and five civilians.

It has also put deliberations in Congress on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is based on a peace agreement signed between the governmen and the MILF, on hold.

The BOI report said time-on-target coordination "[did] not conform to the established and acceptable operational concepts and protocols of the PNP."

Napeñas: Artillery could have saved SAF men

Napeñas said at a Senate committee hearing that the fallen commandos could have been saved if the Armed Forces of the Philippines delivered the requested artillery support.

Based on text messages to then suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima, PNP OIC Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, and Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, Napeñas at 7:55 a.m. on Jan. 25 told the grid coordinates of the firefight and asked for artillery support.

The text messages were obtained by GMA News from a source.

However, it was only before 6 p.m. that the AFP 6th Infantry Division fired white phosphorus rounds.

Meanwhile, Napeñas said he respects President Benigno Aquino III's opinion.

Asked to comment on Aquino's insistence on laying the blame on him, Napeñas said: "Pananaw nila 'yun... We respect it." — Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza/JDS, GMA News


PHILSTAR

Fallen 44 honored at PNPA rites By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 15, 2015 - 12:00am


Roselle Nacino, widow of Special Action Force’s PO2 Nicky Nacino, looks at a mural honoring the 44 commandos who died in Mamasapano after it was unveiled at the 35th Philippine National Police Academy’s alumni homecoming in Silang, Cavite yesterday. STAR/Ernie Peñaredondo

SILANG, Cavite, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday paid tribute to the 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) by unveiling a mural featuring the images of the policemen killed by Muslim rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

Binay led the unveiling of the mural – painted by artists from the Erehwon Center for the Arts – as part of the series of activities held during the alumni homecoming of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) at Camp Gen. Mariano N. Castaneda.

“Mamasapano is our shared sorrow,” Binay said during his remarks at the PNPA alumni homecoming.

“Seven of your alumni paid the highest price in Mamasapano, in fulfillment of their sacred duty to serve and protect the country. That loss was a deep blow that struck deep into the heart of every Filipino,” Binay said.

The slain members of SAF were also recognized by the academy for their contribution in the operation that killed Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

During his speech, Binay pledged to do everything in his power to make sure that justice will be given to the families of the slain SAF personnel.

“Like you and the millions of our countrymen, I am also looking for answers that will pave way to the justice that they deserve,” Binay spoke in Filipino.

“I am giving you my word that I will do everything that I can to obtain justice for the 44 SAF commandos,” he added.

Binay mentioned the recent release of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) report on the Mamasapano incident, but stopped short of commenting on the involvement of President Aquino in the botched mission.

The BOI report had implicated the President for breaking the chain of command.

“We don’t need a document to know how brave these men are,” Binay said.

Binay also pledged to support the provision of added benefits to the police, but reminded them not to tarnish the image of the police force by maintaining professionalism and putting service above all.

Binay said that the sacrifice of the policemen, as shown by the bravery of the SAF commandos, merits an increase in compensation and benefits.

“The Vice President called for an increased in compensation of policemen to uplift their living conditions and the well-being of their respective families,” said retired police Chief Supt. Tomas Rentoy III, chairman of the board of the Philippine National Police Academy Alumni Association Inc.

Rentoy said 35 classes from the PNPA have agreed to adopt as honorary members the widows and orphans of the 44 fallen SAF policemen.

“There were six PNPA officers who died in Mamasapano and their widows or orphans will be taken care of by their respective batch mates. That leaves 38 next of kin of the slain police non-commissioned officers for adoption of the rest of classes,” he said.

Rentoy, a graduate of the PNPA Class 1983, said that since there are only 35 classes that have graduated from the academy, including the PNPA Class of 2015, two classes will be adopting two widows or orphans of the fallen SAF troopers.

As adopted members of a PNPA class, the widows, orphans and relatives of the fallen SAF commandos will be entitled to the benefits and assistance accorded to each PNPA graduate by their respective classes. – With Jaime Laude ..


INQUIRER

Tales of courage, heroism retold in Mamasapano report Marlon Ramos @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:36 AM | Sunday, March 15th, 2015


Pictures of the slain PNP SAF killed in an alleged “misencounter” with MILF and BIFF in Mamasapano,Maguindanao displayed outside the gates of Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

The heart-wrenching tales of courage and heroism of the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who were sent to a daring covert mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, on Jan. 25 were retold in the 128-page report of the Philippine National Police board of inquiry.

Supt. Raymond Train, commander of the 84th Special Action Company (SAC), recalled hearing his wounded men shouting “I love you, mommy!” “I love you, baby” and “I love Seaborne” while fighting for their lives under heavy fire from unknown enemies.

In his own narration of encounter, Train said they reached the lair of Jemaah Islamiyah bomber Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,’’ at about 4 a.m. of Jan. 25, or some six hours after negotiating the “unfamiliar terrain” of muddy river and vast cornfields.

The board said the area where Marwan was hiding was a “territory shared” by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and its breakaway faction, the Bangsamaro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Mindful of their plan to get Marwan before the break of dawn, Train told members of the 84th SAC “Seaborne” to immediately carry out the mission whoever arrived first in the target site.

As Train’s group approached Marwan’s hut, an improvised explosive device, which the Malaysian bomber had set up in the perimeter, exploded and sparked the 15-minute firefight.

During the exchange of gunfire, Marwan was hit in his chest and died on the spot.

The group then immediately entered the foreign terrorist’s abode to check his identity.

Senior Insp. Gednat Tabdi immediately cut off Marwan’s right index finger (other reports say left index finger to get DNA samples in confirming his identity. The Malaysian bomber’s severed body part was eventually delivered to waiting US federal agents in General Santos City.

Train knew that other armed men in the area were roused from their sleep by the initial firefight as he ordered his men to quickly leave the place.

“True enough, as the team went out of the enemy’s lair, they were eventually met with gunfire from armed men. Initially, Train recalled that he and his men tried not to engage the enemies to avoid compromising their locations, but they were forced to return fire in self-defense,” the report said.

He said their enemies fired mortars and used automatic rifles as they waylaid the outnumbered SAF commandos.

“The sniper fire came from all directions,” the board quoted Train as saying.

Like the members of the 55th SAC, Train’s group was pinned down by Moro rebels at around noon as they started to incur more casualties.

At around 11 a.m., Train was able to contact SAF Director Getulio Napeñas as he asked for reinforcement and artillery fire support. But nothing came.

As the gun battle continued, the Seaborne had started to run out of ammunition, prompting them to “exercise maximum fire discipline.”

Two hours later, 24 of the 84th SAC troopers “were pinned down by enemy fire as most literally hugged the ground in a bid to dig from the bullets.”

Gunfire stopped at 6 p.m.

Said the report: “Under the hail of bullets, Train said he called Napeñas for reinforcements and artillery fire, but received none despite assurances that the reinforcements were on (their) way.”

It said hostile gunfire only stopped at about 6 p.m. when the military dropped white phosphorous in the area in preparation for artillery fire.

By then, more than 30 SAF commandos had already been killed and many had suffered bullet wounds.

“From time to time, Train would hear groans and cries from his wounded men. He recounted screams of ‘I love you, mommy,’ ‘I love you, baby’ and ‘I love Seaborne’ from his comrades in the hours that followed,” the board said.

Moments away from death

“At one point, he even thought Tabdi, who was beside him at the front line of defense, was loading ammunition. It was with great grief that he found him dead from a head shot,” it added.

The battle-scarred commandos accepted that they could be moments away from their death as they bade goodbyes and asked each other to take care of their families if anyone of them would survive.

“They (were) all resigned to their fate that it would probably be their last stand,” the report said.

Train said some of them could have extricated themselves to safety as they maneuvered away from the battle zone.

But they remained true to their pledge not to abandon any of the commandos behind enemy lines.

‘Dont leave us’

“(T)hey did not want to leave the 13 wounded and nine dead (SAF commandos) behind. Train recalled a comrade begging him, ‘Huwag nyo kaming iwan, Sir.’ They never did,” the board said.

Like in many war movies, the SAF commandos gallantly held their ground in the blood-soaked cornfields of Mamasapano, repelling the enemies who were just as determined to obliterate them.

The greatly outnumbered police commandos arrived in Mamasapano virtually unknown.

Now many regard them as real-life heroes.


INQUIRER

Santiago tops graduates’ dream commencement speaker; also Pope, Poe the Inquirer Social Media @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:51 AM | Sunday, March 15th, 2015


Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. PHOTO BY RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.NET

Who’s afraid of Miriam Defensor-Santiago?

Not the graduating class of 2015—or the netizens who picked her as their choice commencement speaker. They actually think that she rocks.

For engaging in tough talk and delivering the coolest pickup lines, Santiago was the runaway “dream graduation speaker” in the weeklong poll conducted by the Inquirer on social media.

“She’s the whole package—enlightens you of what’s ahead, cracks jokes to let your mind at ease after hearing the tough journey ahead of you and gives you the light to move toward the right direction,” netizen Mona Verdida said of the outspoken senator.

‘Smart is new sexy’

Verdida said she also believes Santiago “is an icon of the motto ‘smart is the new sexy.’”

She was described by netizen Rocky as “a woman whose words are simple and taken seriously.”

Marina SA agreed, saying, “She knows the law, she speaks the truth.”

Netizen Maybel Juanico said Santiago “has dignity and principles in life that nobody can break, fears no one because she knows what’s best—almost perfect.”

“She would be a great inspiration for all who are aspiring great success in life,” Juanico added.

One participant quipped that Santiago would be an alternate, if “my mom can’t make it.”

Other ‘dream’ choices

Those whose names also made it to the “dream” team are Pope Francis, Sen. Grace Poe, Rep. Leni Robredo, Philippine National Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, chief peace negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Why, even resigned PNP chief Alan Purisima made it to the list. Netizen PDSabia said he chose Purisima because he heard he was good at giving out “advice.”

Global celebrities who were named by netizens are singer Beyoncé, actor Brad Pitt, actress Angelina Jolie and George Clooney’s wife, lawyer-activist Amal Alamuddin.

Other choices were media personalities Maria Ressa and Lourd de Veyra and best-selling book author and lay minister Bo Sanchez.

Alvin Fontanilla said Jolie “can inspire graduating students to pursue more dreams outside the four corners of classroom.”

Inquirer columnist Solita Monsod can give “practical career advice in relation to the country’s condition,” Viljun Rhena Torres said.

Netizen Shamsiya Manigpol thinks Ferrer, chair of the government peace panel, would make for a dream commencement speaker.

“I want her to explain how we can achieve peace,” Manigpol posted on Facebook. “She is intelligent, soft-spoken, a good person. She is not rude.”

Wisdom

She said Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles of the Office of Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process and Mohagher Iqbal, chief negotiator for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), also have wisdom to impart for the graduates.

Sereno can explain “the inequality in the justice system in Bong Revilla visiting his son even under penal law,” netizen Kit Amba said.

“Passionate health advocate @realpatchadams to blaze fire in young hearts about real meaning of being an MD,” netizen @kinderarts2014 said.

“Bill Nye. The science guy,” Julius Baguing said.

“I graduated last year but I would have loved to hear from (singer-songwriter) Pharrell Williams. Successful but humble,” @EloraPicson said.

Netizens Dovi Landicho Malabanan and Sab Sabban want Michael Buffer, American ring announcer for boxing who is famous for his roaring catchphrase, “Let’s get ready to rumble.” Reports from Ramon Royandoyan and Paul Vincent Balois


MANILA STANDARD

Binay hits Roxas again for his problems By Christine Junio | Mar. 16, 2015 at 12:01am


Mar’s behind it. Vice President Jejomar Binay explains his belief that Secretary Mar Roxas is persecuting him during a dialog with local officials Sunday at the Pacoy Ortega Gym in San Fernando City, La Union. Christine Junio

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union—Beleaguered Vice President Jejomar Binay told local officials and residents here that his political rival, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, was behind his troubles at the Senate and before the Ombudsman, which are both investigating allegations of corruption against him.

“My only mistake is that I declared to run for president in 2016 too early,” Binay told media at the Ortega Sports Complex, after meeting with San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega, La Union Rep. Eufranio Eriguel and his wife, Agoo Mayor Sandra Eriguel, Luna Mayor Vic Marron, and other residents.

“I thought politics was clean, but it isn’t,” he said.

Binay denied the accusations against him, and said that when he was mayor, Makati became one of the country’s most progressive cities, a record of governance that qualifies him to be the next president.

“Mar Roxas is behind the investigations at the Senate and the Ombudsman,” he said.

Roxas ran for vice president in 2010 but lost to Binay.

The Ombudsman has ordered the Vice President’s son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., suspended over the same graft allegations, but he has been holed up in the city hall in defiance of the order.

He, too, has blamed Roxas for what the Binays say is state persecution of their family.

The Vice President was set to go to Baguio City today with Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian and Mitos Magsaysay, who are reportedly running for the Senate in 2016.


INQUIRER

The perils of a scopic Mindanao view Antonio Montalvan II @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:08 AM | Monday, March 16th, 2015

To the barrage of criticisms against President Aquino is a common reaction from some loyal followers: Criticizing Mr. Aquino is myopic because it forgets his achievements that previous presidents failed to come up with. The predictable succeeding argument is, Mr. Aquino has sent “corrupt politicians to jail.”

On the other hand, in discussions on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), one commonly hears: “The Moro people cannot be trusted”; “They are traitors”; “They do not consider themselves Filipinos”; and other such arguments.

The arguments on both issues fall under the classification of scopic reasoning which operates from a narrow point of view, leaving no room for intellectual maneuver.

The one on the President is a selectively limited perspective. Bad governance must always be denounced, even if it is the handiwork of a popular president. Good governance advocacy is always predicated on the common good, not partisanship.

The argument that under the Aquino presidency the corrupt are being prosecuted will not sell until we see the President’s corrupt Liberal Party-mates face prosecution, too. That Mr. Aquino is without any capability for corruption is just as scopic as the argument that the Moro people are traitors.

A few years ago, a little Moro girl rode on a float in Baguio City’s Panagbenga Festival. Spectators jeered her as “Abu Sayyaf.” A young Moro woman in Manila was refused a ride by passing taxicabs because of her identifiable hijab head cover. It cannot be denied: Many of our Moro brethren are treated as cultural pariahs. A Moro treated as an alien in one’s own country lives in a state of depersonalization.

Falling under scopic argumentation was the opinion espoused by retired Supreme Court Justice Vicente Mendoza when he questioned the name “Bangsamoro.” Mendoza opined that positioning from a nation perspective invites the danger of the Bangsamoro seceding from the Philippine republic.

Current social thought has recognized the transformation of the concept of nation not just as a social polity but also as a representation of social life. Social thinkers have averred that “nation” is not simply the “ideological apparatus of state power.” It refers not just to the discourses of the cultural supremacy of the majority but also to the voices in its peripheries, of its minorities.

These are not just academic constructs. The Kapampangan believe they have a culture of their own that cannot be consigned to a status inferior to the dominant Tagalog culture. Indigenous peoples of the Cordillera speak the “lingua franca” Ilocano out of necessity; they have languages of their own.

One’s position in the dominant national culture is a source of identity that gives it a distinct sense of “nation-ness.” Cebuano Visayans of a few years back, preferring to sing the national anthem in their own language, were only expressing their sense of identity inherent to their concept of their own Cebuano nation.

These concepts of ethnonationalism are not perilous ideas. Here is where one appreciates the prospects of a Federalist Philippines that truly recognizes not only ethnolinguistic variety but also the modernist concept of self-determination. We often forget: Not everything that is Manila is representative of the entire country.

The jurist Mendoza also misses an important fact of recent history. In 2010, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front officially disavowed separatism as its ultimate goal. It was a pragmatic decision. Separatism drew no populist following in the Moro regions.

Many question whether the MILF is the true representative of the Moro people. In the 1988 elections, the MILF-affiliated Islamic Party of the Philippines fielded local candidates. Past elections consistently saw the battle lines drawn among aristocratic datus. But in 1988 a new political party that the datus had not organized challenged their traditional hold. The strong showing manifested the possibility of a Moro political counter-elite. That was a watershed event in the history of Moro Mindanao.

Scopic arguers are vastly unaware of these historical realities that explain why the Bangsamoro nation is a valid aspiration of the Moro people. It is not just the end of war. What needs to end fundamentally is the Manila-constructed political system that disenfranchised the large majority of the Moro population.

The 2009 Maguindanao massacre was a symptom of that political ogre that Manila, beginning with the American colonial period, created for the Moro in the likeness of its own system of political patronage and oligarchy. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was never the correct prescription.

Amid the tensions of the times, any proper appreciation of the Moro problem must be referenced on history. We have done very little of that so far. Will the BBL be the exact opposite of the system of governance that Manila had dictated for Mindanao? That does not appear to be an absolute certainty.

As importantly: Will the BBL unite the 13 Moro ethnolinguistic groups? I see some portions of the proposed BBL that seemingly would operate a Maguindanao hegemony over the rest of the Moro groups. That is not to mention the vague remedies for the non-Moro indigenous peoples. Finally, a BBL that is enacted out of political exigency will never work. History has taught us that. That is the real myopia.

What we need is ample time for open and free exchanges of opposing ideas anchored on human rights and respect for human dignity. Dissent must not be killed. Past regimes we criticized precisely because they stifled dissent and showed no respect for the dignity of the human person. We cried out tama na, sobra na.

We must apply the same standard when we judge the proponents of differing views on the BBL. If one is against the BBL, it does not necessarily follow that one is anti-peace and anti-Moro. I use myself as an example.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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