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

PH LOSING ABOUT 60 HECTARES TO CHINA'S LAND GRABBING


China’s land reclamation in four of the Philippine-claimed atolls and reefs in the West Philippine Sea area of the South China Sea, estimated to have reached more than 60 hectares, may have already changed the physical features of these disputed areas, which one lawmaker warned could indicate that the Philippines was starting to lose its territory to its bigger and more aggressive neighbor. Magdalo Rep. Francisco Ashley Acedillo said Chinese reclamation and construction in the South China Sea region might have already changed the status quo in the disputed regional waters. “Definitely, upon the completion of these reclamation activities by China, they would have been physically altered from reefs and shoals to habitable islands. As islands, furthermore, they are now able to host structures for military and other personnel as well as support naval and aircraft operations therein,” said Acedillo, a former military pilot. READ MORE...

ALSO EARLIER DFA REPORT: China turning reefs into ‘artificial islands’ for ‘dominance’–expert


The DFA released photo of the Mabini Reef showing China’s reclamation activities on the disputed area. DFA  MANILA, Philippines – China wants to “establish dominance” in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and it is doing so through land reclamation of reef to turn them into artificial islands, a maritime law expert said. The reclaimed island will have no bearing on the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos), Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines’ Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said in a text message to INQUIRER.net. “The making of these [artificial] islands does not at all affect the legal merits of the [Philippines’ and China’s] positions,” Batongbacal said. READ MORE...

ALSO Speech at PMA Graduation: Aquino to critics, we will crush you!


WHOOPING IT UP Cadets of the Philippine Military Academy throw their caps into the air after their graduation on Sunday. Cadet First Class Arwi Chiday Martinez topped the Sinaglahi Class of 2015. PHOTO BY THOM PICAÑA 
BAGUIO CITY: President Benigno Aquino 3rd lashed out at his critics on Sunday, warning that they will be crushed if they continue to question his reform agenda and refuse to acknowledge the country’s economic gains. “We will not hesitate to crush you,” Aquino said in his speech during the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduation rites. The President vowed that he will not yield to his “enemies” who he said are blind to the reforms that he has introduced. “Malinaw naman. Mga nagbubulag-bulagan at nagbibingi-bingihan lang ang hindi nakakaramdam sa malaking pagbabagong tinatamasa ng ating bayan [It is clear that only those who play blind and deaf are the only ones who do not feel the changes in our society],” Aquino said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino disconnected anew, hits opposition for woes during PMA graduation rites
[Aquino also claimed huge achievements in his more than four years in office in his speech.“After four and a half years, we can say that we have truly achieved so much on the straight and righteous path. We have overcome many challenges for the benefit of Filipinos in the country and overseas,” he said]


BS AQUINO III  Through all the public outrage he now faces as a result of the Mamasapano carnage, President Aquino remained disconnected from Filipino sentiment as he tried to ignore the results of the Board of Inquiry’s (BoI) investigation into the Mamasapano incident while again blaming the opposition for blocking his supposed reforms in a speech delivered at the graduation rites of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). Aquino has not personally issued a statement after the BoI report was issued in which he along with former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and sacked Special Action Force (SAF) chief Director Getulio  Napeñas were tagged as culpable for breaking the PNP chain of command. The botched operations led to the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troops.
The President, instead, attacked the opposition whom he alleged to be hindering his claimed reforms. “The message is clear to those at the other side of our agenda to reform: If you are ready to talk sincerely, the state is open for reasonable and honest dialogue. But, if you are going to continue putting the people at harm, we won’t hesitate to fight,” he said. READ MORE....

ALSO: Aquino mocks elite forces at PMA rites


Facing the troops. President Benigno Aquino III stands at attention during the graduation ceremony for the 2015 “Sinaglahi” class of the Philippine Military Academy at Fort General Gregorio del Pilar in Baguio City Sunday. MalacaÑang photo  FORT DEL PILAR—President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday took a swipe at the PNP-Special Action Force after praising a neophyte soldier here, suggesting the elite group was less than competent during the graduation rites for the PMA Class of 2015. He bestowed the Distinguished Conduct Star on Second Lieutenant Jerson Sanchez, a member of the PMA Class of 2014, for leading his platoon in an assault on a communist encampment in Sarangani that resulted in the killing of seven rebels. “Let me stress: Lieutenant Sanchez is a new soldier and not a member of an elite unit,” Aquino said alluding to the PNP-SAF. “But in the short period that he has been in the service he has shown great courage and effective leadership,” Aquino added. “It is clear to him that if he persists in pursuing the enemy, they will have second thoughts about doing operations because the soldiers guarding them are first-rate.” But many senior officers were surprised by the award bestowed on Sanchez. They said they had been expecting recognition for the troopers that helped extricate the beleaguered SAF commandos who were on a mission to arrest the terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25. READ MORE...

ALSO by Ellen Tordesillas: BOI requested an interview with Aquino (through Mar Roxas which was ignored)


Ellen Tordesillas ----It is not true that the Board of Inquiry did not try to ask the side of President Aquino on the Jan. 25 Mamasapano tragedy that claimed 68 lives including 44 of the country’s elite police commandos, 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and six civilians, including an eight-year-old girl.  Last March 9, BOI head Police Director Benjamin Magalong told the Interior Secretary Mar Roxas that they would like to interview the President and the latter promised to relay the request to Aquino.  This took place when Magalong requested Roxas for an extension to submit the report.   Magalong never got a notification from Roxas on Malacañang’s reply to his request. He submitted the BOI report last Friday.  Malacañang is not happy with the report of the Board of Inquiry that investigated the Jan. 25 Mamasapano tragedy of which found that the Chain of Command in the Philippine National Police was violated and one of the culprits was President Aquino saying it “introduced innuendos and resorted to speculations.”  READ FULL COLUMN...AND MORE....

ALSO STANDARD EDITORIAL: The BOI report, according to Mar Roxas


It was a touching moment, really, when Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II vigorously came to the defense of his embattled boss, President Benigno Aquino III, as he presented the Board of Inquiry summary report on the Mamasapano incident that killed 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force.
Roxas said the president has “no liability” over the tragic incident, and instead blamed suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima who he said failed to follow the president’s order. “The President, as commander-in-chief, gave guidance to coordinate with the AFP because of its capability to reinforce. Purisima was instructed to coordinate but failed,” Roxas said. The DILG chief said Aquino tapped Purisima to head the operation even before the former PNP chief was suspended, conveniently skirting the fact that Aquino, Purisima and sacked SAF chief Getulio Napenas met several times to discuss Oplan Exodus after the Ombudsman imposed the suspension on Purisima. “Based on what I read, he (Aquino) as the commander in chief correctly and rightly authorized that (Zulkifli bin Hir) Marwan is a target. There is no liability with that. He gave the order to apprehend or to serve the warrant on Marwan and (Basit) Usman. Nothing wrong with that. Trabaho niya ‘yan. In fact, kung hindi niya ginawa ‘yan, may pananagutan ang Pangulo no’n,” Roxas said. But in exonerating his boss, Roxas has only perpetuated the canard that Aquino himself tries to ram into the public’s consciousness that he was not to be blamed for the tragic end that befell the slain commandos. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

PH losing about 60 hectares to China’s land grabbing

MANILA, MARCH 16, 2015 (INQUIRER) Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet - China’s land reclamation in four of the Philippine-claimed atolls and reefs in the West Philippine Sea area of the South China Sea, estimated to have reached more than 60 hectares, may have already changed the physical features of these disputed areas, which one lawmaker warned could indicate that the Philippines was starting to lose its territory to its bigger and more aggressive neighbor.

Magdalo Rep. Francisco Ashley Acedillo said Chinese reclamation and construction in the South China Sea region might have already changed the status quo in the disputed regional waters.

“Definitely, upon the completion of these reclamation activities by China, they would have been physically altered from reefs and shoals to habitable islands. As islands, furthermore, they are now able to host structures for military and other personnel as well as support naval and aircraft operations therein,” said Acedillo, a former military pilot.

This undated photo handout released by the Kayalaan Municipal office on July 13, 2011 shows the island of Kalayaan, which means "Freedom" in the Filipino language, that was created in 1978 mainly to assert the Philippines' claim to the disputed territory in the Spratlys, a chain of islets in the South China Sea. AFP PHOTO/ Kayalaan Municipal office / HO This undated photo handout released by the Kayalaan Municipal office on July 13, 2011 shows the island of Kalayaan, which means “Freedom” in the Filipino language, that was created in 1978 mainly to assert the Philippines’ claim to the disputed territory in the Spratlys, a chain of islets in the South China Sea. AFP PHOTO/ Kayalaan Municipal office / HO

Going, going, gone …

He predicted that the Philippines could lose Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) to China “in a year’s time or two … when China steps up air and navy patrols based out of Mischief Reef.”

The Philippines had control of Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef) until 1995 when China began putting up what it claimed was a shelter for Chinese fishermen, but then ultimately claimed the reef for itself.

Alarmed Philippine authorities moved to guard the neighboring Ayungin Shoal, allowing a disused hospital ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, to run aground on the shoal. Ayungin is about 22 nautical miles (41 kilometers) from Panganiban Reef.

Acedillo warned that “within two to three years” after China takes Ayungin Shoal, Scarborough Shoal, or the Bajo de Masinloc, off the coast of Zambales province would be next.

“Within a decade from next year, we will be forced to relocate residents of Pagasa, which is now part of Palawan province and abandon our second largest island in the Spratly group,” Acedillo said.

Already a small city

Aerial photos of Mischief Reef taken last Jan. 29 and 30 showed that dredging activities have begun in the area.

A well-placed government source described the dredging in Mischief Reef as “the most unsettling” of all because it is only 41 kilometers from Ayungin Shoal.

The Inquirer learned that the Chinese had reclaimed some 24 ha of land on Calderon Reef, the biggest of the artificial islands in the disputed waters. On it, the Chinese have built a massive building surrounded by several smaller structures.

On Mabini Reef, China has reclaimed 12.14 ha of land; on Gaven Reef, some 10.9 ha, and on Kennan Reef, 8.09 ha.

“If you put all those structures together, it would be like a small city,” the source said.

Forward operating bases

Acedillo said these Chinese built-up territories functioned as forward operating island bases that could sustain 24/7 naval and air patrols, “virtually allowing China to stake their claim to at least 80 percent or even the entire South China Sea area consistent with their nine-dash line claim.”

“This will be to the detriment of the other claimants,” he said.

The dispute over territory and sovereignty over the South China Sea region involves for the most part the Spratlys and Paracel island chains, which are claimed in whole or in part by China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines. Apart from these two chains, there are dozens of uninhabited rocky outcrops, atolls, sandbanks and reefs, such as the Scarborough Shoal claimed by the Philippines and China.

China claims by far the largest portion of the South China Sea territory, an area defined by the “nine-dash line” that stretches hundreds of miles south and east from its southernmost Hainan province, its claim based on 2,000 years of regarding the Paracel and Spratly chains as part of China.

The Philippines’ main basis for its claim to the Spratlys (it has no claim to the Paracels) comes from its geographical proximity to some of its claimed territories that, it says, falls within its exclusive economic zone as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

The Scarborough Shoal (known as Huangyan Island in China), claimed by the Philippines and China, is little more than 220 kilometers (118 nautical miles) from the Philippines and 650 kilometers (350 nautical miles) from China.

Lack of COC

Acedillo warned that China’s “preeminence over the Spratlys and the South China Sea” as a result of its unhampered building of facilities on the disputed territories that could become operational by year’s end or early next year, it would be very hard to forge a Code of Conduct (COC) on the South China Sea that would be fair to all parties and not skewed in China’s favor.

“China has gained the most from this seeming lull provided by a lack of COC with teeth,” he said.

“The fallout versus China generated by these violations will make it even harder to redraft an enforceable COC that is binding to China, not so much the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” he said.


EARLIER INQUIRER REPORT

China turning reefs into ‘artificial islands’ for ‘dominance’–expert Matikas Santos @MSantosINQ INQUIRER.net 1:52 PM | Wednesday, June 25th, 2014


The DFA released photo of the Mabini Reef showing China’s reclamation activities on the disputed area. DFA

MANILA, Philippines – China wants to “establish dominance” in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and it is doing so through land reclamation of reef to turn them into artificial islands, a maritime law expert said.

The reclaimed island will have no bearing on the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos), Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines’ Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.

“The making of these [artificial] islands does not at all affect the legal merits of the [Philippines’ and China’s] positions,” Batongbacal said.

“These activities are significant for their practical value/implications to the ability of China to establish dominance in the South China Sea, not the nature or legality of the claims,” he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) previously said that China’s land reclamation would “jeopardize” the arbitration case filed by the Philippines before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos) because it has changed the characteristic of the maritime feature.

DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario has expressed his intent to go before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to call for a moratorium on all activities in the West Philippine Sea, particularly the reclamation activities.

DFA previously released a series of aerial photographs showing Chinese ships conducting land reclamation at the Mabini Reef (Johnson South Reef).

China is also believed to be starting reclamation on several other reefs.

According to Article 60 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), which is regarded as the “constitution of the seas,” artificial islands are not entitled to any maritime territory.

“Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf,” Paragraph 8 of the article says.

The same article also says that a particular country can construct artificial islands only within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The artificial islands being constructed by China in the Spratly Group of Islands are around 150 nautical miles west from the Province of Palawan and more than 550 nautical miles to the nearest landmass of China which is the Hainan province.

Batongbacal said that the artificial islands would not affect the arbitration case against China before the Itlos.

“At best, the artificial islands themselves might be treated similarly with vessels under a foreign flag, and are entitled only to a 500-meter safety zone for purposes of navigation. But they do not affect the legal status of their location or the surrounding maritime areas,” he said.

China, through the nine-dash line, claims nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the Philippines 200-nautical mile EEZ.


MANILA TIMES

Aquino to critics: We will crush you March 15, 2015 10:34 pm by CATHERINE S. VALENTE REPORTER


WHOOPING IT UP Cadets of the Philippine Military Academy throw their caps into the air after their graduation on Sunday. Cadet First Class Arwi Chiday Martinez topped the Sinaglahi Class of 2015. PHOTO BY THOM PICAÑA

BAGUIO CITY: President Benigno Aquino 3rd lashed out at his critics on Sunday, warning that they will be crushed if they continue to question his reform agenda and refuse to acknowledge the country’s economic gains.

“We will not hesitate to crush you,” Aquino said in his speech during the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduation rites.

The President vowed that he will not yield to his “enemies” who he said are blind to the reforms that he has introduced.

“Malinaw naman. Mga nagbubulag-bulagan at nagbibingi-bingihan lang ang hindi nakakaramdam sa malaking pagbabagong tinatamasa ng ating bayan [It is clear that only those who play blind and deaf are the only ones who do not feel the changes in our society],” Aquino said.

He reminded those “on the other side of the reform agenda” that the government is willing to dialogue with them.

But if they refuse and choose to endanger the country, the President said they will suffer the consequences.

“Kung patuloy ninyong ilalagay sa peligro ang sambayanan, hindi kami mag-aatubiling sagasaan kayo [If you continue to put the country in the line of danger, we will not hesitate to run you over],” Aquino warned.

He reiterated that he got his mandate from Filipinos to lead the country and it will be the people who will continue his reforms after he steps down in 2016.

Aquino acknowledged that he alone did not work for these reforms, but alon side “all decent Filipinos.”

“Ngayon ngang palapit nang palapit ang pagtatapos ng aking mandato, paulit-ulit ang mga nagtatanong: Sino ang magpapatuloy ng maganda nating nasimulan kapag bumaba na ako sa puwesto? Bakit di na lang ulitin ang termino raw at ituloy ang pagbabago sa ating pamumuno [Now that my mandate is soon to end, we continue to receive questions: Who will continue my legacy when I step down? Why don’t I just continue my term]?” he asked.

The President, however, pointed out that he would be setting a dangerous precedent if he stayed in power beyond his term.

“Baka dumating ang panahon na kapag bumaba na ako sa puwesto, isipin ng papalit sa akin na puwedeng panghabambuhay na siya sa katungkulan [Perhaps when the time will come that I finally step down, my successor would think that there is no problem with staying in power for life],” he said.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has long expressed his intention to run for President next year, was also present at Sunday’s ceremony.

The two leaders belong to opposing political parties.

Before his speech, the President inaugurated the newly-completed Philippine Military Academy Sports Complex.

The President was received by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces chief Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. , PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Oscar Lopez and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr.

Aquino and Naguiat unveiled the marker of the sports complex, which has a 3,320-square meter floor area. The P89.9-million facility was built through the help of Pagcor.


TRIBUNE

Aquino disconnected anew, hits opposition for woes Written by Joshua L. Labonera Monday, 16 March 2015 00:00 By Joshua L. Labonera


BS AQUINO III

Through all the public outrage he now faces as a result of the Mamasapano carnage, President Aquino remained disconnected from Filipino sentiment as he tried to ignore the results of the Board of Inquiry’s (BoI) investigation into the Mamasapano incident while again blaming the opposition for blocking his supposed reforms in a speech delivered at the graduation rites of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

Aquino has not personally issued a statement after the BoI report was issued in which he along with former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and sacked Special Action Force (SAF) chief Director Getulio

Napeñas were tagged as culpable for breaking the PNP chain of command.

The botched operations led to the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troops.

The President, instead, attacked the opposition whom he alleged to be hindering his claimed reforms.

“The message is clear to those at the other side of our agenda to reform: If you are ready to talk sincerely, the state is open for reasonable and honest dialogue. But, if you are going to continue putting the people at harm, we won’t hesitate to fight,” he said.

Aquino has been known to take jabs at members of the political opposition whom he labeled as part of forces who wanted a return of the discredited past.

Earlier, he pinned the blame on the Mamasapano incident solely on Napenas in several speeches while shielding Purisima from accountability.

Purisima, who has been a long-time friend of President Aquino, has been tagged as the primary culprit of the Mamasapano debacle since he was giving out orders with approval from Aquino in the conduct of the mission to capture or kill Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan while supposedly under a suspension order from the Ombudsman.

Aquino also reiterated his stance not to seek for another term for the presidency. Aquino also refused to name who he will anoint as the administration candidate for next year’s presidential polls.

“There are those who suggest: Why not run again? Our answer: First of all, I’m not the only one who did this. I am with each and every decent Filipino in forging change. Second, while we saw the benefit if I’d continue (as president), it has dangers,” he said in reference to former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Meanwhile, Aquino noted the graduates of the PMA belongs to those who will continue “what he started” when his term ends in 2016, together with the Filipino people.

Aquino is set to step down from the presidency in 2016. Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was also present at Sunday’s ceremony, has long expressed his intent to run for the country’s top post.

The two leaders, however, belong to opposing political parties.

In the same speech, Aquino stressed that the Filipino people have the right to choose the leader they want.

“The people will continue this transformation, in choosing their leader. All that we’ve started, it’s all part of the triumph,” he said.

Also present at the ceremony were Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., and other ranking military officials.

Aquino also claimed huge achievements in his more than four years in office in his speech.

“After four and a half years, we can say that we have truly achieved so much on the straight and righteous path. We have overcome many challenges for the benefit of Filipinos in the country and overseas,” he said.

He enumerated among his achievements the repatriation of Filipinos during the rise in tension between North and South Korea in 2010, “where 50,000 of our countrymen could have been caught in the conflict.”

Apart from this, there is also the need to move our countrymen in the Middle East away from areas of danger and unrest, he said.

He cited efforts to stop the spread of diseases such as Ebola and MERS-CoV.

“Back in 2013, our country faced trial after trial: an earthquake in Bohol, turmoil in Zamboanga, and the destruction of Typhoon Yolanda,” he added.

“Right now, we are focused on seven of our countrymen who were abducted by an armed group in Libya, as well as the nearly 4,000 Filipinos caught in conflict there. We also have around 900 countrymen who must be evacuated from Yemen,” he said.


MANILA STANDARD

Aquino mocks elite forces By Florante S. Solmerin | Mar. 16, 2015 at 12:01am


Facing the troops. President Benigno Aquino III stands at attention during the graduation ceremony for the 2015 “Sinaglahi” class of the Philippine Military Academy at Fort General Gregorio del Pilar in Baguio City Sunday. MalacaÑang photo

FORT DEL PILAR—President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday took a swipe at the PNP-Special Action Force after praising a neophyte soldier here, suggesting the elite group was less than competent during the graduation rites for the PMA Class of 2015.

He bestowed the Distinguished Conduct Star on Second Lieutenant Jerson Sanchez, a member of the PMA Class of 2014, for leading his platoon in an assault on a communist encampment in Sarangani that resulted in the killing of seven rebels.

“Let me stress: Lieutenant Sanchez is a new soldier and not a member of an elite unit,” Aquino said alluding to the PNP-SAF.

“But in the short period that he has been in the service he has shown great courage and effective leadership,” Aquino added.

“It is clear to him that if he persists in pursuing the enemy, they will have second thoughts about doing operations because the soldiers guarding them are first-rate.”

But many senior officers were surprised by the award bestowed on Sanchez. They said they had been expecting recognition for the troopers that helped extricate the beleaguered SAF commandos who were on a mission to arrest the terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

Forty-four of the commandos were killed during a firefight with Muslim rebels, and they were killed because they received no support while being surrounded by the enemy.

A report by the PNP Board of Inquiry released on March 12 said the commandos were killed apparently because the chain of command was broken, and that Aquino broke the chain of command.

Meanwhile, the group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said the web of lies being spun by Aquino was getting bigger and bigger after the Palace criticized the findings of the Board of Inquiry for saying Aquino, the commander in chief, broke the chain of command during the police operation in Mamasapano.

Former Police Chief and senator Panfilo Lacson also defended the BOI after presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said it “introduced innuendos and resorted to speculations to reach some of its conclusions.”

“The BOI was created by the Interior secretary to perform a fact-finding mandate and nothing more,” Lacson said.

“In their report, did not hold anybody, much less the President, liable for any violation of the law. They simply stated the facts and evidence as they gathered them. I don’t see any innuendos and speculations in their report.”

Aquino has put the blame on the Mamasapano debacle on sacked SAF director Getulio Napeñas, claiming his poor planning led to the carnage after the 44 commandos were waylaid by the MILF and BIFF rebels while withdrawing after neutralizing Marwan.

However, he has not explained why suspended National Police Chief Alan Purisima was part of the operation in Mamasapano when he under suspension.

The families of the 44 commandos have been demanding justice for their slain loved ones.

Meanwhile, Aquino on Sunday was all praise for Sanchez.

“We do not expect a neophyte to be an expert, and that is why Second Lieutenant Sanchez is admirable,” he said.

“It has been less than a year when he graduated, but the ability he has shown is unique.”

Sanchez led his platoon in an assault on the encampment of about 30 heavily-armed communists Datal Andas village in Alabel, Sarangani, on Feb. 16 this year.

Aquino said he wanted Sanchez to be promoted outright to first lieutenant, but the military procedures must be followed.

Meanwhile, Senate President pro tempore Ralph Recto said on Sunday that it was clear from the BOI report that Aquino should not have ordered his close friend Purisima to participate in the Mamasapano operation.

“I don’t know if you want to call it chain of command, but Purisima should not have been ordered. He has nothing to do with Oplan Exodus,” Recto said.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier said that Aquino did not break the chain of command because there is no such concept in the PNP.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had described the violation of the chain of command as the “root cause” of the lack of coordination between the police and the military. With Joyce Pangco Pañares, Dexter A. See and Macon Ramos-Araneta


MALAYA COLUMNS OF THE DAY

BOI requested an interview with Aquino By Ellen Tordesillas on March 16, 2015

It is not true that the Board of Inquiry did not try to ask the side of President Aquino on the Jan. 25 Mamasapano tragedy that claimed 68 lives including 44 of the country’s elite police commandos, 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and six civilians, including an eight-year-old girl.

Last March 9, BOI head Police Director Benjamin Magalong told the Interior Secretary Mar Roxas that they would like to interview the President and the latter promised to relay the request to Aquino.

This took place when Magalong requested Roxas for an extension to submit the report.

Magalong never got a notification from Roxas on Malacañang’s reply to his request. He submitted the BOI report last Friday.

Malacañang is not happy with the report of the Board of Inquiry that investigated the Jan. 25 Mamasapano tragedy of which found that the Chain of Command in the Philippine National Police was violated and one of the culprits was President Aquino saying it “introduced innuendos and resorted to speculations.”

The BOI did not spare the President of wrongdoing in the tragedy: “The President, the suspended CPNP Purisima and the former Director SAF Napeñas kept the information to themselves and deliberately failed to inform the OIC PNP and the SILG. The Chain of Command should be observed in running mission operations,” the report said.

The other items in the Report’s Executive Summary focusing on the President’s role in the tragedy that claimed 68 lives including 44 of the country’s elite police commandos, 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and six civilians, state:

“1. 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.

“2. 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.

“3. The President exercised his prerogative to deal directly with Napeñas instead of Officer-in-Charge of the PNP (OIC-PNP) Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina. 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. Under the Manual for PNP Fundamental Doctrine , the Chain of Command runs upward and downward. Such Manual requires the commander to discharge his responsibilities through a Chain of Command.”

Lacierda disagreed with BOI’s stand on the applicability of the chain-of-command doctrine saying the PNP is a civilian institution under the Executive Branch of government. “The President, as Chief Executive, exercises full and absolute control and supervision over every official in that branch,” he said.


ROXAS AND LACIERDA

Lacierda faults the BOI for not asking for Aquino’s side.

“The BOI in its efforts could have asked the President to clarify matters. 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. This is all the more unfortunate because the head of the BOI, together with other senior officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) was present in a meeting with the President where Police Director Benjamin Magalong had the opportunity to ask the President questions or seek further clarifications. As head of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Police Director Magalong should be particularly aware of the need for due process to be observed.”

Lacierda must be referring to the March 4 meeting of the President with SAF officials at Bagong Diwa in Taguig City which focused on a review of the operations conducted to arrest the two terrorists who were the target of the Jan. 25 Oplan Exodus in order to improve future operations and other related concerns of SAF.

Is Lacierda serious about expecting Magalong to disrespect the President and do an ambush interview with him?

Lacierda, confirming the President’s complete control of Oplan Exodus, which he himself narrated in his meeting with religious leaders last Monday, said, “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. However, the President was disobeyed by Purisima.”

Lacierda said Aquino himself instructed the suspended Chief PNP, Alan Purisima to inform the OIC Chief PNP Leonardo Espina of Oplan Exodus.

Using Lacierda’s argument that Aquino is not covered by PNP’s doctrine of chain-of-command,because he “exercises full and absolute control and supervision over every official in that branch”, why didn’t he himself inform Espina? Why did he have to course it through Purisima, who had no business participating in PNP operations because of his suspension?

Aquino dealing with the suspended PNP chief all throughout the operations, as shown by text messages between the two, was an anomaly. He disrespected not only Espina but the whole PNP organization. Binastos ang PNP.

Magalong, by coursing his request for an interview with the President through the DILG secretary, showed respect for the Office of the President. Magalong was following protocol. He is with the PNP, which Roxas administers and controls as chairman of the National Police Commission.

The BOI never got a reply from Aquino. Is it a case of story-telling-a lie which we had aplenty the past one and half months or a breakdown in communication in Malacañang?

Either way, it does not speak well of the current state of the Aquino presidency.

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Hindi tanga si Pangulong Aquino By Ellen Tordesillas on March 13, 2015


Tordesillas: TATAGALUGIN ko ito dahil hindi makuha ng English ang damdamin na gusto kong ipahiwatig.

Ayaw kong sabihin na tanga si Pangulong Aquino dahil siyempre parang sinabi mo na ring tanga ang sobrang 15 milyon na bomoto sa kanya sa pagka-presidente noong eleksyon ng 2010.

Noong pinapakinggan ko ang kanyang halos isang oras na kuwento sa mga religious leaders tungkol sa nangyari sa Mamasapano noong Enero 25, lalong naging matibay ang paniwala kong hindi siya tanga, taliwas sa sinasabi ng marami.

Tingnan n’yo naman ang detalya na halos memorized ni Aquino. Pati ang liwanag ng buwan, kabisado niya.


Aquino at Malacanang Prayer Meeting, Photo appended by PHNO

Kuwento niya: “So gumawa ho ng plano, prinisenta sa atin ‘yung pinakahuling version ‘nung January. Prinisenta po sa atin ‘yung buong plano sa pamamagitan ng isang Power Point presentation na kung titingnan po natin ay nakapa-thorough ‘nung planning. Ultimo po ‘yung ano bang phase ‘nung buwan, ‘yung gaano kalakas ba ang illumination ng buwan, naka-plot po doon sa kanilang mga dates. Bakit namin pinili itong petsang ito? Ipaliwanag ko lang po nang konti, pasensya na ho kayo medyo mahaba ‘yung details, ano.

“‘Yung night vision ho, device, siyempre ‘pag walang buwan o mahina ‘yung buwan–palubog ‘yung buwan–maximum ‘yung effect niya dahil ‘yung kalaban natin na walang night vision siyempre madilim ang ino-operate. So ang lamang po ng ating puwersa, mayroong night vision device, pipili ng araw kung saan mahina ‘yung illumination ng buwan o may cloud cover na dagdag para ma-maximize ‘yung advantage nila.

So pupuntahan ‘yung target, papasukan, nag-jump off ng 10 ng gabi–‘yon pong detalye nalaman ko na after–pero gabi, papasok doon, madaling araw–mga ala-una, alas-dos–matatapos ‘yung misyon, tapos lalabas.”

Marami pang detalye ng operation ang ikinuwento niya. Halatang-halata na mahilig talaga siya sa mga giyera-giyerahan.

Sa kuwento niya, nalalaman natin na talagang hands-on siya sa operasyun sa simula-simula pa:

“So sinabi ko sa kanya kailangan makipag-coordinate ka sa AFP. ‘Yung AFP po kasi–kausap ko dito si Director (Getulio) Napeñas–‘yung AFP ho ang may kanyon, may armored vehicles, may eroplano. ‘Pag sinabi hong coordinate… Sabi niya sa akin, ‘sir, magko-coordinate kami sa jump-off’–kumbaga, pagkilos. Sabi ko hindi pwede ‘yung pagkilos dahil patungo ka na doon sa objective. Kailangan i-posisyon ‘yung kanyon; kailangan i-posisyon ‘yung tangke; kailangan i-posisyon ‘yung eroplano; kailangan i-posisyon ‘yung tao; kailangan i-posisyon ‘yung gasolina at saka ‘yung bala ng kanyon, ‘yung bomba ‘nung eroplano, et cetera. Hindi mo naman magagawa ‘yan in 30 minutes or less. Sabi nila, ‘sir, ‘yung operation on security.’

Kausapin niyo ‘yung pinakamataas na kailangang kausapin na pwede niyang utusan lahat itong subordinate units na pumunta sa kani-kanilang mga puwesto para reding (ready) umalalay.”

May mga mahalaga at interesante na impormasyun ang nalalaman natin sa kuwento niya sa araw mismo ng operation. Siyempre, pasok na naman ang nanay niya, si dating Pangulong Cory Aquino, na birthday nu’ng araw na ‘yun.

Sabi niya ang unang text na natanggap daw niya ayun sa record sa kanyang cellphone ay 5:45 ng umaga.

Ngunit hindi niya nabasa kaagad dahil tulog pa siya. At inamin niya, nakapatay ang kanyang cellphone. Sabi niya: “Una kong natanggap na text, nandito pa ho sa telepono ko, parang pinadala ng 5:45–aminin ko nakapatay ‘yung telepono ko, 7:00 more or less ‘nung pagbangon (ko) binuksan, sinagot ko siya ng about 7:30 or so.”

Naala-ala ko tuloy ang hostage crisis noong 2010 sa Rizal Park kung saan nagkakagulo na ang buong Manila at walang naririnig mula sa Malacañang. Tulog pa pala siya. Walang naglakas loob mang-gising sa kanya hanggang dumating si Energy Secretary (noon) at ngayon ay Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras.

Dito inamin ni Aquino na ang kausap niya ay ang kanyang best friend, ang suspendido na Police Chief Alan Purisima at hindi ang director ng Special Action Force na si Getulio Napeñas.

“Ang text —at sinabi sa akin doon sa text ni Director General (Alan) Purisima… Sa kanya ko ho dinadaan kasi parati mula nung umpisa ‘yung mga mensahe ng director ng SAF. Hindi ko ho kausap ‘yung director ng SAF e, diretsuhan, mula ‘nung umpisa.”

Kaya nakapagtataka na kay Napeñas niya ibinubuhos ang kasalanan ng trahedya na kumitil ng buhay ng 68 na Pilipino–44 na SAF, 18 na miyembro ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front at 6 na sibilyan.

Sabi ni Aquino: “Pag nakita ho ninyo ‘yung pagpaplano nito, napakahusay ho ‘nung Power Point presentation. Sa–‘pag binansagan po kalsada sabi nila, ‘ang ganda ng plano kaya lang drowing pala ito….

“Ngayon, 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.”


PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO

Isang presidente na mahilig sa war games at war history, nabola ng Power Point Presentation?

Libre si Purisima na siyang may direct contact sa Presidente.

Paano magkakaroon ng panagutan ang Presidente? Never niya kausap si Napeñas.

Hindi tanga si Pangulong Aquino. Genius ang strategy.


MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

The BOI report, according to Mar Roxas By Manila Standard Today | Mar. 15, 2015 at 12:01am

It was a touching moment, really, when Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II vigorously came to the defense of his embattled boss, President Benigno Aquino III, as he presented the Board of Inquiry summary report on the Mamasapano incident that killed 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force.

Roxas said the president has “no liability” over the tragic incident, and instead blamed suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima who he said failed to follow the president’s order.

“The President, as commander-in-chief, gave guidance to coordinate with the AFP because of its capability to reinforce. Purisima was instructed to coordinate but failed,” Roxas said.

The DILG chief said Aquino tapped Purisima to head the operation even before the former PNP chief was suspended, conveniently skirting the fact that Aquino, Purisima and sacked SAF chief Getulio Napenas met several times to discuss Oplan Exodus after the Ombudsman imposed the suspension on Purisima.

“Based on what I read, he (Aquino) as the commander in chief correctly and rightly authorized that (Zulkifli bin Hir) Marwan is a target. There is no liability with that. He gave the order to apprehend or to serve the warrant on Marwan and (Basit) Usman. Nothing wrong with that. Trabaho niya ‘yan. In fact, kung hindi niya ginawa ‘yan, may pananagutan ang Pangulo no’n,” Roxas said.

But in exonerating his boss, Roxas has only perpetuated the canard that Aquino himself tries to ram into the public’s consciousness that he was not to be blamed for the tragic end that befell the slain commandos.

And if Roxas really believes in what he is saying, then it is has become clear that he has lost whatever self-respect that he had.

In swallowing the Palace line hook and sinker, Roxas chose to gloss over the fact that it was the president who ordered Purisima to keep him and PNP Officer In Charge Loenardo Espina out of the loop in Oplan Exodus.

In doing so, the president did not only deliberately broke the chain of command, he also relegated Roxas and his position as DILG chief as a mere adjunct to Purisima’s vast powers.

Roxas has no choice but to endure the embarrassment of being “out of the loop” in the operation because he did not want to displease Aquino, who, as the nominal head of the Liberal Party, could suddenly decide that the party may be better off with another candidate for the presidency in 2016.

Roxas actually could have taken the high moral ground (and perhaps a better survey result) right after the Mamasapano incident if he had expressed his anger and indignation publicly over the rude treatment that he got from both Aquino and Purisima.

But that chance had passed because Roxas has chosen the path of political expediency instead of rising over the muck of lies and half-truths that his boss, the president, continues to peddle.

In the end, Mar Roxas has only himself to blame, because the voters now know that the Secretary, like his boss, lacks the courage to speak for what is just and true.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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