© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
 http://newsflash.org

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

FIBA WORLD CUP HOST: CHINA OUTBIDS PH FOR 2019 FIBA BASKETBALL WORLD CUP


AUGUST 7 --Powerhouse China outbid Philippines for the rights to host the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup. After a final pitch before the Fiba Central Board on Friday in Tokyo, Japan, the world’s basketball governing body granted China the privilege to host the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup.
China edged Philippines, which banked on the Filipinos’ passion for the sports and reach on social media in its bid for the hosting, with a presentation focusing on its strength in infrastructure, hosting experience, and resources. The Chinese have hosted several international tournaments including the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2010 Asian Games and the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics. They will also host the upcoming 2015 Fiba Asia Championships. READ MORE...\

ALSO: Sea turtle caught in Samar


AUGUST 10 --A man sits on a leatherback sea turtle tied to a bamboo pole in Marabut, Samar in an undated photo, one of several that elicited outrage among netizens. The turtle has been released back to the sea
.
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Photos of a still unidentified man sitting on a leatherback sea turtle, locally known as pawikan, recently went viral on social media. The pawikan, which measures six feet long and three feet wide, was tied to a bamboo post and has since been released back to the sea – but not without first inciting outrage from netizens. Six photos were uploaded by Jose Lastimado on his Facebook account last Aug. 6 at past 9 a.m. Lastimado was reportedly the former village chief of Pinamitinan and Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president of Marabut town in Samar. The photos were captioned “Big catch pawikan in Brgy Sta Rita Marabut Samar (sic).” In his spot report, lawyer Danilo Suarez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) community environment and natural resources office in Samar said the pawikan was caught in the fish net of a certain Jessy Amora, about one kilometer away from the shoreline of the village, on Aug. 5 around 1:30 a.m. Corazon Horca Makabenta, officer-in-charge of the DENR’s conservation and development division here, said the pawikan was released “after the DENR took photodocs and measurements at 11 a.m. in the morning that same day.”  READ MORE...

ALSO Bohol quake triggers a phenomenon: Land rising from bottom of the sea


AUGUST 9 --THIS LAND IS OURS Or so says Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. (right), pointing to a strip of broad, flat reef covered with seagrass, corals and other marine organisms that used to lie on the seabed until exposed by the undersea upheaval caused by the destructive 2013 Bohol quake. The 137-hectare strip being claimed by Maribojoc and Loon towns, which envision it as an ecotourism site, counter the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ declaration that it is a “geological monument” owned by the state. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines—The strip of undeveloped dry land by the sea may not interest buyers of beachfront property in Bohol province, one of the Philippines’ top tourist destinations known for its sandy shores and other natural wonders. Nearly all of the strip’s 137 hectares on the edges of two towns seem riveted down with rocks, some sharp enough to thwart a barefoot walk.Scientists explain the strip as a phenomenon caused by the heaving of the seabed more than a meter above the water during the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that brought Bohol to its knees in October 2013.The undersea upheaval exposed a broad, flat reef covered with seagrasses, corals and other marine organisms that once lived undisturbed despite the neap and ebb tides.
To the municipalities of Maribojoc and Loon, which share stories of devastation caused by the quake and are contoured by the new coastal crust in the southwestern part of the island-province, the strip offers exciting ecotourism opportunities.‘Geological monument’But the hopes of Maribojoc and Loon have been dashed by a recent Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) declaration that the strip is owned by the state and is a “geological monument” that “constitutes an irreplaceable segment of the earth’s history and geological heritage.”According to the DENR, geological monuments are sites that “show outstanding features or processes considered by geologists and other scientists worthy of conservation.”READ MORE...

ALSO CHED: College not for everyone


AUGUST 10 --Licuanan
The chairman of the Commission on Higher Education admitted that not every student should go to college, adding that there are other options that graduates can take after completing high school.
“We don’t think that every student really should go to college. There are very good programs in the technical and vocational areas or in the area of middle-level skills, and you get jobs when you finish these programs,” Dr. Patricia Licuanan said in an interview over the weekend. “That option of going into technical-vocational and middle-level jobs is attractive, but in our culture, we have that notion that everyone should get a college diploma. I don’t think that’s necessary,” Licuanan added. Under the K to 12 program, trumpeted as the “greatest key reform initiative of the Aquino government,” students are given options to pursue specialized tracks that will be fully implemented by next year. Among the different tracks are academic, technical-vocational, sports and arts and design. Last July, the commission released a memorandum wherein undergraduate students who stopped schooling are given until academic years 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 to complete their unfinished bachelor’s degrees before the complete roll-out of the new Outcomes-based Education Curriculum and the Revised General Education Curriculum. Students, who will return to higher education institutions after 2018 will have to go back to senior high school. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNP awarding postponed, SAF widow told, but ‘why is it on TV?’
 
[SAF Director LAZO: WE ASKED THEM TO COME JUST IN CASE]


AUGUST 8 --President Aquino (center) and Special Action Force Director Moro Virgilio M. Lazo share a light moment at the turnover of command at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City, in March. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE /PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER
It was “like receiving a present on your birthday but someone takes it back,” said Christine Cempron, wife of supposed Medal of Valor recipient PO2 Romeo Cempron, of what she felt when her husband was excluded from the awardees in the Philippine National Police’s service anniversary on Friday.“Last Friday (July 31), SAF (Special Action Force) told me to prepare a Filipiniana attire because I would attend a formal event—the President will give my husband an award. I had to cancel my clinic appointments,” Cempron, a pediatrician, told INQUIRER.· SAF men removed from PNP awards list
After receiving the information, Cempron traveled to Manila with a relative. She admitted, however, that SAF did not give her an exact date for the awarding ceremony but they prepared an attire for her.“In fairness to SAF, they did not commit until they were sure that the awarding would push through,” she said.While in Manila, Cempron said she was told that her husband’s awarding would be postponed. She believed President Benigno Aquino III himself would hand her the award.· Was Palace behind removal of SAF men from awards list? When she learned that the PNP anniversary rites were being shown live on television, Cempron said she was surprised that the awarding ceremonies led by the President pushed through—and her husband wasn’t part of it. “From what I understand, the event had been cancelled. Pero napanood ko sa TV live pala ito. Natuloy pala ‘to. Bakit wala kami?” Cempron said. Not worth commending? SAF head Police Director Moro Virgilio Lazo said they were expecting that Mamasapano awardees would be given recognition on Friday. But according to him, it is also clear to them that they asked Cempron’s family to fly to Manila “in case (they will be included in the program).” Lazo declined to comment further. Several sources told INQUIRER.net that the names of SAF officers Cempron and Supt. Raymund Train have been ordered removed in the anniversary program at the last minute. A government official who requested anonymity said there was a verbal instruction from the Presidential Management Staff to the PNP to remove the Mamasapano awardees from the list. READ MORE...

ALSO: 2 SAF commandos delisted as PNP awardees


AUGUST 8 --Orders from Palace to scratch out Cempron, Train
First, President Aquino reportedly ordered the mural depicting the 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) commandos removed from the wall of the Philippine National Police Academy. Vice President Binay now has it in the Coconut Palace, his official residence, to honor the SAF commandos who were massacred. Now, the President reportedly ordered the removal of the names of at least three SAF troopers.The names of slain SAF officer PO2 Romeo Cempron and Mamasapano survivor, Supt. Raymund Train, who was slated to receive two of the highest service medals of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were said to have been taken out of the roster of awardees at the last minute, on orders of President Aquino. Even the head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Intelligence Group, Chief Superintendent Fernando Mendez Jr., the official who provided the intelligence packet used in the botched Oplan Exodus that resulted in the massacre of the SAF 44 last Jan. 25, who was also included as an awardee was scratched from the program. President Aquino, through his spokesman. A PNP official who remains unnamed, pointed to the President as having ordered the cancellation of the three awardees who should have been included in the PNP program. Malacañang on Friday was quick to shield Aquino anew over what was seen as yet anoher direct snub for the 44 fallen SAF commandos, as the late policemen were clearly not included among the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) list of awardees for its anniversary this year. However, even as Aquino, through his spokesman, denies having anything to do with the list of PNP awardees, has again been caught prevaricating, as there exists an official memorandum from Police Supt. Ferdinand Pablo Yuson that Mamasapano survivor Train was recommended for an individual award, along with the deceased SAF commando, PO2 Romeo Cempron, who was recommended for a Medal of Valor award for the 114th anniversary of the PNP. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, in defense of Aquino, denied there was any participation from the end of the President in selecting policemen and individuals to be awarded by the PNP. It is however, unimaginable that the PNP would not even remember to include some SAF commandos as awardees, especially since they died for their country. READ MORE...

ALSO: Intense politics mars true message of Mamasapano tragedy – laments PNP Chief Marquez
[The operation that killed Marwam came at a high price not only on the death on SAF 44 but also both on the ratings of the President and the fate of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which was supposed to have a smooth-sailing in the Congress.]


AUGUST 9 --Chief PNP Ricardo Marquez at the Special Action Force Memorial Day 2015 on simple ceremony at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. (Photo by Ali Vicoy) Director General Ricardo Marquez, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has expressed disappointment over intense politics that has now displaced the true message of the death of the 44 commandos of the Special Action Force (SAF) “They sacrificed their lives for the country. It’s sad because there are some people who are using it,” said Marquez in Filipino. Marquez led on Saturday the SAF leadership in honoring the 44 fallen SAF commandos who were died in the operation to get suspected international terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, and bomb expert Basit Usman in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao on January. The operation that killed Marwam came at a high price not only on the death on SAF but also both on the ratings of the President and the fate of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which was supposed to have a smooth-sailing in the Congress. Marquez, however, deplored that the essence of the concept of ultimate sacrifice for both soldiers and policemen is already being supplanted in the case of the 44 SAF commandos. READ MORE...

ALSO by R. D. Tiglao: The Mamasapano that Aquino wants to delete from his memory


AUGUST 9 --A cartoon by artist “Andoyman” getting viral in social media. What would you make of these? • President Aquino’s deafening silence in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), that 44 Special Action troopers were massacred in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by Muslim insurgents in the government operation to capture global terrorists during his term. • His no-show as guest of honor on the founding day of the Philippine National Police Academy, during which a huge canvas painting of all the SAF 44 was to be unveiled. He unceremoniously snubbed it—earlier ordering the PNP to abort a scheduled unveiling, to which Vice President Jejomar Binay agreed. • His order to remove the canvas from the main hall of the PNP Academy. His spokesperson, Herminio Coloma, has been so used to lying through his teeth the past five years that he didn’t even realize how ridiculous his explanation of that order sounded: “There was no appropriate place for it in the camp because they do not have a museum.” • His order, through the Presidential Management Staff, to abort the posthumous awarding of the Medal of Valor to SAF officer PO2 Romeo Cempro and the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the lone survivor of the massacred team, Supt. Raymundo Train. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, which has been Aquino’s big fan, quoted an anonymous government official as explaining: “The President did not want to bring back the memories of the Mamasapano [encounter].” READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

China outbids PH for 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup hosting



BEIJING, AUGUST 10, 2015  
(INQUIRER) By: Celest Flores-Colina August 7th, 2015 - Powerhouse China outbid Philippines for the rights to host the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup.

After a final pitch before the Fiba Central Board on Friday in Tokyo, Japan, the world’s basketball governing body granted China the privilege to host the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup.

China edged Philippines, which banked on the Filipinos’ passion for the sports and reach on social media in its bid for the hosting, with a presentation focusing on its strength in infrastructure, hosting experience, and resources.

The Chinese have hosted several international tournaments including the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2010 Asian Games and the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics.
They will also host the upcoming 2015 Fiba Asia Championships.

READ MORE...

China also boasted of holding the Fiba World Cup, which is held every four years, in eight keys cities which are easily connected by several forms of modern transportation.

“China never, never lets you down,” said Chinese Basketball Association President Yu Zaiging in the 20-minute presentation.

The announcement of the hosting was initially scheduled for 5:25 p.m. Manila time but was moved to 6:15 p.m.

While the Filipinos rallied behind boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and Hollywood actor Lou Diamond Philips, China brought retired NBA player Yao Ming to bolster its bid.

China, a 15-time Asian champion, will be hosting the Fiba Worlds for the first time.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM INQUIRER

LOOK: Pacquiao, Yao Ming face off in PH, China Fiba pitches By: Randolph B. Leongson @RLeongsonINQ INQUIRER.net 12:31 PM August 7th, 2015


In a photo tweeted by the official Fiba account, legendary Chinese basketball star Yao Ming and the Philippines’ eight-division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao faced off and posed side-by-side before the two camps made their presentation on Friday.

China’s Yao Ming and the Philippines’ Manny Pacquiao lead their nations’ bids to host the 2019 Fiba World Cup. Photo from Fiba’s Twitter account.
China or the Philippines?

That has been the biggest question reverberating in Tokyo as the two countries prepare for war for the right to host the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
And the two nations definitely brought their big guns.

Yao is poised to lead the Chinese delegation in its pitch to bring the tournament in the Mainland, while Pacquiao will just be a part of a strong Philippine contingent which is hoping to convince the 23-man Fiba Central Board to award the hosting rights to the Pearl of the Orient.

Aside from Pacquiao, Filipino-American Hollywood actor Lou Diamond Phillips, Gilas assistant coach Jimmy Alapag, and ex-national team coach Chot Reyes will also be in the country’s presentation bid.
IDL


PHILSTAR

Sea turtle caught in Samar By Lalaine Jimenea (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 10, 2015 - 12:00am 0 3 googleplus0 0


A man sits on a leatherback sea turtle tied to a bamboo pole in Marabut, Samar in an undated photo, one of several that elicited outrage among netizens. The turtle has been released back to the sea
.

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Photos of a still unidentified man sitting on a leatherback sea turtle, locally known as pawikan, recently went viral on social media.

The pawikan, which measures six feet long and three feet wide, was tied to a bamboo post and has since been released back to the sea – but not without first inciting outrage from netizens.

Six photos were uploaded by Jose Lastimado on his Facebook account last Aug. 6 at past 9 a.m. Lastimado was reportedly the former village chief of Pinamitinan and Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president of Marabut town in Samar.

The photos were captioned “Big catch pawikan in Brgy Sta Rita Marabut Samar (sic).”

In his spot report, lawyer Danilo Suarez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) community environment and natural resources office in Samar said the pawikan was caught in the fish net of a certain Jessy Amora, about one kilometer away from the shoreline of the village, on Aug. 5 around 1:30 a.m.

Corazon Horca Makabenta, officer-in-charge of the DENR’s conservation and development division here, said the pawikan was released “after the DENR took photodocs and measurements at 11 a.m. in the morning that same day.”

READ MORE...

Makabenta, through her Facebook account, also thanked the public for their “expression of concern and support.”

She said the person who “maltreated” the pawikan would be charged with violation of Republic Act 9147, or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

Some reports said the man atop the pawikan was Lastimado although this information has yet to be verified.

As of press time, Lastimado has deactivated his Facebook account.

The leatherback sea turtle (Dermocheleys coriacea) is considered an endangered species here and elsewhere in the world.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) describes it as the “largest of all living sea turtles and the fourth largest modern reptile behind three crocodilians.”

Adult leatherback sea turtles can reportedly grow to as long as nine feet and weigh an average of 300 to 500 kilos.

Data show that the largest leatherback sea turtle ever recorded had a length of about 10 feet and weighed 916 kilos.


PHILSTAR

Bohol quake triggers a phenomenon: Land rising from bottom of the sea By: Leo Udtohan @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Visayas 02:43 AM August 9th, 2015


THIS LAND IS OURS Or so says Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. (right)pointing to a strip of broad, flat reef covered with seagrass, corals and other marine organisms that used to lie on the seabed until exposed by the undersea upheaval caused by the destructive 2013 Bohol quake. The 137-hectare strip being claimed by Maribojoc and Loon towns, which envision it as an ecotourism site, counter the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ declaration that it is a “geological monument” owned by the state. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines—The strip of undeveloped dry land by the sea may not interest buyers of beachfront property in Bohol province, one of the Philippines’ top tourist destinations known for its sandy shores and other natural wonders. Nearly all of the strip’s 137 hectares on the edges of two towns seem riveted down with rocks, some sharp enough to thwart a barefoot walk.

Scientists explain the strip as a phenomenon caused by the heaving of the seabed more than a meter above the water during the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that brought Bohol to its knees in October 2013.

The undersea upheaval exposed a broad, flat reef covered with seagrasses, corals and other marine organisms that once lived undisturbed despite the neap and ebb tides.

To the municipalities of Maribojoc and Loon, which share stories of devastation caused by the quake and are contoured by the new coastal crust in the southwestern part of the island-province, the strip offers exciting ecotourism opportunities.

‘Geological monument’

But the hopes of Maribojoc and Loon have been dashed by a recent Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) declaration that the strip is owned by the state and is a “geological monument” that “constitutes an irreplaceable segment of the earth’s history and geological heritage.”

According to the DENR, geological monuments are sites that “show outstanding features or processes considered by geologists and other scientists worthy of conservation.”

READ MORE...

Such geological monuments include the Chocolate Hills, also in Bohol; the Hundred Islands in Pangasinan province; the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte province; the St. Paul Limestone Formation in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan province; the Taal Volcano in Batangas province; and the Montalban Limestone Gorge in Rodriguez, Rizal province.

Local visions

Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. of Maribojoc, a fourth-class heritage town (annual income: P25 million-P35 million) about an hour’s drive from the famous dive sites of Panglao Island, lamented that he and the other local officials were not informed about the DENR plan until recently.

“Maribojoc is very much interested to develop the area … so that it can generate income for the municipality,” said Evasco’s vice mayor, Fructuoso Redulla Jr.

Redulla envisions a recreation area with basketball and volleyball courts, a concert hall, a dock and a government center on the part of the strip in Barangays Guiwanon and Punta Cruz.

Also envisioned for the area are restaurants, fruit stands, massage and spa service areas, and souvenir shops.

The more progressive Loon, a second-class municipality (P45 million-P55 million) wants to put up a Loon Coastal Geomorphic Conservation Park in their portion of the strip in Barangays Cuasi, Song-on, Tangnan, Tontonan and Napo.

The park will feature a southern coastal road, amusement and recreational centers, an area for sports and extreme adventure. Also envisioned are the improvement of the existing fish sanctuaries and the development of other fishery-related projects.

Socioeconomic development

“I believe the 137 hectares should not be declared and utilized solely for geological monument activities,” Loon Mayor Peter Lloyd Lopez said.

Evasco and Lopez said a portion of the strip should be reserved for projects that would bring socioeconomic development to their municipalities, benefiting fishermen who have been suffering from dwindling catch.

There used to be a marine sanctuary off Punta Cruz that teemed with fish but the earthquake pushed it farther out to sea, Evasco said.

Lopez said the coastal waters used to be rich fishing grounds.

But since the strip appeared, fishermen have been complaining that their catch dropped from 2 to 3 kilos a day to half a kilo—if they are lucky.

DENR order for safety

Eddie Llamedo, DENR spokesperson in Central Visayas, said that as a geological monument under Administrative Order No. 2015-08, the strip is public land and that the construction of any structure there is prohibited.

The order also allows researchers to conduct geological studies on the strip, he said.

“The area has not been declared stable,” Llamedo said. “For safety reasons, the place should be kept from habitation, including building of any structure or infrastructure.”

But fishermen are not barred from mooring their boats or passing through the strip when heading to the sea, he said.

“They can still go on with their routine, like fishing and gathering shells. Only habitation and building structures are not allowed,” he said.

At least 35 structures sprouted on the strip about four months after the quake, but these were demolished by both the Maribojoc and Loon municipal governments.

Some fishermen continue to build sheds on the strip, though.

Jes Belarmino Tirol, director of planning and research at the University of Bohol and a specialist in geotechnical and structural engineering, said the strip was safe from quakes because of its strong foundation.

“Structures can be built in the area,” he said, but clarified that any development plan by the local governments should conform to the guidelines set by the DENR.

Tirol is a member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, a nonprofit organization established in 1949 to reduce the impact of earthquakes through seismic studies, inspection of earthquake damage, education and technology transfer.

In 1998, Tirol warned that Bohol should brace for a strong earthquake after 2006, pointing out that it would have been 100 years since the Central Bohol Fault Line moved.

The last strong quake from the fault line occurred in 1906.

The earthquake-raised strip is now known as the Loon-Maribojoc Geological Monument, as declared by DENR Administrative Order No. 2015-08 issued by Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.

The DENR order “serves to provide a legal framework for the recognition, preservation and protection of the uplifted coast, as well as encourage further [research] and [study] on the monument for the advancement of geosciences in the country,” Paje said.

According to Llamedo, the whole strip covers 450 hectares in the towns of Maribojoc and Loon, but only 137 hectares have been declared a geological monument.

He said there was no need to include the remaining 313 hectares because these were covered with mangroves, which are already protected under the Revised Forestry Code.

The geological monument spans open areas where structures can be built, he said.

The DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) recommended the declaration after an initial survey that showed the area formed “unique geological features” after the quake lifted the seabed by 1.2 meters.

After ground verification as indicated on the survey map, the MGB will install a marker containing the geological history, description and significance of the strip.

The MGB will coordinate with other government agencies and the local governments concerned to prepare a management plan for the park.

The plan will focus on enriching understanding and appreciation of the geological phenomenon, and the promotion and maintenance of the area as a potential ecotourism destination, as well as for scientific and educational purposes.

But local officials and fishermen are unhappy.

Mayors Lopez and Evasco lamented that they were never consulted by the DENR before issuing the administrative order.

They said their municipalities were deprived of real estate because the strip was now owned by the national government and supervised by the DENR.

The two towns also would have received bigger internal revenue allotments, which are based on land area and population.

The fishermen are apprehensive that they will no longer be allowed to put up structures or gather shellfish on the strip.

“The problem is where we will get our means of living,” said Edmar Ucat, 53, one of the more than 200 fishermen of Loon and Maribojoc.

Strong obligation


EVASCO

On May 15, a day after the DENR order was issued, the Loon municipal council passed a resolution expressing its “strong objection” to the declaration.

It asked the DENR to conduct a public consultation and to empower the local government to administer and manage the strip that stretches over the coastlines of five of its barangays.

“The declaration has kept our constituents guessing as to how such an act will affect [them], especially that no public consultation has been done to make them aware of the consequences,” Mayor Lopez said.

No consultation

Mayor Evasco called the declaration “unjust” because the local government was not even told that Paje would issue such an order.

“We were not informed. So you cannot blame us if we suspect that they are planning something bad. If they have good intentions, how come they didn’t inform us?” he said.

Lopez and Evasco said they had not even seen a copy of the administrative order.
Llamedo said consultations were conducted before the order was issued.

“There were several meetings and consultative dialogues. During the consultative meetings, they sent their representatives. We visited their offices but they were not around,” Llamedo said.

He, however, gave assurance of a “full-blown consultation” before a presidential decree would be issued, declaring the strip a “national geological monument.”

In the meantime, structures should not be put up there, he said.

But Maribojoc and Loon officials reject a presidential proclamation, insisting that they should have control over the new land.

Last year, the Loon municipal council passed a resolution asking President Aquino not to declare the strip public land and maintaining that its administration should be the task of the local government, as provided for under the Local Government Code.

On Dec. 17 last year, the council approved an ordinance establishing the Loon Coastal Geomorphic Conservation Park from Barangay Song-on to Canhangdon Occidental on the strip.

Special zone

Maribojoc has its own plans for its “territory.”

In October 2014, the Maribojoc municipal council passed a resolution asking President Aquino to issue a special patent declaring the 40.3566 hectares of the strip alienable and disposable.

On April 13 this year, Municipal Ordinance No. 010 was passed, classifying the area in Punta Cruz as “special use” zone.

A ground survey conducted by Emiliano Hormachuelos of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in March 2014 showed that the former seabed had dried up and was not encroached on by seawater even during high tide.

He, however, opined that the strip is considered public land.

In a memorandum dated June 9, 2014, Isabelo Montejo, DENR Central Visayas executive director, said the area was already considered public land and did not need a presidential proclamation to declare it as such.

Being state-owned, it should be under the administration of the DENR under the Commonwealth Act of 1941, or Public Land Act, he said.

“The next rounds of consultations will open more discussions on the plans for the area and to ensure that the [local governments] concerned will not be left out and their sides will be heard,” Llamedo said. “We will solicit their thoughts and inputs with the objective of properly managing the area as a geological monument.”

The proposals of Maribojoc and Loon will be submitted to the DENR central office for approval, he said.

“Any plans by the [local governments] concerned have to be carefully reviewed and studied since the area is still unstable,” he added.

Once a presidential proclamation is issued, he said, exploration for minerals and oil will be prohibited, as well as destructive methods of fishing.

Rising seas

Tirol agreed with the DENR move to declare a geological monument to allow scientists to study the strip and prevent private individuals from filing ownership claims and filling the area with commercial establishments.

But the challenge now is not another strong earthquake, he said, but the significant rise of the sea level caused by global warming.

By 2020 to 2025, the sea level would have risen significantly and the strip would have been covered with seawater, he said.

“Sea-level rise is inevitable. Therefore, proper planning is vital for adaptation and mitigation,” Tirol said.

In the heart of seismically active Bohol, another national geological monument, the Chocolate Hills of Carmen town, has become a world-famous tourist destination.

The giant mounds, actually raised coral deposits, were declared a geological monument on June 18, 1988, by then Environment Secretary Fulgencio Factoran Jr. for their special characteristics, scientific importance, uniqueness and scenic value.

Since the 2013 quake, the monument’s concrete marker has remained clipped and cracked on the ground—a reminder of nature’s destructive convulsions. With a report from Carmel Loise

RELATED EARLIER STORIES

The Bohol quake a year after and the ruins left behind

Bohol earthquake creates miles-long rocky wall
 

Bohol quake ‘like 32 Hiroshima bombs’
 


 

MANILA STANDARD

CHED: College not for everyone By John Paolo Bencito | Aug. 10, 2015 at 12:01am


Licuanan

The chairman of the Commission on Higher Education admitted that not every student should go to college, adding that there are other options that graduates can take after completing high school.

“We don’t think that every student really should go to college. There are very good programs in the technical and vocational areas or in the area of middle-level skills, and you get jobs when you finish these programs,” Dr. Patricia Licuanan said in an interview over the weekend.

“That option of going into technical-vocational and middle-level jobs is attractive, but in our culture, we have that notion that everyone should get a college diploma. I don’t think that’s necessary,” Licuanan added.

Under the K to 12 program, trumpeted as the “greatest key reform initiative of the Aquino government,” students are given options to pursue specialized tracks that will be fully implemented by next year.

Among the different tracks are academic, technical-vocational, sports and arts and design.

Last July, the commission released a memorandum wherein undergraduate students who stopped schooling are given until academic years 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 to complete their unfinished bachelor’s degrees before the complete roll-out of the new Outcomes-based Education Curriculum and the Revised General Education Curriculum.

Students, who will return to higher education institutions after 2018 will have to go back to senior high school.

READ MORE...

“First of all, we do have as part of our transition plan, we will allow students who are out of school and those who have graduated before 2016, this is your last chance, get into college now. And that’s why we’re going through some kind of a campaign to encourage those who are truly interested to go to college, or may not be interested right now but given this opportunity might change their minds,” Licuanan said.

Licuanan also asked the public to bear with the “transition pains” of the K to 12 program, saying that it would definitely worth it.

“Part of our challenge now is to spread the message that, yes, there will be growing pains, transition pains, but it will be worse if we don’t do it. What we’re doing now is trying to tackle those transition pains so people at that point don’t throw out a good program,” Licuanan said.

“We have to ease that transition and that’s what we’re working on,” she added.


INQUIRER

PNP awarding postponed, SAF widow told, but ‘why is it on TV?’ LAZO: WE ASKED THEM TO COME JUST IN CASE

SHARES: 1764 VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet 08:58 PM August 8th, 2015


President Aquino (center) and Special Action Force Director Moro Virgilio M. Lazo share a light moment at the turnover of command at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City, in March. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

It was “like receiving a present on your birthday but someone takes it back,” said Christine Cempron, wife of supposed Medal of Valor recipient PO2 Romeo Cempron, of what she felt when her husband was excluded from the awardees in the Philippine National Police’s service anniversary on Friday.

“Last Friday (July 31), SAF (Special Action Force) told me to prepare a Filipiniana attire because I would attend a formal event—the President will give my husband an award. I had to cancel my clinic appointments,” Cempron, a pediatrician, told INQUIRER.net.


JANUARY 31, 2015 PHOTO: CEBU. Dr. Christine Abucay-Cempron arranges the tarpaulin at the wake of her husband, PO1 Romeo Cempron. Cempron was one of 44 Special Action Force members who were massacred by the MILF and the BIFF in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Sunday. (Alan Tangcawan) COURTESY OF SUNSTAR ARCHIVE

SAF men removed from PNP awards list

After receiving the information, Cempron traveled to Manila with a relative. She admitted, however, that SAF did not give her an exact date for the awarding ceremony but they prepared an attire for her.

“In fairness to SAF, they did not commit until they were sure that the awarding would push through,” she said.

While in Manila, Cempron said she was told that her husband’s awarding would be postponed. She believed President Benigno Aquino III himself would hand her the award.

Was Palace behind removal of SAF men from awards list?

When she learned that the PNP anniversary rites were being shown live on television, Cempron said she was surprised that the awarding ceremonies led by the President pushed through—and her husband wasn’t part of it.

“From what I understand, the event had been cancelled. Pero napanood ko sa TV live pala ito. Natuloy pala ‘to. Bakit wala kami?” Cempron said.

Not worth commending?

SAF head Police Director Moro Virgilio Lazo said they were expecting that Mamasapano awardees would be given recognition on Friday.

But according to him, it is also clear to them that they asked Cempron’s family to fly to Manila “in case (they will be included in the program).” Lazo declined to comment further.

Several sources told INQUIRER.net that the names of SAF officers Cempron and Supt. Raymund Train have been ordered removed in the anniversary program at the last minute.

A government official who requested anonymity said there was a verbal instruction from the Presidential Management Staff to the PNP to remove the Mamasapano awardees from the list.

READ MORE...

The official said the President did not want to “bring back the memories” of the Mamasapano operation, which stirred criticisms against the Aquino administration.

Aquino knew of Mamasapano mission; Purisima called the shots–SAF chief

“If he doesn’t want to be reminded of the Mamasapano incident, we don’t want to be reminded of it all the more,” said Cempron.

The President has also been criticized for not mentioning in his last State of the Nation Address the achievements of SAF and the sacrifice of its troopers in neutralizing Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

Why no mention of SAF 44?

“If you’re really commending the PNP’s gains, isn’t SAF 44 worth commending as one of the greatest achievements of the PNP?” the SAF widow said.

Expedite processing of awards

Meanwhile, PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez maintained that Cempron and Train were not given their awards due to time constraints.

“Hindi umabot sa proseso kasi ’yung matataas na awards, it takes longer process to finish; hindi katulad na bibigyan ng plaque,” Marquez told reporters at the SAF Memorial Day.

Marquez also noted the flaws in parameters and criteria of the PNP awards for bravery and heroism as written in a National Police Commission circular.

“A lot of us are actually questioning that. If we strictly follow the parameters, then no one would qualify for the awards,” he said.

With this, the PNP chief vowed to ensure that the processing of awards would be hastened.

“If it wouldn’t be expedited at the PNP level, I will raise that in one of our executive meetings in Napolcom because I agree that this shouldn’t take too long,” Marquez said.
Julliane Love de Jesus


TRIBUNE

2 SAF commandos delisted as PNP awardees Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 08 August 2015 00:00


Orders from Palace to scratch out Cempron, Train

First, President Aquino reportedly ordered the mural depicting the 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) commandos removed from the wall of the Philippine National Police Academy. Vice President Binay now has it in the Coconut Palace, his official residence, to honor the SAF commandos who were massacred.

Now, the President reportedly ordered the removal of the names of at least three SAF troopers.

The names of slain SAF officer PO2 Romeo Cempron and Mamasapano survivor, Supt. Raymund Train, who was slated to receive two of the highest service medals of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were said to have been taken out of the roster of awardees at the last minute, on orders of President Aquino.

Even the head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Intelligence Group, Chief Superintendent Fernando Mendez Jr., the official who provided the intelligence packet used in the botched Oplan Exodus that resulted in the massacre of the SAF 44 last Jan. 25, who was also included as an awardee was scratched from the program. President Aquino, through his spokesman.

A PNP official who remains unnamed, pointed to the President as having ordered the cancellation of the three awardees who should have been included in the PNP program.

Malacañang on Friday was quick to shield Aquino anew over what was seen as yet anoher direct snub for the 44 fallen SAF commandos, as the late policemen were clearly not included among the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) list of awardees for its anniversary this year.


No honors were given to any of the 44 slain Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and their comrades who took part in an operation to neutralize top terrorists during the 114th anniversary of the police service yesterday, August 7. President Aquino, the keynote speaker, was assisted by Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez in presenting awards to outstanding police units and personnel in recognition of their outstanding service and exemplary performance of duty. PHILSTAR FILE AUGUST 8, 2015.

However, even as Aquino, through his spokesman, denies having anything to do with the list of PNP awardees, has again been caught prevaricating, as there exists an official memorandum from Police Supt. Ferdinand Pablo Yuson that Mamasapano survivor Train was recommended for an individual award, along with the deceased SAF commando, PO2 Romeo Cempron, who was recommended for a Medal of Valor award for the 114th anniversary of the PNP.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, in defense of Aquino, denied there was any participation from the end of the President in selecting policemen and individuals to be awarded by the PNP.

It is however, unimaginable that the PNP would not even remember to include some SAF commandos as awardees, especially since they died for their country.

READ MORE...

The Palace official banked on the reason that the evaluation for receiving the Medal of Valor, the highest award bestowed upon uniformed personnel of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), was not completed on time.

“According to the PNP, the evaluation process for the proposed giving of the Medal of Valor, which is the highest award that can be bestowed to any member of the PNP and the Armed Force of the Philippines, requires a lengthy process and a thorough evaluation,” Coloma added.

There were many awardees in the list and the PNP could not have taken that long to evaluate the commandos’ record of valor , as the official memo had already recommended the inclusion of at least the two SAF commandos.

Recent news articles reported an unnamed source noting that the President did not want to bring back memories of the Mamasapano encounter, as an individual from the Presidential Management Staff allegedly instructed the PNP verbally to remove the names of the supposed SAF awardees.

Cempron was supposed to receive the Medal of Valor while Train was supposed to be awarded the PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal.

The PNP was quick to back up the Palace in saying that while it wants to honor the sacrifice of the SAF who perished during the Mamasapano incident, among 21 others from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the civilian community, there is simply a long process for giving awards.

Ceremonies held yesterday, according to the PNP, were meant to acknowledge “the outstanding achievements of the men and women of the Philippine National Police for calendar year 2014,” as opposed to the Mamasapano mishap which happened in January 2015.

It affirmed that it initially intended to honor SAF men involved in the Mamasapano incident, but reasoned that there must be a thorough and lengthy evaluation needed, which costs a lot of time for completion in time for the anniversary.

“For these reasons, these awards were not included in the program today,” the PNP said. “Rest assured that the deliberation and vetting process by the committee are ongoing and shall render the honor due them at the most appropriate time,” the PNP said.

The Mamasapano operation was an anti-terrorism mission which is best described as one of the major controversies faced by the Aquino administration. Aquino was alleged to have allowed then suspended PNP Director General Alan Purisima, a close friend of the president, to manage over the operation.

The Office of the Ombudsman suspended Purisima in Dec. 4, 2014, which was supposed to last for six months. But Aquino directed Purisima to take charge of Oplan Exodus, which sparked a blame game on who is responsible for the incident.

With the deletion of the SAF 44 commandos, forgotten best describes the non-mention of the heroism of the 44 SAF commandos, who died pursuing international terrorists in Maguindanao last January, during yesterday’s 114th anniversary of police service in Camp Crame.

No one from the participants of the SAF’s Operation Plan (Oplan) “Exodus”, which was launched on Jan. 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, was included among this year’s awardees.

And just as it was during his state of the nation address (Sona) two weeks ago, the President again failed to mention the SAF issue.

Even Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ricardo Marquez failed to specifically recognize the SAF 44.

In his speech, Marquez recalled PNP successes during the visit of Pope Francis in Manila and Tacloban last January and the 63 percent decreased of index crimes in Metro Manila with the full implementation of Oplan Lambat-Sibat but not Oplan “Exodus.”

Ordinary policemen, who asked not to be named, could not help but notice the “omission” of the SAF issue during their speeches.

“You cannot forget the issue because it was the biggest to hit the PNP as an organization this year. I believe that it was intentionally evaded by the higher ups,” said police officer 1 told The Tribune.

“It’s really saddening that our fallen brothers in arms seemed to have been forgotten,” another PNP non-commissioned officer said.

“The government against missed the chance to make up to the families of the fallen 44. General Marquez, as father of the PNP, should have cited the SAF 44,” a third policeman said.

Oplan “Exodus” is the most controversial issue that hit the PNP this year as 44 SAF commandos were killed during its launching in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano.

The operation also led to the killing of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, while two other targets –Malaysian Amin Baco, alias Jihad, and Filipino bomb expert Basit Usman escaped.


Magalong PHOTO COURTESY OF RAPPLER.COM

A Board of Inquiry (BOI), led by Director Benjamin Magalong of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG, recommended appropriate recognition to the fallen SAF 44.

In its recommendation, the BOI stated “the PNP should immediately grant one rank promotion to all surviving members of the 84th Seaborne and PO2 (Christopher) Lalan for their heroism and gallantry in action, posthumous promotion to the fallen 44 SAF commandos and should give appropriate recognition to all other participating units.”

The BOI was created by the PNP leadership under retired Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, who was left in the dark about the SAF mission along with Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

There were reports that some of the SAF operatives were recommended to receive awards but were deliberately left out.

Leading the awardees were Supt. Julius Suriben, San Fernando City Police Station chief, for organizing, training and mobilizing barangay responders, and Chief Insp. Wilfredo Sy, who was key to the arrest of Abu Sayyaf financier Khair Mundos on June 11, 2014.

Haunted by inaction


TRUTH? President Benigno Aquino III's past statements contradict some findings of the Board of Inquiry. Photo By Ryan Lim/Malacanang Photo Bureau. FROM RAPPLER.COM MARCH 18, 2015

Aquino, despite efforts to stay away from the issue of the death of the 44 SAF commandos, will continue to be haunted by his inaction unless he recognize their heroism.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza raised the issue when the president failed anew to talk about them during the anniversary of the Philippines National Police yesterday.

“The President cannot escape the issue because it has created a wound in the heart of the nation not only now but in the future,” Atienza said.

Atienza said that by recognizing the heroism of the SAF, only the wounded nation would heal.

For the militant lawmakers, President Aquino is keeping away from the issue because he is to blame for the bloody incident.

“He (President Aquino) has been staying away from the issue of the SAF 44 because he and his best friend, Alan Purisima, are responsible for the mess,” Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Javier Colman ares said.

“Aside from DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program), Mamasapano is his achilles hill. Mamasapano exposes the fallacy of matuwid na daan,” Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said.
By Mario J. Mallari, Joshua L. Labonera and Gerry Baldo


MANILA BULLETIN

Politics mars Mamasapano issue – lamented very disappointed Chief PNP by Aaron B. Recuenco August 9, 2015 (updated) Share1 Tweet3 Share0 Email0 Share55 image:


Chief PNP Ricardo Marquez at the Special Action Force Memorial Day 2015 on simple ceremony at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. (Photo by Ali Vicoy)

Director General Ricardo Marquez, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has expressed disappointment over intense politics that has now displaced the true message of the death of the 44 commandos of the Special Action Force (SAF)

“They sacrificed their lives for the country. It’s sad because there are some people who are using it,” said Marquez in Filipino.

Marquez led on Saturday the SAF leadership in honoring the 44 fallen SAF commandos who were died in the operation to get suspected international terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, and bomb expert Basit Usman in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao on January.

The operation that killed Marwam came at a high price not only on the death on SAF but also both on the ratings of the President and the fate of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which was supposed to have a smooth-sailing in the Congress.

Marquez, however, deplored that the essence of the concept of ultimate sacrifice for both soldiers and policemen is already being supplanted in the case of the 44 SAF commandos.

READ MORE...

“I believe that if you would ask those sacrificed their lives for the country, that’s not what they want,” said Marquez.

“What they would want is to continue serving the country with no politics involved because politics should be very far from the heart and mind of every policemen,” he emphasized.


Chief PNP Ricardo Marquez speaks before the family of SAF 44 who perished in encounter in Mamasapano during during the special action force Memorial Day 2015 on simple ceremony at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City(Photo by Ali Vicoy)

Recently, the SAF 44 issue cropped up again after some groups had questioned the non-inclusion of the Mamasapano issue in his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) last month.

The talks have also been fueled with the reported pull out of the names of the two of the SAF troopers in the list of the awardees in the PNP’s Police Service Anniversary on Friday last week.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, on the other hand, cited the SAF 44 in his True SONA and was even seen saluting the image of the commandos who died in Mamasapano.

RULES TO BE FOLLOWED

Relatives of the SAF 44 have been demanding justice for the death of their kin, what with what they describe as a very slow progress of the case against those responsible for the operation.

In the case of the allegations that the sacrifices of the SAF 44 are not being recognized, Marquez explained that there are procedures that were laid down by the National Police Commission for the PNP.

For instance, he said the two highest combat awards in the PNP that include Medal of Valor, have to undergo strict process of review, including the presentation of at least two witnesses that could attest to the bravery and heroism of the candidates.

Marquez said he himself does not agree with a very high parameters set by the NAPOLCOM for the awards.

THE PROMISE

Marquez then vowed to hasten the process of selection as well as the review of the NAPOLCOM rules.

“I agree that the more this is delayed, the more there would be hard feelings about it,” said Marquez.

“But there are a series of executive meetings with the NAPOLCOM and I will bring this matter up to expedite the process,” he added.

PHNO INFO NOTE: The National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) is the agency of the Philippine government that administers and controls the Philippine National Police (PNP). It was mandated by the Constitution and the major police reform laws, Republic Act Nos. 6975 and 8551. Under RA 8551 (PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998), the Commission regained the powers to investigate police anomalies and irregularities and to administer police entrance examination and is granted summary dismissal powers over erring policemen. WIKIPEDIA]

July 16, 2015 From napolcom.gov.ph

Following the announcement by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas of the appointment of Police Director Ricardo Cornejo Marquez as the Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) recommended to President Benigno S. Aquino III his promotion to the highest rank of Police Director General.

This was disclosed by NAPOLCOM Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer Eduardo U. Escueta after the NAPOLCOM en banc signed Resolution No. 2015-304 dated July 14, 2015 recommending to President Aquino the designation of Police Director Marquez as Chief, PNP and his promotion to four-star General.

Marquez who is presently designated as Chief of the Directorate for Operations will replace Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, Officer-in-Charge of the PNP, upon his compulsory retirement on July 19, 2015. NAPOLCOM.GOV.PH


MANILA TIMES COMMENTARY

The Mamasapano that Aquino wants to delete from his memory August 9, 2015 10:43 pm RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

What would you make of these?
• President Aquino’s deafening silence in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), that 44 Special Action troopers were massacred in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by Muslim insurgents in the government operation to capture global terrorists during his term.

• His no-show as guest of honor on the founding day of the Philippine National Police Academy, during which a huge canvas painting of all the SAF 44 was to be unveiled. He unceremoniously snubbed it—earlier ordering the PNP to abort a scheduled unveiling, to which Vice President Jejomar Binay agreed.

• His order to remove the canvas from the main hall of the PNP Academy. His spokesperson, Herminio Coloma, has been so used to lying through his teeth the past five years that he didn’t even realize how ridiculous his explanation of that order sounded: “There was no appropriate place for it in the camp because they do not have a museum.”

• His order, through the Presidential Management Staff, to abort the posthumous awarding of the Medal of Valor to SAF officer PO2 Romeo Cempro and the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the lone survivor of the massacred team, Supt. Raymundo Train. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, which has been Aquino’s big fan, quoted an anonymous government official as explaining: “The President did not want to bring back the memories of the Mamasapano [encounter].”

READ MORE...

I believe the Inquirer. What Aquino’s weird actions portray is similar to a situation in which a mobster boss (or a tyrant king in ancient times) orders no word be uttered in his presence that would remind him of some evil deed he did in the past. In his perverted mind, Aquino foolishly wants to delete the Mamasapano massacre and his role in it from the history books. He is afraid that bringing up the topic would bring up his role in the massacre.


The SAF 44 painting that Aquino didn’t want to see. A widow of one of them, Roselle Nacino, with their baby in her arms, looks pensively at the image of her husband, Nicky, in sniper camouflage. (The genius of this piece is the haunting beauty with which each of the 44 troopers was portrayed exactly as they looked in real life on to the canvas based only on their file photographs.)

Aquino’s complicity in the massacre of the SAF 44 troopers, if only we had an independent Congress and media, is enough to impeach and boot him out. Our Congress and Press would go down in history for their colossal failure to bring justice to the massacre of its elite troops by making Aquino accountable.

The facts of Aquino’s complicity are so crystal clear:

He was on top of the entire operational planning, and even had three meetings in Malacañang with suspended police chief Alan Purisima and then SAF head Police Chief Superintendent Getulio Napeñas, and even intelligence officer Fernando Mendez. However, it was illegal for Aquino to appoint as his de facto operations man his bosom friend, Purisima, who had already been suspended by the Ombudsman at that time.

For that, Purisima was charged by the Ombudsman for usurpation of authority. But it was Aquino who ordered him to usurp authority. Why wasn’t he made accountable? Could Purisima refuse an order by the President, his close friend?

He remained on top of the entire operation as the tragedy was unraveling on January 25. He even boasted in an impromptu speech before the SAF two days later that “Maaga pa lang, tuloy-tuloy na ang mg ulat na natatanggap namin.” (Since early morning, the reports have been coming in continuously.)

He was with his top security officials in Zamboanga City that day, starting early in the morning up to dusk on the pretext of checking on a bombing incident two days before.

His scenario, though, was for him to immediately go to Cotabato City, an hour by helicopter, to congratulate the SAF troopers for their capture of the global terrorists in Mamasapano, and to boast how he himself was on top of the operation. Yet even when he had received reports that the SAF troopers were pinned down and begging for artillery and air support, Aquino did nothing.

It wasn’t as though he was stupid or too dumbstruck to rescue the troopers. The chairman emeritus of this newspaper, Dante Ang, had reported, based on his reliable sources, that Aquino actually ordered the army to stand down, as their efforts to rescue the SAF troopers allegedly would risk his peace talks with the MILF. This claim has not been refuted.

Aquino and Purisima have covered up the President’s complicity. The transcript of his cellphone conversations with Purisima had a yawning eight-hour gap, which is impossible.

Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares exploited the investigation in the Senate – lucky for her as she was head of the committee on public order that had jurisdiction over the issue.

The investigation catapulted her to national attention, so much so that she now thinks she can be President – because of her seeming boldness in declaring that “Aquino must own up to the responsibility for the massacre.”

But she actually, in effect, aborted her committee’s report by not submitting it to the plenary for discussion. Technically therefore, her report, which she announced in a press conference in March – five months ago – is still pending. i.e., without conclusions.

Llamanzares was in the best position to call for a deeper investigation into Aquino’s role that led to the massacre. She didn’t.


A cartoon by artist “Andoyman” getting viral in social media.

Our nation, though, may owe much to Llamanzares. Aquino realized that what Llamanzares did in the investigation of the Mamasapano massacre was a clear message: “I can go against you, or I can save your skin, especially when you step down from power. Why choose Mar?”

That pushed Aquino to consider for a few months making Llamanzares his anointed for 2016, rather than his sidekick Manuel Roxas II. Roxas, of course, raised a howl, and likely threatened Aquino to rat on him if he wasn’t anointed.

As a result, Aquino’s Yellow Gang has lost its tempo, its momentum for the 2016 elections 10 months from now, with the Liberal Party becoming divided over the issue.

The Yellow Gang’s defeat in 2016 could be the SAF 44’s revenge, and we would owe them not only for their heroism in fighting terrorism but for helping get rid of this yellow pestilence that has descended upon our nation.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE