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FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

EDITORIAL: GEN. 'BATO' MELTING IN SHAME


JANUARY 21 -Asked how he felt about the discovery that a Korean businessman was strangled inside Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police, top cop Director General Ronald dela Rosa said he wants to melt in shame. Arrest warrants were issued Friday against three policemen—Special Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas, Ramon Yalung and four others identified only under the aliases “Pulis,” “Jerry,” “Sir Dumlao” and “Ding.” The accused had allegedly taken Jee from his home on Oct. 18, 2016, on the pretext that he was involved in illegal drugs. Later, his wife paid a ransom of P5 million, but sought police help when the abductors could produce no proof of life. Sta. Isabel reportedly strangled Jee Ick-Joo with his own hands; the others brought the body to a funeral home in Caloocan and later on had the remains cremated. Palace officials said President Rodrigo Duterte will ensure those behind the killing will be prosecuted even as presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo immediately branded the incident as isolated. We beg to differ. READ MORE...

ALSO: Fair-haired boy (a favored person)


JANUARY 14 ..........
. The country is familiar with presidents coddling chiefs of the Philippine National Police even when they become involved in controversies that call into question their integrity, competence and ascendancy. Aquino’s continued reliance on Purisima had fatal consequences. He provided consultancy services for a sensitive police operation we now know as the Mamasapano massacre. Forty-four members of the Special Action Force of the police were left to die in the lair of the Muslim rebels after trying to serve a warrant on terrorists. Through it all, Mr. Aquino never held his friend accountable for what happened; nor did he accept any responsibility for his allowing a suspended officer to direct a crucial operation. It’s a different administration and we now have a leader who promises to bring about change—but why are things uncannily the same? President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday announced that his PNP chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, continues to enjoy his complete trust and confidence amid the backlash of the killing of a Korean right inside Camp Crame. The death of Jee Ick Joo, reportedly strangled by cops in October, gave rise to calls for Dela Rosa’s resignation. Some of the calls came from even the President’s staunchest allies. READ FROM THE BEGINNING...

ALSO: Editorial - Taking responsibility. [Mamasapano & War on Drugs]


JANUARY 28 -Meeting on Tuesday with the families of the cops who were slain in Mamasapano, Maguindanao two years go, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would create a commission that would determine what really happened when 44 members of the Special Action Force were slain and to establish accountability for their deaths. Seven men of integrity and honor will make up the commission, he said. They will be independent and they would be free to summon anybody—even the former president of the country—they deemed necessary. Duterte believes that the massacre was the result of an America adventure. “You fed [SAF troopers] to the lion’s den,” he said, addressing his immediate predecessor. We agree the case should be re-opened, and resolved swiftly. At the height of the issue, the public was united in disgust over the incompetence, insensitivity and self-righteousness of the Aquino administration. The days after the massacre —specifically when Mr. Aquino chose to attend a motoring event over meeting the bodies of the slain cops, or when he talked about his own loss of a parent instead of comforting the grieving relatives, or when it was apparent he was protecting some people while eager to put the blame on others—showed us exactly what kind of leader, or person, Mr. Aquino was. And so far he has not been made accountable for his excesses and inadequacies. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Jojo Robles - Vintage Noynoy


JANUARY 28 -by Jojo Robles If the rebuttal was intended to be a prelude to a legal defense anchored on a plea of insanity, I will accept it. Otherwise, it just sounded like an explainer for an entirely different incident, something that probably happened in another country or even in some alternative Aquino universe. I’d forgotten how different former President Noynoy Aquino sees things from most people. Then I read his response to the allegations made by President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this week and I suddenly got a full dose of Aquino’s unique worldview to make up for the seven or so months that he’s been quiet in his Times Street man-cave. What roused Aquino from his self-imposed seclusion was Duterte’s decision to create a commission that would revisit what is probably the worst military debacle of any contemporary administration—the slaughter of 44 police commandos that became known as the Mamasapano Massacre. You’d have to go all the way back to the treacherous Patikul Massacre of 1977 to find a similar incident, and then you’d “only” end up with 35 Army soldiers slain. (Strangely, not a lot of people seem to remember that the Mamasapano carnage was not the only black eye suffered by our troops under Aquino’s term. Nineteen Marines were killed in Al-Barka, Basilan in October 2011, also at the hands of Moro rebels enjoying superior numbers; but that is another story that will, unfortunately, require another outrageously incredible Aquino exegesis.) READ MORE...


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Melting in shame

MANILA, JANUARY 30, 2017 (MANILA STANDARD) posted January 21, 2017 at 12:01 am - Asked how he felt about the discovery that a Korean businessman was strangled inside Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police, top cop Director General Ronald dela Rosa said he wants to melt in shame.

Arrest warrants were issued Friday against three policemen—Special Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas, Ramon Yalung and four others identified only under the aliases “Pulis,” “Jerry,” “Sir Dumlao” and “Ding.”

The accused had allegedly taken Jee from his home on Oct. 18, 2016, on the pretext that he was involved in illegal drugs. Later, his wife paid a ransom of P5 million, but sought police help when the abductors could produce no proof of life.

Sta. Isabel reportedly strangled Jee Ick-Joo with his own hands; the others brought the body to a funeral home in Caloocan and later on had the remains cremated.

Palace officials said President Rodrigo Duterte will ensure those behind the killing will be prosecuted even as presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo immediately branded the incident as isolated.

We beg to differ.

READ MORE...

Since President Duterte took office, there has been a climate of fear as the PNP carries out his war on illegal drugs in a manner that has been described as indiscriminate, scorched-earth and abusive. Nearly 6,000 people have been killed in the past seven months. One suspected drug lord was shot to death inside his cell in Leyte, and no less than Mr. Duterte defended the cops who carried out the killing. He reinstated them even as his own police chief had relieved them of their posts.

In the operations conducted among poor communities, an all-too frequent justification for the killings is that the individuals being invited for questioning “fought back.”

As a result, eight in 10 Filipinos are afraid they or someone they know might be the next victims in the government’s war.

We deplore the fact that the headquarters of those sworn to protect the people has turned into a venue for murder, carried out by rotten police officers who may or may not be executing orders from their superiors. To what depths have we descended?

And so we say to Director General Dela Rosa: Melt away, sir—and get off your post if you still have some decency left in you.


Fair-haired boy posted January 24, 2017 at 12:01 am



The country is familiar with presidents coddling chiefs of the Philippine National Police even when they become involved in controversies that call into question their integrity, competence and ascendancy.

During the previous administration, President Benigno Aquino III continued to rely on the counsel of his friend, PNP chief Alan Purisima, even as the latter had been ordered suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman for an anomalous transaction.

Purisima supposedly signed a questionable deal with a courier for the delivery of firearms license cards without proper accreditation. At that time, the PNP chief was also fending off accusations he had amassed wealth illegally.

Aquino’s continued reliance on Purisima had fatal consequences. He provided consultancy services for a sensitive police operation we now know as the Mamasapano massacre. Forty-four members of the Special Action Force of the police were left to die in the lair of the Muslim rebels after trying to serve a warrant on terrorists.

Through it all, Mr. Aquino never held his friend accountable for what happened; nor did he accept any responsibility for his allowing a suspended officer to direct a crucial operation.

It’s a different administration and we now have a leader who promises to bring about change—but why are things uncannily the same?

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday announced that his PNP chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, continues to enjoy his complete trust and confidence amid the backlash of the killing of a Korean right inside Camp Crame. The death of Jee Ick Joo, reportedly strangled by cops in October, gave rise to calls for Dela Rosa’s resignation. Some of the calls came from even the President’s staunchest allies.

The PNP chief has refused to step down and instead criticized those calling for his resignation. At his birthday party, he got a fairly good present—the President’s announcement that he was standing by him.

Instead of firing him, the President said, he instructed Dela Rosa to go after rogue cops who give a bad name to the police force.

Dela Rosa is quite a character. Since his appointment middle of last year, his words and his demeanor have attracted the attention of Filipinos—mostly in a good way. He projected himself as a top cop who connected well with the people and did not have qualms showing his emotion. Over the holidays, he dressed up as Santa Claus and distributed toys to children. This capital allowed the public to brush aside the fact that he was in Las Vegas watching a boxing match while a suspected drug lord was murdered in a Leyte jail.

But no, he stayed on, and despite a brush off from the president who reinstated a provincial cop Dela Rosa relieved for his involvement in the Leyte killing.

Not that we are used to officials taking their honor seriously and giving up their posts in shame when they fail to perform or figure in some scandal.

We wonder, then, what further message is Mr. Duterte sending to the nation by saying he still trusts and is confident in Dela Rosa, who by his failure in leadership has failed to perform his sworn duty to protect the people.


Taking responsibility. [Mamasapano & War on Drugs] posted January 26, 2017 at 12:01

Meeting on Tuesday with the families of the cops who were slain in Mamasapano, Maguindanao two years go, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would create a commission that would determine what really happened when 44 members of the Special Action Force were slain and to establish accountability for their deaths.

Seven men of integrity and honor will make up the commission, he said. They will be independent and they would be free to summon anybody—even the former president of the country—they deemed necessary.

Duterte believes that the massacre was the result of an America adventure. “You fed [SAF troopers] to the lion’s den,” he said, addressing his immediate predecessor.

We agree the case should be re-opened, and resolved swiftly. At the height of the issue, the public was united in disgust over the incompetence, insensitivity and self-righteousness of the Aquino administration. The days after the massacre —specifically when Mr. Aquino chose to attend a motoring event over meeting the bodies of the slain cops, or when he talked about his own loss of a parent instead of comforting the grieving relatives, or when it was apparent he was protecting some people while eager to put the blame on others—showed us exactly what kind of leader, or person, Mr. Aquino was. And so far he has not been made accountable for his excesses and inadequacies.

READ MORE...

But the indignation, as everything that catches the people’s fancy at any given time, the indignation faded and we moved on to other issues. Now two years have passed and we have a new president, and the lessons of Mamasapano seem to have been lost.

We wonder though how the investigation, if it comes to pass, will be able to hold itself up given the many other concerns of the Duterte administration. Because Jan. 25 just recently passed, it is easy to work up the zeal to say let’s dig into the case anew. What happens three, six months from now?

In Mamasapano, cops were victims. It’s difficult to imagine this now when in the current context, it’s the cops committing dastardly deeds in the name of the so-called war on illegal drugs. And by the way, did we not witness yet another call to investigate what really happened in the death of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo and all other victims of policemen twisting their mandate to suit their own purposes.

In both cases, however, one thing stands out: The crucial role that leadership plays. Members of an institution take their cue from the words and demeanor of whoever it is at the helm of the organization. In Mamasapano, Mr. Aquino’s refusal to follow the chain of command and his succeeding efforts to play down what he did wrong just contributed to the demoralization of the force and the entire nation desperate for forthrightness.

Consequently, Mr. Duterte’s pronouncements on taking responsibility will fall flat if he does not demonstrate that he, too, is ready to be held accountable for what his cops do in the name of the war on drugs.


Vintage Noynoy posted January 27, 2017 at 12:01 am by Jojo Robles


by Jojo Robles

If the rebuttal was intended to be a prelude to a legal defense anchored on a plea of insanity, I will accept it. Otherwise, it just sounded like an explainer for an entirely different incident, something that probably happened in another country or even in some alternative Aquino universe.

I’d forgotten how different former President Noynoy Aquino sees things from most people. Then I read his response to the allegations made by President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this week and I suddenly got a full dose of Aquino’s unique worldview to make up for the seven or so months that he’s been quiet in his Times Street man-cave.

What roused Aquino from his self-imposed seclusion was Duterte’s decision to create a commission that would revisit what is probably the worst military debacle of any contemporary administration—the slaughter of 44 police commandos that became known as the Mamasapano Massacre. You’d have to go all the way back to the treacherous Patikul Massacre of 1977 to find a similar incident, and then you’d “only” end up with 35 Army soldiers slain.

(Strangely, not a lot of people seem to remember that the Mamasapano carnage was not the only black eye suffered by our troops under Aquino’s term. Nineteen Marines were killed in Al-Barka, Basilan in October 2011, also at the hands of Moro rebels enjoying superior numbers; but that is another story that will, unfortunately, require another outrageously incredible Aquino exegesis.)

READ MORE....

Going back to Aquino’s defense yesterday, it actually succeeded in raising more questions about his and other people’s roles in Oplan Exodus, that ill-planned and terribly executed Special Action Force operation that led directly to the massacre in a lonely Maguindanao cornfield, than answering the ones posed by Duterte. And that, by itself, is compelling testimony in favor of the severe detachment from reality that Aquino always seemed to suffer from, whether things go bad for him or not.

But let’s go to the tape, as they say. Aquino, first of all, gave a blanket denial that he did anything wrong or was even directly involved in the entire sad affair, from soup to nuts.

The only mistake that he allowed, he said, was in trusting former SAF chief General Getulio Napeñas to get the job done. He even made it sound like Napeñas—the designated scapegoat of the Aquino administration for everything that went wrong in Mamasapano—stabbed him in the back because he had previously given him a promotion.

But while Aquino was lavish with his blaming of an ordinary general, he exonerated his favorite man in uniform, who was neck-deep in all of Exodus. PNP chief Alan Purisima, Aquino’s former personal bodyguard who was serving out a suspension on corruption charges when the massacre happened, had vital information on the operation, he said, and “it would be the height of negligence if I deliberately omitted and disregarded any information coming from respondent Purisima.”

But neither he nor Purisima were to blame for anything, Aquino insisted. Because he was not the “proximate cause,” he claimed (meaning he didn’t kill any of the SAF 44 himself), he could not be held accountable.

Like the victims of super-typhoon Yolanda, the SAF 44 were apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time, it seems. It was the Noynoy Show all the way.

* * *

Aquino even had an answer (well, sort of an answer) for why only two of the 44 were given the Medal of Valor, the highest citation that the government can give its uniformed personnel. He said the process was followed and only two made the cut; if Duterte wanted to give out more medals, he could do so, Aquino allowed, following the same process.

Of course, the rebuttal begs the question of why, if Duterte can review the process, why didn’t Aquino? But there was no explanation from Aquino, who could only say that he would “like to somehow believe” that his government addressed concerns of the survivors and relatives of the slain troopers through the grant of benefits, and livelihood and housing assistance.

Noynoy also responded to Duterte’s claim that Exodus was a CIA operation by saying that, as far as he was concerned, he talked to no Americans about the plan and afterwards. Does this mean there was no American government involvement? Of course not; it only meant that Aquino himself never talked to any American before, during or after Exodus.

A flat—and totally unconvincing—denial was also the response to the long-running charge that government peace negotiators convinced Aquino to order reinforcements to rescue the trapped SAF commandos. Chief negotiator Teresita Deles, Aquino said, was never involved; you could almost hear Aquino telling the lawyers drafting his statement: “next question.”

Finally, Aquino hit back at those “who choose to take advantage of the pain and grief of the families.” “This serves no purpose other than to reopen wounds for their own personal motives,” he added.

So, move on na lang, sir? Explain that to the commission, Noy.

And get ready with whatever outlandish and post-truth plea you’re eventually going to end up making to avoid a long jail term. Good luck.


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