NOY'S CORNER THIS WEEK...

BLOGGED: THE URGENCY FOR AN ALTERNATIVE
An alternative societal arrangement is an imperative need—one that can liberate the masses from poverty and one that can sustain development under a reign of social justice, freedom and national sovereignty.


U.S. soldiers pose with Moro dead after the battle: The First Battle of Bud Dajo, also known as the Battle of Mt. Dajo, was a counter insurgency action fought by the United States Army against native Moros in March 1906, during the Moro Rebellion phase of the Philippine–American War.WIKIPEDIA .....At no other time shall this dream be pushed to material reality than NOW when the leadership in government is tottering and most urgently needs an alternative in answer to the demands of historical conditions. The futility of the present system of elite democracy and oligarchic interests cannot spur real growth and development. An alternative societal arrangement is an imperative need—one that can liberate the masses from poverty and one that can sustain development under a reign of social justice, freedom and national sovereignty. ​This is the only alternative. And it must find its realization NOW. To wait for 2016—or for fraudulent electoral process toprevail with the dominion of Trapo politicians—is to allow the cycle of social injustice and all other attendant evils of the Status Quo to perpetuate and prolong the agony of the masses. READ FULL ANALYSIS FROM BEGINNING.....

ALSO BLOGGED: BBL, MILF, BIFF, PNP, AFP, CIA and ISIS
We need to cut to some information that is credible. Not speculative.


Briefing after encounter. Main message, “wait for inquiry.” [Source of photo: gmanews]  That’s one of the big problems here. Information. You see, this whole area of fighting and dying is wrapped in secrets and disinformation and mistrust, so most people are winging it, translating history and making up stories as they go and declaring it the truth. Because it is in their heads. I hope President Aquino can do a good job of describing what happened in the latest incident, and what will happen. We need to cut to some information that is credible. Not speculative.

ALSO: 3 reasons to blame President Noynoy Aquino for the savage massacre of 44 PNP-SAF troops


President BS Aquino joins in condoling with the families of the 44 fallen SAF troopers--[Photo courtesy Showbiz Government.]
Make no mistake. Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III is to blame for the appalling massacre of 44 Philippine National Police (PNP) elite Special Action Force (SAF) troops by the terrorist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The reasons are quite straightforward. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO WORD WAR: Palace-Clergy clash worsens


AQUINO:
A “word war” between Malacañang and members of the National Transformation Council (NTC) worsened on Thursday as both camps directly assailed each other over the latter’s renewed call for the resignation not only of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his Cabinet but all lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives as well. In Malacañang, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. warned the group not to step over the boundaries of legitimate dissent as the government stands ready to have them charged for violation of the Revised Penal Code. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy keeps gov’t peace panel amid calls for replacement


Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles and GPH Peace Panel chairperson Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, Malacanang Photo Bureau/Robert Viñas ......“The President has expressed his continuing and abiding trust with the MILF and he believes the MILF has shown good faith, and I guess this is also one of the reasons why he wants the BBL passed,” Aggabao said. Aggabao said Aquino was emphatic in calling for the passage of the BBL, telling lawmakers there “was no other alternative unless we go back to war.” “I really wish somebody can tell me we have another option,” Aggabao quoted Aquino as saying. The House aims to pass the measure by June. The enactment of the BBL is one of the Aquino administration’s commitments to the MILF under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. READ FROM THE BEGINNING...

ALSO: Stop managing news, outspoken Palace ally tells Aquino


Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello INQUIRER FILE PHOTO Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO An outspoken ally of the administration is urging President Benigno Aquino III to stop managing the news and lay down his accountability and that of the United States in the Special Action Force (SAF) mission in which 44 police commandos and 18 Moro rebels died. Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said the President’s meeting with 25 House leaders on Monday was a “thinly orchestrated effort on the part of the Palace to manage the flow of information about Mamasapano” aimed at making resigned Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima the “fall guy” in the Jan. 25 operation in Maguindanao province.  The President told the House leaders led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. that he was lied to by Purisima, who was feeding him information on the mission to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and his deputy, Basit Usman.   Purisima was then more than a month into his six-month suspension imposed by the Ombudsman on corruption charges.   “The President is again attempting to avoid responsibility for the raid and its bloody consequences by foisting the blame on Purisima. I do not mean to imply that Purisima is guiltless. Indeed, had the President not put Purisima in charge of the operation, blatantly defying the Ombudsman’s suspension order, this tragic fiasco might never have happened. Responsibility was shared, and it’s the President’s attempt not to own up to his share that infuriates me,” Bello said. CONTINUE READING....

ALSO: Lethargy hits Noy, Palace after Mamasapano debacle


COLOMA   Since the Mamasapano massacre, President Aquino seems to have descended into lethargy as several key government agencies remained headless with Aquino apparently sulking and setting aside decision-making in response to a public outcry for his accountability in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.  Three constitutional bodies, the Commission on Audit (CoA), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) are headless while the Department of Health (DoH) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have acting superiors.   CoA chairman Grace Pulido-Tan, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and CSC chairman Francisco Duque III all retired since Feb 1 yet or a month ago. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO By Francisco Tatad: Senate probe closed, but case vs. Aquino stands

In trying to shield President B. S. Aquino 3rd from any accountability for the death of the 44 Special Action Force police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima virtually immolated himself, took the grand prize for lying, and all but dethroned Beelzebub as “the father of all lies.” He claimed total accountability for the fiasco, and tried to whitewash it of any presidential culpability or involvement. But the attempted whitewash failed to wash. Aquino remains stuck where he is. According to Purisima, “the responsibility, the accountability rests with me,” without saying that he now awaits his just desserts within the power of the law. He admitted running Operation Exodus for the President, briefing him regularly on it, but “failing to coordinate” with the AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. and the acting PNP Chief Leonardo Espina, after involving SAF commander Getulio Napenas in it. And he did all this while under suspension by the Ombudsman as PNP Chief in connection with serious corruption charges. CONTINUE READING...
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

The Urgency for an Alternative


U.S. soldiers pose with Moro dead after the battle: The First Battle of Bud Dajo, also known as the Battle of Mt. Dajo, was a counter insurgency action fought by the United States Army against native Moros in March 1906, during the Moro Rebellion phase of the Philippine–American War.WIKIPEDIA

MANILA, MARCH 2, 2015 (DAVAO TODAY ONLINE) Feb. 09, 2015 DON J. PAGUSARA - ​The recent events that have triggered a new wave of protests and calls for President Noynoy Aquino’s resignation are not mere slogans brandished by the militant nationalist youths and the other militant progressive sectors in society.

These are gaping wounds deep in the heart of history that have not healed and are still oozing with blood. Verily, these calls are echoed from the shrill voices of the long columns of the Filipino people marching, protesting, struggling against age-old injustices from their beginnings in colonial times.

The gross injustices perpetrated by the American imperialists during their colonial rule was accentuated by the brutal “pacification campaigns” that their troops launched against the Moro people.

Thousands of Moro civilian populations perished through mass slaughters—as in the Bud Dajo and Bud Bagsak massacres—even as vast lands of the Moro and other indigenous peoples were landgrabbed and turned into plantations. Deceitful strategems were of course a constant companion of violent brutalities.

But the Americans never fully succeeded in subduing the Moro people of Mindanao and Sulu. Moro resistance against foreign invaders is legend. ​

​But the American conquerors have succeeded in installing a puppet regime among the non-Moro populations of the archipelago in the guise of extending independence or self-rule to the local elite of Philippine society.

This was preceded by the Philippine Commonwealth Government which served as a tutelage whereby a period of formation or training of Filipino politicians was ingenuously undertaken.

The art of patronage politics in an arena of fraud and deceit was effectively handed down as a lasting legacy of the American imperialists. This was like a colonizing adventure by the Central government in Manila which for all intents and purposes serves as a puppet government of the American imperialists.

​Through the years the injustices have continued until the present era of the so-called Philippine Republic. In fact, the present government of the Philippine Republic faithfully adopted the colonial legacy of the American imperialists and has since pursued the policy of “pacification campaigns” against the Mindanaoans under pretexts of counter-insurgency measures. This has always been done with its twin thrust of opening the mineral resources and treasures of the Island to American corporations, chiefly the mining operators.

At certain flashpoints in recent history, freedom fighters of the Moro people— as well as warriors from the revolutionary progressive forces in Mindanao—have engaged in guerrilla war against the armed forces of the Philippine State.

And like a veritable “Judas kiss” the enticing gambit of “peace talks” or “peace and development”, would come into play as a deceitful mechanism to lure the rebel warriors to surrender.

​The series of regimes from the time of Manuel Roxas to President Benigno S. Aquino III has successively ruled the Filipino through the art of deception and puppetry to American interests.

In spite of the act of President Roxas in extending“party rights” to the Americans and the many political, economic and military agreements signed by President Noynoy Aquino with the U.S. Government, the masses of the Filipino people have not been extricated from the tyranny of poverty and misery. Instead of pursuing a thorough agrarian reform program and a nationalist industrialization, it has continued rendering privileges and favors to foreign monopoly-capitalists, which has only stunted the growth and development of the country.

And to aggravate the impoverished condition of the people, a reign of large-scale corruption and thievery obtain in high places in the bureaucracy.

​The direst misery and suffering of the people happened during the Martial rule under the dictator Marcos because of its repressive tyrannical acts—human rights violations in exceedingly brutal ways—from incarcerations to tortures to manslaughter ridiculously named “salvaging”.

Very much like the American colonial rule, the soldiers of Marcos committed mass slaughters of innocent civilians, the most savagely inhuman was the Manlini massacre inside a Muslim mosque. But the martial regime was met with uprisings and rebellion, most significant of which is the revolutionary struggle waged by the New People’s Army and the Moro rebellion. Both of these people’s liberation struggles have continued to the present.

”Social injustice” is the chronic grievous wrong done to the Filipino masses as a consequence of the continuing “pacification campaign” perpetuated by the Central government in Manila .

There’s no other way the people would respond to such enslaving governance than to cry in protest and resistance. And where resistance has been waged in various ways and intensity, the government unleashes its armed security forces, exacerbating the situation.

​This has been the state of affairs for decades, until. . . the Manasapano incident took place, its tragic dimensions clouded in mystery because the President and the officers at the helm of the military organization have chosen to dish out a barrage of lies and deceptive statements meant to confuse the people. And so the people has raised to greater volume their cry of protest.

And this time around, the people’s battlecry is for President Noynoy Aquino to “Step Down”.

​Some feeble voices could be heard saying, “Let’s just wait until his term ends in 2016”. But the urgency for Mr. Aquino to step down now is warranted by the argument that if we wait for 2016, the normal electoral process will hold sway.

There will be no way then that we can do away with this incumbent system of domination by the oligarchs. The urgency for an alternative warrants a revolutionary action of the masses of the people —Now! ​The clamor for the Status Quo to be replaced by an alternative social architecture is urgent and it reverberates in the collective dream of the people.

Through the decades of misrule and grave social injustice this dream has flowered through parliamentary and armed struggles, both in the cities and in the countryside. Nothing less than a revolutionary collective action can bring it to fruition. It only remains to be manifested in massive concrete people’s collective,action much like the Edsa Revolt of 1986 — BUT with a fundamental difference. The fundamental difference is that this time around NO Trapopolitician must ascend to the presidential throne. Never!

​To insure this eventuality is to create a Revolutionary Transformation Council whose function and task is to institute fundamental reforms whereby a New Social Order shall have radically replaced the rotten Status Quo. In short, a new system shall be designed with definiteness and determination, responsive to the sovereign will and reflective of the supreme interests of the people. Such social architecture shall be designed in such a way that the marginalized and underprivileged must be given highest premium and priority of concern.

​The economic foundation on which the political and cultural superstructures shall be built must deal with the demands of the peasant and workers in their struggles through all these years. Needless to say, a genuine agrarian reform is an essential component of the economic base, along with a decisive nationalist industrialization which shall include the development of strategic industries, such as mining and manufacturing.

​At no other time shall this dream be pushed to material reality than NOW when the leadership in government is tottering and most urgently needs an alternative in answer to the demands of historical conditions.

The futility of the present system of elite democracy and oligarchic interests cannot spur real growth and development. An alternative societal arrangement is an imperative need—one that can liberate the masses from poverty and one that can sustain development under a reign of social justice, freedom and national sovereignty.

​This is the only alternative. And it must find its realization NOW. To wait for 2016—or for fraudulent electoral process toprevail with the dominion of Trapo politicians—is to allow the cycle of social injustice and all other attendant evils of the Status Quo to perpetuate and prolong the agony of the masses.


POSTED BY DON J. PAGUSARA
DAVAO TODAY DOT COM


BY JOE AMERICA

BBL, MILF, BIFF, PNP, AFP, CIA and ISIS Posted by Joe America on January 28, 2015 · 103 Comments

As with many topics, I don’t have full knowledge or complete conviction in my opinions. I put one version out here, as close as I can get to what I think is right, and leave it to the discussion to correct or re-aim the matter. This one I will break into two components: (1) the ambush killing of 44 PNP special forces operatives and 8(?) MILF or BIFF operatives, and (2) the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), or Mindanao peace agreement.

I will not waste bits and bytes explaining the alphabet soup in the headlines. I will assume you know the players or can google them.

The ambush

My mind cannot grasp the warrior mentality of modern man. It should have been set aside centuries ago when we realized the earth was round and we would collide with one another if we did not establish compassionate and considerate rules that accept all mankind in the race of humans. It is difficult because my homeland, America, is the Warrior in Chief of the planet with bugs in embassies around the world, jets bombing people in Iraq (if you choose to include ISIS among the ranks of humans) and white guys flying helicopters in Mindanao.

The alphabet is thick with actors involved in the most recent tragedy, the slaughter of 44 PNP troops out on a mission to track down a guy with a US$5 million price on his head (Zulkifli Abdhir, alias “Marwan”) because he is skilled at making bombs. He’s been on the most wanted list since 2005.

Which reminds me, there was a threat to the Pope, did you read? A bomb threat linked to Marwan. [Zulkifli Abdhir – Wiki]. Information is sketchy or denied.

That’s one of the big problems here. Information. You see, this whole area of fighting and dying is wrapped in secrets and disinformation and mistrust, so most people are winging it, translating history and making up stories as they go and declaring it the truth. Because it is in their heads.

I hope President Aquino can do a good job of describing what happened in the latest incident, and what will happen. We need to cut to some information that is credible. Not speculative.

Let me back up a step and lay some groundwork.

I’ll start with the news of today. Perhaps you read about two Filipinos killed in a bomb blast in a Libyan hotel, and another about a Filipino beheaded by ISIS? You also likely have seen news reports that suggest America may have had some involvement in the operation that led to the PNP massacre, certainly in helping haul out bodies, possibly in training, and maybe even a role in the operation itself.

We may never know the whole story. So we’ve got to go with incomplete information.

Let’s employ the Socratic method, answers supplied:

My first question, is it necessary to know the whole story? Or can we figure out a “position” from the basics? We can figure out a position.

Do you believe there is a terrorist problem around the world? I do.

Do you believe America is the reason for the terrorist problem? I don’t. Muslim conflicts are a problem for China, Russia, France, UK, and numerous African, Middle Eastern and Eastern Europe nations.

Do you believe America incited terrorism by going after Bin Laden in Afghanistan and ousting Saddam Hussein from Iraq, and other Middle Eastern adventures, including having Israel as an ally? Israel is for sure an adventure. I do think America made some mistakes, the biggest being Iraq II, and that stirred up trouble. But it was a powder keg to begin with, Shiite vs Sunni.

Do you think the Philippines has a terrorism problem? I do. Need I recite the plethora of cases, bombings and beheadings, blown-up ferry (116 deaths), hostage extortions and the Zamboanga siege (227 deaths)?

Do you think if American forces were not in the Philippines (we’ll use the CIA as a proxy for whatever forces are here), the situation would be better or worse? I think it would be horrid, a massive problem. Muslim terrorists are like NPA rebels on steroids, well supplied with weapons, well organized, and decently funded. Al Qaeda is here, and if you want to be upset at foreign influence, maybe start there. The CIA and BBL are outcomes, not causes, the former helping suppress the terrorists and the latter helping build enough peace and economy to give Muslims a chance at a life of some modest hope.

If the Philippines did not go after Marwan, would the US go after him in the style of the Bin Laden raid? I don’t know. I think the US was very active in this operation to locate him.

How would you react if the US did a Bin Laden style raid and went after Marwan with American troops, in total disrespect of Philippine sovereignty, as they did in Pakistan? You: Angry. Me: Happy.

Does Pakistan still support US drone strikes in the mountain regions? Yes. Especially after the school massacre.

Do you remember the school massacre, and the ISIS beheadings? Yes.

Is there a war on terrorism? Yes.

Is the Philippines actively fighting in the war on terrorism? Yes.

Is the Philippines a pawn for America, stuck with doing the dirty work? No. The Philippines has the courage and commitment to do dangerous work. For the Philippines. And for people like the Pope, and for people like you and me.

My position: This was a battle in a war that went horribly bad. It is possible someone in the knowledge chain gave warning to BIFF and MILF and they set up an ambush of the special forces troops.

What to do about BBL?

I’ll listen to Mr. Aquino.

Before, I was for it, now I am not sure. Let me explain why by starting with this letter from the MILF leadership issued right after the massacre:

This is the official statement of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front relative to the unfortunate event that happened at Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015.

1. First and foremost, we express and send our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who died in the armed encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. The emotions of loss and pain are not alien to us Bangsamoro and Mujahideens. Nevertheless, respect and solidarity is due to all, irrespective of which side they belong.

2. Our concern is the truth. There will be a lot of speculations as to what happened and until what happened is established with credibility and integrity, the said incident will weigh down our current efforts to bring peace to our homeland.

3. In order to give meaning to their deaths, we must resolve not to let something like this happen again. To this end, the MILF is convening a Special Investigative Commission (SIC) to be composed of members of the MILF Central Committee and BIAF General Staff who are tasked to investigate the events at Mamasapano, Maguindanao that resulted in the deaths of members of the MILF and of soldiers of the Philippine Government. The mandate of the SIC is to gather as much reliable information and interview witnesses to establish the truth. The SIC is given instruction to come up with a report to the Central Committee as soon as possible.

3. We hereby reiterate the MILF’s full commitment to the peace process. with the Philippine Government. An enduring peace and justice remains to be our primary objective. In this regard, all actions and pronouncements of our political and military units of the MILF should advance and adhere to this primary objective as much as possible and with due regard to the safety and security of our people and communities.

4. The MILF have been in negotiations with the Philippine Government for some time now. During this time, both parties have established protocols, ways of proceedings and mechanisms, which support and keep the peace. Adherence to these mechanisms have created a peaceful environment and lessened actual hostilities through the years. It is unfortunate but not entirely surprising that when parties do not follow established protocols lives are placed in harm’s way. We therefore recommit ourselves to follow these processes and protocols.

5. For widest dissemination.

By:

AL HAJ MURAD EBRAHIM

Chairman

Central Committee, MILF

Well, the apology in Point 1 seems to express deep sympathy, takes it back by saying MILF knows pain, too, then almost grudgingly cites some kind of solidarity. Yet, the key phrase to me is:

|irrespective of which side they belong.

To the MILF, the Philippine police are “the other side”. As if Mindanao did not really belong to the Philippines. This is consistent with MILF chief BBL negotiator Mohagher Iqbal saying the attack by MILF was only an act of self-defense as the police commandos were in an MILF territory.

That disturbs me. As I said in a side note, that means there is not a problem with communication, but with values. And mutual respect.

At this stage of negotiations, there should be no “sides”. There should be unity, agreement, and complete mutual respect.

The lack of unity is amplified in Point 4, which effectively lays the blame on the police for violating protocols. Does the MILF deny all culpability for the deaths? For the extensiveness of the slaughter? Or is it all simply “understandable”?

Why in the world does the MILF want this agreement? For the money only, rather than for the peace, and the unity? As a step to independence?

Is the MILF willing to GIVE and hold itself accountable for behaviors of its people?

Can the leadership really control its gunslingers if it is not willing to work with Philippine forces?

I’d like to see a demonstration of conviction and unity and accountability from MILF leaders. More than what is in this letter.


POSTED BY JOE AMERICA
THE SOCIETY OF HONOR


GETREALPHILIPPINES ONLINE

3 reasons to blame President Noynoy Aquino for the savage massacre of 44 PNP-SAF troops February 3, 2015 by benign0


President BS Aquino joins in condoling with the families of the 44 fallen SAF troopers--[Photo courtesy Showbiz Government.]

Make no mistake. Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III is to blame for the appalling massacre of 44 Philippine National Police (PNP) elite Special Action Force (SAF) troops by the terrorist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The reasons are quite straightforward.

* * *

1. President BS Aquino negotiated with terrorists.

The MILF, a terrorist organisation long known to cause horrrific grief to huge swaths of Mindanao, was given legitimacy by the Second Aquino Administration as a result of the president’s pet project, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) now being deliberated in Congress.

The origins of the MILF as a militant breakaway group from what was once considered a more “moderate” Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was over disagreements with the direction being taken by the MNLF leadership back in 1977 towards renouncing its own separatist agenda in favour of a more “conciliatory” deal with Manila then, a direction which bore fruit ten years later for the MNLF…

In January 1987, the MNLF signed an agreement relinquishing its goal of independence for Muslim regions and accepting the government’s offer of autonomy. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the next largest faction, refused to accept the accord and initiated a brief offensive that ended in a truce later that month. By one estimate the Mindanao-based Moro Islamic Liberation Front fielded around 3,000 troops.

Consider, then, the families of tens of thousands of soldiers and police officers who died gallantly fighting the MNLF, the MILF, and the New People’s Army (NPA) over much of the country’s recent history. What would they be thinking of successive governments who rewarded violence with sovereign-sanctioned legitimacy? The MNLF was given their Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the MILF is on the verge of being rewared with a Bangsamoro “nation”, and the NPA’s bosses have all but infested Philippine Congress.

2. President BS Aquino is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

President BS Aquino had compromised overall national security in the course of negotiating with the MILF by seemingly giving standing instructions to the military to stand down from armed confrontation with the armed forces of any entity that is party to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) draft being reviewed in Congress.

While this “ceasefire” supposedly covers the MILF, such terrorist groups tend to have a less reliable chain of command and are inherently infested by rogue units. In comparison, the AFP are subject to a clear and mature chain of command and is composed of professional soldiers who are far more inclined to observe it.

As such, whilst the AFP can guarantee observance of such agreements, a bandit group like the MILF cannot be expected to act as gentlemanly. As a result, the entire nation was put into peril by naively expecting a terrorist group to honour an agreement that effectively left their enemy hand-tied.

So to be fair, though the AFP have been criticised for failing to assist the 44 SAF police officers despite possessing the readiness in terms of equipment and personnel within striking distance of the massacre site, they were acting under orders. And these orders can ultimately be traced to the standing ceasefire that was an outcome of the president’s pet project, the BBL.

3. President BS Aquino is at the top of the chain of command of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The PNP is subject to the authority of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) under Secretary Mar Roxas who answers only to the president. Yet, according to Roxas, he and PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina had been left outside of the loop during the planning and actual deployment of the PNP force to Mamasapano.

Roxas also admitted that he could have contributed to effecting better coordination with the AFP had he been included in the initial stages of the operation and kept informed as it transpired.

In a statement to the media, Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap pointed out that President BS Aquino had “deliberately held back details about the operation in a televised address last week, including the role of suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and United States military forces,” and continues to do so.

* * *

No matter how much media face time President BS Aquino clocks to condole with the families of the 44 SAF troopers who were brutally killed by the MILF, it does not exonerate him from sole accountability for laying the groundwork for this horrible tragedy. You can’t neglect your kid for 20 years and expect to make up for that by buying him an XBox for Christmas.

Being Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the leader of the country’s civilian law enforcement agencies, and the self-described “god” of the Filipino people comes at a steep cost. It’s time President BS Aquino pays up by accepting that the buck stops at the Office of the President when it comes to most state affairs, in this case, to military and police affairs where he is clearly the final commander.


MANILA TIMES

Palace-clergy clash worsens February 26, 2015 10:45 pm by JOEL M. SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER AND TINA GANZON CORRESPONDENT WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL



AQUINO

A “word war” between Malacañang and members of the National Transformation Council (NTC) worsened on Thursday as both camps directly assailed each other over the latter’s renewed call for the resignation not only of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his Cabinet but all lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives as well.

In Malacañang, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. warned the group not to step over the boundaries of legitimate dissent as the government stands ready to have them charged for violation of the Revised Penal Code.

In a news briefing, Coloma said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s earlier warning should be enough to restrain the NTC from committing these possible violations.

“Gagawin ng pamahalaan ang nararapat para panagutin ‘yung mga lumalabag sa batas [The government will do everything in its power to make lawbreakers pay],” he added.

Coloma made the remarks after Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, a convenor of the NTC, taunted the government by saying he is not afraid to go to jail and that such would give him “great pleasure.”

The NTC also called on the entire Cabinet and all members of Congress to resign for they, too, it claimed, benefited from so-called pork barrel funds.

“It will be a great pleasure for me if I go to jail. Many of those in jail are innocent and still many of those guilty are there not because they are the only sinners but the greater sinners are free and are placed in government,” the prelate, who led the latest gathering of the council in Lipa City, Batangas, also on Thursday, said.

He insisted that their actions cannot be considered sedition or rebellion.

Earlier, de Lima blasted the NTC for “perverting the nation’s grief” over the death of 44 elite police commandos in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province on January 25, saying the group is nothing but an “aggrupation of disgruntled GMA [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a former President] allies” and “opportunists” who want to sow “discord and division” among the ranks of the country’s military and police organizations.

Coloma said those behind the NTC should heed the warning so as not to get themselves into trouble.


COLOMA: MEMBERS of civil-society groups and the clergy cannot force President Benigno Aquino 3rd to step down because they only represent a small sector of the people, majority of whom are behind the country’s leader, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. In an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Coloma again belittled what seems to be a growing clamor among the ranks of Catholic officials for Aquino to quit.

He added that the Department of Justice “will do what is necessary based on existing laws.”

The official described the NTC’s actions as “off key,” explaining that the group seeks to reverse economic gains the country has achieved over the years.

Meanwhile, Arguelles said if the government considers “listening to the poor” as a seditious act, then he is willing to join the poor in jail in order to listen to what they think should be done for a better society.

The prelate scored de Lima for calling them “pro-GMA,” explaining that the NTC is a multisectoral group of those with various political and religious beliefs.

When asked for his message to the Justice chief, the bishop said he has none but reiterated that de Lima is among those who should step down.

Also on Thursday, a Church-based group described President Aquino as a “fool” for lacking wisdom in dealing with the massacre of the police commandos.

According to the Religious Discernment Group (CDG), a month after the carnage, the people only heard “very little wisdom but lots of foolishness” from the President.

“We the Religious Discernment Group call on President Aquino to speak the truth and take responsibility. Only then will the trust of the people in the government be restored and peace based on justice be achieved,” the RDG said in a statement signed by convenors Fr. Quirico Pedregosa Jr. and Sr. Patricia Fox.

The CDG has joined earlier calls made by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and other Church-based and multi-ectoral groups, demanding a full and satisfactory accounting of the Mamasapano incident to Filipinos.


PHILSTAR

Noy keeps gov’t peace panel By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 27, 2015 - 12:00am


Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles and GPH Peace Panel chairperson Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, Malacanang Photo Bureau/Robert Viñas

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has decided to keep peace adviser Teresita Deles and chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer amid calls for their replacement on allegations they represent the interests of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) more than the government.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Deles and Ferrer enjoy the full trust and confidence of the President.

Lawmakers, including Aquino’s political allies, have observed that Deles and Ferrer appear to be lawyering for the MILF in congressional hearings.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano was very vocal against keeping Deles – of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process – and Ferrer, who both seemed to be speaking for MILF interests.

At one point during last Tuesday’s hearing, Cayetano also asked both officials if they were working for the government.

Cayetano appealed to Aquino to fire Deles and Ferrer and look for their replacement that would represent the government in the peace process. “I’m calling for their resignation. Actually, the President should fire them and not even get their resignation,” he said.

Sen. Francis Escudero also joined the calls to replace Deles and Ferrer. He said both officials failed to effectively promote the best interests of the country.

Escudero criticized the government peace panel for acting like they were on the side of the MILF after the Mamasapano incident.

“I am not asking that they pick a fight with their counterpart, but they should show that they are on the side of the SAF (Special Action Force) 44. They should show that they are on the side of the government, our soldiers and our police,” Escudero said.

“It should not be the case that in every opportunity, they always come out defending the other side,” he added.

According to Escudero, there have been several instances when the MILF was coming out with statements that were not acceptable on the part of the government and yet the members of the government peace panel did not make a whimper.

He cited the intention of the MILF to submit a copy of its report on its own investigation into the Mamasapano incident to Malaysia instead of the Philippine government as among the matters that the government peace panel should have aired its protest.

Escudero also cited the statement of MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal that its fighters involved in the firefight with the policemen would be presented to the International Criminal Court as war criminals instead of going through the local justice system.

Escudero said the public is looking for “righteous indignation” from the government peace panel over the deaths of the 44 SAF operatives at the hands of MILF combatants.

He said Ferrer and Deles should start speaking for the side of the government or be replaced.

Unfair

Senate President Franklin Drilon, however, led other lawmakers in defending Deles and Ferrer.

Drilon rejected calls for the removal of the government peace panel members, saying this was unfair and uncalled for.

“I appeal for a deeper public support and understanding of the role of the government peace panel in the realization of our goal of providing lasting and genuine peace in Mindanao, which for four decades suffered from all forms of insurgency and criminality,” Drilon said.

“While I fully understand and recognize the public’s high emotions following the Mamasapano tragedy, Sec. Teresita Deles and Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer do not deserve to be maligned in such an unwarranted manner,” he added.

Drilon argued that Deles, Ferrer and the rest of the government peace panel are tasked with securing peace in Mindanao, and their actions before and after the Mamasapano incident are based on their mandates.

“Let us not be too hard on those working for the preservation of the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Contrary to accusation, our peace panel is actually protecting the government and the Filipino people’s interest by protecting and continuing the peace process amid the tensions resulting from the Mamasapano clash,” he said.

The importance of the BBL

Amid the fallout caused by the killing of the 44 policemen in Mamasapano on Jan. 25, Aquino is pushing for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress with hardly any changes that would virtually favor the MILF.

Aquino would not even consider suspending deliberations on the BBL in Congress while several investigating bodies have yet to conclude their findings on the bloody police operation.

Coloma related that Aquino reminded the congressmen last Monday of the importance of approving the BBL to pave the way for the holding of a plebiscite.

Aquino wanted to give the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) sufficient time to demonstrate their capabilities so that the MILF can finally join the May 2016 elections as a political party, according to Coloma.

Some of the congressmen who met Aquino in Malacañang last Monday said the President trusts the MILF.

Isabela Rep. Giorgiddi Aggabao said Aquino reiterated his trust in the MILF to abide by the peace agreement with the government signed on March 27 last year.

In that meeting, Aquino clarified his role in the covert operation to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Filipino bomb maker Basit Usman.

He asked the lawmakers to pass as soon as possible the BBL, which seeks to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao.

“The President has expressed his continuing and abiding trust with the MILF and he believes the MILF has shown good faith, and I guess this is also one of the reasons why he wants the BBL passed,” Aggabao said.

Aggabao said Aquino was emphatic in calling for the passage of the BBL, telling lawmakers there “was no other alternative unless we go back to war.”

“I really wish somebody can tell me we have another option,” Aggabao quoted Aquino as saying.

The House aims to pass the measure by June. The enactment of the BBL is one of the Aquino administration’s commitments to the MILF under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. – Paolo Romero, Marvin Sy


INQUIRER

Stop managing news, outspoken Palace ally tells Aquino Gil C. Cabacungan @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:57 AM | Friday, February 27th, 2015


Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello INQUIRER FILE PHOTO Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

An outspoken ally of the administration is urging President Benigno Aquino III to stop managing the news and lay down his accountability and that of the United States in the Special Action Force (SAF) mission in which 44 police commandos and 18 Moro rebels died.

Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said the President’s meeting with 25 House leaders on Monday was a “thinly orchestrated effort on the part of the Palace to manage the flow of information about Mamasapano” aimed at making resigned Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima the “fall guy” in the Jan. 25 operation in Maguindanao province.

The President told the House leaders led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. that he was lied to by Purisima, who was feeding him information on the mission to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and his deputy, Basit Usman.

Purisima was then more than a month into his six-month suspension imposed by the Ombudsman on corruption charges.

“The President is again attempting to avoid responsibility for the raid and its bloody consequences by foisting the blame on Purisima. I do not mean to imply that Purisima is guiltless. Indeed, had the President not put Purisima in charge of the operation, blatantly defying the Ombudsman’s suspension order, this tragic fiasco might never have happened. Responsibility was shared, and it’s the President’s attempt not to own up to his share that infuriates me,” Bello said.

Bello, who was not among the lawmakers in the select group, said the President should have emulated US Presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter who took full responsibility for military fiascos under their watch—Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba for Kennedy and the Desert One rescue operation in Iran for Carter.

“Why can’t this President be presidential enough to do the same and suffer the consequences, as Kennedy and Carter did? He really has to do something drastic with his style of governance,” Bello said.

He said the House leaders should be careful lest they be accused of “acquiescing” to Malacañang’s news management.

With the public’s unslaked thirst for truth, Bello said the House should proceed with its suspended hearings on the SAF mission so as not to appear it was conniving with Malacañang on the perceived cover-up.

Bello criticized Senate President Franklin Drilon’s haste in shutting the door on the Mamasapano probe even if the roles of the President and the United States had not yet been clarified.

“Whenever the role of the US came up in the Senate and House hearings, the witnesses either invoked national security or said they would answer in an executive session. It is amazing that for the most part, the senators acquiesced. Full public disclosure of the US role in the botched raid is in the national interest. Democracy suffers if more and more things are hidden behind a veil of ‘national security,’” Bello said.

He complimented the Inquirer for coming up with three facts about the Mamasapano mission:

US drones pinpointed Marwan’s hiding place, guided the Filipino commandos to it, and provided real-time management by the SAF command away from the battlefield.

American advisers were the ones who vetoed informing top officials of the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of the planned raid on the grounds that news of the action would be leaked to Marwan.

The Americans vetoed the Philippine government’s plan of a fused team of the Seaborne Unit and the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and instead use the US Navy Seals-trained Seaborne to seize the Malaysian terrorist with the QRF limited to extraction duty.

“The full dimensions of the Americans’ involvement remain to be unearthed but it is now clear to me that taking out Marwan was a US, not a Philippine, priority, though, of course, Filipino officials had been concerned with the Malaysian’s bomb-making activities,” Bello said.

Marwan carried a $6-million bounty on his head put up by the FBI.


TRIBUNE

Lethargy hits Noy, Palace after Mamasapano debacle Written by Joshua L. Labonera Monday, 02 March 2015 00:00


COLOMA

Since the Mamasapano massacre, President Aquino seems to have descended into lethargy as several key government agencies remained headless with Aquino apparently sulking and setting aside decision-making in response to a public outcry for his accountability in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

Three constitutional bodies, the Commission on Audit (CoA), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) are headless while the Department of Health (DoH) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have acting superiors.

CoA chairman Grace Pulido-Tan, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and CSC chairman Francisco Duque III all retired since Feb 1 yet or a month ago.

Worse, Aquino’s failure to make a decision on the status of suspended and later on resigned PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima is being blamed for the breakdown in the PNP chain of command in Oplan Exodus that led to the deadly outcome of the police mission that took down Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

Sacked SAF head Director Getulio Napeñas reported to Purisima instead of PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina in carrying out Oplan Exodus

Napenas admitted receiving direct orders from Purisima, who is serving a six-month preventive suspension issued by the Office of the Ombudsman late last year.

Espina had said that he was kept out of the loop in the operations adding that he knew of it only when the SAF commandos were already being slaughtered by a combined force of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Malacañang again yesterday could not explain the hiatus in the crucial government appointments.

It maintained that the Aquino administration was still studying the qualifications of nominated individuals for the vacant positions in the Constitutional bodies. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the Palace continues to study the recommendations.

“In my understanding, studying the nominees recommended for the positions in constitutional bodies like the Commission on Elections, Commission on Audit and Civil Service Commission still continues,” Coloma said.

Malacanang has been dodging queries on the appointments of individuals for the vacant seats.

“The line-up of new officials to be chosen for (the vacant posts) is still being formed and if this has been finalized and formed, it is sure that we will immediately tell the public,” the Palace official said.

Two months earlier, Coloma said the government wants to assure the public that the appointed heads of the commissions “will meet the people’s expectations in terms of competence and integrity,” as the Palace is “exerting due diligence” for choosing the next chiefs.

Last month still, Aquino said he would appoint acting Health Secretary Janette Garin to a permanent post replacing resigned Secretary Enrique Ona who was embroiled a vaccine contract anomaly.

Aquino said Garin’s appointment would be done after the visit of Pope Francis which ended January 19.

The Mamasapano tragey happened on January 25 and since then nothing was heard from Aquino regarding the pending appointments.

Even the crucial post of head of the national police continued to be vacant.

Former Constabulary chief retired Maj. Gen. Ramon Montano said there is a need for the immediate installation of chief PNP if only to re-establish credibility and morale in the organization.

“The organization suffered a credibility problem during the past years under Purisima. Now, there is a need to appoint a new PNP chief...one who is respected and who could lead by good example,” Montano said.

“There are still a lot of good officers in the PNP,” he added.

Montano, however, refused to give names of possible successor of Purisima, whose resignation was accepted and announced last Friday by President Aquino.

Montano said the authority of Espina as OIC is limited so there is really a need to appoint Purisima’s successor.


MANILA TIMES

Senate probe closed, but case vs. Aquino stands February 26, 2015 10:05 pm by FRANCISCO S. TATAD


FRANCISCO S. TATAD


In trying to shield President B. S. Aquino 3rd from any accountability for the death of the 44 Special Action Force police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima virtually immolated himself, took the grand prize for lying, and all but dethroned Beelzebub as “the father of all lies.” He claimed total accountability for the fiasco, and tried to whitewash it of any presidential culpability or involvement. But the attempted whitewash failed to wash. Aquino remains stuck where he is.

According to Purisima, “the responsibility, the accountability rests with me,” without saying that he now awaits his just desserts within the power of the law. He admitted running Operation Exodus for the President, briefing him regularly on it, but “failing to coordinate” with the AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. and the acting PNP Chief Leonardo Espina, after involving SAF commander Getulio Napenas in it. And he did all this while under suspension by the Ombudsman as PNP Chief in connection with serious corruption charges.

Senators were quick to denounce “usurpation,” but quite slow to see the President’s hand behind it. As a suspended police officer, Purisima had lost his active official standing in the police organization; he was no more than an outsider as far as the office of the PNP chief was concerned. He was able to insert himself into Oplan Exodus, which was tasked to go after two international terrorists being sheltered by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, only because Aquino had ordered or authorized it. But the order violated the existing suspension order of the Ombudsman, and was therefore void ab initio.

Thus Purisima could not rightfully say, “the responsibility, the accountability rests with me” since, legally speaking, there was no “me” to speak of, in the first place. He had no right to be where he was as far as Oplan Exodus was concerned; he had no legal personality to be in charge or even part of any police project whatsoever.

The only thing he could have correctly said was this: “The responsibility rests with the President. He authorized me to run the operation, despite my having been suspended from office. I simply obeyed him, even though I knew he was violating the law in giving me my assignment. We violated the law together, that’s why I have resigned while awaiting my just punishment, and that’s why I expect him to do the same as well.”

However, this point seemed beyond the senators’ grasp. They confined their questioning to Purisima’s “failure to coordinate with the military” and with Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas and acting PNP Chief Espina, whom Aquino had previously cut out of the loop.

Aquino could have ensured “coordination with the military” by simply adhering strictly to the established chain of command instead of outsourcing everything to the suspended PNP chief.

But this was not—this is not—-the real issue.

The real issue, which the public expected the Senate inquiry to resolve, was “why did the operational command fail to send reinforcement” after the commandos were pinned down by enemy fire, and had begun crying for reinforcement?

Despite the SAF’s alleged failure to coordinate with the military, a light armored brigade was reported to have been standing by, a few kilometers from the killing zone, ready to roll in. But at the last minute it was ordered to stand down. Why?

This report, quoting highly informed sources, and repeated several times over in this space, has never been denied nor denounced. Again and again, we have asked, who ordered the stand-down?

Where was the President, and what was he doing at the time? Was he in the middle of some important meeting, waiting for Purisima’s latest feed, or was he in fact watching the operation in Mamasapano by means of images fed to him in Zamboanga City by a drone?

From all accounts, this is what appears to have happened. On his late mother’s 82nd birth anniversary (on January 25), when his sisters were supposed to gather and offer a Mass in her memory in Manila, he chose to be in Zamboanga City.

What was the supreme importance of being there on that day when he should have been with his only family celebrating an important anniversary?

Did he not, in fact, go there expecting to watch the Mamasapano operation, and cheer its expected success from his listening post?

As we said before, he went there to oversee the operation by remote control, and it was what he did. He alone could have given the order to stand down, and he gave it. If he did not, he alone could have reversed and cancelled the order, if somebody else did. This is where the back of the camel breaks.

Yet this critical issue was never touched. This was the biggest crime at the hearing, beyond all the lies coming from those trying to protect Aquino from himself. The Senate terminated its hearings after finding Purisima and Napenas “accountable for the SAF’s failure to coordinate with the military.” But the case against Aquino remains wide open; they just can’t shove it under the rug.

In Memoriam.

I ask the pious reader to offer a prayer of thanks for the long life the Lord gave to Dr. Jack Wilke, founder and longtime president of the International Right to Life Federation, who was called home to the Father in Cincinnati this week. Jack was a very dear friend who, with his wife Barbara, who passed on earlier, led the worldwide pro-life and pro-family movement for most of his life. Thanks.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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