NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

FVR: PNoy LIABLE IN MAMASAPANO FIASCO; VIOLATING COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY RULE


PNoy liable in Mamasapano incident – FVR PNoy liable in Mamasapano incident – FVR. At a media briefing in Makati City on Wednesday, March 18, former President Fidel V. Ramos said he agrees with the findings of a Senate panel and the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry (BOI) that President Benigno Aquino III is 'ultimately' responsible for the bloody Mamasapano incident. Ramos, a former AFP chief, said Aquino can be held administratively liable as he violated Executive Order 226 or the rule on 'command responsibility,' which Ramos authored in 1995. Danny Pata 
Former President Fidel V. Ramos on Wednesday agreed with the findings of a Senate panel and the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry (BOI) that President Benigno Aquino III is “ultimately” responsible for the bloody Mamasapano incident. In a press conference in his office in Makati City, Ramos said Aquino can be held administratively liable for the Mamasapano incident as he violated Executive Order 226 or the rule on “command responsibility” which the former President authored in 1995. “Any violation of this Executive Order by any government official, supervisor, officer of the PNP and that of any law enforcement agency shall be held administratively accountable for violation of existing laws, rules and regulations,” Ramos said, reading a portion of EO 226. “There is no escaping that in the Philippines, we have been practicing the doctrine of command responsibility ever since we have been established as a government,” added Ramos, who founded the SAF in 1983 when he was chief of the now defunct Philippine Constabulary. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: House probe on Mamasapano set for April 7 - 8, BBL hearings rescheduled


Some Members of the House of Representatives will have a short Holy Week vacation because their committees probing the Mamasapano clash will resume hearings on April 7 and April 8.  The dates were confirmed Wednesday night by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chair of the ad hoc committee deliberating on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). With those two dates blocked off for the joint hearing of the House committees on public order and safety, and peace, reconciliation and unity, the closed-door discussions on the Bangsamoro bill will be moved to April 20 from April 6. Congress is on break from March 21 to May 3, and will resume sessions on May 4.  The executive sessions on the proposed BBL will last until April 30 although voting will not take place until May 11 to 12, when Congress is back in session. READ MORE...

ALSO PNoy on top of the chain: Lacson criticized Palace for wiggling out of Mamasapano controversy


FORMER Senator Panfilo Lacson criticized Malacañang on Monday for trying to wiggle out of the Mamasapano controversy by arguing that the principle of chain of command does not apply to the Philippine National Police.
“From the very start, from the time the PNP was created in 1991, the President has always been regarded as the commander-in-chief,” said Lacson, who was himself PNP chief from 1999 to 2001 before he became senator. Checkmate? Members of the group Kilusang Mayo Uno or May First Movement slammed President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, saying he was responsible for the Mamasapano debacle in which 44 police commandos were killed on Jan. 25. Danny Pata   “Even in real life, there is a chain of command. I myself am only Number Two at home,” Lacson joked during a radio interview. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: BoI head backpedals, says Aquino not at fault


MAGALONG  A day after President Aquino met with the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BoI) that delivered a scathing report on the culpability of Aquino, resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and sacked Special Action Force (SAF) com-mander Director Getulio Napeñas, the probe body’s chairman Director Benjamin Magalong softened up, claiming that the Mamasapano findings did not indict Aquino.   Magalong, in contravening the conclusion of the body he headed said while the report said the established PNP chain of command was bypassed, liability of the President was not established.
“We did not say (in the report) that he violated the chain of command. He just exercised his prerogative,” Magalong said.   The retraction from Magalong also came after the PNP leadership distanced itself from the BoI findings as these were described as “not reflective of the sentiments of the entire police organization.”  READ MORE...

ALSO Bishop: PNoy becoming less leader-like as term ends


Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo (Photo: CBCPNews) A Catholic prelate believes President Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy) is acting like less and less the nation’s chief executive as the end of his term in office nears, noting he has become fixated on the Mamasapano massacre to even care about his other duties. “His [PNoy’s] is a lame-duck leadership. He is losing influence … Filipinos no longer believe him,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo told Church-run Radyo Veritas in an interview. Neglected duties  According to him, PNoy seems to be too distracted by the Mamasapano incident at the expense of other equally important concerns like government projects he has to attend to and finish before he leaves Malacañang in June 2016. .READ ON...

ALSO Palace: PNoy is no lame duck after Mamasapano


With only 469 days left in his term, President Aquino is facing his biggest political crisis over his perceived mishandling of the Mamasapano mission that left more than 60 people dead, including 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. Malacañang Photo Bureau file photo 
Malacañang denied on Friday that the Mamasapano debacle has reduced President Benigno Aquino III into a lame duck leader. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the president remains focused on finishing what he started and strengthening the reforms of his administration. "Dahil mindful po siya doon sa kanyang obligasyon sa mga mamamayan na sinumpaan niyang paglingkuran. Kaya naka-pokus pa rin naman po siya sa trabaho at hindi naman po niya inaalala ang mga political issues," Coloma said in an interview with Aksyon TV. With only 469 days left in his term, Aquino is facing his biggest political crisis over his perceived mishandling of the Mamasapano mission that left more than 60 people dead, including 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. READ MORE...

ALSO TIMES COLUMN: Aquino’s survival crisis goes international


The secret is out. President Aquino’s pricey PR consultants can no longer keep the story under wraps. 
International media correspondents are parachuting into Manila again. And the members of the Foreign correspondents Association of the Philippine (FOCAP) are finally moving their butts and reporting Philippine developments to the world.  The story that’s making them all jump is the same story that keeps most Filipinos glued to television, hooked to their radios, reading newspapers, and texting like there’s no tomorrow.  The story is the drama of how the Presidency of President BS Aquino III will wind down—by his removal or departure from office (resignation or ouster), or by his limping to the finish line in June 2016, as provided for by the Constitution. Interest is also focused on the wrenching killing of 44 elite police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, and the distressing efforts of the administration and Congress to cover up President Aquino’s responsibility for the tragedy. The world is learning now that Aquino is in big trouble, and is barely hanging on by his fingernails.  CNN Philippines debuts in style  The story burst out in a big way when in quick succession the Board of Inquiry of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Senate inquiry released their findings on the Mamasapano Incident, and reported that Aquino had violated the PNP chain of command and bore responsibility for the tragedy. Forbes Asia got tongues wagging with a report by Donald Kirk on the launching of CNN Philippines, which far from being ceremonial, declared that the new cable news network had stepped into a boiling controversy over the embattled Aquino presidency. READ ON...
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

FVR: PNoy liable in Mamasapano fiasco for violating command responsibility rule


PNoy liable in Mamasapano incident – FVR PNoy liable in Mamasapano incident – FVR. At a media briefing in Makati City on Wednesday, March 18, former President Fidel V. Ramos said he agrees with the findings of a Senate panel and the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry (BOI) that President Benigno Aquino III is 'ultimately' responsible for the bloody Mamasapano incident. Ramos, a former AFP chief, said Aquino can be held administratively liable as he violated Executive Order 226 or the rule on 'command responsibility,' which Ramos authored in 1995. Danny Pata

MANILA, MARCH 23, 2015 (GMA NEWS NETWORK) (Updated 12:28 p.m.) Former President Fidel V. Ramos on Wednesday agreed with the findings of a Senate panel and the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry (BOI) that President Benigno Aquino III is “ultimately” responsible for the bloody Mamasapano incident.

In a press conference in his office in Makati City, Ramos said Aquino can be held administratively liable for the Mamasapano incident as he violated Executive Order 226 or the rule on “command responsibility” which the former President authored in 1995.

“Any violation of this Executive Order by any government official, supervisor, officer of the PNP and that of any law enforcement agency shall be held administratively accountable for violation of existing laws, rules and regulations,” Ramos said, reading a portion of EO 226.

“There is no escaping that in the Philippines, we have been practicing the doctrine of command responsibility ever since we have been established as a government,” added Ramos, who founded the SAF in 1983 when he was chief of the now defunct Philippine Constabulary.

Ramos said that EO 226 clearly covers the PNP, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the National Police Commision (NAPOLCOM) and all government offices under the Civil Service Commision (CSC).

“This is very clear, command responsibility applies in all government offices, military and civilians. It also includes all agencies, all personnel under the supervision of the Civil Service Commission,” Ramos said.

He maintained that the EO 226 still stands as it has never been amended or repealed since its issuance.

“There is a chain of command in the Philippine National Police and it also applies to other agencies... Even in the corporate world, there is a chain of command. A commander is responsible for what his subordinate does or fails to do,” Ramos said.

Crossing party lines, at least 14 senators have signed the draft Senate committee report citing Aquino as the one “ultimately responsible for the Mamasapano massacre” and two others are set to affix their signatures, Senator Grace Poe said Wednesday.

Poe, the chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order, on Tuesday said Aquino was accountable after he allowed the then suspended PNP chief Director-General Alan Purisima to be involved in overseeing Oplan Exodus in Mamasapano in the morning of Jan. 25.

PNP probe

In its report released last week, the PNP BOI said Aquino is liable for the incident for violating the chain of command and for “giving the go signal” in the execution of Oplan Exodus, a PNP-SAF operation aimed at arresting most-wanted terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.

The operation cost the lives of 44 PNP Special Action Force (SAF) troopers.

Meanwhile, the Senate, in a draft report released on Tuesday afternoon, also found Aquino “ultimately responsible” for the bloody incident as he allowed then-suspended PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima to be involved in overseeing Oplan Exodus.

Malacañang and even Justice Secretary Leila De Lima had earlier defended Aquino from the BOI report, saying that as the chief executive of a civilian organization like the PNP, it the prerogative of the President to talk to anyone of his subordinates in the PNP and cannot be compelled to follow the PNP's internal operational procedure.

Ramos, however, pointed out that while it may be true that the President is not the commander-in-chief of the PNP, he still has the direct control and supervision of the organization as stated in EO 226.

“Let me read it to you, 'Any government official or supervisor, or officer of the Philippine National Police or that of any other law enforcement agency shall be held accountable for 'neglect of duty' under the doctrine of "command responsibility" if he has knowledge that a crime or offense shall be committed, is being committed, or has been committed by his subordinates, or by others within his area of responsibility and, despite such knowledge, he did not take preventive or corrective action either before, during, or immediately after its commission,” Ramos said, reading Section 1 of the EO.

“So as the chief executive of the PNP, it is clear that he has liability,” Ramos said.

Ramos, however, agreed with the statement of Poe that Aquino has immunity in any charges while he is still in office, and can only be held accountable for the Mamasapano incident through an impeachment proceedings or by filing charges against him in court after his term.

“In the case of President Aquino, administrative and even criminal charges can be imposed at a latter time, after his term. Charges may be filed in court after his term,” Ramos said. “Or maybe through an impeachment, but mukhang malabo yun.”

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte had earlier said that Aquino cannot be impeached on the grounds of his alleged liabilities in the Mamasapano incident.

Based on the Constitution, an impeachment complaint against the President must emanate from the House of Representatives. It must be approved by the House Committee on Justice and has to secure the votes of at least one-third of the members of the House in a plenary session.

The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, must then hear the impeachment complaint filed by the House of Representatives.

According to Section 2 Article 11 of the 1987 Constitution, an impeachable officer such as the President can be removed from office through conviction in an impeachment complaint based on the following grounds: culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes. —Elizabeth Marcelo/KG/KBK, GMA News


GMA NEWS NETWORK

House probe on Mamasapano set for April 7 - 8, BBL hearings rescheduled  By XIANNE ARCANGEL, GMA NewsMarch 18, 2015 11:56pm

Some Members of the House of Representatives will have a short Holy Week vacation because their committees probing the Mamasapano clash will resume hearings on April 7 and April 8.

The dates were confirmed Wednesday night by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chair of the ad hoc committee deliberating on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

With those two dates blocked off for the joint hearing of the House committees on public order and safety, and peace, reconciliation and unity, the closed-door discussions on the Bangsamoro bill will be moved to April 20 from April 6.

Congress is on break from March 21 to May 3, and will resume sessions on May 4.

The executive sessions on the proposed BBL will last until April 30 although voting will not take place until May 11 to 12, when Congress is back in session.

“We’ve allocated two days for the voting of the BBL because many of the ad hoc committee’s members will be out of town during the break. We’ll have to vote on the BBL section by section, and that will take long,” Rodriguez said.

The House’s investigation into the Jan. 25 tragedy was indefinitely suspended after one hearing was held last Feb. 11. House leaders, as well as the chairmen of the two committees handling the probe, cited the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry’s ongoing work at that time for the suspension.

Following the BOI’s submission of its report earlier this month, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. expressed openness to resuming the probe “if there are any specific points that need to be raised” by lawmakers even after reviewing the BOI and Senate’s reports on the incident.

Over 60 individuals, including 44 Special Action Force commandos, died during the covert police operation to arrest high-profile terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Asked why the House decided to resume the investigations during the break, Belmonte said: “Nagkataon lang.” — ELR, GMA News


MANILA STANDARD

PNoy on top of the chain: Lacson criticized Palace for wiggling out of Mamasapano controversy By MST News | Mar. 17, 2015 at 12:01am

FORMER Senator Panfilo Lacson criticized Malacañang on Monday for trying to wiggle out of the Mamasapano controversy by arguing that the principle of chain of command does not apply to the Philippine National Police.

“From the very start, from the time the PNP was created in 1991, the President has always been regarded as the commander-in-chief,” said Lacson, who was himself PNP chief from 1999 to 2001 before he became senator.

Checkmate? Members of the group Kilusang Mayo Uno or May First Movement slammed President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, saying he was responsible for the Mamasapano debacle in which 44 police commandos were killed on Jan. 25. Danny Pata

“Even in real life, there is a chain of command. I myself am only Number Two at home,” Lacson joked during a radio interview.

But Senator Antonio Trillanes IV again defended President Benigno Aquino III and said only Napeñas was responsible for the incident and the relieved Special Action Force commander should be man enough to admit his mistakes and ask for forgiveness from the families of the slain policemen.

“Did the President violate the chain of command?” Trillanes said. “That’s absurd. The whole world will laugh at us.”

But aside from Executive Order No. 226 of 1995 which instituted command responsibility in the PNP and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Lacson explained that the principle of command responsibility is ingrained in the PNP.

“The chain of command is present even in business organizations. What does chain of command mean? It’s the formal line of authority, responsibility in communication. This is the relationship of superior and his subordinate. So you cannot say that the PNP is not covered by a chain of command,” he said.

Lacson disputed the claim of Palace spokesmen and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that the PNP board of inquiry contradicted itself in its report on the Mamasapano incident that resulted in the death of 67 people, including 44 police commandos.

The senator agreed that President Benigno Aquino III indeed had the prerogative to directly order Special Action Force commander Getulio Napeñas, but Malacañang will be hard put to explain why former PNP chief Alan Pursima was issuing orders when he was already suspended.

Lacson made the remarks after Malacañang argued that Aquino does not have any liability for the incident because the PNP was a civilian agency not covered by the principle of chain of command.

But Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. reiterated that the root cause of the chaos and even the deaths that resulted from the secret operation was mainly because President broke the chain of command.

“There was chaos because the normal chain of command, the whole command structure, was bypassed, and President Aquino made his own chain of command,” Marcos told reporters on Monday.

Marcos said the chain of command during the Mamasapano incident consisted only of Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas. “So there were only three of them who planned and talked about this. So that is certainly significant,” Marcos said.

But Marcos noted that it will be hard to make Aquino answer for the incident because of the presidential immunity from suit.

“How do we make him answer? I don’t know. We’re just hoping that he acknowledges the need. That’s what the people are waiting for. What’s his reason for breaking the chain of command,” said Marcos.

On the other hand, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the independent bloc in the House of Representatives, slammed the Palace from trying to discredit the BOI report after it criticized Aquino for violating the chain of command.

“It is preposterous, absurd, ridiculous, and outrageous for Malacanang to discredit a government-sponsored inquiry,” said Romualdez, also president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa).

“They even told the public to wait the results of the investigation and after the findings were made public, they are now assailing the PNP-BoI, that’s illogical,” Romualdez added.

Instead of washing his hands of the issue, Romualdez said President Aquino should explain why he allegedly violated the chain of command and why he should not be held liable over the Mamasapano incident.

“Like what I had been saying in the past, the President should admit full responsibility,” Romualdez said.


TRIBUNE

BoI head backpedals, says Aquino not at fault  Written by Mario J. Mallari
Thursday, 19 March 2015 00:00


MAGALONG 

A day after President Aquino met with the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BoI) that delivered a scathing report on the culpability of Aquino, resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and sacked Special Action Force (SAF) com-mander Director Getulio Napeñas, the probe body’s chairman Director Benjamin Magalong softened up, claiming that the Mamasapano findings did not indict Aquino.

Magalong, in contravening the conclusion of the body he headed said while the report said the established PNP chain of command was bypassed, liability of the President was not established.

“We did not say (in the report) that he violated the chain of command. He just exercised his prerogative,” Magalong said.

The retraction from Magalong also came after the PNP leadership distanced itself from the BoI findings as these were described as “not reflective of the sentiments of the entire police organization.”

The report, however, clearly concluded that Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas collectively broke the chain of command in the PNP.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. told reporters last Monday the PNP, as an organization, should be dissociated from the findings of the BoI that probed the killing of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos during a clash with combined elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) last Jan. 25.

Cerbo stressed that the PNP leadership gave the BoI the independence to conduct its investigation that even PNP officer in charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina did not interfere in the BoI probe.

The PNP spokesman, however, cited the limitations encountered by the BoI during the course of its investigation.

In its report, the BoI stated in its findings: The Chain of Command in the PNP was violated. The President, the suspended CPNP Purisima and the former Director SAF (Getulio) Napeñas kept the information to themselves and deliberately failed to inform the OIC PNP and the SILG.”

Magalong, who is also chief of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), yesterday said the meeting was “straightforward and cordial.”

Aside from Magalong, also present during the meeting in Malacañang were BoI members Directors Catalino Rodriguez and John Sosito, PNP officer in charge Deputy Director Espina and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

According to Magalong, he felt that the President was hurt by the BOI report.

“It was a straightforward, cordial and a very professional discussion, naramdaman ko yun nasaktan siya (President) sa aming report , sino ba naman ang hindi masasaktan,” said Magalong.

Magalong said he made it clear to the President that the BOI report is not blaming him for the botched Oplan “Exodus” and stressed that the finding was that the chain of command was by-passed.

“It’s too unfortunate we were never given a chance to interview the President,” said Magalong.

In its report the BoI stated that the President gave the go signal and allowed the execution of Oplan Exodus after the concept of operations was presented to him by sacked SAF Director Getulio Napenas.

The BoI also stated “the President allowed the participation of Purisima in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus despite the suspension order of the Ombudsman.”

“While the President has the prerogative to deal directly with any of his subordinates, the act of dealing with Napeñas instead of OIC-PNP Espina bypassed the established PNP chain of command,” the BoI also stated.

More mission-essential equipment seized from the SAF commandos involved in Operation Plan “Exodus” were turned over to the military.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP-Public Affairs Office chief, yesterday said that the return of SAF equipment is part of the continuing efforts of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID) to recover all the SAF firearms and equipment lost last Jan 25 in Mamasapano, Magauindanao.

Cabunoc particularly cited the “influencing efforts” being exerted by Col. Melquiades Feliciano, commander of the 601st Brigade, to account for the missing SAF properties.
Among those returned were five units of night vision goggles, three laser target pointers, two night fighting devices, two units night vision monocular, three units hand-held Harris radios, one Nebo Protec laser designator, two gas masks, a Kevlar helmet, one bulletproof vest, a pair of combat boots, one lower uniform pants and two gun protective cases.

The items, which were among the SAF equipment lost during a day-long clash with combined elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), were subsequently turned over to the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday.

“Colonel Feliciano held some engagements with key leaders in the area –imams, barangay officials and non-government organizations that led to the return of these equipment,” said Cabunoc.

According to Cabunoc, the SAF equipment were either collected or voluntarily returned to the 601st Brigade.

“They came from various sources –civilians, barangay officials and even the MILF,” said Cabunoc.

“We acknowledge the contributions of all stakeholders and peace partners who are supporting the on-going peace process in Mindanao,” added Cabunoc.

The SAF lost a total of 63 firearms after launching Oplan “Exodus” targeting Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and his Filipino henchman Basit Usman in barangays Pidsandawan and Tukanalipao, Mamasapano last Jan. 25.

The operation also resulted in the killing of 44 SAF commandos, including seven junior officers, 18 MILF fighters and five civilians.

Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) Congressman Win Gatchalian today urged the PNP to initiate summary dismissal proceedings against resigned PNP Director-General Alan Purisima and relieved Special Action Force Director Getulio Napenas, based on the findings by the Board of Inquiry that the two PNP officials were responsible for the death of the 44 SAF commandos in the botched Mamasapano operation.

Gatchalian pointed out that summary dismissal proceedings or SDP are conducted against erring police officers whenever there is a complaint against them from civilians or as a result of an official PNP investigation like the one conducted by the BOI.

“As far as PNP rules are concerned, SDP can be initiated against Generals Purisima and Napenas and the charge sheet against them can be based from the findings of the BOI, which was able to come up with a credible and objective report despite limitations,” said Gatchalian, who represents Valenzuela City’s 1st Congressional District.

Based on the 2007 PNP Disciplinary Rules Procedure contained in Memorandum Circular No. 2007-001, a summary dismissal case can result to the maximum penalty of dismissal from service when the charge is serious, the evidence of guilt is strong, and the respondent is guilty of a serious offense involving conduct unbecoming of a police officer.

Gatchalian pointed out that since Geeral Purisima is a presidential appointee, he can only be subjected to a summary hearing after clearance for such purpose is obtained from the Office of the President.

Under Rule 2, Section 6 of the PNP Disciplinary Rules Procedure, the report of investigation together with the complete original records of the case (of a presidential appointee) shall be submitted to the Office of the President through the National Police Commission, which is chaired by the DILG secretary on a concurrent capacity.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also claimed to have completed its investigation of allegations made by a member of the Special Action Force (SAF) contained in the BoI report that some firearms entrusted to the Army fell into the hands of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP-Public Affairs Office chief, yesterday said that Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID), is expected to submit his report to AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. anytime yesterday.

“The 6th ID conducted and completed the investigation on the allegation against the DRCs (Division Reconnaissance Companies),” said Cabunoc at a press briefing.
Cabunoc said the 6th ID immediately conducted its probe after the chief of staff ordered an investigation of the claims made by PO2 Rommel Magno, a member of the 84th Special Action Company (SAC) who took part in the launching of Oplan Exodus.

The Tribune on Monday published as its headline Magno statement before the BoI that investigated the killing of 44 SAF commandos last Jan. 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

On page 41 of the BoI final report, Magno said that he handed his assault rifle to a member of the military’s Division Reconnaissance Company (DRC) immediately after they were rescued before midnight of Jan. 25.


CBCP NEWS

Bishop: PNoy becoming less leader-like as term ends Filed under: Headlines |


Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo (Photo: CBCPNews)

MANILA, March 19, 2015—A Catholic prelate believes President Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy) is acting like less and less the nation’s chief executive as the end of his term in office nears, noting he has become fixated on the Mamasapano massacre to even care about his other duties.

“His [PNoy’s] is a lame-duck leadership. He is losing influence … Filipinos no longer believe him,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo told Church-run Radyo Veritas in an interview.

Neglected duties

According to him, PNoy seems to be too distracted by the Mamasapano incident at the expense of other equally important concerns like government projects he has to attend to and finish before he leaves Malacañang in June 2016. .

Moreover, the prelate, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA), expressed disappointment that until now the president has yet to name the people who will take over the reins of the Philippine National Police (PNP), as well as of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Low approval, trust ratings

Pabillo made this comment after the release of a survey, which shows PNoy’s popularity hitting a record low due to the Jan. 25 incident.

The Pulse Asia poll reveals that from 59 percent in November 2014, the President’s approval rating nosedived to 38 percent this March, or almost two months after the bloody “encounter” at Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The same survey adds Aquino’s trust ratings is down to 36 percent this month compared to 56 percent last November. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)


PHILSTAR

Palace: PNoy is no lame duck after Mamasapano
By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated March 20, 2015 - 12:25pm


With only 469 days left in his term, President Aquino is facing his biggest political crisis over his perceived mishandling of the Mamasapano mission that left more than 60 people dead, including 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. Malacañang Photo Bureau file photo

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang denied on Friday that the Mamasapano debacle has reduced President Benigno Aquino III into a lame duck leader.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the president remains focused on finishing what he started and strengthening the reforms of his administration.

"Dahil mindful po siya doon sa kanyang obligasyon sa mga mamamayan na sinumpaan niyang paglingkuran. Kaya naka-pokus pa rin naman po siya sa trabaho at hindi naman po niya inaalala ang mga political issues," Coloma said in an interview with Aksyon TV.

With only 469 days left in his term, Aquino is facing his biggest political crisis over his perceived mishandling of the Mamasapano mission that left more than 60 people dead, including 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

READ MORE...
Aquino has been heavily criticized for refusing to admit his fault in the fatal Mamasapano operation and for pinning all the blame on relieved SAF commander Getulio Napeñas.

Last week, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BOI) report on the Mamasapano mission was released and concluded that Aquino broke the chain of command when he dealt directly with Napeñas and allowed then suspended PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima to take part in the operation.

The draft Senate report on the Mamasapano incident also said Aquino must bear responsibility "for giving assent to and failing to prevent the unlawful exercise of official functions" by Purisima in connection with the botched operation.

Following the tragedy, Aquino's approval and trust ratings plummeted to their lowest levels.

About 79 percent of Filipinos also believe that Aquino's explanation regarding the Mamasapano has not been enough, though the same percentage of people think that the president should not resign.

The Palace said Aquino is not demoralized by his ratings decline.

"Maayos naman po ang kalagayan ng Pangulo at nauunawaan po niya ang mga saloobin na naipahayag katulad ng mga nabanggit ninyo. Nauunawaan din niya iyong resulta ng latest survey sa kanyang approval at trust ratings," Coloma said.

"At patuloy po niyang inuunawa ang mga ito para siya ay magkaroon ng tamang batayan sa kanyang mga susunod na pagkilos at pagdedesisyon," he added. ..


MANILA TIMES by Yen Makabenta

Aquino’s survival crisis goes international March 18, 2015 10:13 pm YEN MAKABENTA by YEN MAKABENTA

The secret is out. President Aquino’s pricey PR consultants can no longer keep the story under wraps.

International media correspondents are parachuting into Manila again. And the members of the Foreign correspondents Association of the Philippine (FOCAP) are finally moving their butts and reporting Philippine developments to the world.

The story that’s making them all jump is the same story that keeps most Filipinos glued to television, hooked to their radios, reading newspapers, and texting like there’s no tomorrow.

The story is the drama of how the Presidency of President BS Aquino III will wind down—by his removal or departure from office (resignation or ouster), or by his limping to the finish line in June 2016, as provided for by the Constitution. Interest is also focused on the wrenching killing of 44 elite police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, and the distressing efforts of the administration and Congress to cover up President Aquino’s responsibility for the tragedy.

The world is learning now that Aquino is in big trouble, and is barely hanging on by his fingernails.

CNN Philippines debuts in style

The story burst out in a big way when in quick succession the Board of Inquiry of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Senate inquiry released their findings on the Mamasapano Incident, and reported that Aquino had violated the PNP chain of command and bore responsibility for the tragedy.

Forbes Asia got tongues wagging with a report by Donald Kirk on the launching of CNN Philippines, which far from being ceremonial, declared that the new cable news network had stepped into a boiling controversy over the embattled Aquino presidency.

Kirk wrote: “No sooner had a galaxy of CNN names got done plugging this latest member of the CNN empire — they preferred to call it ‘the CNN family’ — than the news and talk shows were full of reports about the sagging popularity of Aquino and his inability to cope with a wide range of problems. Dark hints of ‘revolution’ and ‘military coup’ — as in the old days when his late mother, Corazon Aquino, was ruling the roost after the demise of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1986 ‘People Power’ revolution — were in the air, over the airwaves.

“On a CNN Philippines ‘Agenda’ program was a former defense secretary, Norberto Gonzales, talking up a movement to oust Noynoy well before his six-year term runs out next year. Considering that the Philippine president, under the constitution, for which Cory battled mightily, is limited to a single term, plotting to drive him out of office prematurely would appear a little unnecessary.

“Aquino, more than the leaders of the ill-equipped army and national police, is taking the heat for the Mamasapano massacre.

“The timing of the uproar could not have been better for CNN Philippines, which grew out of a deal with a Philippine company, Nine Media Corporation…”

CNN Philippines tried to present both or all sides of the current crisis. But it will be faulted for picking as spokesman for Aquino’s side, Niel Tupas Jr., who is very mousy in look and speech. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda and communications secretary Sonny Coloma, who are adept at deception if not in argument, will surely complain.

At almost the same time that CNN Philippines unfurled its wings, the Philippine Senate released last Tuesday the findings of its inquiry, which ranged over four public hearings and three executive sessions.

To give justice to the work of the wire agencies, I quote below the report of Reuters on the Senate inqury:

“The senate panel held President Benigno Aquino responsible for a bungled operation in January that left 44 police commandos dead, but lawmakers from both houses of Congress refrained from calling for his impeachment.

“Aquino’s handling of the secret mission to capture Malaysian militant Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, has created a political crisis for Aquino, and some Roman Catholic bishops and activists have called for his resignation.

“The president must bear responsibility for giving assent to and failing to prevent the unlawful exercise of official functions by a suspended police general,” said Senator Grace Poe, head of the senate panel which looked into the botched operation.”

Reuters also included the separate PNP BOI report in its story:

“Last week, a separate official police report also found Aquino responsible for the bungled operation, violating the chain of command by allowing a suspended general to oversee the mission against Islamist militants.

“Both the police report and the senate panel inquiry found Purisima and the ground commander, General Getulio Napenas, criminally liable.

“But Feliciano Belmonte,Jr., leader of the 290-seat lower house of Congress, said Aquino’s lapses in judgment were not an impeachable offense.”

Belmonte is Aquino’s first line of defense in blocking any move to impeach him – a tough assignment for a geriatric politician.

Climacteric of Aquino presidency

International media have been careful to avoid applying the word “crisis” to Aquino’s travail. But the way things are developing, it won’t be long before the country sees again the likes of CNN’s Anderson cooper doing live reports from Manila, and the New York Times publishing an editorial like the one it published in September last year, which unhinged Malacañang.

Cooper is well remembered by Filipinos for his gripping broadcasts from Tacloban in the immediate aftermath of the Haiyan/Yolanda disaster. He lifted the lid on the disarray of the government’s relief and recovery efforts in East Visayas.

One year and three months to the day since Haiyan’s landfall, victims’ families are still struggling to get back on their feet. The world responded to the tragedy by sending an unprecedented volume of relief and assistance to this country. It’s demoralizing to discover that just this month, government auditors have discovered that millions of foreign money donations have been kept in banks by government agencies, and were not used to assist those in greatest need. Government incompetence and insensitivity last longer than disasters.

The current crisis of president Aquino could be reaching soon its turning point, because Aquino’s final state of the nation address (SONA) is just four months away.

As he is wont to do, Aquino will use the opening of the regular session of congress to trumpet his achievements.

Critics and protesters will be equally anxious to document his failures.

The Greeks and the Romans have a descriptive word to describe a critical or turning point in history: climacteric. It means in its Latin and Greek roots, “a critical point in life.”

Curiously, it’s also the word in physiology that denotes a period of decrease of reproductive capacity in men and women. In women, it’s called menopause. In men, it’s called andropause.

It’s surreal that Aquino will be experiencing the climacteric of his presidency now, without siring any progeny and after devoting so much effort to curtailing the reproductive capacity of millions of his countrymen.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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