Aquino orders SAF operations, then abandons his troops

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It turns out President Benigno Aquino 3rd himself ordered* the operation that killed international terrorist Zulkifli “Marwan” Hir January 25, but at the brutal cost of a massacre launched by the rebels against the deployed 44 Special Action Force commandos.

Worse, informed of the tragedy unfolding in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, Aquino appears to have panicked and frozen, and found no wit to command his troops to respond and reinforce the trapped police forces while he was touring Zamboanga City that day.

This isn’t haka-haka, using that that vivid Filipino term, but the only conclusion one can arrive at given Aquino’s own revelation, and his activities on that fateful day as are now publicly known.

In his speech on the evening of Jan 31 before SAF troopers —yes, where the sulking commandos gave him the silent treatment—(http://rtvm.gov.ph/main/?p=27830) he said:


“Maaga pa lang sinabihan na ako noong ano ang naging resulta yung kay Marwan, tapos habang sinisiyasat namin yung pagbobomba sa Zamboanga, dumarating yung mga report. (“Early that morning I was already told about the results of the Marwan operation, and while we were inspecting the site of (a recent) Zamboanga bombing, the reports (from Mamasapano) were coming in.” “Marwan” was the wanted Malaysian terrorist target of the SAF operation.)

Aquino was referring to his unscheduled visit to Zamboanga City on Jan 25, purportedly to commiserate with the victims of a car bomb blast that took place two days before.

The Commander-in-Chief touring a Zamboanga City jail Jan 25, the day the SAF troops were massacred. And he already knew what was happening in Mamasapano. With Secretaries Roxas, Gazmin, Soliman, and AFP Chief Catapang. PIA PHOTO

The Commander-in-Chief touring a Zamboanga City jail Jan 25, the day the SAF troops were massacred. And he already knew what was happening in Mamasapano. With Secretaries Roxas, Gazmin, Soliman, and AFP Chief Catapang. PIA PHOTO

There have been claims, though, that Aquino was in Zamboanga as part of a script, so that he could fly immediately to Cotabato City to congratulate the SAF commandos after their raid, or even to see for himself Marwan’s corpse. The fact that it was the first time that Aquino missed visiting with his sisters the grave of their mother on her birthday that day, bolsters that claim.

The big question is while the SAF troops were pinned down, frantically asking for succor, what did Aquino do?

Nothing. Aquino himself could not even claim any action he took when the SAF operation was unraveling.

Malacanang’s Philippine Information Agency’s (PIA) report on Aquino’s stay in Zamboanga City does not show any interruption to his hectic schedule after his arrival at 10:30 a.m.

“Upon arriving in Zamboanga City, he immediately met with Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, Congressman Celso Lobregat, Congresswomen Lilia Nuño and other local officials at the EAAB VIP lounge,” according to the PIA report. “The President was briefed on the recent security situation since Friday’s blast that killed two people and wounded 52 others.”

“After an approximately three-hour briefing, the President and his contingent proceeded to the blast site in front of the Guiwan terminal, where he personally inspected the devastated Fantasy bar, as well as the damages to property within the proximity. He stayed at the blast site for about fifteen minutes before proceeding to the Zamboanga Peninsula Hospital where some blast victims were recuperating:”

“President Aquino also visited the Western Mindanao Medical Center, Zamboanga Doctors’ Hospital Ciudad Medical Zamboanga and the Zamboanga City Medical Center, where other patients were confined. Some are under intensive care.”

“The President dropped by La Merced Funeral Homes, where the bodies of the two fatalities Reynaldo Tan and Dennis Valiente lay in state. He promised the victims that the case will be resolved immediately and that justice will be served to the perpetrators.”

The SAF firefight with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front started, by all accounts, not later than 5 a.m., and the group of the fallen 44 was already pinned down.

Aquino had already been informed of the situation in the early morning of that day, as he himself reported. Yet, he still proceeded to Zamboanga.

He knew even before he left Manila about the SAF’s operations, and throughout the morning, as he himself said, he was receiving “reports,” which obviously included the SAF troopers being trapped.

There is no report at all that he interrupted his schedule to confer with his officials on the Mamasapano crisis.

Any other competent president would have cancelled his or her itinerary – and I’ve seen this done by Presidents Ramos, Estrada, and Macapagal-Arroyo – to immediately establish a crisis center to address a grave situation such as this that was bound to cost lives.

Did Aquino have that psychological affliction of completely denying an unpleasant reality?

Did he panic that he froze, and chose to put out of his mind what was happening in Mamasapano by getting himself too busy to bother while in Zamboanga City?

If he did try to help the SAF commandos by calling for an emergency conference, I’m sure the very talkative social welfare chief Corazon Soliman, who was with him in Zamboanga, would have had so many interviews with the media with tears in her eyes, relating how her boss heroically acted to try to save the SAF commandos. Soliman’s silence only means that she has also lost all moral underpinnings in her subservience to Aquino.

That Aquino was paralyzed—or worse, that he didn’t care about the SAF commandos—is shown by the fact that with him in Zamboanga was Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and even AFP Chief Gregorio Catapang.

These three officials are those who could have assisted Aquino in assessing the situation in Mamasapano and executing his orders to save the SAF troops.

Did they even take a 15-minute break during a sumptuous coconut-lobster lunch in Zamboanga to talk about the ongoing massacre at Mamasapano? No.

If they didn’t brief Aquino —and I’m quite sure they were already informed of the events unfolding in Mamasapano while in Zamboanga—they should be immediately suspended, and their liability established after a formal, objective inquiry. How could these people in charge, one way or another, of our police and military not have briefed the President about a massacre of troops happening, or about to happen?

AFP Chief Catapang very well knew how important the SAF operation was to Aquino as it was the President himself, as he disclosed in an interview with ANC, who explained to him in November 2014 what was then called Operation Wolverine, which was intended to capture or terminate Marwan. That means the President himself ordered the operation. Yet even while at Aquino’s side touring Zamboanga, he didn’t impress on the President the debacle developing in Mamasapano.

Ten days after the incident, Catapang submitted an AFP report blaming the massacre of the SAF troopers on its head police director, Getulio Napeñas.

Did his officials ask him if he informed Aquino when he was with him in Zamboanga that the SAF troopers were in big trouble?

The first person the many committees that would investigate this national tragedy should call is Aquino himself. How can we have a President who orders a risky operation by commandos, and when it ran aground, in effect, just abandons them?

*(When asked whether he gave the go-signal for the Mamasapano operation, Aquino in his Jan 28 short press conference said: “Sir, can we proceed with the mission?” I don’t think I was ever asked that question. In the same token, parang it’s a rhetorical question, ‘di ba? ‘Yung ‘pwede ho ba naming hulihin itong pinapahuli ng korte?’ Pwede ko bang sagutin na ‘hindi’?”)

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41 Comments

  1. the Abnoy and Deles are only after the Nobel Peace prize should the BBL is pass on to law in regardless of how many SAF member will be killed. Even if it will cost the lives of all SAF members. This is the reason the Abnoy did not order reinforcement and rescue for the trapped SAF members.

    Lack of coordination is a lame excuse. The truth is the 44 fallen SAF members were sacrificed for the Abnoy and Deles to be nominated or even get the Nobel Peace prize.

  2. Mahirap na mamamayan on

    Noong marinig ko ang balita about sa fallen 44 kitang kita na, bininta yun ng ABNO nating presidente. Marami syang palusot pro sa mukha niya parang wala lang pati kapatid niya si Kris aquino maging ang mga nasa likod ni ABNO walang expression bakit kasi alam na nila na yun ang talagang mangyayari kapalit ng buhay ng 44 comandos yung 1 buhay ng terrorista, para kunwariy malinawan ang lahat
    kinausap ni ABNO ang lahat ng PNP tapos sya nasa entablado nagtanong pa sya kung may hinanakit yung mga kabarong comandos talagang ABNORMAL talaga, kung talagang nasa katinu-an ka kailangan mo pa bang itanong yun? ni hindi nga sya nikikiramay sa mga pamilya ng Comandos, ito lang masasabi ko darating ang panahon na pagbabayaran mo ang iyong ginawa, halata na ng buong pilipino ang iyong ginagawa at nakukuha mo pang ngumiti… kay dami na ng tao na iyong sinaktan, balik tanaw tayo sa leyte may ginawa kaba wala isa kang inutil na pangulo, alam ko may nagbabasa nitong mga post namin kc nag-uutos ka ng mga tao para i trace ito bkit ka defensive at bakit di mo mahal ang pilipino lahat ng nagbibigay siguridad sayo pilipino dapat mahalin mo ang iyong kapwa.. asan na ang pagmamahal mo, mayroon kaba nun?

  3. Si Aquino ay guilty sa simula palang, ang pagpunta nya sa zamboanga ay isang sadyang plano at ang nangyari sa Mamasapano ay talaga nyang inaasahan, hindi nya naisip na pwede magkaroon ng implikasyon ang kanilang gagawin, akala nya ito ay isang laro lamang..Hindi sya lalaki para aminin ang kanyang pagkakamali at ganun din ang kanyang mga kasamahan na pilit syang ipinagtatanggol, kahit na alam na ng marami ang tunay na pangyayari..Siya ay isang presidenteng walang buto!!

  4. why is the PNP taking orders from members of the U.S. government, and in fact taking direct planning directives from members of the U.S. government.

    the PNP were used like kitchen utensils, when worn out, they were thrown away,
    and replaced with new ones. however it is the the fault of the U.S. government that the PNP were treated this way, it is the fault of the PNP because they allowed it, and followed like sheeps to their useless deaths.

    • do you know how to read? anlayo ng sinasabi mo, linya ng mga komunista ang ganyan, always blame the US kung may problema.

  5. muriel magtanggol on

    Were the officials scared of giving him bad news? You know how Aquino hates bad news? This is the worst time for Noynoying. He should be charged for something!

  6. This is no offense meant to Dante Ang but is there a gap in the timeline that will confirm his story that this BS was in an American Drone Base? If that is true then for sure the Americans had a drone hovering over the battle that day. They should make it public to prove that they are not jerking us with the notion that the Pinoys as usual were only their sidekicks in this operation. Besides, this is the first time I’ve heard of the Americans paying a down payment in exchange for a terrorist. And if true, why will the MILF put their $5MILLION asset in harms way by exposing him in the line of fire eh wala pa yung full payment? These Moros are not amateur kidnappers you know. They have been in the business for centuries. The Americans are muddling the issue, as usual. Do you think the Americans will just stand by idly while watching their men get slaughtered? They surely would have ORDERED their lackey BS Aquino to order his army to rescue them! Our men were mutilated after they ran out of ammo, showing once again what kind of savages the Americans and this yellow regime led by this unbelievable BS want us to hand Mindanao over to. The only way to deal with savages is to kill them all!

  7. cornelia carpio on

    sana kayo mga taga Manila Times tigilan na ang mga pagbabalita na nakakaincite ng rebellion. hindi kayo nakakatulong.

    • muriel magtanggol on

      Really? Why don’t you want to know the truth? Why are you not even bothered that there is news block out and that we are not being told the truth? Why don’t you want people to know the truth? Are you from Malacanang?

    • So mas ok sa yo na manatili sa pantasya mong mundo na walang nagkakamali sa gobyerno, lahat ng sundalo ay kunwaring buhay pa, at basta’t it’s more fun in the Philippines na lang ang pururot ng mga tao – kaysa sa katotohanan ng bansang tinitirahan mo.

      Kaya hindi tayo umaasenso. Hindi lang gobyerno, mga taong kagaya mo rin. Good news na lang all the time, ha! Magpabulag ka na lang, para wala ka nang makitang pangit!

    • Why blame the messengers, or, more specifically, the investigative journalists who are seeking the truth the families of the Fallen 44 and this nation deserve to know? It’s BS Aquino’s abandonment of the commandos, his lying about the incident and his glaring lack of any personal gesture of sympathy to the bereaved that are inciting the people to rebellion, not the Manila Times. We should be more concerned with clamoring for justice for these heroes rather than worrying about a rebellion that will topple a government which clearly doesn’t want to help its people.

    • arnaldo manayan on

      Hanga ako sa tapang ng sikmura mo cornelia. Nakita mo n cguro ang videos ng kung paano pinagpapaty ang mga SAF. Yan ang katotohanan. At namatay sila s utos ng pangulo! Hanga ako s tapang ng apog mong manahaimik at huwag harapin ang katotohanan… Gya mo din si noynoy na walang malasakit s buhay dahil lumaking isang elitista!

  8. Selfish and sarcastic. The true heroes who caught for our country and countrymen are the fallen 44 not his mother and father na wala naman nagawa sa pilipinas. Tanggalin a pgka hiring na heroes ung nanay at tatay nya. Dapat hirangin ung falle44. Dun sana sila nilibing sa libingan ng mga bayani

  9. It really seems like PNoy was using the pretense of visiting the blast victims to be in Zambo. This would be convenient for his victory press con.

    As it turned out, the mission took a turn for the worse, at which time, PNoy continued with his charade of an innocent Zambo visit. It’s either that or they were not prepared to take the next step, escalation by sending it more troops.

    Questions abound here. Who influence the “stand down” order? Americans? Frozen leadership under panic attack? BBL consideration? Plain old incompetence?

  10. No need to approve BBL, giving independence for bangsamoro state, means more terrorists will hide in this place, and the more it is very hard to capture these terrorists if these dogs will have their own arm forces…If aquino was giving order or not giving order, it’s not the important question, the important was the operation should be undertaken at that the time before the hardened terrorist like marwan would escape…and cancel all peace agreement with muslims because these people don’t want peace they are only dogs who don’t want a bit of meat but the whole meat…

    • Pati si Dinky nasa Zamboanga din. Me alam din ba ito sa police o military operation? Si Gazmin at Catapang, nakakahiya kayo! Wala kayong mga silbi puro kayo inutil. Mga bahag ang buntot kay Abnoy.

  11. I first wish to say how brave the members of this SAF small force were that they are all patriots to die for their country. I suspect however they was not trained correctly for this type of operation behind enemy lines. That they ran into an ambush and had no set drill to get out of such an ambush. i think their was a very bad communication problem at a guess military radio frequency changes that the police were not supplied with. I suspect that a lot of things were learned by this tragic incident. But blaming the president who may of not had reports because of the communication problems for not doing nothing and remembering he is a politician and not a trained general. I tend to think is a bit unfair. I have myself been on exercise when I was serving in my own countries military and have seen what bad communications and frequency mess ups can cause. My thoughts go out to the brave men involves families love ones and friends. My these brave men R.I.P.

    • Then why put someone who is not a trained general in charge? Why did he make all the major decisions, knowing his inexperience? Why not turn it over to people who knew better? And why the hell would you choose a suspended general to lead the attack, knowing full well the confusion that would cause?

      Involuntary manslaughter is still an offense, regardless of your intentions.

    • arnaldo manayan on

      US Drone was up and knew their coordinates. How come you are telling us that radio frequencies or signals were messed up by that time. Radio operators had recieved incoming reports from trapped SAF men that time!
      Come to think of that and the whole scenario!

  12. It is now clear that Pnoy did not made a move to save the lives of the 44 SAF in Mamansapano. It is also quite impossible that Pnoy or Mar were never informed at the height of gun battle between SAF and MILF that Sunday morning while in Zamboanga.

  13. Vicente Penetrante on

    “Your dream of tomorrow is a delight.” But what if it is a disappointment?
    Abandon ship, forget about it, or find fault with others?
    We all know of someone who gives a speech on “how to wash your hands and face.”

  14. si Mar Roxas kasama ni Pinoy sa Zamboanga inspection picture… hindi ba talaga niya alam ang operasyon??? di kaya damage control nalang ng LP dahil si Mar ang pagasa ng LP sa 2016??? sunud-sunod na ang kapalpakan at kalokohan nila:

    1. anak ni Alcala LP deputy treasurer
    si Processo Alcala agricultural secretary -garlic cartel, pidaf, napoles

    FUND RAISING FOR LP

    2. Jun Abaya LP executive vice president, dotc secretary -mrt maintenance, rfid, new plates

    FUND RAISING FOR LP

    3. mrs abad LP vice president
    butch abad budget secretary -dap

    FUND RAISING FOR LP

    4. petilla doe secretary -mr. power shortage

    FUND RAISING FOR LP

    5. aquino & roxas -yolanda, earthquake, zamboanga ano na???

  15. There is a very simple way to explain this type of operation, in military tactics this is called as ‘psych ops’, where in words that had been issued by parties involved in this fiasco, it is planned in manner that their message or words convey selected information and indicators to their listening audience, which is to influence their emotions, objective reasoning and ultimately the behaviour of the government.

    One of the manner they are trying to create is to cause massive confusion, in order to get people distracted and confused, to sway the people from getting to the root of the problem. But, no matter how much noise they create, one thing must be made certain, and that is the chain-of-command would always fall on the one who is on top – it would have to be the BS Cojuangco Aquino III.

    The rest of the cast are just babblers, and they are there to create white noise, thinking Filipinos should just need to tune them out and turn them off, because the trail to who is culpable and should be indicted of the crime, is the one who always hide in his foxhole when things go awry, and only to come out when his babblers had calmed down the public sentiment – the psychologically unstable BS Cojuangco Aquino III.

  16. Peter Gonzales on

    First I would point out that the subservient “yellows” are out there(Donkey Soliman, Roxas, Gazmin, Catapang) with the grossly incompetent and pathological liar ABnoy enjoying their day in Zamboanga just waiting for the right time to fly to Cotabato to have a photo op for a successful SAF operation. But it turned out to be bungled operation and Abnoy should be made to answer for the unnecessary death of the SAF commandos. It is extremely hardest to believe that Roxas, Gazmin and Catapang have no knowledge of this operation least the Philippines is a dumb nation. The families of the fallen 44 heroes deserve to know the truth and justice deserve that these “yellows” should be investigated and punished accordingly.

    • Correction please. The Philippines is not dumb but Abnoy, Abad, Roxas, Gazmin, Catapang, Soliman, et al, are. Medyo unbelievable na hindi nila alam eh kasama sila dun. SILA…. bibisita sa mga nabomba eh? Kadaming sensational case of bombing eh hindi sila pumunta o sumilip man lang. Ito pang small time bombing na maaari pa ding gawa ng militar. Siniguro ni Catapang na hindi sila mabomba sa pamamagitan ng presence nya dun as COS.

  17. opinion reader on

    Akala ata ni Abnoy eh parang sa isang laro ng video game ang ginawa nya. Hay ungas ! indeed. Thank you Mr. Tiglao for this beautiful peace of info. Samahan pa ng peace ni Mr. Bondoc sa Philstar. mukha alam ko na ang katotohanan….

  18. Aside from this President, equally suspiciously culpable and so
    far weaving contradicting tales is this
    General D.Catapang. Also Gazmin, the SND, who was also in Zamboanga, in yellow even.

  19. Any inquiry or truth commission for that matter only intends to muddle the issue. A covert operation that includes mobilization of elite troops and the involvement of some US forces if its true lies only on the doorstep of Malacanang. Even if the operation was not Pnoy’s plan, the evaluation and approval of the plan is his responsibility, no more no less. Failure or success he, being the president and commander in chief, cannot blame anyone, most especially use a sacrificial lamb to escape from this responsibility.

  20. I don’t really know how to react to these articles telling about how the President himself, knowing the ongoing situation at Mamasapano, still did not made an immediate action. This is insanely painful, not only to the family and friends of the SAF victims but including us, the entire nation. These is life we are talking to and we know how a single life means a lot to everybody. How can someone abandon his men in such a horrible, atrocious, hideous, terrible situation. This is pathetically, insanely painful.

  21. Leodegardo Pruna on

    In situations like this, there is no excuse but for the president to sack the people around him for negligence and incompetence if not for himself to resign. God bless the Philippines.

  22. Given the psychological bearing and character of the President, it is bound to happen as in his past failures. He still got 2 years to govern and I don’t know what kind of misadventure and misgovernance he will commit again and the cost in terms of lives, public finance and national humiliation. God save the Philippines.

  23. Any psychologically and emotionally balanced person who has a full grasp of his capacity, ability and limitations, after serious “thinking,” would have declined the offer to run for the presidency.

    It seems like Pnoy treats his position like a video game, that he can pause it anytime he feels like and blame the game developers when he is having difficulty to reach a high score.

    • concerned citizen on

      I completely agree. The fact that he proceeded to run for president despite his obvious handicaps (he must know them) may mean that he doesn’t really give a hoot about his fellow Filipinos. Of course, the people around him from the Liberal Party (chiefly Abad, Roxas, and Abaya, I believe) are to blame for most likely prodding him on to run for the highest position in the land even while knowing that he could not run the country, perhaps assuring him that he just had to run because he’s the only one among them who could win, and that if he did win, they’d be the ones to run the government.

  24. Isa lang ang dahilan kung bakit niya inabandona ang SAF 44 ,dahil sa karangalan na wag masira ang BBL peace!handa niyang isakripisyo ang mga ito,ang importante sa kanya ang pagtitiwala ng MILF!ang grupong hindi mapagkakatiwalaan!
    Kay Aquino ang ilang buhay ay hindi mahalaga sa kanya!!sanay na ang konsensya niya kahit nasa hacienda luisita pa!alam lahat ng general ang totoong nangyari!!
    Kaya wag na kayong umasa na lalabas pa ang Totoo,dahil tapos na ang istorya na binuo nila!na sasabihin sa mamamayan!

  25. Pls recall what he told to the guy during his visit to Tacloban …”BUHAY KA NAMAN”..one writer described ABNOY as…PUERILE… I strongly agree