• Aquino seeks ‘understanding’ but no apology

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    “I am the President, but I am also human.”

    In what could be his final speech on the issue, President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday again accepted responsibility for the disastrous January 25 Mamasapano incident and “humbly” asked for “understanding,” but offered no apology.

    “I say this once more: As President, I carry the responsibility,” Aquino said in Filipino at the graduation rites of the Philippine National Police1 Academy’s “Lakandula” Class of 2015.

    “To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation: It is with the abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” he added.

    The President maintained that all the decisions he made on the day 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos died during a mission in Maguindanao were made based on wrong information passed on to him by people he thought he could trust.

    Although he did not name anyone, Aquino earlier accused sacked SAF commander Getulio Napenas and resigned Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima of having misled him about the effectivity of “Oplan Exodus” and of disregarding his orders to coordinate the mission with other police units and the Armed Forces.

    Nevertheless, he admitted, “Regardless of my anger for the disregard for the orders I gave, regardless of my regret for trusting people who concealed the truth from me, I can never erase the fact [that]44 members of our police force are dead.”

    “I will bear this basic truth with me to my grave,” the President said.
    Aquino reiterated that he would never send members of the uniformed service on a “suicide mission.”

    He, however, said: “The version of the plan presented to me convinced me that adequate preparations were made, and that it would be executed correctly. I also assumed that all my orders would be followed, especially since I was dealing with professionals regarding the matter.”

    He also maintained that there was no sense of urgency from the updates he received through text messages during the day of the operation.

    This, according to the President, prevented him from responding immediately to the situation on the ground.

    “My appeal is this: Try to put yourselves in my situation. If I had known this immediately, do you think I would have missed the chance to help our men?”

    Aquino said no other leader could have performed better with the kind of information he had while the operation was unfolding.

    “But now that I have shared all that I went through, and the information I held on that day, is there anyone who can say, in all honesty, that he can exceed everything we did in order to respond to the situation, given the information we had?” he asked.

    The President took the opportunity to explain why he did not attend arrival ceremonies for the 44 police commandos when their corpses arrived in Manila, a decision Filipinos disagreed with.

    “My intention was to help them heal. I wanted to have clear answers should I be asked, ‘What happened? Why did they die? What will happen to us now?’ “ he said. “If my response was ‘I do not know,’ how could I help hasten the healing?”

    Aquino then again vowed he was telling the truth about the operation before again “humbly” asking for understanding.

    “With God as my witness, I tell you the truth. But I am aware there are those who are close-minded, who will not listen regardless of what I say,” he said.

    “As President, I have to attend to so many matters, all at the same time, all requiring an immediate response and decision from me. I am responsible for the 100 million Filipinos here at home and abroad. Yes, I am the President, but I am also human. I cannot read the mind of every person in front of me, and I cannot personally monitor every situation.

    But as I have promised, I will continue to do what is right and just. I will continue to exert every effort to serve all of you and to faithfully fulfill my sworn mandate,” Aquino added.

    He reiterated his pledge to seek justice for the slain commandos.

    “I am not saying that I am like God, who knows everything, but I have a duty to right whatever wrong I discover. And I assure you: We respect due process. Those responsible will be held to account,” the President said.

    Aquino has been criticized for not acknowledging his possible mistakes in the Mamasapano operation and passing all the blame to Napeñas.

    The PNP Board of Inquiry (BOI) report on the Mamasapano incident found that Aquino broke the chain of command when he exercised his authority to deal with Napeñas in the execution of the operation.

    The PNP-BOI said the President also broke the chain of command when he also dealt directly with his close friend, Purisima, who was then suspended over corruption allegations.

    The Senate committees that investigated the Mamasapano incident also said in their reports that Aquino is “ultimately responsible” for the outcome of the SAF mission.

    In his speech, the President again expressed his disappointment in not being summoned by the Senate or the PNP-BOI, and not being able to air his side before investigating bodies, both of which released their respective reports on the incident.

    “What saddens me is that at times, in lieu of asking me questions, those who prepared the reports chose to speculate instead. This leads us to ask: How can guesswork, instead of facts, help clarify this issue?,” he said, hitting both bodies for their “speculations.”

    The SAF operation was aimed at neutralizing Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and his Filipino cohort Abdul Basit Usman.

    During the mission, the SAF troops clashed with Moro Islamic Liberation Front members, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private armed groups that led to the deaths of the 44 SAF men, 18 rebels and five civilians.

    The Mamasapano tragedy has placed the government’s peace talks with the MILF in peril while Aquino’s perceived ineptitude in handling the Mamasapano issue has pulled down his ratings to their lowest levels.

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    14 Comments

    1. Muriel Magtanggol on

      A person, more so if he is president, who cannot even utter the word “sorry” for a major fault, does not deserve anything, not even understanding. He deserves nothing but a lawsuit and hopefully, jail where he might learn a thing or two about repentance and compassion! Go to hell, Mr. President!

    2. Napakasinungaling ng taong yan.Bulaan Sinungaling Aquino. Malapit na 2016 ihanda na ang kwarto sa Mental Hospital!

    3. BS Cojuangco Aquino III is the ‘acting’ president and he is by-far most inhuman, in his show of lack of empathy towards the poor and unknown Filipinos, who have to bear the brunt of his rapacious tripping of being a chief executive.

      He thinks highly of himself, like an haciendero that he is, he utter disdain of the poor and of their uncouth nature, would never be to his liking. BS Cojuangco Aquino III loves to surround himself with people whom he is comfortable with, never to trust anyone whom he thinks is outside his immediate circle – only to have himself insulated by wolves and leeches.

      BS Cojuangco Aquino III, begs for understanding from the Filipinos, only for him to give back none towards those who died and suffered in vain, from natural and man-made calamities, his mis-administration had brough about – understand this that your limited time in power is coming to an end and you will soon face the nation, as a criminal much like what you did with your personal nemesis.

      There is one thing however, that the nation should be thankful of, and that is the truth behind the Cojuangco-Aquino clans are coming to surface, and Filipinos are becoming aware of these clans treacheries and biases.

    4. President BS Aquino III said “I am the President,but I am also human”i dont know about the human part.60+ days since President BS Aquino abandoned and betrayed the SAF commandos result Fallen 44 in favor of the BBL and MILF.It is treason and criminal,still no justice for the Fallen 44 and wounded SAF.

    5. vagoneto rieles on

      It’s been sixty days since ‘Mamasapano’ and, still, the story; its versions; and, its narrators are still going strong. Its ebb and abatement in the foreseeable future does not seem likely either. Some quarters have begged for all concerned to close the book; learn the lesson; and, move on. Others feel strongly that the President must ‘confess’ what they think is his sin. This standoff seems to have less to do with the ‘need’ for the President to apologize..than it has, with some quarters’ need for political mileage. From my perspective, his apology would only fan the flames even more. It seems to me that it is in our psyche, (as Filipinos) to nit-pick and dwell on a perceived transgression..especially if such are made by those belonging to an ‘advantaged’ class. At the very least, we seem to be possessed with a propensity to ‘kibitz’ and, to insist in having our say on matters of which we know little, and can do nothing about. I keep a file of my letters to friends, and of my postings on newspapers which I review now-and-then; so, I know whereof speak.
      I feel that we’ve had our say, and that its time to ease off and let the President, the Senate, Congress and the PNP do the jobs we pay them to do..without our ‘two-cents-worth’.

    6. Naomi de Castro on

      Any military mission is always risky to fail, like the massacre of 44 SAF.

      This is understandable.

      But, President Aquino’s singular negligence and mistake is his actions not befitting an elected President of the Republic of the Philippines, a free and sovereign nation.

      He single-handedly, ignored, and ignominiously dismissed the valour and sacrifice of 44 of his countrymen.

      He simply categorized the massacre of his own 44 countrymen as a misencounter.

      And, to add insult to the Filipino nation, he voluntarily did not take the MILF into account for the murder of his people.

      Aquino did not call the military to punish MILF for this massacre even in pain of the withdrawal from then peace process.

      WE, THE FILIPINO PEOPLE
      CAN NOT FORGIVE AQUINO
      NOR FORGET HIS ACTIONS which TRUTHFULLY
      MANIFESTED HIS APPRENTICE LEADERSHIP, and
      DIRE IMCOMPETENCE.

      From the foregoing, if the OMBUDSMAN can SUSPEND a lowly CITY MAYOR FROM OFFICE for ALLEGATIONS of FRAUD, why can’t the SUPREME COURT or CONGRESS SUSPEND AQUINO from THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT?

      • Greed kills. It is the evil that is the root of all this events that has taken place in our country. Kaya nga bumisita ang Pope sa bansa natin at personal na nagpa alaala na labanan ang kasakiman at corruption..nakita niya ang nangyayari sa Pilipinas.Naawa siya sa atin mayaman man o mahirap coz marami sa atin lalo na sa Gobyerno ay wala talaga sa matuwid na daan…pati na at lalung lalu na ang pasimunong Presidente ang ama ng bayan. He is not a President, he is no more than a spoke person to the people who appointed him to that job. He is not acting like a commander in chief…He is an imbecile!

    7. Samuel Santos on

      After all, I was wrong in hoping against hope that PNoy would say, “I am sorry.”

    8. Roldan Guerrero on

      The name AQUINO has finally found its true meaning. It is synonimous to the word LIAR!

    9. See, PNoy did not apologize, instead, keep on his usual “palusot” by pointing fingers to somebody else. Poor, poor man, until now he does not know what the job of a President is.

    10. Wala naman nagsasabing hayup siya!ang sabi nila na siya ay taong sinungaling,may masama ba sa totoong sinasabi ng mga tao!
      Kung totoong niloko siya ng mga taong pinagkatiwalan niya,dapat ipakulong niya si purisima at alisin niya ang mga general na hindi sumunod sa utos niya!
      Ang tanong,bakit wala yatang sagot na malinaw,kung sino ang mga pumigil sa mga sundalo para tulungan ang SAF!

    11. what a stubborn person, he keeps on making statements that people don’t want to hear, hoping that that would bear closure, but no Mr. president, that’s not it.