Aquino’s endgame options

20

Last of two parts

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As seen in the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano massacre, President Aquino’s allies are making no small effort to absolve him of blame and accountability for the debacle.

Take Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th. The amnestied mutineer pointedly asked two army generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines if the Commander-in-Chief ordered them to desist from sending reinforcements to save the PNP Special Action Force units attacked by MILF and BIFF rebels. Neither got such instructions.

So case closed on the President’s rumored order not to reinforce the SAF? Not so fast. Trillanes did not bother asking the two officials whom Aquino would have called to give military orders: Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and AFP Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang Jr.

Asked why he did not send soldiers notwithstanding the peace process, since government troops were already in mortal danger, Gen. Catapang said: “Ang order po sa kanila [the order to the troops]is to extricate the beleaguered forces, but not to engage the MILF, inasmuch as we have a peace process …”

To which the obvious question has to be: Who gave that extricate-only order, which cost the lives of 44 police commandos? Did Aquino issue a command or adopt a policy that our forces desist from hostilities with the MILF even if our men are being decimated?

Mr. President, these questions must be answered pronto, so that both military and police know what armed assistance they can expect when attacked by MILF rebels.

And if it’s not too impertinent to ask, what exactly did you do all the time you were monitoring the SAF mission from the US military drone control facility in Zamboanga?

At the very least, the SAF and the families of the fallen men deserve to know this.

Covering up Aquino’s moves
Unless these burning questions are honestly answered, the multiple Mamasapano investigations being mounted or mooted would miss one crucial truth that needs to be uncovered about the bloodiest day of Philippine law enforcement: What did Aquino do?

Covering this up would undermine accountability and erode loyalty, respect, confidence and goodwill toward the President, especially among the troops. Just ask any policeman or soldier if he or she wants to know what Aquino did during the SAF mission, and what he or she would feel if those actions are concealed.

And just as religious, civil society, opposition, academe, media, and other key sectors demanded in 2005 for then President Gloria Arroyo to come clean on her wiretapped conversations with an election commissioner, so will Aquino face mounting calls to tell the truth about his actuations during the Mamasapano battle.

So far, Aquino is keeping mum, and his political and media allies are not pressing him to talk. But he will have to, if and when families of the fallen 44 start asking.

Thus, in the coming month or so, the President may tell what he did, now hidden presumably because it is embarrassing or enraging. Or he would ignore calls for the truth or give truncated versions of it, further escalating public distrust and anger.

Meanwhile, as noted in the first part, other crises will pressure the President, including possible terrorist reprisals for the killing of Malaysian bomber Marwan. Not to mention a planned People Power movement to unseat Aquino, with religious, political, civil society, professional, academe, and other sectoral elements.

To go or not to go
Amid troubles and threats, Aquino and his backers may well tough it out. Predicts a doctor highly experienced in uprisings: “Crows will turn white before PNoy resigns. He will either suffer a mental breakdown, go on till elections and hope to rig them, or attempt a Palace-directed and Palace-benefiting coup.”

Alternatively, if Aquino becomes increasingly unable to cope, his camp’s Samar faction, who are on good terms with Vice-President Jejomar Binay, may urge him to let the VP take over. They may argue that Binay, a longtime Aquino family friend, could protect him. And the United States, grateful for Aquino’s support for its security and geopolitical initiatives in Asia, could eventually give him a haven in America.

A third scenario is a military-police takeover amid frustration over a Mamasapano cover-up and Aquino’s crisis mismanagement. The AFP and PNP would also be unhappy, if not infuriated, if the administration pushed through a Bangsamoro law and transition which compromise national sovereignty and security.

Such a takeover could institute electoral, governance and social justice reforms, such as those advocated by the National Transformation Council. The NTC includes leading spiritual and moral figures, who would lend legitimacy and purpose to extra-constitutional regime change.

Which of these scenarios would the endgame follow? Maybe all of the above.

Egged on by allies fearful of Binay, especially the Balay faction of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Aquino may be convinced that he can handily deal with demonstrators, rebels and mutineers, plus traffic, brownouts and typhoons.

But mounting crises could push him to breaking point. Then there could be a Palace-instigated coup, which installs a junta of Aquino allies. Or the Samar group brings in Binay to take over and protect Aquino.

But reformist forces, including AFP and PNP factions, would not support a new regime that blocks needed measures, particularly the total revamp of election bodies and systems. If the post-Aquino leadership would simply take power without instituting real change, there could still be a reformist coup.

What should patriotic Filipinos do? We’ll talk about that next week.

(The first part was published on Tuesday.)

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20 Comments

  1. Noynoy cited a biblical verse about “Truth will set you free.” The truth is fast catching up with him as the Senate investigation unravel. President Aquino should stop running away from the truth – that he hampered the reinforcement to save the lives of the SAF 44. If he has a conscience, it will hound him no end until he dies from lack of sleep or nervous breakdown.

  2. The two most spineless presidents in the world are Obama and Aquino. Flip a coin to choose the most incomptent of the two. They both lack integrity and are unprincipled scoundrels. They both relish being the man of the momemt but unfortunately their moment is very unlikely to occur…JFK was a man of the moment during the Cuban missile crisis..These two hapless fools are a mere shadow of JFK. In their dilusional minds i am sure they think otherwise. The unfortunate demise of the fallen 44 was a botched attempt to become a man of the moment for Aquino. The foreign affairs debacle of Obama world wide was his futille attempt. His term is nearly done thankfully and Aquino should be terminated immediately.

    • a true leader comes out when faced with “catch-22” ordeal. JFK is one of a kind. the two mentioned are actors not even a good one…

    • JFK is a good president but he was the American version of Joseph Estrada when we talk about womanizing.

  3. Aquino, a narcissist, can not be expected to resigned.

    Dictionary.com defines a narcissist is a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.

    The grim tragedy of the Philippines is, no one among its current elected leaders,
    love the Philippines. They love themselves to death, that the Filipino is the global unknown.

    Who, what, then, is the Filipino? Is anyone mindful of him?

    No! Because – corruption is endemic; “utang na loob” is idolized above all ethics, above the truth; telling untruths and lies while under oath; bearing false witness is all but encouraged.

    Yes, no one among the elected leaders and neither the self-proclaimed “ama ng bayan” love the Philippines.

    That’s why, the Philippines is being bullied by China, disrespected by other sovereign nations.

    Wow! The Philippines even negotiate, what it calls “peace”, with its enemies, terrorists, insurgents, militants under the terms of its enemies.

    With a gross lack of common-sense, the elected leaders are willingly seceding partition of Philippine National Territory, and surrendering its independence and sovereignty.

    What country, will even respect The Philippines?

    Behind the fraudulent mask of “peace negotiation” being held in a Foreign Country – “Malaysia”, the tyrannical elected leaders of the Philippines hold tight to their elected positions still discharging their powers and authority originally granted by the Filipino people.

    High treason worsen by gross failure of upholding and depending the Constitution of the Philippines by its elected leaders are in front of every Filipino!

    The Philippines will only survive and prosper in the 21st century and centuries beyond,
    only, if there are still Filipinos who truly love the land of their birth, who are so much in love of their own country – The Philippines.

  4. Gen. Catapang: Sir, How can those SAF commandos extricate and save the beleaguered forces, without engaging with MILF-BIFF forces ,whom you said very much aware of the peace process , MILF-BIFF themselves were firing against them, of course they have to defend themselves but those who were alive and surrendered they did murdered them and proudly retorted they don’t take prisoners.

  5. All these scenarios listed here are emotionally driven measures, therefore very short sighted. There is no guarantee that those who will take over, no matter how noble they may sound, will really look out for the people. That guarantee is possible only if we have an honest to goodness clean election system, which must be installed BEFORE any “new” forces take over because there is no certainty as to what their real motives are when it comes to reforms, especially electoral reforms. Now is the best time to strike while the iron is hot. Give the government back to the people !

  6. What the senate and congress is now doing is to deviate our focus on other areas so Pnoy can get away with any responsibilities. I won’t be surprise if it was Pnoy group who are trying to prevent any high leaders of MILF from appearing in these investigations. I still that 2nd platoon that were massacred are not a blocking force, but mere escort. Blocking force should carry more amunitions because they could be engaged in a longer gun battle. How can the other platoon of SAF enter the MILF camp undetected? Moros normally have their pet dogs roaming the area who can easily smell any stranger from a kilometer distance. The SAF were allowed to enter by the MILF and BIFF because an exchange were about to take place. The MILF were quick to response that it was the SAF who fired first because they probably 2 meters apart when the exchange of monies and Marwan was about to take place. Onsehan ito at pati tayo maloloko dahil ayaw nilang sabihin ang totoo. The question now is Papayag ba Tayo?

  7. We really cannot go now behind noynoy to deal with the brutality of milf fighters. We need a new strong leader for that.Perhaps, its now a better time to execute (POE) Peoples Operation Exodus to claim Malacanang Palace as peoples property and kickout the yellow usurpers out!

  8. muriel magtanggol on

    I’m all for a reformist coup! All those abusers in government should no longer be allowed to stay in power and continue to rape our nation! “Tama na, sobra na! Pitikin ang mga yan na parang bangaw”, ika nga ni Cory- birthday, Jan.25!

  9. you forgot two scenarios in the endgame..

    1. Suicide, given his mental condition and the stress involved it is highly probable that he will take his own life to escape it all, its his only way out of jail and mental institution.

    2. a Lone wolf Assassin, he survived the first attempt on his life, now more than ever there are more who would approve of this to save the republic, his life is not enough for all those who died due to his incompetence. Someone out there has had enough.

    Never in our history we have a leader so despised siding and funding the enemies
    Never in our history our Police and Soldiers fingering each other.
    Never in our history that wholesale massacre, beheadings, kidnaps is a way of life
    Never in our history that massive corruption in every fabric of government.

    We may not have the democratic number to oust the demented
    But for Gods sake WE HAVE THE POWER AND NUMBER to force him out!

    And yes Gen Espina – your tears did flow to the hearts of every Pinoy worldwide.
    did your CiC saw that viral video?

  10. First of all, screw Trillanes. He’s best wearing a leash and eating Alpo from Aquino’s bowl.

    Second, if there’s going to be a gathering to oust Aquino,Binay and the whole rotten lot which is our government, I’m really going to support it.

  11. I think the resignaton of PDG Purissima is also a strategy to keep other police generals to get to the truth. The police generals will thread slowly on the inquiry rather than lose their chance to be appointed as the next PNP Chief!

  12. Our leaders seem to have got out- of- focus on the higher implication of this Mamasapanto incident. As can be gathered and analyzed, the BIFF,MILF,MNLF in the south have a mind-set to create a Caliphate State by all means. One of their dreams to attain is the BBL’s becoming into law. The ISIS model is what they are after to emulate. Hoping our leaders would give more serious concern than trying to blame or pin the president, the PNP, AFP generals on their role which were done in their best. The pictures of armed men occupaying a portion of the nations’ territorty should be the FOCUS!

  13. Amnestied Trillanes will do everything to absolve ABnoy of responsibility. Deles, Ferrer, Peter Cayetano, Grace Poe, and all those ass-kissers of Aquino will defend him to the hilt so that their masters would be absolved of any responsibility. To hell of you-bull%%$$##@(*&SSht.

  14. What to do? First and foremost, let simyon know that he has lost all respect. This can be started by media to stop prefixing the noun “president” before the name of simyon. When that happens, simyon will be shamed and he may just voluntarily pack his bags and leave Malacañang for Hacienda Luisita. In the meantime, let there be a nationwide campaign to raise funds to pay Soldiers of Fortune to obliterate all terrorists in Mindanao while putting capital intensive projects all at the same time in the entire Mindanao area. A group who wants to search for crude oil and gas in the area to involve the participation of all sectors in Mindanao is ready to commence operation just as a group is ready to start regional train systems. Then, we bring down all the assets hidden in the fortresses in Mindanao to pursue various Structured Financial Business Opportunities to generate all the funds to pursue all the projects that will make the Philippines as No. 1 in the Asean Region in five years.

  15. sonny dela cruz on

    After Gen. Espina’s emotional speech defending his fallen men, deploring the inhuman way of killing them. It is time for him to break away from his commander in chief and walk out on the street and let the filipino people follows him to kick-out the president aquino out of his presidency. The members of the congress hearing, show how they are defending Pres. Aquino and blaming only mostly Director Napenas’ action even wholeheartly he execute the order of warrant of arrest which is legal by law. The members of the congress are not looking for the truth why the 44 SAF were not rescued but making it look that the PNP is to blame because the BBL will be in jeopardy. I don’t know why these congressmen have no conscience at all and still protecting people behind the massacre of heroes. It is sickening.

  16. all these investigations into the massacre of the 44 SAF personnel (yes massacre as there is no other way to call it)will be for nothing just like every other investigation the Philippine senate and congress have conducted in the past … puro lang naman pakitang-tao ang ma yan … in the end those milf/biff ciminals that killed those SAF will still be freet to roam and maybe even brag to their relatives about their exploits, the crimial-loving pinoys which include Pnoy, deles and coronel-ferrer will continue to defend the milf/biff pukes and after a while only the relatives of the deceased will be remembering their loved ones who dies in the service of an ungrateful nation

  17. mikhail hieronymus on

    Let us all be realistic ! Trillanes absolved Aquino already even without the benefit of any real investigation. Purisima and Napenas said Aquino did not give any GO order.
    Senators and Congress men members of the investigating committee are not asking the right questions.

    Definitely and clearly, this investigation is nothing but a simple LUTONG MACAO. Nothing will come out of it. Aquino might even come out smelling like Rose. Everybody will be forgiven and thing s will return to normal as if nothing happened,

    This is the tragedy and the reward of the 44 SAF heroes. It is sad! As you have stated in your article, Aquino might even be in exile in America, enjoying his life under the California sun in Disneyland.