Beyond spin, distractions


THIS administration – with its three communications offices! – has always been able to spin and distract from issues of the day.

Sometimes they spin by falling silent, and the next thing we know a distraction has been put in place, and the issue’s forgotten. Most of the time, they dismiss social media noise to be merely coming from a minority – these are the instances when Spokesperson Sonny Coloma invokes the Palace’s “social media team” and their assessment of social media “noise.”

Many other times, it is what the President himself says with all the energy and conviction he can muster that they presume – they imagine – will make critics stand down and fall silent. Because the President has spoken.

Beyond honesty
Too often they have dismissed critics to be unthinking negative Pinoys and Pinays who refuse to get on the matuwid na daan because they have their own political agendas. For sure that might be true of some critics; but it is not true of everyone.

Too, there is this: members of the yellow army, the supporters of the President, no matter how badly he does his job, no matter his mistakes, are just as questionable, yes? They are just like every other critic who has a political agenda or ten, bound as they are to this government.

They make a huge deal out of this President’s honesty. They talk about him as incorruptible. They say the President is just human, but at least he does not steal from the nation’s coffers. And look! He has the trust of nation! Those surveys cannot lie.

But now that the President’s trust survey numbers have taken a historic dip, now that the President has been revealed to lack compassion and kindness, now that it has been revealed that his tendency in a time of crisis is to zero in on self, the Palace’s spin committee must know that his “honesty” isn’t everything. Neither is his vaunted “incorruptibility.”

Presidential silence
In the case of the Mamasapano Tragedy, we have heard the President spinning things consistently to pin the blame on ex-SAF Chief Napeñas. We have listened to him, time and again, saying that while as father of the nation he had lost 44 of his SAF children, he is not at fault. Because he’s been had, he said. Binola ako ni Napeñas.

He has consistently kept from pinning any blame on ex-PNP Chief Purisima, a man who he says has been by his side since his years as Presidential son.

Yet the President was speaking to Purisima and not Napeñas with regards the Mamasapano operation. Purisima was the middle man, the one who was deemed “expert” with regards the capture of these international terrorists. Purisima, for reasons that have yet to be made public, was the one that was trusted by this President with regards this operation, never mind that he was serving his suspension.

And no, it can’t just be because Purisima knew of this operation from the get-go.

Because that could be true, and it still would not explain why the President decided to keep OIC PNP Chief Espina, Interior Secretary Roxas, and Defense Secretary Gazmin out of the loop. And this is really what the President has yet to talk about: why he did not think there was anything wrong with only talking to a suspended police official and the SAF Chief, bypassing his own Cabinet secretaries.

These are men he should be able to trust with any top secret operation, if not men he should be able to trust with his life. Yes, including them and the OIC PNP Chief Espina would mean a larger group of people knowing about this operation – including the Armed Forces – but for sure under the President’s orders it could still be kept secret, and leaks could be avoided.

That is, of course, presuming that this was the reason for keeping Cabinet secretaries, the Armed Forces chief and the OIC PNP chief, in the dark about this operation. Because there is radio silence as far as this is concerned, and the President has been one to spin it and focus only on blaming ex-SAF Chief Napeñas.

And in the case of Mamasapano, and the massacre of 44 SAF soldiers, plus the death of civilians, this silence puts a dent on whatever “honesty” and “incorruptibility” he – and his yellow army – might take pride in.

Ultimate responsibility
The Palace spokespersons are one to spin it now, what with the Board of Inquiry and Senate Reports on the Mamasapano Tragedy being made public, and with the Presidential trust survey numbers taking such a dip.

Because while they might be able to dismiss the calls for the President’s resignation, if not threaten those who they say are “going too far,” there is no ignoring survey results (which they’ve always fallen back on), and two reports one after the other. It must have been surprising to find that the Senate report would not be so kind, and that Senator Grace Poe would clearly state that “ultimate responsibility” lies with the President.

It was surprising because we know how this President has always held the majority in the Senate by the neck; we know of how Poe is such an ally of the President.

The compromise might be this: Senator Poe leaves it up to Congress to make the President pay for this tragedy, via impeachment proceedings she says. But we know that the President holds Congress by the neck, yes? One just needs to listen to Speaker of the House Sonny Belmonte to know that the President’s got his allies in place.

Congress is the President’s last security blanket. Let’s see how long he can hold on to it.


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  1. I would use the Mamasapano//Aquino tragedy to a reality singing contest like the Voice or the older one The American Idol. Let us say the President is the performer on stage. Coming in he knows he will be judged based on his talents and credentials…so he sings and performs given the time to showcase what he can do. In his performances he hits some notes and he misses some. He is not lacking in confidence and pogi points because this are his strengths. Some judge might say your interpretation of the song is off. Some judge gives him credit for doing his best. Some judge say you did not do good today…then ultimately the people votes to judge him wether he stays or he goes…that is the social media culture. In my opinion it is a legitimate way to feel the pulse of the community, nation, or even the world..pick ur stage. You can lie and deny and say I don’t agree with you for I was superb well that is ur opinion… But we leave it to the votes of people, rich or poor, smart orstupid but it is a process of inclusion.Everyone has a VOICE.So lie and deny as much as you want but the social media culture gives everyone a voice to express their sentiments and come judgement time they will cast their votes. Prepare ur smaratic and PCOS system now cos when it is time to vote you will feel the legitimacy of the social media culture.

  2. Is it not ironic that with or without the mamasapano incident, there are sectors of the media na Binayaran and corrupt officials wants the President to resign because of his continuous campaign against corruption. Now, they want to pin him down even he took full responsibility days after the incident. The leftist join the fry on what purpose? The members of the media who have an axe to grind went full swing in attacking the President with impunity. The are not seeking the truth but go back to status quo of the corrupt practices of all previous administration.

  3. The report of the Senate shows that the control of Aquino is slipping. This issue is too big to be controlled with bribe money from Aquino. The House will join with the Senate after some fighting and proceed on their probes. There are big questions still remaining. Like who said what to whom that resulted in the AFP standing down and not going to the aid of the PNP? Does the MILF represent the people of the south and is the MILF trustworthy? Will they submit the report of the killings to the Congress?

  4. & your point is. Let me tell you it isnt just this administration that is like that, its been every administration thats been like that. Its how it works here. Any political person does exactly the same. Accuse them of something & its a vendetta against them, its politically motivated blah blah blah. Thats how they work here. The press have & still mostly adhere to it. It seems they are scared to upset the apple cart. They probably fear repercussions.I say make your politicians accountable, dont listen to the crap they spout, you want facts not spin. I remember all the elections since ive been here the candidates drive along in big entourages throwing a few candies on the floor for people to fight over, & thats how cheaply they try to buy votes. You cant buy my vote, yes of course i would accept a bribe, or i would make it seem i would accept their bribe but i would vote the way my brain tells me to vote, i want to see what they stand for & its that alone that gets my vote.

    • Absolutely correct assessment! Who cares about rate of the President slipping. Most media does not provide a balance reporting anyway. The truth here is that many Filipinos care about their future and of our country which is slowly being polarized by inefficient, ineffective, irresponsible reporting. Reporters can’t fool people all the time!

  5. Why are we comparing this country to America? We are far from being a great nation, sad to say. In the last century we haven’t had any impact to the world less a dent in world affairs just like all the other developing countries. That is why many people are clamoring for change whatever their motives are is for us to move on. Keeping all these incompetent people in the government is to maintain the status quo.

  6. @ Katrina S Santiago

    When US president John F Kennedy was assassinated, America grieved, they mourned, but America did not hold back because the death of one person no matter how great he might be should not stop the nation from moving on. Filipinos as a people have grieved with the families of the fallen 44 SAF’s, but should the nation hold back and put itself to a stand still because of the Mamasapano tragedy? Or do we, as a nation move on like America and look at the lessons of Mamasapano to strengthen us no matter what our political affiliations and agendas are and no matter what the outcome of the senate investigation might be.

    Great nations throughout history have experienced far greater tragedies, life altering events that could have shattered them as a people but instead they accepted these tragedies to inspire their people to rebuild and strengthen their nation to what they are today. The tragedy of Mamasapano has shattered the lives of 44 families. It is a lesson Filipinos must learn, but should it stop the nation from moving on?

    • concerned citizen on

      The analogy is very poor. This tragedy is massively different as it made it apparent to us that we have a bungling, insincere, uncaring, and self-absorbed president whom we cannot trust to be our president for another moment lest more horrible incidents take place. That’s not true in the other cases you mentioned.

    • Agree. The leaders should stop bickering and move on. Those who can’t help the nation should shut up or step aside!