PRESIDENT BS Aquino The Last, I mean, The Third, and his drumbeaters see nothing wrong in ignoring the giving of honors to our fallen heroes when their bodies arrived at Villamor Air Base. Usec Abigail Valte said there was no snob because BS Aquino wasn’t scheduled to be there. Doesn’t that make it even worse? This means that giving honors to them wasn’t even in the radar of Malacanang. The Palace should have apologized for giving higher priority to a business event, but then, apology is never in its mindset.
More than three years back, US President Barack Obama cancelled a scheduled official appointment to give arrival honors to 22 Navy Seals and eight other American soldiers killed in Afghanistan when an insurgent shot down their helicopter. Obama boarded each of the two planes that brought the bodies home and met with the families and fellow soldiers of the dead for about 70 minutes. Ah, but it’s too much to expect BS Aquino to do an Obama.
Sure, he did proclaim Jan 30 as a National Day of Mourning. This is a belated gesture, meaningless even when viewed against his actions. He was in Zamboanga City during what the Administration called “misencounter” with the MILF but left the city without waiting for the arrival of the bodies of the victims. I’m writing this on Thursday but I won’t be surprised if on Friday, the biggest wreaths will come from BS Aquino. If I were a relative of the victims (two of them were Danaos and fellow Ilocanos, PO2 Franklin and Albert, but I don’t know if we are related), I’d throw away the wreath from Malacanang for his betrayal of the men he was supposed to command.
To this day, the President still blames the police command for its failure to coordinate with the MILF on the move to arrest two wanted terrorists. He’s deathly afraid of arousing the ire of the MILF so he’s not even asking the rebels to apologize and turn over the wanted terrorists to authorities. He should have used the national indignation over the incident to suspend the peace talks until full restitution is given to our fallen heroes. Why should he be more concerned with the MILF than with the policemen? Is he also the commander-in-chief of the MILF? To prove that he’s not betraying the SAF men who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, he should strive to give justice to them. The problem is, he’s so bent on having a peace treaty with the MILF as his legacy to the country.
In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed a peace treaty with Hitler, and claimed that it would bring about “the peace of our time.” We now know that war between Germany and Great Britain later ensued despite the treaty. Once the peace agreement with the MILF is finalized, how sure are we that peace will finally descend on Mindanao? Will peace be achieved at the expense of Philippine sovereignty? BS Aquino had made noises about fighting “to the last Filipino” to defend Philippine territory from Chinese aggression and yet, he’s most willing to give up a large chunk of territory and political and economic powers over the Bangsamoro.
Words, words, words
He said that “Truth shall set us free” while reluctantly giving a few details about the incident. He demonstrated cluelessness on why DILG Secretary Mar Roxas was left out on the SAF operation to arrest two international terrorists hiding inside MILF “territory.” Sure, there are many other things that BS Aquino is clueless about but this takes the cake, coming as it does with his admission that he’s being briefed regularly on the operation. On second thought, this isn’t the first time that he had gone over the head of a Cabinet member in favor of a subordinate.
I remember that when the late Jesse Robredo was still DILG chief, BS Aquino ignored him and gave his shooting buddy, then DILG Usec Rico Puno, jurisdiction over the police. He’s obviously doing the same thing to Roxas. Had Roxas been given prior info and had the operation succeeded, he would have had a share in its success, he would have gained some mileage in his quest for the presidency. But no, BS Aquino preferred to have all glory for himself and kept Roxas out of the loop. If Roxas has any self-respect left, he should immediately resign from his post and not endure this slap in his face. Who knows, his resignation might even make him a more viable candidate in 2016.