For Chrissake, ask them what Aquino was doing Jan 25!

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I thought the horrendous massacre of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos would make them angry enough, but the Senate hearing on the atrocity the past two days convinced me more than ever: We are a damaged Republic; the Senate is under the President’s thumb.

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Why didn’t any of our senators ask that important question a fiercely independent Senate would have asked Secretaries Mar Roxas, Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Leonardo Catapang and even former Police Chief Alan Purisima?:

What did the commander-in-chief, President Benigno S. Aquino, do when he was informed early morning of that Sunday of the impending massacre of the commandos? Did he do everything he could to save them?

It would not have been such an important question had Aquino not known what Oplan Exodus, the last of the 10 operations planned by the PNP to capture international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir aka Marwan, was.

But both Purisima and SAF Director Getulio Napeñas testified that Aquino had been privy to the operation from its very inception back in April last year. The two even reported that Aquino was last briefed Jan 9 at Bahay Pangarap, his residence in Malacañang. Why, even Aquino in his speech on Jan 28 implied he gave the operation the go-signal, though not the exact date it would be undertaken. That statement jibes with Napeñas’ testimony yesterday that he was given a “window,” Jan 23 to 26, to execute the plan.

Napeñas wouldn’t have broken the chain of command by not informing PNP Acting Director Leonardo Espina about the operation, if Purisima had not been given the impression – by bringing him to two meetings in Malacanang with Aquino – that the President himself was in charge.

He’s serious this time: Napenas’ lawyer and private prosecutor at Corona’s trial, Vitaliano Aguirre, behind the police official. Inset: Making fun of Senator Santiago at the impeachment trial.

He’s serious this time: Napenas’ lawyer and private prosecutor at Corona’s trial, Vitaliano Aguirre, behind the police official. Inset: Making fun of Senator Santiago at the impeachment trial.

On Jan 25, Aquino even went to Zamboanga City, ostensibly to inspect the bomb blast there a few days before, but obviously to be able to immediately congratulate the SAF commandos for their supposed victory, and even to view Marwan’s corpse.

As I wrote in my column Feb 5, with him the whole day in Zamboanga were Roxas, Gazmin, and Catapang. It is nearly impossible that these officials in charge of our national security did not inform Roxas in the early hours of that day about the Mamasapano developments. Aquino left Manila at 9 a.m., and I would think he was already briefed before he flew to Zamboanga City.

Two simple questions

The senators could have asked the two secretaries and Catapang two simple questions:

First, did you inform the commander-in-chief in the early morning when he was in Manila or in Zamboanga of the situation that the SAF commandos were trapped?

Second, did he do anything about it, such as issuing orders, calling people who could have helped, to stop the carnage?

But every minute of Aquino’s time in Zamboanga was accounted for by the Philippine Information Agency, and there was no report at all that he secluded himself with his secretaries and Catapang to formulate a rescue plan for the commandos.

But what could Aquino have done to save the SAF troopers? Two things I can immediately think of:

First, Aquino could himself have called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Murad Ibrahim and Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar to tell them to contact immediately their commanders to order their troops to allow the SAF to escape. If Aquino still doesn’t have a personal hotline with them in his own cell phone directory – after meeting with them in Tokyo in 2011 and in several events in Manila – then we’ve got a problem of having in our midst such an incompetent President who does not have a grip on the levers of power.

Second, he could have ordered Catapang: “As commander-in-chief, I am ordering you to mobilize all forces and assets, even these two attack helicopters assigned for my security here, to rescue the commandos, at all costs.” If only he gave that order to Catapang, I don’t think the AFP would make an excuse not to comply, as Catapang did in the Senate hearing, saying he was worried that the MILF might think he was launching an all-out attack against them.

I know our senators are intelligent enough to know that these are very logical, important questions to ask to get to the bottom of why the massacre happened. But Senators Grace Poe and Loren Legarda even badgered Napeñas on why he could have broken the chain of command when he didn’t inform the acting police chief about the operations.

Isn’t it obvious that Napeñas believed, as everyone does apparently, except the senators, that Purisima, suspended or not, was still Aquino’s trusted operative? Why would Aquino have Purisima present in the Jan 9 meeting when Napeñas last briefed the President about the plan to take out Marwan, if not to tell his police officials that his former close-in bodyguard was still in charge?

What’s Corona’s prosecutor doing there?

I found two things strange at the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano massacre.

First, SAF Director Napeñas had a lawyer with him, whom he consulted several times. When asked the intriguing question why he ordered his officer to deliver Marwan’s severed index finger to FBI agents in General Santos City right after the operation, the lawyer obviously advised him to ask for an executive session.

Napeñas was the only official or officer in the hearing with such a lawyer. Was he being accused of a crime already? Or was he afraid he would implicate himself?

Second, the lawyer was Vitaliano Aguirre, who was among the few private prosecutors in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Although he’s known to be an expensive lawyer, his claim to fame was that he provoked Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to blow her top when he capped both his ears when the feisty senator was speaking. Santiago was so angry that she asked the sergeant-at-arms to escort Aguirre out of the Senate hall.

But Aguirre seems to be brave enough to risk seeing Santiago in the Senate in the hearing the other day.

I don’t think Napeñas can afford Aguirre’s fees. Did Aquino’s friends ask him to provide legal advice to Napeñas during the hearing, for himself and so as not to implicate Aquino?

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Rigoberto Tiglao

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44 Comments

  1. “Why didn’t any of our senators ask that important question a fiercely independent Senate would have asked Secretaries Mar Roxas, Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Leonardo Catapang and even former Police Chief Alan Purisima?”

    …Because obviously they are not as independent minded as you think. They are still dependent on pork in whatever shape or form it is now.

  2. Thank God we still have a few brave men like you who’s not afraid to enlighten us with delicate matters such as these. Grabe na talaga! Masyado ng garapal pagpapamukha nilang tanga sa mga Filipino. The only factor that pushed him to power is his surname AQUINO. After that ano na? We became witness to series of lies even way before this Mamasapano massacre. Roxas and all the others proved to be damn actors as well. I pray with all my heart that somebody will have the guts to step up and tell the TRUTH… SANA…SANA

  3. if the people of the philippines, and most specially the families of the slain 44 SAF members, don’t get the answers they expect from this senate inquiry, i think it’s high time for all of us to troop into malacanang and drag pnoy out of there. we cannot drag him out by his hair because he has none. i suppose his collar will do. as long as we drag him out of the palace.

  4. Roberto Acepcion Jr. on

    I do not question the operation to get the terrorists who are in our territory. What bothered me was the call for reinforcement by the trapped SAF commandos. “No coordination” should not be the issue but rather the issue of “who did not give the order”, “balked or hesitated from giving the order”, or “who obstructed the process” of sending reinforcement to the beleaguered forces. Lives were at stake. Those responsible should be charged criminally for neglecting to help them (SAF) is murder to me. Likewise, I am not in favor of this BAngsamoro BAsic LAw (BABALA). Is it true that in the proposed law, the country will provide them a budget of Php70B once the law is passed? On whose pockets will this amount come from? As we say, “niluluto tayo sa sarili nating mantika” all because we want peace. IS THIS THE PRICE OF PEACE?

  5. since si catapang ay kasama ni pnoy sa zamboanga ng kasalukuyang binabakbakan ang saf, ano ang briefings ni catapang sa president, at bilang commander in-chief ano ang utos nya kay catapang, stand down, attack and rescue, or just wait and see until ma contact ang milf para hindi masira ang bbl. walang sinumang nagtanong na senators nyan, yan ang gustong malaman ng bayan. kung walang ginawang action si pnoy hindi sya dapat nasa malacanan at kung may ginawang utos sya ANO????? kailangan namin ng sagot

  6. Peace can only be achieved through the rule of law and enforcement of our sovereignty to all those who threatens it. These seccessionists do not represent the whole of Mindanao. Their numbers and sympathizers are jsut a minority. So their strategy is plain terrorism as leverage. Terrorism is violence which can only be stopped by violence. That is the sad reality. But we are not the root nor the cause of this violence. We are the victims.

  7. Benigno Kuha-Ko, Akin-Na on

    Bakit pa kailangang mag-aksaya ng panahon at salapi ng bayan sa hearing. Lahat ng kilos ng armed forces ay utos ng Commander in Chief. Maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw na si PeeNoy ang guilty!

  8. Unfortunately, we are expecting too much from a bunch of Benigno lap dogs, who for their own personal reasons seem bent on protecting Benigno. They are not about to ask the questions that will bring his doom. And this investigation will not produce the results that we expect nor want. I seriously think, all other investigations regarding the fallen 44, will simply be show, and it will be made to confuse the people who watch, to soften the blow, to quiet the people. But I refuse to have my anger diffused by a bunch such as this. I am angry with everything Benigno has managed to inflict on the population and to this country. I am angry that he is ensuring the loss of parts of Mindanao, which with the BBL will be over-run by the most despicable of characters. We must junk the BBL. WE cannot rely in Congress anymore nor this president. The people must get together to save this country.

  9. ahhh, those “honorable Senators” who sold their souls in Corona trial are at it again.
    day 2 of the inquiry and they already absolved the returd to the dismay of the widows,
    Maybe we should ask CNN’s Cooper and Amanpour to ask him pointblank…

  10. Your right the senators should have ask what did Pnoy have done on that fateful Sunday morning, but no one did because all his allies in the senate would have prevented anybody who ask this question. If only the operation was a success Mar Roxas will be on media telling us in very technical details even the exact caliber of weapons and number of bullets used. I wonder how the insertion team of SAF were able to go so near the house of Marwan without the several dogs in the area not barking. I still believe that the MILF and BIFF allowed the SAF to enter the premises because of an exchange of ramsom was about to take place when something went wrong. This is the reason why the highly trained blocking force of the SAF did not bother to take positional vantage area. Nagka onsehan malamang kaya ang barilan ay malapitan.

  11. Gaya rin sa Corona trial, gumugulong na ang pangsuhol dap billions sa mga senador para huwag matanong ang nasaan ba si noynoy noon jan. 25 at ano ang ginagawa niya. The harder the questions that will implicate noynoy,the higher the price malacanang is willing to pay to save the president. Pera pera lang talaga yang hearing sa senado lalo na pag napakinggan mo ang mga tanong ni Trillanes. Its peoples money that will be spent at wala silang nasa malacanang paki alam.

  12. It would be enlightening to see a timeline of were Aquino was, what he did and who he talked to during during the day the 44 were killed. I agree, ask the questions. The truth we need is not about the AFP or PNP.

  13. The Massacred 44 SAF, was the result of Pnoy truce with the/terrorist enemy. The late and former President Ferdinand Marcos was right when he said and I quote,”W e can not and we will not negotiate with terrorist. We have nothing but contempt for them. To conciliate differences with these people without changing their objectives is to condemn our Republic to ultimate strangulation and death.” Unquote.

  14. Siyempre kampi ang senate sa president.. e yung mga against sa president nakakulong ngayon

    ilagay nyo si jinggoy sa hearing 100% sure you’ll hear all the questions you want to hear

  15. To add a little more to this, just imagine if you had a different president at this time & this operation was done then, do you think for one second it would have been done any differently. Now if pnoy was involved in so much as to tell purisma to still take charge even though he was suspended then i would totally agree with you he & purisma together are jointly responsible for this debacle. But if pnoy didnt tell purisma to leave espina out of it then go a little easier on him as any other president would have had the same outcome to deal with as these lot it seems couldnt organise a booze up in a brewery.

    • Justaskingseriously on

      Are you the “Dustin” who replied to the article by Mike Wooton about how Filipinos cannot say “I am mistaken”? Just asking. That “Dustin” in so many words wrote that Filipinos are stupid. I could not stop thinking that your problem with the stupid people seemed to have to do with driving on the road. If you are the brit “Dustin”, here is my chance to let you realize that driving on the right side of the road does not make Filipinos stupid.

  16. I know pnoy has made a lot of mistakes since becoming president but i feel you are going over the top in this pursuit of him over the slaying of the 44 police. Yes he was overall in charge being president but he isnt a police operation tactician. If they told him what was happening he wouldnt know what to do that would help. When you run a company you bring in the right people for the job who make sure that company runs smoothly & profitably. Now with the people in charge of the actual operation its them you should be looking at & blaming. Like purisma telling them not to inform espina on what was going on until it was already started. There is the start of the problem. Then look at who was supposed to be co- ordinating this operation. It seems like always it was a shambles, the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. You cant have to many chiefs & not enough indians. You need to have the people in charge knowing what they are doing but here something went tragically wrong. Get the investigation done as quickly as possible so we will know. Im sure purisma is deeply involved in this as being suspended he should have passed all information of everything involved with this over to espina, he was the new man in charge but it seems purisma thought differently & now its all gone wrong he wants to extradite himself from all responsibility.

    • geez.. when you yellow trolls post a comment, at least try to make the wordings a bit unique. copy pasting just confirms you’re paid hacks by the palace miscommunication group. LoL

  17. chthonic monster on

    “he was worried that the MILF might think he was launching an all-out attack against them.”

    WTF who cares what the barbarians think? it’s the lives of your comrade-in-arms at stake and you didn’t lift a finger to help them! how about this: “go fight a war but don’t win it?” is this it? you would know if you didn’t forget you studied this thing in the Academy! it’s war they want give it to them MotherF*****s!

  18. We are doomed from the start with a “moronic” president and commander-in-chief. The only way for this nation to perdition is extricate Pnoy from his post but with his “utak pulbura”, he will not take it sitting down. He will cling to his post as he knows that he will be jailed for a lifetime for all the crimes he had committed. Luneta massacre, DAP, to SAF 44 massacre.

  19. Leodegardo Pruna on

    No one in his right sense would see the opposite view because if we look at the events of that day the senators who have been asking questions to the AFP and PNP could have easily asked MAR or GAZ where they were that day, in whose company, and were they inform of the mess unfolding that day. The likes of Sen. Poe could not have missed this but it also seems that she is drawing back and focusing on AFP and PNP. Allan seems the same and the rest of the Senators. QUESTION SHOULD BE- WHERE WAS THE PRESIDENT AT THAT TIME?, WHO WERE IN HIS COMPANY?, WHERE THEY INFORM OF WHAT WAS GOING ON?, WHAT DID THEY DO? What seems to be in our midst governing us are incompetent and uncaring people. God bless the Philippines.

    • It’s obvious the questions are scripted, except for a few. With DAP funds to the rescue again, the congressional hearing will be a comedia again. It would be better if the PNP and the AFP will just overthrow the yellow admin rather than act as fall guys for the Palace occupant.

  20. Bravo, Mr. Tiglao!
    Readers, Google the excellent Manila Times editorial he other day titlted “The elephant in the Senate session hall named Aquino.”
    The stinking elephant is still there and will be there on Thursday.
    The questions you are asking the senators to ask Mar Roxas and Vltaire Gazmin must be asked!

  21. There is no honor left in our congress except for s very few muzzled voices. Money,promises of advancement, favors have replaced duty, honor and truth. We have been sold out by one who purports to lead, and who tots a stupid yellow ribbon instead of our national flag. He blames every mistake on someone else never hesitating to get the credit for their inputs and their successes…… The man who would be king …. Shamelessly unprepared and fearful of assuming responsibility but wallowing in accolades and perks.. He ordered his troops to follow the example of the charge of the light brigade…… And left them and the nation to their fate

  22. chthonic monster on

    but of course the pork barrel aka dap,pdaf, dap-dap or whatever the F*** it is, makes sure their bloody friggin’ mouth is shut tight!

  23. Even blind Charlie can see what the senate zarzuela is all about!!! ‘SAVE ABNOY AT ALL COST’ this Abnoy has got the senate leadership by the short and curly’s. What a waste of time and money, but who cares? They’ve got a lot of tax payers money to throw around and pocket. Those two so called peace keepers are bent on giving the Republic away they should be shot for treason. Notice how Deles went on the defensive for the MILF, no concern whatsoever for the lost 44 heroes. SHAME ON YOU SUCKHOLING BITCHES.

  24. That is exactly the question that needs to be asked. The senators are trying so hard to shield aquino. TG Guingona yesterday, when being interviewed by Mike Enriquez over at dzbb was obvious. He was short of gloating when asked about his questions to purisima about the “advice” he gave napenas on jan 9. But, when mike enriquez commented that his line of questioning may have proved that obviously the president was involved and may have given instructions to purisima, he stammered. Obvioulsy that was not part of the plan. Maybe they want to put the blame up to purisima only making sure they save the president.

  25. It appears that we have a government of cowards intimidated by pictures of the BIFF, MILF, MNLF in front pages with an army with rifles shouting : “Alahu Alla.” These pictures in the midst of our fallen 44 SAF is all needed for a quick response. The american slogan of a country of “the free and the BRAVE” was never learned. JUSTICE needed for country’s sake means retaliation to save our LUZVIMINDA from being raped.

  26. Except for a few, gone were the days you can call tenants in the senate as “honorable”. Wala na, puro mga tuta na ng administrayon. PWE! Makes me puke just seeing drilon, guingona, trillanes et al on tv.

  27. Dennis Fernandez on

    It seems that the Senate hearing on Masasapano massacre was/is just a moro-moro, with the intent to shield the president from culpability. Or are we seeing a repeat of the Corona impeachment trial wherein bribe money was floated in order to convict the sitting Chief Justice? Or are the senators afraid to ask the most damning questions that you cited above, since some of them have been implicated in the PDAF scam (Legarda, Marcos, Honasan)?

  28. Tama ka Sir Tiglao, the Senators are under the President’s thumb. Very obvious lalo na si Senate President Drilon. Nawala na yung pagiging objectivity sa hearing to ferret out the truth. The only Senator being credible is Alan Peter Cayetano when he questioned General Catapang why the Army took so long to rescue the trapped SAF commandos despite immediate call for reinforcement from Gen Napenas early morning. The AFP chief Catapang said ayaw nilang mag-artillery fire dahil violation daw ng ceasefire agreemnt, pero alam na nila na pini-pindown down na ng MILF ang SAF troopers. The army entered the area in the afternoon already after the MILF and BIFF were done with the massacre already. Maliwanag sa puntong ito na may nagutos sa Army to stand down and it is clear that the order should have come from the President himself. Wala naman ibang mag-utos sa AFP chief na mas mataas kundi ang Commander in Chief di ba Sir Tiglao? Kawawa naman yung mga fallen 44, dahil ginawa silang parang sacrificial lambs dahil lang sa ongoing peace negotiations. Talagang hawak sa leeg ng mga MILF si Aquino.

  29. BUTCH CASIMIRO on

    HOW COME THOSE GENERALS PRESENT AT THE SENATE HEARING BECOME GENERALS??? THEY DON”T EVEN KNOW WHAT CHAIN OF COMMAND MEANS? Also, the BBL should never be PASSED into LAW! WHY? BECAUSE we already have Muslims of all Tribes in our system of Government since Time and Memorial from the Executive, Legisltiv, Congress, Senate, Department heads, local and National heads MIlitary (PMA) and the (PNPA) AFP and all branches of the Armed forces of the philippines and civilian ,Private institutions they all Abide of one Constitution, one President which is the Republic of the Philippines they all form the Majority of the Muslims who abide our Common Law! and for a few hundred rebel, renegade muslims we will grant them separate Law? what will prevent the BOLOANON, WARAY, ILONGO, ZAMBOANGENOS, ETC…ETC… AND ALL OUR DIFFERENT TRIBES AND NATIVE FROM ASKING SEPARATE LAW? WILL THEY THE GOVERNMENT ALSO GRANT THEM SEPARATE LAW?

    • The more intelligent question would be “How come the senators conducting the hearing and asking questions became senators? Is it because of PDAF and DAP alone or do they really want to serve the country by getting to the bottom of every hearing they initiate in the senate?

      Are these senators so very much afraid to incriminate Pnoy that not even once did they mention his name? Where is Trillanes and Guingona of Binay fame in this hearing? How come nobody asked if Pnoy was the one who authorized Napenas to go on with the operation? Why are they even conducting a hearing if they do not want to get to the bottom of this whole fiasco?

  30. Halata naman talaga na ayaw nilang isama ang pang-ulo as commander in chief na kasama sa may kasalanan sa masasapano massacre. Ang bilis ni drillon magabogado kay pinoy. Ang ating mga senador parang mga walang kwenta ang tanong kay napenas. Ayaw nilang malaman ang tunay na nangyari. PWE PWE PWE.

    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      Tama ka at sa kadahilanang may PDAP at DAP pa rin na maaasahan sila sa pangulo. God bless the Philippines.

  31. Again, based on these facts, we are again witnessing a “zarzuela” on such an investigation. It’s a waste of time and money. Based on news reports, each agency is having its own investigation. We are flaunting the best minds in the Senate, persons who graduated from good schools but what an opposite show. God bless the Philippines and the people.

  32. Mr Ambassador, you hit the nail on the head! We are pray for you, please continue to expose abnoy in his cohorts.

  33. You said it all and very clearly Ambassador Tiglao.
    Thank you so much – Mabuhay ka
    Wala na akong masabi pa.

    This hearing in the Senate is not in aide of LEGISLATION
    OR KNOWING THE TRUTH BUT IN AIDE OF PROTECTING
    BS AQUINO AND COHORTS AND TO HIDE THE WHOLE TRUTH.

  34. Sooner or later the general public would know the real reason why this inept president in malacanang willfully did not attend the arrival of the remains of the 42 fallen SAF members at Villamor Airbase. It will be known that he was greatly depressed and frusrated that this fallen policemen doused called water on his would be triumphant announcement on the neutralization of Manwar while he is in Zambonga and that this SAF members had failed his expectation that they can extricate themselves with the minimum of casualties in that encounter where they were trapped like in the movies and video games considering their training as an elte force….