WHAT is so difficult about saying sorry?
Former President Fidel V. Ramos on Tuesday posed this question as he gave his unsolicited advice for President Benigno Aquino 3rd to take responsibility for the botched Mamasapano mission and apologize to the people for the wrong done to the nation.
Ramos, who called a news briefing as he turned 87 on Wednesday, said the President could not shake off responsibility for the bungled police mission that resulted in the killing of 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force since he is the Commander-in-Chief of both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
“Saying ‘I am sorry’ humbly and sincerely would probably do 90 percent of the job but since the hurt has gone so much deeper than what it was really originally, based on his absence from Villamor Air Base on the 29th of January when the 42 coffins first arrived, since then so much has happened in terms of I will call it recalcitrance of Malacañang,” the former President said.
Ramos was referring to the Aquino’s conspicuous absence when the remains of the fallen troops arrived in Manila four days after the deadly encounter in Maguindanao, but turned up at inauguration of a car manufacturing plant in Laguna Ramos, who is acknowledged as the “father” of the SAF, which was created in the early 1980s when he was chief of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) and the Integrated National Police or INP (predecessor of the Philippine National Police), was also in the car event and managed to rush to Villamor Air Base to attend the arrival honors for the slain policemen.
Aquino attempted to make amends by attending the necrological service for the slain policemen as well as taking time to meet with the families, but the move failed to control the damage done by his absence.
A fuming Ramos told a radio station immediately after the event, “What is more important–to be with your fallen troops at this time when their respective families are wailing and crying out for justice, or trying to please investors who are already here expanding their business because we have good economic prospects?”
He said the President should take responsibility for the Mamasapano incident as he refuted Malacanang’s claims that the chain of command doctrine does not apply to the national police.
Ramos, the PC-INP director-general, before he was named chief of staff of the Armed Forces following the 1986 People Power revolution, said the doctrine of command responsibility is clearly spelled out in Executive Order 226, which he issued in February 1995 when he was the nation’s leader.
A government official who neglects his duty under the doctrine of command responsibility is administratively liable, he pointed out.
“Nobody in a superior position can claim to be automatically ignorant.
It’s presumed that a supervisor knows about irregularities,” Ramos said.
“There is a chain of command that operates under the principle of command responsibility, and there’s no escaping that,” he added.
As far as he knows, according to Ramos, EO 226 is still in effect.
“Mayroon bang nakaalam [Does somebody know] that this has been rescinded? The Executive Order is still in effect,” he said.
Ramos added that the President could be charged for the Mamasapano incident once he steps down from office.
“This is the future that any President must be able to confront manfully and truthfully. This is part of the job. When you enter any electoral contest for the highest position in the land, you better expect that the highest kinds of alleged crimes will be [slapped]on you,” he said as he mentioned that he faced three Senate blue ribbon committee investigations after his term as President ended in 1998.