THE unvarnished truth about the Mamasapano tragedy is this. The 44 gallant SAF men were led to the slaughter. Led to the lion’s lair, as Digong Duterte had put it. Led to the slaughter by a clueless commander-in-chief, as Senator Juan Ponce Enrile had put it. If there was a leadership nuance to the whole tragic affair, it was clueless leadership. At the very top. And not with the middle actors.
How Gen. Napenas became power point’s fall guy and villain in that whole bloody affair despite his pained rendering of what really happened — and Mr. Aquino has been assigned as the guy without fault – is beyond us.
On the Mamasapano blame game, Teflon has worked perfectly for Mr. Aquino to the anguish of truth seekers like Mr. Enrile and Gen. Napenas.
But then you can’t rule out the possibility that the Teflon would vanish like soap bubble once a new and compelling evidence on the bungling of Mr. Aquino and his men on the Mamasapano affair is exposed. This is what drives the frantic efforts of Mr. Aquino’s propaganda team to expunge the Mamasapano discussions from the public conversation and invoke the grand, usual scam: that the nation has to focus on more urgent issues such as growth and transformation and close the Mamasapano affair for good.
We heard that before. The verbal scam that urged people to focus on the “important issues” instead of grim, bloody and heart-rending affairs such as the death of the SAF 44. No, we have heard that a thousand times, in various forms and guises, but with the same invocation. The general theme has been a constant – focus on the more vital issues. but it has a subtext, which is really the refuge of the policy bunglers and scoundrels in the Aquino government: look at the GDP.
On Maguindanao farmers driven to desperation and suicide (not really far from the Mamasapano killing fields) by the long drought and government’s indifference to their plight, the government says, oh, well, just look at the GDP.
When confronted with data on massive poverty, child malnutrition, soaring food imports – the failure of government in general to make lives better for the vulnerable – Mr. Aquino and his men would always attempt to mute such discussions with GDP growth.
When confronted with the dark underbelly of a vastly unequal society, Mr. Aquino and his men invoke the GDP growth.
When the Left claims that Mr. Aquino has helped the Left in the recruitment for its guerillas, Mr. Aquino pooh poohs such claims with GDP growth.
When international human rights groups and press watchdogs claim that the country is second only to Iraq in violence against journalists, host to the second largest killing field for journalists, Mr. Aquino invokes GDP growth.
The peasantry and the trade unions, when they seek their basic rights, are confronted with GDP growth rates.
The employment of the textbook verbal scam to paper over the most malignant problems in the country, in fact, has been the constant narrative of the Aquino administration.
Oh, let us not forget this classic Orwell. Traffic jams reflect progress. In five years, according to dire forecasts, traffic jams will make Metro Manila unlivable. Yet, Mr. Aquino and his men associate the monstrous traffic jams with “progress.”
The verbal scamming has had a run of more than five years. Why are people not making Mr. Aquino and his mandarins accountable for their many and grievous failings? And why are they holding on to their patience while the greatest cover up in our governing history is taking place?
I have no answers. The energy to protest may have been exhausted. Some maybe thinking that he will be leaving our lives soon and for good. Some may pour out their grievance in the May polls and end the papering-over for good. The last one looks like the most plausible explanation.