Honor our commandos with the truth


I will say again what I wrote back in March in commenting on the multiple inquiries and conflicting versions of the events in Mamasapano: “The truth has one version – only one.”
I believe it is appropriate in light of President Aquino’s new tack of  disclosing  to the media and the public that there is “an alternative version of what took place in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last January 25.”

The provocative statement has predictably drawn  comments and criticisms from all quarters. It could trigger a storm of new official inquiries, as if those already conducted and concluded are still not enough.

What the President said  at the informal forum at the Inquirer was this: “I still have quite a number of questions, and there are various agencies of government tasked to ferret out the truth of exactly what happened in its entirety. There is an alternative version of events that happened there, which is undergoing very intense scrutiny. We are looking for witnesses that will prove or disprove certain observations.

“Certain quarters raised certain points that led to the alternate version. There is no conclusion at this point,” he added.

He suggested in no uncertain terms that this alternate version varies greatly from the popular version that is generally believed by the Filipino public – that 44 commandos of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were killed or massacred by Muslim rebel forces in the incident.

The repercussions of this presidential statement will be multiple and possibly controversial.

The widows and families of the fallen, and possibly some sections of the police, will protest.

Certain groups, dissatisfied with the official inquiries will move to conduct their own investigations. Already, the AFP has disclosed that it has been conducting its own inquiry.
And then there is Sen. Grace Poe, who surely will not bypass the opportunity to get in front of the cameras again.

Special commission was needed

The senator declared last Thursday that she is considering reopening the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano massacre to investigate the claims of President Aquino 3rd that there is “an alternative version of events” that was being subjected to “intense scrutiny.”

Senator Poe, as chairman of the Senate committee on public order, led the Senate inqury into the incident.

At the conclusion of the inquiry, she revealed to media an executive summary of her committee report. But she did not submit her report to the Senate and her colleagues, and was heavily criticized for the lapse.

Now, she claims that she submitted her report to the Office of the Ombudsman. Why the Ombudsman? What will the Ombudsman do with it? Will she craft a new legislative proposal to submit to Congress?

Regarding Senator Poe’s idea of reopening the Senate inquiry, the response of the Senate President Frank Drilon and her colleagues was lukewarm. The proposal will need to be approved by the entire chamber. With the election campaign looming on the horizon, it will only gain support from legislators who need the publicity for their reelection bids.

The consternation over the President’s disclosure only goes to show that Congress should have created a special commission, vested with full powers, to investigate the massacre.

That idea found support in both houses of Congress and many media organizations and citizen groups, but because of the rush of the PNP and the Senate to conduct their own inquiries, the proposed commission was set aside.

Had the commission been constituted and enabled to do its work, we would be not be bamboozled by Aquino’s claims of an alternative version of events.

He would not have come up with this version, because the commission would surely have forced the President to give testimony, written or in person, on what he knew about the operation and why he failed to authorize a rescue operation on the day of the incident.

That commission inquiry would have ended with a report that at least would have gained wide public support.

A hole in the nation’s psyche

I have also written on why Mamasapano has left a big gaping hole in the nation’s psyche (“Let us honor our commandos with the truth”, Times, January 29, 205), that remains up to now.

I wrote then:

“We cannot bring our commandos back to life. But we can honor them by bringing out the truth. The whole truth of how they died, why they died, and who are responsible.

‘Every sorry and sordid little fact, every misstep, step by painful step, should be brought to light. Nothing should be kept in the dark.

“Calling the tragedy a “mis-encounter” is a coverup. It will only lead to a more explosive and dangerous situation.

“As we went to press last night, President Aquino was scheduled to address the nation and report on the tragedy, finally breaking his inexcusable silence on the issue for nearly four days.

“I hope that with this speech, unlike his speeches in the past, the president did not hide from the facts and the issues.

“The truth, as it has started to emerge from inside information and disclosures to media, is very sad, tragic and unpleasant.”

President Aquino was right about one thing in his remarks at the Inquirer: there is no closure because the full story has not been brought out — especially his role in organizing the SAF Operation Exodus, and his failure to order rescue operations when the SAF commandos were under attack.

There are more questions to answer and facts to be uncovered.



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  1. Leodegardo Pruna on

    The truth is that 44 SAF commandos died during the encounter, that the commander-in-chief had a hand in the planning and implementing stages, that disGRACE as chair of the Senate Committee had a report the executive summary was shown in public and the complete report not totally revealed to the people of the Philippines., that the Chief Executive is planning to obscure such findings with an alternative events, etc. to continue making fools of the nation. God bless the Philippines.

    • Poe gave the report to the Ombudsman instead of the senate to shield Aquino.
      Now a vote is needed to reopen it and that will never happen since the congress stole their pork barrel allocations and will not risk being charged by doing something that Aquino doesn’t like.

  2. this president shall be charged for his negligence in his duties and responsibilities as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.. He is the President without balls and balls without minds..
    He should be charged also for Treasons of the Philippine Constitution, by creating BBL without the knowledge of the Filipino people.

  3. Everyone already knows Aquino lied about his involvement when first asked about it.

    Everyone knows he lied about chief Purisima involvement.

    Everyone knows he refused to cooperate with the investigation, Aquino refused to turn over his cell phone to the investigators.

    Everyone knows his BFF Purisima refused to turn over his cell phone to the investigators.

    Everyone knows he gave the stand down order while the SAF were begging for help.

    What else does anyone else need to know ?

    What will the powerless do with that knowledge ?

  4. The text messages and cell conversation re mamapasano was recorded by NSA/CIA. The knew what have happened there.

  5. Ipakitanong lang po sa pamamagitan ng kolum ninyo, kay Pnoy, na sa mga
    pagmimiting nila ng BFF niyang si Hen. Alan P. at ng SAF, commander, mina-rapat
    niyang hindi pagka-TIWALAAN ng ano mang maselang inpormasiyon ang
    kaniyag DILG sec na si Mar Roxas at mas ipinagkatiwala nga niya ng todo
    kay hen. Alan ni Katiting wala nga raw siyang alam eka ni sec. Mar.
    Ang tanong po: paano niyang buong tapang na sabihin sa taong Bayan
    sa ngayon, na may TIWALA siya kay ginoong ROXAS para pumalit sa kaniya,

  6. why is the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the defender of the Constitution and the Pilipino people, letting these armed group terrorizing the country? can they not exterminate them in one day? what will happen if pnoy’s yellow regime falls? will they put
    him and his cohorts to jail?

  7. Nakatatakot na sa bandang dulo, kasalanan pang lahat ng Fallen 44 ang kanilang sinapit kundi man sila ang pagbintangan na may masamang motibo sa isinagawang operasyon.

  8. to mr bsaquino sir, BOTTOM LINE SIR, ” IT WAS ALREADY ADMITTED BY THE ARMY COMMANDER that YOU VIRTUALLY STOPPED THE ARMY when they asked you (as their supposed …commander in chief… ) “PAPASOK NA KAMI” … mr bsaquino you ordered your men / your army to stand down and it is this order of yours that sent the SAF-44 TO BE BUTCHERED HELPLESSLY … THE SAFF-44 RUN OUT OF AMMUNITION , the SAFF-44 WERE CORNERED AT the middle of cornfield that was surrounded with rivers .. the only POSSIBLE EGRESS was already occupied by well positioned MUSLIM MURDERES . mr. president bsaquino , had you had little care for other peoples’ lives like you care for yours , you could have ordered the ARMED ARMY to RESCUE the remaining ARMLESS saff-44 . mr. president bsaquino, Nagkamali ka na sa pakikipagsireto kay purisima , DINAGDAGAN MO PA LALO NANG ORDERAN MO ANG ARMY NA HUWAG I RESCUE ang NAGMAMAKAAWA na natitirang SAF-44 dahil sa isip mo PATAS NA KAYU dahil pinapatay din ang tatay mo. mr president bsaquino, sa lahat ng katiwalian na ginawa mo (ie.. allowing purisima to make major decisions sa saf-44 operation , ) ANG ULTIMATE NA NAKAMATAY SA mga saf-44 ay IKAW AT WALANG IBA KUNDI IKAW (and you know that by heart ) … I REPEAT , YOU STOPPED the ARMY TO RESCUE the SAFF-44 …UNBELIEVABLE … HORRIBLE

  9. Why is it that Pnoy does not take the ultimate responsibility of this tragedy. The buck stops at him. Congress should look into a possibility of impeachable offense. Chips must fall where they should. Mr. Makabenta very nice piece; please keep pushing for the truth!!!

  10. I hope Mr. Makabenta will not loosen his grip on this issue. As a meticulous citizen, I know and very sure that the real truth about the Mamasapano Masacre is not disclosed truthfully. BSA is caught in the mouth making lies again, but it is now very clear that he has to take full responsibility of the massacre. I would appreciate Mr. Makabenta to do a patriotic job in giving justice to the families of the victims. The SAF44 deserve full respect for the patriotism they have shown. A respect and commendation deprived of them by the STUPID COMMANDER IN CHIEF WHO CAUSED THEIR DEATH. Let this traitor president who sacrificed the lives of these fallen heroes answer and face the consequences of his intended futility. BSA does not deserve to stay in malacaniang any longer, we should not waste time in jailing him not only for the Mamasapano massacre but all the crimes he committed in his 5yrs. TRAGIC REIGN.