Is this a clever ploy to save PNoy?

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An “open letter” recently appearing in another paper passionately castigates President B. S. Aquino 3rd for the Jan. 25 massacre of 44 PNP-Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Signed by one Laurence Hector B. Arroyo, the letter enumerates Aquino’s acts and omissions, which have enraged the nation, notably the victims’ families, comrades-in-arms, and friends. It is skillfully written, but unless you are particularly attentive, you might find yourself agreeing that for all the things Aquino did or did not do to get the 44 SAF commandos killed, he should simply APOLOGIZE NOW rather than STEP DOWN, as demanded by the National Transformation Council and an immense sea of Filipinos.

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Indeed APOLOGY is needed, as an expression of penance, but the nation demands Aquino’s RESIGNATION or STEPPING DOWN as a form of restitution. One cannot be a substitute for the other. According to a report from a private research foundation, only a tiny 17 percent of those polled are still opposed to Aquino’s resignation or stepping down. This is not because of Mamasapano alone, but rather because of all the unpunished crimes, which on August 27, 2014 the Lipa Assembly convened by the NTC declared as sufficient basis for Aquino to step down. Mamasapano was simply the culminating point.

As Times columnist Yen Makabenta colorfully puts it, Aquino’s approval rating has now plunged “underwater”– on its way to the ocean floor. For that reason, Aquino must now vacate—“immediately, if not sooner,” to borrow the late Carlos P. Romulo’s arresting phrase. Yet the Arroyo letter marshals its eloquence to downgrade what everyone else calls a “massacre” into a mere “incident,” and Aquino’s resignation or “stepping down” into a mere APOLOGY for the “incident.”

This has allowed the more obsequious of Aquino’s sycophants to “join the issues” quickly by saying that Aquino should not even APOLOGIZE because he was completely faultless—all he did, according to them, was to authorize the PNP-SAF operation against the three international terrorists being “hosted” by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. They do not mind crediting him for the “growth” of the economy where he has done absolutely nothing, but they would like to absolve him of any moral or criminal responsibility for the massacre that happened under his direct command.

I am sure that if the 44 SAF commandos had not been slaughtered, but had acquired without any major casualties the three “high-value” terrorist-targets, for whose death or capture the FBI had offered a bounty of $6 million, we would never have heard the end of obscene paeans for Aquino’s genius as a military or police commander. He would probably have officially presented his accomplishment report to US Ambassador Philip Goldberg in some official ceremonies at Malacañang, and proposed a sea burial for the dead terrorists somewhere in the Sulu Sea or near Kalayaan. Remember how Aquino was extremely honored to violate all known state protocol when on May 14, 2011, he boarded the US Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the company of US Ambassador Harry Thomas and five of his Cabinet officials, the AFP Chief of Staff and even the PAGCOR chief, in international waters, after it had dumped in the northern Arabian sea the body of Osama bin Laden, who had been killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011.

Now, his apologists and critic-defenders would have us believe that all we need from Aquino is a mere APOLOGY, not a RESIGNATION or STEPPING DOWN for the death of the SAF 44. One is not the same as the other: the two concepts are a world set apart from each other, but they would like to extinguish the distinction in Aquino’s favor. The change from the one word to the other would be untenable; it could produce what Chesterton might call a garden of wonders for those who were lucky enough to be unable to read.

But the real trouble here is that Aquino may never apologize. He is not known to do so. He has never apologized for anything in all of his public life. Not for the eight Hong Kong tourists who were killed in a bus hijacking incident in Manila at the beginning of his term.

Not for his stubborn refusal to come to the aid of the tens of thousands of victims of super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in Tacloban, Leyte and the rest of Eastern Visayas.

Not for his bribery of the members of Congress to force the enactment of the widely opposed Reproductive Health Law and the impeachment and removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Not for his failure to follow the Supreme Court directive to file charges against all those involved in the manipulation and misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which the High Court has declared unconstitutional.

Not for his grandfather’s wartime treason against the Filipino people, and his late father’s own in exposing Marcos’s national security project to secure the nation’s rights over Sabah, which was incorporated into the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 over the strongest objections of the Philippine government.

Not for all the lapses in judgment and language that have routinely adorned his public discourse since 2010.

And not for allowing a crooked electoral process to install him as president, for which he has not shown the slightest moral and psychological fitness and intellectual or administrative competence.

Pride, as a function of megalomania, has prevented Aquino from seeing himself at fault in anything where he could find someone else to blame for his own excesses, failures or mistakes. It could be a disease, and it seems to be one of his strongest qualities. Because of this, he may not even recognize the favor that his critic-defenders are trying to do for him in asking that he merely apologize for something that demands nothing less than his immediate departure from office.

Unless calling on him to apologize were but part of a “damage-control operation” to lessen the public anger against him, and about which he had been briefed beforehand, he could end up going after those demanding his apology with the same fury as he would go after those who want him out. This would be most unfortunate. But it cannot be discounted.

For this is how Aquino has reacted to the PNP-Board of Inquiry report and the Senate inquiry report, both of which tried to treat him with kid gloves. He has called both reports “inaccurate, incomplete, unfounded and speculative,” just because they failed to whitewash everything 1,000 percent.

He has yet to comment on the House hearings, where his allies still tried to be protective of his interests, but where tougher questions were asked. Some members of the House had submitted written questions for the President and his Cabinet. These were not asked, first, because Aquino was neither present nor represented by a competent counsel or spokesman at the hearings, and also because his partymates obviously still wanted to spare him of any embarrassment.

The co-chairs of the hearings, Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer of the Committee on Public Order and Safety, and Rep. Jim Saliman Hataman of the Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, could have asked Malacañang to answer the questions either on video or by written text. But this was not done, and we are all the poorer for it. For instance, from Abakada Party List Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz of the House minority group, the following questions should have been answered:

1) Mr. President, you have debunked the findings of the PNP-BOI and the Senate, but you have not said one word about the 35-page MILF report. Does this mean you agree with the contents, narration of facts, and conclusions of said report? (In its report, the MILF maintains that the members of its armed force are “combatants” (as in war), and that the taking of the firearms and personal belongings of the slain SAF commandos was customary behavior in war. Instead of the MILF turning over the killers of the SAF commandos to the government for criminal prosecution, the government should be paying reparations to the MILF and the civilian victims during the firefight.) Does Aquino, or any member of his Cabinet, agree with this?

2) What exactly is the truth, and who is to be believed? Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that Aquino’s views were never sought by the PNP-BOI, but his co-spokesman said there was a request to interview the President, but that it was coursed through him, and could not be relayed to Aquino early enough because of his “workload.”

3) Nine other operations were said to have been conducted against the international terrorist-targets in Mamasapano prior to Oplan Exodus. Of these six were in Mamasapano, two in Lanao Sur, and one each in Basilan and Sulu. What were the timelines? In the nine previous operations, did you maintain or disregard the established PNP chain of command? Did you also use the SAF as your “force provider”? Was there better coordination between the PNP and the AFP in the previous operations? What explains the alleged lack of coordination under Exodus?

The same question should have been asked of Roxas: Did he have any participation in any of the previous nine operations, or was he kept out of the loop in all nine as well? If he was, did he ever ask Aquino how he could ever repair the apparent lack of confidence?

For Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, Acting PNP Chief Leonardo Espina, and AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang, the following question should have been asked:

• You were aware on Jan. 25, 2015 that the SAF commander and the 55th Special Action Company were pinned down by the MILF and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and were desperately calling for reinforcement. You were also aware that the 6th Infantry Division was just around the corner waiting to be mobilized. Why did you not make sure that the SAF commandos were reinforced? Why did you allow Commander Pangilinan of the 6th Infantry Division to exercise the political decision of withholding reinforcement at the height of the battle, allegedly because of “the peace process” which at that point had already broken down, precisely because of the ongoing massacre of the SAF commandos?

Now, after it had become known that the MILF chief negotiator, who had signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and all related documents, upon which the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is based, had been using an assumed name–Mohagher Iqbal–rather than his real name, (which he has refused to reveal to the public), to conduct the negotiations with the Aquino government, and to sign all the documents on behalf of the MILF, (in violation of the Revised Penal Code which prohibits the use of an alias or assumed name in any legal document), it seemed absolutely necessary for the House or the hearings as such to have taken a position on the validity of the documents signed, and specifically of Babala, which is a direct output of the CAB.

Shouldn’t the House have ordered the parties to go back to the drawing board with a new and properly credentialed MILF negotiator after that? Why did the House fail to take such a position? And what gives Malacañang and its pro-Malaysian lackeys to push the Babala as though its infirmities did not exist?

Is it enough for Aquino to simply apologize for all this as well? Let us agree that an apology has become indispensable, but it should be only as the first step toward Aquino declaring “I quit.” We do not have space for this now, but in our next column, we shall try to demonstrate why this is the only way to help Aquino survive as a human being, and for our country to survive as a civilized society, with some pretensions to a normally-functioning constitutional democratic order.

fstatad@gmail.com

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19 Comments

  1. eltee mulawin on

    >>> Filipino People of the Philippines !!!! Either this senate and congress enacted or not HUWAG KALIMUTAN ANG MGA PAGBABAGO o REFORMS NAGAWA, GINAWA AT GAGAWIN PA AYON SA MALAKANYANG DOGIES AT PINUNO NILA NA SAYAD ANG UTAK. NARITO ANG MGA REFORMS NI BSC-AQUINO3RD NA TATANGGAPIN NG ATING MGA MAMAMAYAN PILIPINO. IT IS THEVERY FIRST TIEM IN THE PHILIPPINE POLITICAL AND GOVERNMENTAL HISTORY.
    1). PAGBALAHURA SA OMBUDSMAN CHIEF AT SUPREME COURT CHIEF OF JUSTICE -DAHIL SA ILLEGAL NA DAP FUNDS.
    2). PAGWAWALANG BAHALA SA MGA PULO O ISLA NG BANSA TULAD NG PANATAG SHOAL (malapit sa Zambalez).
    3). PAGKUKUBLI O PAGTATAGO NG KASALANAN NG MGA KAALYADO NG KANIYANG PARTIDO.
    4). PAGSISIRA SA REPUTASYON AT KATAUHAN NG MGA POTENTIAL NA OPPOSITION.
    5). PAKIKISABUWATAN SA REBELDE AT TERRORISTA PARA MAGKAROON NG SARILI O HIWALAY NA BANSA SA PAMAMAGITAN NG CAB-BBL.
    6). NAKIKIPAGSUNDO SA PEKE O HUWAD NA TAO AT ILLEGAL NA KASUNDUAN.
    7). ANG PAGGAMIT NG ELECTRONIC MACHINE (PCOS) NA PALPAK, ILLEGAL O
    LABAG SA BATAS O PANUNTUNAN.

    8). MALAMPAYA, MRT, DAP +PDAF, PNP at DND PURCHASING SCANDALS.

  2. I think we have reached a point of no return. Benigno refuses to apologize and to step down. Both steps are necessary and he is not about to volunteer for either. And we keep waiting in the wing, for what? Hoping that he will realize the error of his ways and do as we hoped? Well, he is not about to. This time, it is imperative that a decisive action is taken to either continue towards a real conclusion or to give up.

    Us giving up, is not acceptable. But the time for talking and going through all the points raised so far against this treasonous president is over. So I am addressing this question to the National Transformation Council and what you referred to as the sea of Filipinos? What is your next move? A response to this question can no longer wait. Your answer better be definite and solid. Otherwise, the sea of Filipinos and the momentum this Transformation Council has reached to date, will start to dissipate.

  3. victor m. hernandez on

    The CAB is a political settlement act, it is legitimate, bu not necessarily a legal act. It is a political act, the negotiation, that is. The BBL if and when it is enacted into law is a result of a legal act of the Legislature. The enactment of a law excludes Iqbal as a signatory of that law because he is not a lawmaker or a duly elected representative of the Pilipino people. He is a rebel, as he claimed that he is. The CAB provides MILF negotiators security and protection (from arrest or prosecution). If and when the BBL and the ceasefire agreement fails, and therefore the whole political negotiation fails, than all guarantee of security and protection to the MILF negotiators are off. The government can run after them and put them to jail for their rebellion. They will be political prisoners. Meanwhile non-peace or war will prevail in the conflict areas of Mindanao. It is therefore the duty and obligation of the legislature to support the peace process no matter how hard it is. The lawmakers must harness their courage, perseverance, and patience in order to peace in Mindanao, and for the whole country. Instead of looking for deal breaker, like a nom de guerre, the lawsmakers must focus on the fruits of peace: development and progress of the people in Mindanao. The iconic wooden footbridge in Mamasapano should instead be replaced with a strong bridge over trouble waters.

  4. Akoy nagtataka bakit yong Blacking force 55 ay hindi nag dig ng foxhole. Kasi bilang blacking force nagiiexpect sila ng inkwentro at sa position nila open and flat area kailangan sila magdig ng foxhole..

  5. ——————————
    ang gulo na talaga ng gobyerno natin,,,dami pa rin gutom,hirap at patayan..

    dagdag pasensya? pakiusap? eleksyon? coup? walang katapusang turuan?

    husga bayan ko!……ang pagbabago ay higit na kinakailangan….kailan man…
    ——————————

  6. I am tired of articles about PNoy, Binay, etc.. Do you have an article to castigate China for encroaching in our territory. This is more important for Filipinos!!

  7. jose espiritu on

    ang hirap kasi sa anti pnoy group, kayo2 lang. ayaw niyong hingan ng tulong ang ibang me alam how pnoy can be ousted. tatad & co know na me nagsulat ng people power maniesto. why don’t you sound him out? don’t you notice, kayo2 lang, walang nangyayari? wa epek ang genius nyo, tactics ad strategies. you aware of tactical alliance?

  8. Amnata Pundit on

    This retardate is not going to apologize, and neither will he resign. The only way short of mounting an armed revolt is to OCCUPY COMELEC and make sure that we get an honest clean election in 2016. Any group that says it is for change but refuses to go all the way against the Smartmatic/Comelec cheating machine must be a secret defender of the status quo.

  9. Maybe Aquino does not have to quit. After he apologizes, he could just say he won’t do anything until his term ends. Ha!

  10. This idiot Aquino will neither apologize nor step down. This character believes that he is above the law, and above everybody else. I doubt it if this is even talked about within his inner circle of like-minded lowlifes.

    He can be driven forcefully from Malacanang. But who will do it? Catapang, Espina, Drilon, Belmonte? They have long been compromised.

    A very permissive option is to wait for 2016. Let us all be vigilant and break this stanglehold (or chokehold) of the yellows and their oligarch-cohorts on the destiny of this country.

  11. Whatever we say or shout to high heavens for Aquino’s ouster for his numerous blunders and indescritions, norhing will happen. First, where can we generate the arned element? Our AFP and PNP are greatly corrupted by this government of Aquino through calibrated releases of benefits (bribe) to ensure their loyalty. Take the case of the 19 scout rangers killed and mutilated by the MILF in Al Barqa. Aquino’s action to give justice to them until now is not being demonstrated. Instead, some generals or officers were court martialed. Now, the Mamasapano fiasco which resulted in the death of 44 SAF commandos. Surely justice will elude from those dead commandos and the grim possibility is Aquino will reward those MILF barbarians with their BBL. What is worse, Napenas or Purisima will be the ones to be prosecuted and possibly jailed. Second, how can he be constitutionaly removed through impeachment when Congress has been bribed and unabashedly acting as puppets and mad dogs for Aquino. The PDAF and DAP anomalies bribing them can ensure Aquino’s continued stay in office. That’s the Congress guarantee. Third, where can we get the warm bodies to support any mass action? The Filipino people is being afflicted with societal paralysis and apathy. Constant pursuit to look for day to day meals for the poverty-stricken mass make them oblivious of these political developments crying for necessary mass actions. Eric Hoffer, a noted social scientist, rightly said that fanaticism can never come out from those dirt poor since their priority is to fill their stomach. As we can remember, the EDSA 1 and 2 were populated mostly by the middle class brainwashed by the oligarchs for their own interests. EDSA 3? They were the real poor masa gathered by Lombao from the slums to support the Masa King Erap. Look what happened. They were practically runned over by the establishment’s loyal forces. Now, where can the NTC get their warm and armed bodies? Llamas, Aquino’s political adviser, being a former political instigator and rebel, know these factors by heart. This country will continue to suffer for some time more because of our societal immaturity and insensitivity. Aquino is assured to rule until 2016. But, vengeance is ours afterwards. That’s what we are. Cowards and vengeful.

  12. Aquino should apologize to appease the grieving families of fallen 44. Congress should stop supporting the passage of BBL, it’s part of the designs of Malaysians using their trained terrorists MILF to stretch their land grabbing prowess after grabbing oil rich Sabah. Let’s unite to campaign for the move of Bayanko.ph to revise our constitution for its goal of a better Philippines through federalism, removal of political dynasties and ultimately for the fair distribution of nation’s wealth among Filipinos eliminating those greedy oligarchs and dirty politicians and reducing poverty to a minimum including the endangered OFWs to return home with opportunities to work in their own country.

  13. BS Aquino tulo laway must apologize , but he must also go to JAIL , not in Munti but
    In Mandaluyong Mental Hospital with diagnosis of being a Sociopath . He can take with
    Commander Pangilinan Alyas peace process and Purisima ,please make sure they go to National Mental Hospital , Pangilinan and Purisima must also be stripped of their
    Ranks to private third class .

  14. If Pnoy apologizes it is a sign that he accepts or his guilt of breaking the law. The issues of Mamasapano and Oplan Exodus is beyond sorry and apologies. It is expected that he is not talking about the case any longer because anything he says can be used against him in the future. It is a sign that he is ready to face the law once his term is over.People must support the families of the SAF patriots who died last Jan.25. They must continue to make noise about the incident. Justice is not attained when monetary compensation is given by the government.Justice is not negotiated in this manner.They can still file a class action suit if they want to. Politicians are callous souls, it is wishful thinking to expect apologies.We all thought that this President is classy and high in character..but our hearts were broken coz he is not.The only way to oust him is by a military coup. Led by Espina,Roxas,Purisima, and Napenas….of all people…dahil inilaglag sila ng Presidente! a complete turn around/withrawal of support…But that is impossible to happen coz they won’t do it to benefit Binay. So our country is basically hijacked by the Aquino administration wether we like it or not. It all comes down to people and responsible voting.Lack of option and choices during the election has a lot to do with the problem of our country as well. Yung mga karapat dapat na candidate na pu-push back dahil ang napupuwesto ay yung paborito at na a point dahil madaling i build up ng media. Na focus na ang media at tao sa pag question sa Presidente pero nakakalimot na sa pag pressure sa MILF na isuko ang mga MILF members na pumatay sa SAF.We pinoys can not accept the MILF claims that their participation in the encounter was justified! The SAF are defending a Philippine territory. Maguindanao is still Philippines and that wil be the case forever..it does not belong to the Muslims of Mindanao.We can not give 75 billion pesos to them and say ayan ang pera bahala kayo sa buhay nyo! Parang sa bahay ng isang iresponsableng ama, “Anak heto ang pera pampanood ng sine, huwag mo muna akong istorbohin…that is not a responsible governance.Yung ganitong diskarte ay common din sa mga bahay-bahay ng maraming pinoy. It is the “culture” that must change and it must start in every household.

  15. No amount of cleverness will save the unrepentant Lying Psycho. He cannot evade justice nor escape the wrath of patriotic Filipinos. It’s just a matter of time now.

  16. And he wasn’t even sorry for bypassing and simply ignoring the strong recommendations of CCP and NCCA nominating MISS NORA AUNOR as NATIONAL ARTIST despite her exemplary contributions elevating the Philippines to the international moviedom!!!

  17. We must not also forget the killings and mutilations of our 19 Army Soldiers from the Special Forces on October 18, 2011 at AL BARKA BASILAN by the Joint forces of the MILF, Abusayaff and their supporters. The MILF COMDR DAN LAKSAW ASNAWI of 114 Base Command, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) was involved in this brutal killing of our soldiers. Our Liar in Chief promised an ALL OUT JUSTICE but nothing Justice had ever happened for the 19 Army SF soldiers but instead gave ALL OUT JUSTICE TO OUR SOLDIERS BY COURT MARTIAL!!! MILF COMDR DAN LAKSAW ASNAWI and his men, Abusayaff and their supporters were never arrested!

    • 6 of the 19 Army SF Soldiers surrendered after running out of ammunitions but were hacked and shot to Death. Some were begging
      to be spared and this could be heard on the radio of the 1st SF Battalion. All of the 19 were brutally killed, mutilated and robbed of their issued Firearms/Ammunitions/Personal belongings.

  18. sonny dela cruz on

    For the betterment of the country and uplift the economic living condition of the Filipino people. B.S. Aquino should be forceD out of the presidency NOW and stop all the people behind him benefiting from the resources of the country. The Philippines is facing a lot of problems and need attention especially the China fiasco. This is a matter of national security and survival. BBL is NULL AND VOID since the start of the negotiation. Write your Congressman and Senators to stop the BBL hearing it’s a waste of tax payers money. There is nothing to review the BBL because the BBL is dead. Focus on the present crisis in MRT, ELECTRIC POWER, HUNGER and the Chinese encroachment in Philippine waters. Appropriate money for the AFP to buy ANTI-MISSLES(PATRIOT), FIGHTER PLANES, MORE DESTROYERS AND ANTI-MINE SWEEPERS, AND OTHER MODERN MILITARY HARDWARES. Start training civilians to prepare for a possible conflict in the China sea. The Philippines will need trained man power to defend the country. Stop talking about BBL, it’s dead.