Mamasapano folly planted in Tokyo in 2011


IN trying to make sense of what happened in Mamasapano last January 25, and why it’s so hard for President Aquino to clean up the mess, it is best to remember that this tragedy opened its first act in Tokyo on 4 August 2011.

That was the day, the month and the year President Aquino embarked on his grandiose plan for peace in Mindanao by secretly meeting with the chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

It was there and it was then that Aquino first displayed his recklessness, his amateurism, and his contempt for protocols and procedures in high office.

It was there and it was then that government peace advisers and negotiators showed the worthlessness of the advice they were giving Aquino, and their fundamental blindness to the real situation in Mindanao.

It was there and it was then that MILF leaders and even its base commanders saw close-up what kind of leader our republic has (totally unknowing of peace and security issues) and how needy he was to cut a deal.

Unannounced, unprecedented and bizarre

The meeting took place on Thursday, August 4, 2011, in a hotel near Narita Airport in Tokyo. The affair was so spur-of-the-moment, Aquino left Manila unannounced. It was so hush-hush, the summiteers did not find time to go to  downtown Tokyo. It was so hurried, Aquino held talks with Murad that Thursday night, and he and his party left Tokyo at 10 am the following morning.

Ebrahim went to the meeting accompanied by key MILF leaders like Chief Peace Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, Political Affairs Chief Ghadzali Jaafar, and four of the MILF base commanders (to show military muscle perhaps)

Aquino went to the meeting accompanied by his most trusted advisers and colleagues: Chief Peace Negotiator (now Supreme Court Justice) Marvic Leonen; Peace Adviser Teresita Deles; Budget Secretary Florencio Abad; Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima; Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin , National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia, and presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.  (Abad and Purisima were there to assure the MILF of billions forthcoming if they cut a deal).

It was Leonen who explained to the media what transpired during the meeting, and it was Deles who provided a photo of the meeting. Lacierda for some reason was ordered to go mute.

Aquino and Ebrahim met for two hours and then posed for pictures with their respective entourages.

Leonen revealed at a press conference that it was Aquino who had sought the meeting. The clandestine meeting had been in the works since late June 2011.

Leonen said that during their talks Aquino and Murad agreed to “fast-track” the peace negotiations and that the implementation of any agreement must happen during the term of Mr. Aquino.

Leonen explained what transpired in the talks as follows:  “The meeting was cordial but consisted of a frank and candid exchange of their views about the frames of the continuing peace talks and some possible approaches that the parties can take to bring about a peaceful settlement.”

He revealed that Aquino presented “a pragmatic and principled view” on how the talks could move forward. The MILF head also presented “principled and pragmatic realities in terms of the negotiations and in terms of our country.”

Then, to assure everyone, he said:  “There was no secret deal made at the meeting.”

“The meeting was very cordial. I was in the room. I was the note-taker and I saw there was a certain chemistry between the chair of the MILF and the President,” Leonen said.

For its part, the MILF generously called Aquino’s secret diplomacy a “grand gesture” that gave “a tremendous boost to the peace process.”

Leonen said Japan was chosen for security reasons and because it is the closest member of the International Contact Group, a grouping of nations that seeks to promote trust between the two sides. The other members are Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Britain.

Back in Manila, Aquino must have relished the surprise of the entire nation about the diplomatic feat that he had pulled. He had cast the die for peace, and everyone must now live with it.

Country no fiefdom of Aquino

But the President’s meeting with the MILF rebel chief drew negative reactions from Congress, the media, and even the Foreign Affairs department.

One of the President’s close allies in the Senate, Sen. Francis Escudero, thought the President was ill-advised to meet personally with Murad, who is not even his counterpart. He said Deles should “protect the President from such things.”

In the House, the reaction was strong and stinging.

Then House Minority Leader  Edcel Lagman  said Aquino had broken his promise of full transparency and had taken unnecessary risks without getting  any tangible gains from the meeting with the MILF leader.

Lagman said: “The country is not the personal fiefdom of President Aquino.  Any presidential move which has a bearing on national interest and national security must be transparent and discussed with the Cabinet and the National Security Council.”

At the Department of Foreign Affairs, one diplomat who asked not to be named said what the President did was “an act of treason.”

She said: “A President is not supposed to go on secret missions. A head of state can never be the equal of a rebel leader, but [Aquino] probably does not know that. He should be meeting with someone on his level.” The Department of Foreign Affairs was left completely out of the loop.

That August 2011, Aquino already showed the tendencies and misjudgments that would prove costly for the Mamasapano mission.

Aquino showed that he would ignore protocols and procedures to do what he wants. He left the DFA and the National Security Council out of the loop in his diplomacy. This would mutate to his ignoring of the chain of command in the Mamasapano operation.

Once Aquino believes in a particular initiative (like impeaching Corona), he will go for broke, and will not suffer opposition.

Aquino does not begin an initiative by getting all the information and the best counsel he can muster. Instead he just defers to hirelings, like his peace advisers.

The Aquino administration’s original judgment and apprehension of the situation in Mindanao never had much to do with facts; it was rather just a reflection of prejudices and hunches. Aquino was obsessed to show up President Arroyo and prove that his peace agenda is better. And he was waylaid by the inducement proferred by Deles and Leonen that he could win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Moral confusion and lunacy

From 2011 onward, Aquino would betray a deep moral confusion about the serious stakes in Mindanao, and a naivete about the real threat posed by terrorism.

It was just, as some have charged, like a computer game to him.

This lunacy would have  real consequences in the operation to get  Marwan and Usman in Mamasapano. It would cost the lives of 44 SAF commandos, 18 rebel fighters, and several civilians.

This lunacy led Aquino to appoint a suspended police general to head the operation. It led him to authorize a time-on-target policy that effectively bypassed  the chain of command.

Most of all, this lunacy deluded him into thinking that the agreements he had signed with the MILF leaders already guaranteed a sound level of peace and stability.

Lacking realism in the planning and the shaping, President Aquino’s policy toward the MILF and the peace talks has blown up in his face.
And now, he must pay.


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  1. Those comments are worth for contemplation. May God saved us from fragmentation and we can find a leader who is truly for service of our country.

  2. Everyone is blaming every all congressman and politician for the mess in our country.

    We should blame ourselves for putting these people in the place of power.

    Guess who are incompetent, Tayo na bumoto sa mga ito.

    Worse part, pinaiikot pa tayo ng journalist.

    Pare pareho lang sila, they are of the same kind with the politician.


    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      Kung ikaw ay bomoto sa kanila, ikaw yon sapagkat di ko sila ibinoto. Kaya nga lang kung tutoo man na nakararami ang bomoto at hindi dahil sa kalokohan ng hocus-PCOS machine, kailangan sumunod tayo sa alituntunin sa isang demokrasyang bansa. Kaya sa ngayon ipanalangin natin na pagpalain tayo ng Poon Maykapal.

  3. Take the Mamasapano incident as it is and analyze careful to prevent recurrence.
    Decision made in the past were based on the environment at that point.
    Everyone has a flaw including Makabenta. It is always easy to blame the President. But come to think about it, only this President show significant changes specially in our defense department who neglected even by General Ramos.
    Economy is is good shape and people fear the corruption. Only this president send the Former Senate President Enrile, Estrada and Revilla to jail is unprecedented.

    Only this President stand against the China bully.

    Guys have a mind of your own, these journalist need to dig issues for their own interest and livelihood. Take step backward and understand deeply what they are saying . Is there any new analysis of this case? Wala, every journalist are trying to use this incident to advance their interest. They riding on this hot issue.

    Wala kang mapili sa kanila.

    • Hector David on

      Tell me if you and the 90% of the Filipinos live better under this regime then continue with your pprIse of this administration , more descriptive as a joke

  4. history is really repeating itself. years ago, Cory Aquino resurrecting the dying MNLF. and now her son Noynoy, giving steroid to MILF so that it can fight the Philippine government and kill more soldiers and policemen.

    like mother, like son.

    • Hector David on

      Mother and son , mother and son ,,,,, both weighed us down to no end while they and their cronies wallow in.billions

  5. “Eight traitors whose names I shall never forget: 1. Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III, 2. Marvic Leonen, 3. Teresita Deles, 4. Florencio Abad, 5. Cesar Purisima, 6. Voltaire Gazmin, 7. Cesar Garcia, and 8. Edwin Lacierda.”

    Ito pala ang mga contemporary, modern day MAKAPILIS.
    Noon daw panahon nang mga Hapon circa WW11, ang mga Pinoy na mga Makapili ay nakasuot nang mga bayong sa ulo, at hindi sila dumayo pa sa Japan upang ipangalandakan ang paggiging COLLABORATORS sa mga Hapon.
    Oh, magtataka pa kayo eh ang lolo at ninuno nang Simeon Penoy da3rd eh famosong Makapili ng panahon ng mga Hapon.

  6. This self-righteous lunatic must
    be stopped before he can do more
    harm to our country.
    Andl let us not forget his other cohorts who capitulated with the
    MILF rebels and bandidos.

  7. Amnata Pundit on

    Lets look at the big picture. This treachery started when Ninoy Aquino exposed the secret project to infiltrate Sabah during Marcos time to earn pogi points for his fight against Marcos. This resulted in the Mindanao War of the 70s which the Republic under Marcos won. But then his low IQ widow resurrected the already marginalized Misuari because he was a “victim” of Marcos. Then FVR inexplicably gave the MILF their camps FOR FREE ! This was followed by the return of those camps backs to the MILF by GMA after Erap, at the cost of hundreds of soldiers lives, had expelled them in a two month military campaign. Now we have this Boy Sayad giving away part of Mindanao, WITH HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF PESOS A YEAR AS A PARTING GIFT !?! Ninoy Aquino and the yellow regime he spawned is the Satanic Scourge that has been unleashed on this country. I will even go so far as to say that this started when the Catholic Church first visited its blight on this island paradise 500 years ago. What have we ever done as a people to deserve this?

  8. That was not just planted in Tokyo, it was purchased for 5 million – downpayment only.

  9. When President Marcos initiated the failed invasion of Sabah that rightly belong to us, he is being loyal to his country. But what the father of Pnoy did in exposing the plot to the US and Malaysia is what? Is it not being a traitor? Yet we considered him a hero. Marcos sent Misuari away, there was peace for a while in mindanao, Cory sent him back and the war resumed. Now here is Pnoy, the incorruptible one. I will never have a problem if this country will be annexed to Malaysia as member of its federation because I have far more trusted malaysian and singaporean, But I still chose to be loyal to my one and only country.

  10. “Aquino’s policy toward the MILF and the peace talks has blown up in his face. And now he must pay.”

    Most of all, WE the Filipino people must pay for Aquino’s folly if we let him get away with it, In fact, the SAF 44 already paid for it with their lives.

    Thank you, Mr Makabenta, for your incisive piece. It’s the clearest warning yet of the grave danger to which Aquino has exposed our country.

  11. Samuel Santos on

    Eight traitors whose names I shall never forget: 1. Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III, 2. Marvic Leonen, 3. Teresita Deles, 4. Florencio Abad, 5. Cesar Purisima, 6. Voltaire Gazmin, 7. Cesar Garcia, and 8. Edwin Lacierda.

  12. P, Akialamiro on

    It’s clear, the “cart was put ahead of the horse”; no wonder it was a big flop!. President of the country meeting with the rebel leader? Onli in da Pilipins. “Pro” to call?

  13. chthonic monster on

    sneaky bastard! and wasn’t it in this tryst that penoy gave ikbal PhP 5 Mn? well, F*** a duck! WTF was that for a tip? son-of-a-gun he loves to shower gifts to all the wrong people for the wrong reason. coming from our taxes, what does he care?

    • Yeah right! I remember that 5 million pesos Abnoy gave to the MILF, that’s all over the news before. What happen to that, is that peoples money or from his own pocket? Is that an honorarium for meeting with him in Japan.

  14. Ano ba ang maaasahan mo sa isang ABNO na pangulo kundi mga puro kapalpakan. Wala ng inatupag ang gago na yan kundi ang paghihiganti, pagsisinungaling. katamaran, paghithit ng sigarilyo, magvideo games at iba pang kagaguhan.

  15. At this point, all of us concerned citizens of the Republic of the Philippines should have pressed the panic button by now. Let us unite in prayers that those people sorrounding and supporting this fake president be enlightened and give up their selfish motives but instead serve our country first and foremost.

    Sama-sama tayong ipagsigawan ang – “ABNOY, STEP DOWN”!

  16. . When I first saw Aquino gleefully posing for photogs in the middle of the crowd in the Trece Martires covered court during his campaign, I immediately sense a kind of childishness in this person. And childish he became to cause the death of 44 cops in the marshlands of Mamasapano. The Mamasapano operation was so amateurish that 1) no helicopter was used to bring and extract the attacking force, which should have been limited to hust a sqauad, since the Americans have pinpointed the exact location of Marwan. Why 300 SAF tgroopers were sent to cross a wooden bridge of logs is so amateurish that it is like this presidency which has resulted in MRT shutdowns, traffic congestion in MM, port congestion, PDAF/DAP and losing the case in the SC, delayed housing for Yolanda victims, no plans at all for relocation of informal settlers, etc. Well, we get the president we elect.

  17. AQUINO SHOULD BE KICKED OUT OF OFFICE– ASAP – for all the treasonous actions he has done.

    He does not deserve to be in Malacanang one more minute/

  18. erik tanumtanum on

    You dare calling PNOY a lunatic? And his entire presidency an amateur hour of statesmanship? Well, I agree.

  19. The problem we have with Pres Aquino is that he never promised us a rose garden. Instead, we gave him a garden full of roses. Now we are complaining that he does not know how to choose the best rose in the garden.

    Our best option today is to choose Duterte as our next leader. Forget about Manila-based politicos – they are simply media creations and great pretenders.

    The gentleman from Davao is gutsy, brave, and has great determination not to mention his string of achievements. More importantly, he has a grand design for the country. So why not try him?

    But if he fails, then we have to examine his rose garden.

    • From a plain lunatic to a dumb megalomaniac who think he is above the law, I prefer the bumbling fool rather than a homicidal maniac.

  20. addendum: the fool is now reaping the fruits of his folly! he thought he is god when he won the presidency and can do no wrong… now the real and only God is dealing with him -yet, still without remorse as what is expected of a fool!

  21. Had PNOY knew a basic lesson in our history: “you can never trust a moro” He would not have entered without consulting filipino leaders who know and understand our history. The attempt to capture Zamboanga was an attempt to include it among the ARMM areas. How the allied nations are traying to contain the Calipate making in Syria and Iraq, should be a lesson to learn.

  22. The most expectation we could get in the coming days is that those Malacanang lapdogs including close allies Drilon and Belmonte in the two Houses in Congress will be goaded to pass the BBL before the final SONA. Budget chief Abad will do the tricks secretly with these legislators. During SONA, Aquino will be very proud to announce his pet bill BBL passed (with the strong clapping applause of Deles, Ferrer and other allies in the background) and enacted by our Congress including the usual high GDP rating due mainly to high business successes of the few oligarchs and our OFW dollar earnings and not from any output out of our local manufacturing and agricultural industry as our rich neighbors like Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore or Japan are doing. What a mess our country is in with an abnormal, reckless, lunatic or psychiatric disorder person in our President we have. Now our country will be in danger of being dismembered or divided in having an area, let’s say, a sub-state in nature and it is possible it will spring to a situation that will someday put Mindanao to an independent island status. Other problems of the country will be put in the back burner, like the corruptions in all departments most notably the DOTC, DA and the DSWD. FOI bill will not be passed during the term of Aquino. No salary increases in all government institutions such as for teachers, soldiers, police and others will be in order. All lump sums in our new budget will be wiped-out and given to our tongressmen and senatongs and no more budget for calamities in the coming stormy months. All Filipinos will be forced to cheer up, dance and laugh when Aquino will finally get his Nobel Peace Prize award. Can we not just implement law and order in all areas of Mindanao strictly, maybe at all costs and improve the lives of the people thereat by giving livelihoods and delivering other socio-economic goods to them by which maybe peace will be attained?

  23. In other words, by your account, Mr. Makabenta, talaga palang ipapahamak tayo ng sira ang ulo nating illegitimate president. I thought so! That it would be dangerous to have a psychopath occupy the seat of power even if only for a day. The prediction of the soothsayer at the Buddhist temple in China visited by Cory during her reign has come true. That the son of Cory will bring untold disaster to the country. He is undoubtedly the “grave curse” or “salot” to the country.

    The National Transformation Council’s IMPERATIVE call for the Abnoy to STEP DOWN is most valid and necessary. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in worse situations.

  24. Mr.Yen Makabenta I could not agree more with you. That was the time these terrorists have seen the close-up view of the actual mental state of the president. From then on we have seen the agressiveness of the MILF to commit brutal killings of our soldiers and policemen.The MILF took advantage of the situation knowing that the president of the Philippines is a know-nothing president considering his mental instability. And here we are today witnessing the many crimes of this inept leader left and right. Until lately we the people were forced to decide on the issue of the constitutionality of his BBL. Today, the war is no longer between MILF versus the military but it is a war between MILF and AKKKino against the people of the Philippines and the Military. We found out lately that the president is not on the side of the people protecting the constituion but he is on the side with the MILF terorists. He never condemned the mamasapano massacre just like the deaths of the soldiers in the past in the hands of the MILF. Please continue to inform the people of the truth regarding this evil BBL. Mabuhay po kayo Sir. NO to BBL!