A TALE LIKE RASHOMON

Multiple versions of responsibility in Mamasapano tragedy

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Amidst the clashing claims that the reopened Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano tragedy was a triumph for Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, and that it was a dud for failing to produce new evidence, I will now venture my own take on the controversy.

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I spent my weekend in a punishing review of the published records on the incident, the multiple inquiries, and the statements of leading actors in this drama. I have diligently watched both the initial hearing and the reopened inquiry on live TV.

A Filipino version of Rashomon    
At the end of it all, I reached a somewhat enigmatic conclusion: Mamasapano, as a tragedy and controversy, has unfolded as a Filipino version of Akira Kurosawa’s classic film, Rashomon.

As some readers will remember, the Kurosawa film was a trail-blazing examination of “the relativism and unknowability of truth” and the mutability of human nature.

Set in 11th-century Japan, Rashomon examines a brutal rape and murder from four different perspectives, each one claiming to be the truth.

The Mamasapano tragedy has become like Rashomon because of the way different parties and groups have shaded the question of accountability and responsibility to favor their interests. It is astonishing for the way responsibility has been thrown in different directions, and in surprising ways.

I list down here five perspectives or versions of responsibility for the Mamasapano tragedy.

1. President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s perspective: “I am responsible because I am the father of the nation…”

In his second address to the nation on the Mamasapano disaster on February 6, 2015, President Aquino boldly took responsibility for the tragedy.

He said in his address:
“I am the father of the nation and 44 of my sons were killed. We can’t turn back the hands of time, the tragedy happened under my term; I will carry this burden up to the last days of my life. They were my responsibility, together with the entire Special Action Force, in this operation, including those who extricated them and who put their lives in danger.”

The President offered not a word of explanation or reference to his role in the failed operation or on his actions on the day of the tragedy.

2. Perspective of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile on Mamasapano: President Aquino is responsible for the tragedy based on his failure to lead.

At the reopened inquiry, Senator Enrile laid down eight issues and specifications against the President that indicated the extent of his responsibility for what happened in Mamasapano.

The eight issues are:
First, President Aquino actively and directly participated in the planning and preparation of Oplan Exodus

Second, President Aquino deliberately compartmented or compartmentalized Oplan Exodus to himself and Deputy Director General (DDG) Purisima, so that top officials of the DND, DILG, the AFP and the PNP were effectively excluded from the operation.

Third, President Aquino was the approving authority of Oplan Exodus

Fourth, during the execution of Oplan Exodus, President Aquino was fully aware of what was going on, because he was receiving updated messages from Purisima

Fifth, President Aquino wantonly disregarded the command systems of the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).

Sixth, President Aquino was actually, intentionally and directly dealing with a person who before and at the time of the Mamasapano massacre was not an active part of the command system of either the AFP and the PNP.

Seventh, President Aquino did not make any effective decision or issue any effective order or do any effective action as President of the Republic of the Philippines to prevent the barbaric slaying and slaughter of the PNP-SAF troopers

Eighth and finally, President Aquino hid himself from any responsibility and accountability for the Mamasapano debacle, by hiding behind DDG Purisima.

3. Perspective of Grace Poe and Senate committees: President Aquino is ultimately responsible for what happened in Mamasapano.

Senator Poe did not explain what she meant by “ultimately responsible” or how she arrived at this conclusion.

Her executive summary of the report said: “As the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines, the President exercises supreme operational command of the nation’s military forces. The President also controls all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He wields the awesome powers of government, and has its vast resources at his disposal.

“The President’s decision not to use these resources at that instance, must be explained by him. The President is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the mission.”

4. AFP perspective on Mamasapano: former SAF chief General Napenas is to blame for the Mamasapano debacle.

At the reopened Senate inquiry, the AFP laid the entire blame for the tragedy on former Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas.

Former military operations chief, Maj. Gen. Angelito de Leon, conducted the AFP’s video presentation on Mamasapano.

He declared: “Napenas failed to provide or exercise combat leadership and commandership to his troops and when everything was said and done — he blamed everyone, including the President and the AFP for his failures.”

The military was kept in the dark about the high-risk mission that targeted Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and were only told when the operation was already ongoing.

5. Perspective of general Napenas: I was made a fall guy for the debacle; the SAF commandos were abandoned in the field of battle.

The AFP and the president’s Senate allies sought to debunk Napenas by laying the blame for Mamasapano on Napenas.

If the scapegoat strategy does not work in the movies, it stumbles even more in real life.

No fall guy is ever helpless.

Getulio Napenas could surprise us all. He is running for the Senate in the May elections.

He has a powerful message to spread during the campaign. He will personify the SAF 44.

Methinks the people will listen to him.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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14 Comments

  1. Even though Napenas has opined that the army, or whatever, is compromised, as the commander in chief, the buck stops at Pinoy in terms of making what should be the most responsible decision expected in such a situation/at that time. Napenas can not be blamed. He didnt keep it to himself but was talkingto /speaking and discussing with/addressing, the president-the commander in chief. Napenas is not the commander in chief. Can we surmise that the commander in chief of the armed forces of the philippines in response to Napenas, hare brained as he is, said, “Ok, sabi mo chief, e, go ahead then” he he he

  2. Even though Napenas has opined that the army, or whatever, is compromised, as the commander in chief, the buck stops at Pinoy in terms of making what should be the most responsible decision expected in such a situation/at that time. Napenas can not be blamed. He didnt keep it to himself but was talkingto /speaking and discussing with/addressing, the president-the commander in chief. Napenas is not the commander in chief. Can we surmise that the commander in chief of the armed forces of the philippines in response to Napenas said, “Ok, sabi mo chief, e, go ahead then” he he he

  3. Catapang, Gazmin, Guerrero and Pangilian , all graduates of Fort del Pilar School of
    Business, should be remembered as those who abandoned the SAF 44.

    The evil that men do ………

  4. Napenas knows items that he did not expose during the hearing. Take note that he stated that Enrile might have more information that were not expose in the previous hearings. There is no doubt that Napenas is responsible. He is not the fall guy that he wants to portray. He was given by Pinoy all the resources like additional soldiers for the mission. Napenas SAF just did not follow instructions. That is the truth. Napenas cannot blame the army for not supporting his men. Is it not his intention not to tell the army regarding the mission. Now, he is crying like a stupid baby that the army did not support them. In the place place, the army is not included in your plan. , right. So do not expect any help from them. You even rediculed them that the army cannot be trusted because they were recompromised. That means there is an informat in the army , spy for the MILF, right. That is what you mean.

    • How can a small fry block rescue of his men for over 7 hours?

      Only idiots will not understand that someone at high level just blocked all. No need an MBA to understand this simple equation!

    • You are right about Napenas not trusting the Army with regards to the secrecy of the operation, but that is not an excuse to sacrifice the SAF 44. They should have come to the rescue, period.

  5. Sir,
    Greetings of Peace!

    The way it goes, we are not just petrified in disbelief of the tragic incident,Re: mamapasano massacre…We’ve been mongoloid!

  6. laguatanlawzen.com on

    The responsibility should not stop at the middle but should rather go up to the last ladder of command – PRES. BENIGNO S. AQUINO, “alias” ABNOY.

  7. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Definitely, Napenas as it is is more believable than P-Noy and his henchmen combine. As our eyes were glued on TV during the senate hearing which Sen. Enrile requested, we could see in the looks of the resource persons their reactions to questions asked of them by the senator. The truth will come out and no amount of lies would ever erase the truth. God bless the Philippines.

  8. The most astonishing thing about it is, not one of the relatives of the SAF44 is blaming or mad at Napenas…only Pnoy and his cohorts…that should tell you something!

    Yes, I will vote for Napenas…and I believe him over all the generals and cabinet officials…even Grace Poe, the Manchurian foundlying…! FOUNDLYING…!

  9. I ‘ve been posting my honest opinion on what really happened in Mamasapano tragedy. The 5 million dollars price tag for Marwan’s head is the main reason of Mamasapano debacle. Aquino ket the operation to few of his trusted men and Napenas who think that the operation is just like walking in the park because of Abnoy and US government on his back, who thinks that if the operation will be successful, he will took all the credit and possibly a promotion. And in addition to that, he admitted that he did not even informed the operation to the AFP accusing them that he does not trust them or possibly does not want to share the credit if the operation become successful.

  10. Go on soldier! Don’t hold anything back, expose the culprits of these sordid affair for the sake of your comrades and for people. That animal in Malacanang and his cohorts should be jailed for murder.