Not just the suspended PNP chief, Mr. President

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In his televised speech to the nation last Friday, President B. S. Aquino 3rd tried to mime “personal responsibility” for the police operation that resulted in the massacre of 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanaoon January 25—his late mother Cory Aquino’s 82nd birthday—but quickly exempted himself from its logical and necessary consequences.

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With a visible pallor of grief, Aquino accepted the resignation of his intimate shooting buddy and suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima, in an apparent effort to calm the nation’s anger over the mass slaughter of the 44 in the hands of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. But although Purisima had been portrayed as the “unseen principal player” in the botched operation, Aquino evidently had more to answer for it than the police chief himself.

Having just begun serving a six-month suspension from the Ombudsman on corruption charges since December, Purisima could not have inserted himself in the operation on his own. He was there because Aquino put him there. Thus the grieving widows and orphans want Aquino’s head, not Purisima’s, or anybody else’s. To them letting the 44 commandos die in the hands of the Moros by denying them reinforcement was Aquino’s decision rather than Purisima’s. And they call it treason.

True, many had long wanted to see Purisima not only fired as PNP chief but also punished for alleged corruption. They were scandalized when the Ombudsman merely suspended him for six months on Dec. 4, 2014. But nothing had prepared them to see him, after this, involved in Operation Wolverine against the Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and his Filipino confederate Abdubasit Usman, where Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and acting PNP chief Leonardo Espina—the two top officials below Aquino in the PNP operational chain of command—had been left out.

So many more ached to see Aquino pay the highest price not only for the death of the 44, but also for calling the MILF his “friends” and trying to reward them after the massacre with the swift passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (Babala) to create a new political entity for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the Moro National Liberation Front.

Purisima’s ouster was seen as a partial victory for Roxas who had asked Aquino to sack him, together with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, who heads the anti-terrorism council. Roxas was reported to have engaged Ochoa in a shouting match, which prompted the latter to call sick the next day and the former to cry over his drink with a Cabinet drinking buddy for the next two days. In the end Purisima alone was sacrificed. But he tried to claim on television that although he had provided “intelligence packets” for the project, he never issued any orders during the operation.

This was contradicted by SAF Director Getulio Napenas and other sources who claimed the operation was Purisima’s alone. How are we to know the truth now, given these conflicting claims? Who put the operation together? If Napenas was, in fact, the “ground commander,” who was the overall operations commander? Who was calling the shots from the base of operations?

With Roxas, Purisima, and Espina out of the chain of command, and Napenas merely receiving orders, who then was giving the orders? The only candidate here seems to be Aquino and no other. He was the overall operations commander. This was not unprecedented, since he likes to play soldier. In the September 2014 siege of Zamboanga, he commanded the operation from the Zamboanga naval station to exterminate a couple of hundred MNLF fighters and raze 10,000 civilian homes to the ground.

In his speech, Aquino, who turned 55 yesterday, tried to work the emotion of his audience. “I am the father of the nation and I lost 44 children who can never be brought back,” he said. And he promised to hunt down the terrorist Usman, who had escaped the raid, after Marwan was reported killed. But his demagoguery had no apparent impact upon the grieving widows and orphans and others. It is no great secret that the bachelor demagogue has never been accused of being fatherly to anyone; his televised statements three days after the massacre and then during the necrological services for the fallen 44, showed a complete lack of sympathy for the victims and their kin. He was more concerned about the fate of the Babala, and how to please the MILF than with how the 160,000-strong PNP and the nation itself would react to the massacre.

With Aquino setting the pace, his people, aided by the usual foreign agents, have intensified their television campaign to press for the passage of the Babala, even after the more sensitive elements in Congress have withdrawn their support for the measure, and called upon others to give the people a chance to mourn their dead law enforcers. The crassest and most shameless message coming from Malacañang is that we must do everything to make ourselves worthy of the MILF, instead of demanding that the MILF first make itself worthy of our continued trust.

The massacre has thrown up certain compelling issues that must first be addressed. Trust is the first such issue. Without any confidence-rebuilding measures, can we honestly say we still trust, or should still trust, the MILF? The answer may ultimately turn out to be yes, but we must go through the process: the question must be asked and answered. The MILF having sheltered the two international terrorists (Marwan and Usman), it seems but logical to ask whether the Babala will not result in a political entity that would provide a safe haven for terrorists, or use terrorism as an instrument of official policy. This question could be ore fundamental than those that have been raised about the constitutionality of certain provisions.

But the most compelling question we must ask is whether we should continue any peace discussion with any party without first resolving the issue of Aquino’s continued stay in office. We can no longer temporize on this. Aquino’s propagandists appear to have launched a major effort to bamboozle us with the proposition that only a short time remains between now and the next presidential election, and that Aquino has not much more than 500 days to remain in office. Whatever crimes he has committed, why can’t we just let him finish his term?

It may not be easy to argue against this if we had a viable electoral process uncorrupted by the Commission on Elections and its Venezuelan partner Smartmatic. But even if we had a credible system, we cannot possibly not act against a treasonous president just because he does not have much longer to stay in office. After the massacre of the 44, the President has become a grave danger to our people and the State. Just as nobody could predict what would happen to our SAF commandos before they were massacred, nobody could predict what could happen to us at anytime if Aquino remained in office. Nobody has been able to explain medically Aquino’s public behavior; we might be dealing with someone with an untreated or untreatable psychiatric disease. We cannot risk to see what could happen to us next.

Some populist commentators have tried to spook our countrymen by saying that Aquino’s removal at this time could only bring in a “cure that is worse than the disease.” This is always a distinct possibility, given the rather narrow and venal bench from which to draw his possible successor. But the danger could be avoided if we agree that Aquino has destroyed the Constitution, and that it no longer works, so our common task at this point should be to push Aquino out of harm’s way and then to hold off the normal process of succession for a short while, in order to allow a multisectoral transitional and transformational council to fix that which is broken, so that our people could later choose competent, sane, intelligent and patriotic leaders freely in a fully transformed constitutional democratic system.

fstatad@gmail.com

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32 Comments

  1. When President Aquino was not available to meet the fallen heroes when they came back, how come Vice President Binay did not do the honor. I’m just asking.

  2. The argument “The cure might be worse than the disease” is not acceptable for me, because nobody knows that. There is 50/50 chance that the “cure” might be better. But if Aquino stays, meaning no “cure” available, there is 100% that the country will suffer. We have suffered enough because of Aquino. We could not let him a minute longer in his office. He should go back to his Times Street room.

  3. NO to Bangsamoro…ONE PHILIPPINES, ONE FLAG, ONE GOVERNMENT, ONE AFP and of course a president kahit TANGO and NO BALLS. Sorry , just being emotional.

  4. Haaaayyyy Nakuuuuu! on

    Kung ang ama natin sa Pinas ay si Pnoy, hayaan ninyo na lang na maging “ULILA” tayo!

  5. Happy Birthday Mr. President. I suggest you watch with your cabinet members the movie ” Hot Shots! Part Deux”.

  6. I can understand the secrecy of the mission. It could have been successful if the PNP had Huey choppers in their inventory and armored personnel carriers. The Hueys can do the job in air support with their rockets and machineguns. while the APCs are also very useful for transporting the wounded and cover from small arms fire. Unfortunately, up to this day the PNP being a very large police organization do not have these in them, due to maybe incompetence, corruption, even politicians not approving the budget for it. Had the SAFs have this items then they don’t have to depend from the army for artillery support and evacuation and reinforcements as the SAFs had enough troops on the stand by at the operational area, they could have kept the mission secret from start to finished. This is very poor management by the PNP, which they are known for anyway.

    • How about … It was not in his schedule … to receive the SAF caskets.

      Also, I do attend the funeral of a person I do not know (although Jennifer’s name had been a national issue not only for the Filipinos but also in particular for the President of the Philippinpes.

  7. Roldan Guerrero on

    We have been struggling for decades and dreaming for a long time for the achievement of peace in Mindanao. But until now there is no proof that peace will be attained. The latest incident where masaccre of 44SAF men happened is another tragedy which occured as an aftermath of the present governments incompetence, specially the commander in chief, who after all did nothing to check his lapses but instead sided with the seccessionist group. The show of force performed by MILF despite having ceasefire aggreement is the proof that they are not really for peace. They have hidden and futile intentions which the government must. know. After all the years of long struggle to attain peace, everything is in vain, so I am now convinced that the next president, if the incumbent will not do it, all out war must prevail. In my view they are nothing but terrorist, harboring international terrorist and criminals in their supposed territories. Benigno Noynoy Aquino in his 5 long years of presidency displayed lack of leadership. He failed in every aspect of good governance. We have suffered so much in his hands. He abused every laws, the constitution itself in pursuit of cruel and futile intentions which I dont know what really is. It is also clear that most Filipinos are not infavor of succession of power by installing Binay to the presidency, which might be the reason of peoples reluctance to oust Aquino but to let him finish his term. However the need to kick Aquino is very imperative, and the good thing that may happen is, it is not only Aquino`s ouster but the whole of his team who are all incompetents much more all are generally plunderers. By doing it, there shall be a shake-up of leadership in both houses. giving way for the prosecution of his allies few to mention Drilon, Cawatano, Trilliones, Belmonte, Gonzales who are all associated w/ Napoles but are scotfree todate. How I would like to see Abad, Soliman, Abaya…all his cabinet members practically involved in graft and corruption. His appointees like Sereno, Lionen, the Ombudsment, the Comelec , all branches of government are laden with KKKs. Yes it is not only Aquino who will be eliminated but all of the who conspired to destroy this republic.

  8. Binay, for all his faults, cannot possible do any worse. For even if I have no illusions of his being a straight and narrow person, I am also sure he’s not as stupid as BS Aquino.
    In fact, he will use the chance to gain as much pogi points as he can for the 2016 elections
    He could remove the idiot KKK appointees and replace them with credible substitutes such as Mar “Bahala na kayo” Roxas, and Dingki “Rotting relief goods” Soliman..
    Release those known to be persecuted by the vengeful Aquino like GMA.
    Oh yeah… when you hit rock bottom, there is no way to go but up.

  9. tapusin na ang isyu .. ang BBL wala na KAPUT..sa senado at kongreso BBL ibasura na.. bahala na ang MILF mag apela sa COrte Suprema. dapat may respeto MILF sa govierno ng filipinas.

  10. To all of our countrymen, I say that the removal of Aquino as President cannot possibly bring a president as bad as Aquino. He is the worse president ever.

  11. I donot agree that Purisima commanding the operation Marwan is wrong or treasonable by itself-if the Phil commandos came back without casualties with the head of Marwan then Peenoy and Purisima would have come out heroes. A decent president would have made the same decision as Pee if he is reasonably convinced after a reasonable investigation that Purisima is the best man to lead the project-but did he or did he just go back to an old mental habit that his(Pee’s) friends are the best regardless? And why is the president bound to go by the chain of command if he is convinced that doing so will leak the info to the enemy? Very important also is the casualties among Americans-they are not tourists or missionaries are they? These American guys could not have been under the command of Purisima- or is Purisima and Pee under the command of the Americans? The Pee could not now admit that he was. And we may have sent our best commandos but to me they were not evenly matched against the enemy, just account for the casualties on the other side and you should figure out why. It’s a dirty war, unhappily many more will die, not even all our DAP money will buy us peace. Anyway I salute you Mr Kit for your contribution, at least you are not invoking the Church, its bishops and the bible this time.

  12. Foolish words coming from Aquilino Pimentel III, “If any, the resignation of the President will only be counter-productive since this will lead to a shake-up in the government. In this highly volatile situation, we need a leader. We need the President to lead us out of these dark days,” he said.

    First, Philippines do need a leader-but not BS Cojuangco Aquino III; second, Philippines do need a leader to lead us out of these dark days, but it will not be BS Cojuangco Aquino III. Simply becacuse in all these disasters, catastrophes and mishaps, Philippines can only find an invisible leader in the form of BS Cojuangco Aquino III – he is an abomination.

    Yes, it is agreeable to say that Philippines needs a leader and peace, and it must be someone who is capable of thinking through the state’s policies, and with the national interest as the core in decision making, BS Cojuangco Aquino III and all his underlings are not the ones to give the nation what it truly deserve – Filipinos must act decidedly fast and swift, to take him out of office, before the window of opportunity closes yet again.

  13. I have to be honest i dont understand fully what this deal antails for the bangsamoro, ( sorry about the spelling ) but if its to give them the right to govern themselves im totally against it. We in the england have cornwall ( its a county like cavite ) they also want independance. Its stupid & the rest of the country will not allow it. It shows here that those milf or whoever they were who killed the 44 police are not fit to be part of running something. They dont respect the law. They complain they wernt told about the operation, its simple because if they had then marwan would have been tipped off & would have escaped, so in trying to capture a true terrorist these milf will kill all to stop that hapening. That shows they put themselves above the law of the land & i think this should be like how the sri lankans stopped the terrorist activities of the tamil tigers. Its was horrific, but its stopped terrorism there. Terrorism is the bane of the world right now & whoever is involed in it against decent law abiding citizens of any country should be killed,.

  14. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Just to clear all doubts. Can’t the Filipino people ask Ateneo de Manila to confirm or deny that at any one time the president was a subject of emotional/.mental disturbance? Such a state of an individual has reasons and a cure could be available unless such has sunk deep that every now and then it resurfaces when triggered. God bless the Philippines.

  15. Rene L. Canlas on

    kung may one million pinoy na gustong mag-resign si pnoy, malamang may ten million naman na ayaw na si vp binay ang pumalit dahil sa dami ng mga corruption cases niya. hintayin na lang natin matapos ang term ni pnoy then let’s vote a qualified and sincere candidate that can solve even at least 50% of our problems but not vp binay..anybody but not him..

    • hindi naman mamamatay tao si vp e un amo mong kupal ayun hinayaan tadtarin ng bala un 44 parang naglalaro lamang sya

    • It might might be true that the VP is a thief(unproven yet,Pero lahat naman yata ng nasa gobyerno eh magnanakaw)but his sanity is still intact,and nothing of his decisions he made are questionable,hence,he is still the best person to lead.We cannot wait to get rid of this president who have shown many times in the past,based on all decitions he made to be emotionally and mentally imbalance…

  16. Carl Cid Inting on

    That ‘pallor of grief’ somehow looked like the gaze of a deer caught in the glare of headlights.

  17. Thank you, Sir Kit Tatad, for articulating what millions of us Filipinos think about this issue.

  18. The stand down order was given to preserve the bangsa Moro agreement at the expense of the SAF. The bottom line is Pnoy. Considered SAF were mere expendables.

  19. Then by all means let us do all what is being suggested by Sir Tatad. This is the best solution for our sick country under a sick President.

  20. It is true, “nobody has been able to explain medically Aquino’s public behavior; we might be dealing with someone with an untreated or untreatable psychiatric disease. We cannot risk to see what could happen to us next.”

    It is what I have been saying all along. It is very dangerous to let this pathologically demented man continue to remain in office. He might have us massacred also by his MILF friends. He mist be dislodged at all costs. I’m sure the cost to us will not be more than what he can inflict on us if he were to remain in office.

    I go along with the proposition that ” the normal process of succession should be held off for a short while, in order to allow a multisectoral transitional and transformational council fix that which is broken, so that our people could later choose competent, sane, intelligent and patriotic leaders freely in a fully transformed constitutional democratic system.” This means Binay should not succeed. A multisectoral transitional and transformational council should take over upon the stepping down of the Abnoy. This council should be sanctioned by the Supreme Court by the Vox Populi principle.

  21. noelravalsalaysay on

    Impeachment is the proper procedure.This may not be possible because of Pres.Aguino’s allies who must decided whether to uphold the law or remain beholden to a lame-duck president,

  22. I agree 100%,na dapat ng alisin si Aquino!!!but how?sa paanong paraan?maraming buhaya, businessman at elite ang nakikinabang sa kanya!malamang dadaan tayo sa ibabaw ng bangkay ng mga ito bago mangyari ang gusto ninyo!
    Cbcp ay hati!malamang mag-espadahan ng cross ang mga ito!
    SC,doj,PNP,army at malaki at makapangyarihan media ay sumasamba kay Aquino!
    Pero possible,kung tadhana na ang kalaban niya!!

  23. Jaime Sandoval on

    Is any branch of Philippine Government (Judiciary, Executive, and Legislative) has the constitutional authority to secede any portion of the Philippine Territory to any group such as MILF?

    Why is President Aquino not mindful of nation’s fallen 44 sons? Why did he declare the murders merely an encounter missed?

    Is it not justice to engage an all out severe war against all enemies, terrorists, communists, MILF, and all rebels who have killed and murdered Filipinos?

    Why would Congress even consider BBL?
    Is it not a capitulation to the enemies of The Philippines who have no right whatsoever to dictate peace to a sovereign Philippines?

    Is it not treason against the free and sovereign
    Filipino people to usurp the sole authority of the Filipino people to grant jurisdiction and authority over a portion of Philippine National Territory to a group of people which engages rebellion, terrorism, murder, looting, inhuman activities against Filipino citizens, and gets support from foreign powers?

    Is it not that TREASON much way indeed worst than plunder?

    Is it not that TREASON is the HIGHEST BIGGEST CRIME against the free and sovereign Republic of the Philippines?

  24. BS Aquino got bad Karma when he picked Purisima as PNP Chief. He cut-off Bartolome’s term so he can appoint his BFF. It showed that Purisima got the post because of their intimate relationship and not because he is the best qualified to lead the PNP. DAANG MATUWID – BOW!