I RECEIVED an email from a dear friend asking why Commission on Human Rights Chair Etta Rosales was in Mamasapano, thusly: “Can anyone explain why Chairperson Etta Rosales of the CHR went to Mamasapano with so many journalists to investigate and show her compassion publicly for the MILF’s relatives whose rights were allegedly violated by the government? On whose side is she on? Is she not rubbing salt on the wounds of the families of the SAP martyrs and on the sentiments of the Filipino people? She did not even concern herself with the human rights of the SAP martyrs. Is this what the CHR is for? She is giving the wrong signal to our soldiers to say the least.”
Was it wrong or imprudent for Etta to do so? I don’t think so, with all due respect to my friend; I am from the human rights community and side with her. Probe all abuses and see where the evidence leads.
Etta is not a lawyer but is married to Tony the Elder of MABINI (there’s a Tony Rosales, the Younger, my stude with whom I worked after evening class, in Tondo, for Zone One Tondo Organization, in the early 70’s; he became a Manila RTC Judge).
Under our Lawyer’s Oath, and the Bill of Rights (Art. III, Sec. 1 and Sec. 14(1) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 14, Sec. 2) on due process and the presumption of innocence, and our Canons of Professional Ethics (Canon 5) we may defend anyone “regardless of [our]personal opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused” and “bound, by all fair and honorable means to present every defense that the law and the land permits.” So we may be charged only for using any means less than fair and honorable. Have we? One charged with murder may be guilty only of homicide, aided by competent counsel.
On the other hand, sadly, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines quickly damned “the brutal murder of the 44 police officers of the Philippine National Police.” And added that “[m]ere words cannot express the grief we share with the [kin]and friends of these young patriots.” Veep Jojobama is for the IBP to probe, but it has prejudged, in egregiously unlawyer-like tendentious politically partisan pa-pogi fashion.
The President is President not only of the SAF (Special Action Force) but of the entire nation. He is the father too of Sarah, 5, who was killed, and her parents, whose house was strafed and both were wounded, and of the farmer who was found dinukit ang mata (gouged). No one is compelled to join the military and police but if he joins, he should probably expect the worst. Probe needed to pin down responsibility.
Was Mamapasano a debacle? See Bali and die, we would hear. Marwan is believed to have been behind the death of more than 200 in Bali bombing in 2000, and other crimes. We are engaged in a global anti-terrorism effort. Liquidating Marwan is not failure. Here’s hoping he does not stage a comeback like Lazarus. Here, we ignore our locals and rely on FBI DNA testing, which is taking a looooong time. But with him deep-sixed, the Gallant 44 did not die in vain.
Are we sending boys to do a man’s job?
But, the boys killed Usman and wounded Usman, reportedly.
Did we make a mistake in creating the PNP in our time in Congress? Soldiers are used to a hardy climate, as Warriors, massacred from time to time, while police are seen s civilian Peacekeepers, dealing with snatchers, traffic, etc., killed on the installment plan.
Muslims have been massacred, as in Volcano Crate near Jolo in 1906, and in Jabidah, 1968.
Internal, Senate, House, DOJ, CHR inquiries, etc. are going on. Then there is that suggestion for a Truth Commish, which, at this time, is apparently dead in the water. So also, is the suggestion that the Inutil, err, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, do it. The IBP immediately threw its weight on one side. Imprudent, Impulsive, Irrelevant Bar.
Too many ships passing one another on a dark moonless night? There may be questions on what to do next, best done in executive session, unknown in this country. The next day, what was said will be in all the papers in this country which leaks like a sieve.
Monday-morning quarterbacking galore, some coming from former generals. But, as in the Charge of the Light Brigade (118 dead), Sitting Bull and Custer’s Last Stand, JFK and the Bay of Pigs (more than a hundred Cuban exiles), Carter and the planned Iran Rescue of 1980 (Operation Eagle Claw), Reagan and Beirut of 1983 (241 U.S. and 58 French soldiers killed), Clinton and Black Hawk Down in 1993, and Dubya of Iraq, we see that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. (Robert Burns of Auld Lang Syne) The responses there were sad, but also Spartan and stoical.
Military we associate with Warriors, Police, with Peacekeepers. Maybe we in Congress in 1987-92 erred in, with all due respect, sending boys to do a man’s job. Cops may lose one or a few at the time but soldiers lose far many more in their business of killing and getting killed. Patton told his soldiers not to die for their country but to make the combatants on the other side die for their own. Fortunes of War, it was said.
Many Congressmen are now looking into the tragedy. I had read about Rep. Manny Pacquiao of Mindanao having gone to the House. So I did go there last Tuesday but it turned out he had gone to the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. There talk was of his next fight with Mayweather, Juneweather, Julyweather, whenever. What are his thoughts on the Bangsamoro Basic Law and Mamasapano?