THERE are now five scripts unraveled by the Mamasapano tragedy conducted by the SAF through the planning and design by suspended CPNP Purisima. The first two via the national address made by BSA3 where: 1) he will look into the operation and 2) he has accepted the resignation of suspended CPNP Purisima. Then came the meeting of BSA3 with leaders and select members of the House of Representatives last week. In this meeting, sound bytes were released to media on how the president “was made to believed” and was “lied [to]through” the whole Mamasapano covert mission. From a mere incident to suicide mission, Mamasapano is now classified as a covert operation. The fourth storyline was that the president cannot be accused of any crime and he has not done any wrong. And the fifth, and very recent, is the Ombudsman should review the liabilities of Purisima in the light of the suspension and his active involvement in Mamasapano.
Funny, all these scripts are being offered and yet not one single government agency, of the nine looking into Mamasapano, has released their reports publicly. The MILF chose to submit theirs to Malaysia first. The Board of Inquiry is said to be submitting their report on 6 March. The Committee Report of the Senate is still in the drafting stages without much information being made public on the four executive sessions it conducted.
These are clear from almost a month of hearings: 1) truth has been compromised and shades of truth allowed to filter; 2) a suspended CPNP lied to the President, ergo, the president lied to the public; 3) President followed the advice of a lying and suspended CPNP; 4) a suspended CPNP can’t delegate authority which he does not have; 5) cover up is everywhere from when they learned about Oplan Exodus, to the jump off, and to when they informed the president. Operation Exodus has a real time timeline. It moves according to the every storyline introduced on a weekly basis. And the scriptwriters think the public is stupid.
30 days after Mamasapano, no one seems bold enough to make public a timeline or chronology of events because the truth can’t be manufactured. Even the involvement of the Americans is time on target information. So the public is left with plausible deniability from all parties involved. Clever, since that is the best way to avoid accountability by a sitting president for a botched operation that caused 67 lives. But then again, if you have a president and a cabinet that does not care, it is alright to sweep the mess under the rug and shout to the world, let us move forward and “we got Marwan.”
And so the trump card invoked was national security and that blanket provided the ultimate plausible deniability to the whole sordid details of Mamasapano. Then of course the very diluted, peace process which appears to be very much on a one-sided track. That again was used as reason why the military can’t enter the frame of an “ordinary duty of serving the warrants.” Until today, we have not seen the warrants of arrest duly issued by a local court.
Plausible deniability is the term given to the “creation of loose and informal chain of command in government. In the case that assassinations, false flag or black ops or any other illegal or otherwise disrespectable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any connection to or awareness of such act, or the agents used to carry out such act.”
In politics and espionage, deniability refers to the “ability of a ‘powerful player’ or actor to avoid ‘blowback’ by secretly arranging for an action to be taken on their behalf by a third party – ostensibly unconnected with the major player.” “Blowback” is a CIA internal coinage that refers to “unintended consequences of a covert operation that are suffered by the aggressor.” SAF had a blowback with the blocking force decimated without even moving forward. Was the SAF 55 the distraction for SAF 84 and that damned finger? Were SAF 44 made body shields of the lead team?
More generally, “plausible deniability’ can also apply to any act which “leaves little or no evidence of wrongdoing or abuse.” A working definition that has been adopted outside of the military-intelligence cluster is “a method or scheme to allow an authority to deny, in a plausible fashion, responsible for illegal or discreditable acts performed by subordinates.”
There are five reasons in creating plausible deniability: “legal, evade national and international liability and justice; institutional, protect the organization/group of government; political, avoid fallout from acts but use suspicion of responsibility to create fear in opponents; personal, carry on pretension of not being involved, protect reputation; and religious/conscience, lessen guilt.”
Unless BSA3 considers the suspended CPNP as primus interpares, there is definitely something wrong when the President followed a suspended CPNP. Without doing scenarios and checking out the plan as well as verifying the inputs from his Cabinet or even his national security cluster or adviser, BSA3 decided accountability is between Purisima and himself. By following suspended CPNP, the President crossed his oath. He alone is to be blamed because he relied only on one source of information, setting aside everyone else.
There is also something terribly wrong with cabinet officials who cannot confront their President and consider early reports they received as “mere skirmishes” as just ordinary events. In Mindanao, no skirmish is ordinary. Even their story lines don’t add up.
So if Tuwid na Daan (TND) is “putting to jail three senators, generals and a previous president,” clearly that is just propaganda, lip service and very one sided. But by having these examples, no politician will ever dare question the ruling order. In the vernacular, sinampolan. TND is about transparency and accountability, right? With Mamasapano, the President made sure TND is silenced. He also made sure that his peace accord went to the drain. Indeed, as a gun enthusiast, BSA3 got the bullseye!