Roxas and security execs should resign now

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If they have any moral fiber left, or the slightest sense of decency, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang must resign. Now.

Whichever way you look at it, however they try to justify themselves, the blood of the 44 Special Action Force commandos are on their hands, as much as it is on this incompetent, foolhardy President.

In their testimony at the Senate, they were wriggling in their seats over the question on the time they informed the President of the impending carnage of the SAF troops. Worse, they didn’t really do anything to order a full-blown operation to rescue the SAF troops.

The key condemning data, according to the military report itself is this: the Army artillery shot their white phosphorus markers on the MILF – which immediately sent them scampering as they knew it could be followed by explosive deadly fire – at 5:30 p.m., more than 12 hours after SAF head Getulio Napeñas alerted the Army’s 6th Division commander on the operation, and most probably five hours after the SAF commandos were massacred. The killing field was not in some distant mountain stronghold. It was just 5 kilometers from the Pan-Philippine highway, a distance similar to that between the Manila Hotel and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.


Both Roxas and Gazmin told the Senate that yes, they were informed “around midmorning”  but they didn’t get a “sense of urgency” about the reports.

Roxas even said that the reports were in the “ordinary course of business,” and that he routinely gets reports of “encounters there, encounters here.” What?

Has he become unhinged because of the pressure that he puts a firefight between the SAF and the MILF in the same category as an armed robbery in some mall, the kind of crimes his department has also failed to address? The last time there was such a firefight between the MILF and government troops, whether military or police, was in 2012 in the al-Barqa incident in Basilan, in which 19 Army Scout Rangers were killed.

Why did they let it grow? MILF at their Camp Darapanan. Inset: Security officials – Secretaries Mar Roxas and Voltaire Gazmin with AFP Chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang

Why did they let it grow? MILF at their Camp Darapanan. Inset: Security officials – Secretaries Mar Roxas and Voltaire Gazmin with AFP Chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang

Whichever way you look at, the three top security officials should be sacked.

If they are telling the truth – that they had not received reports of the seriousness of the Mamapasano incident so that they didn’t tell Aquino — they are not fit to be heads of such crucial agencies in charge of the security of this Republic.

They have utterly failed in the most rudimentary management skills of establishing an information system by which crucial data – such as the impending massacre of troops – are relayed to them, with their subordinates emphasizing the urgency of such matters. They didn’t even bother to ask their aides to find out what’s happening and report to them if it was serious enough to merit their attention? It is the height of incompetence both on their parts and that of their subordinates that they weren’t informed of the seriousness of the Mamapasano incident that started in the wee hours of the morning.

Afraid to be bawled out?

Another explanation why they decided not to even talk to the President after they got wind of the incident is that they were afraid to be just bawled out by him, as they knew Mamasapano was his and his favorite security officer Alan Purisima’s project. Indeed, a Philippine Daily Inquirer’s web version reported Feb 8 that Aquino arrived at Zamboanga airport at 10 a.m. very obviously in a foul mood. And this wimp intends to be president?

If this was what happened, more so they should admit that their acquiescence was such a gargantuan error that cost the lives of 44 commandos. It is a part of their job description to inform the President of the truth even if they suffer the worst humiliation a superior can impose on them.

And if they were lying, and briefed the President as soon as they assembled in Zamboanga or even in Manila before they boarded their flight, they were not just committing perjury when they testified so in the Senate last week. They were violating their oaths of office to defend the Constitution, and spitting on the graves of the fallen 44 heroes.

Catapang should be court-martialed. His testimony in the Senate shows the cavalier attitude he had after Purisima reported to him at 5 a.m. that the SAF commandos had undertaken their operation in Mamapasano. He gave orders to his subordinate, he said, but obviously didn’t think much of it and probably even returned to sleep.

That he didn’t care much about the SAF operation and the commandos’ survival after it since it lacked, as he kept on repeating “proper coordination,” is obvious in the fact that he accompanied the President in his tour of Zamboanga as if he were a bodyguard and there was no major military incident occurring all that time in another part of Mindanao.

Catapang did not mention at all in his testimony at the Senate that he was closely monitoring the firefight, or checking on his commanders, Western Mindanao Unified Command head Gen. Rustico Guerrero and 6th Infantry Division head Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, whether they were following his orders and were on their way to rescue the SAF.

For chrissake, it was a battle, nearly a classic positional one in a battlefield lasting the whole day, between as many as 2,000 Islamic mujahideens and the same number of government troops if one includes the alleged Army reinforcements. This wasn’t just a skirmish but a battle!

Yet Catapang didn’t even set up a command or crisis center, and just waited for text messages from Guerrero and Pangilinan while he spent the whole day in Zamboanga chit-chatting with local officials, and nodding at the President’s remarks. And his boss, the Defense Secretary, didn’t ask him to?

There is another reason – more importantly in the long run – why Roxas, Gazmin, and Catapang should resign immediately.

Only because of the massacre of 44 commandos that we, the Republic’s citizens, are learning that the MILF since 2011 — when Aquino met with MILF chairman Murad Ibrahim in Tokyo to start peace negotiations with them — indisputably and clandestinely has expanded and strengthened their territories and military forces.

A regular army now?

The terms we hear now — MILF 105th Base Command, 118th Base Command, 106th Base Command, Inner Guard Base Command – why, these are nomenclatures for a regular army already, and I thought the mujahideens were just farmer-guerillas in the classic mode.

A factory for 50-mm M107 Barrett sniper rifle. The international bombing expert conducting regular training in MILF territories. Camp Abubakar was captured by Marines during President Estrada’s regime. But now there’s a Camp Darapanan, the headquarters of its Jihad Central Committee, where MILF videos show whole battalions in a military parade review, the kind you can only see in Camp Aguinaldo during Army day.

Peace adviser Teresita Quintos-Deles keeps saying that since the peace talks started, there have been no clashes between the MILF and government troops. Even granting that (which is inaccurate since firefights between the Moro guerillas have become frequent, although these were always reported to be Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), what does she think the MILF has been doing all the while, just lounging in their camps?

The classic example here is that the number of firefights between the Vietcong and the South Vietnamese-US troops plunged to near zero right after the Paris Peace Accords of January 1973. The Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops, of course, used the ceasefire to strengthen their armies and build their notorious tunnels towards Saigon. On April 30, 1974, North Vietnamese tanks stormed the Presidential Palace in Saigon and surrounded the pathetically helpless US embassy.

Our officials in charge of the Republic’s security, Roxas, Gazmin, Catapang, and even National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia, have failed in pressing Aquino to act on the clear and present danger resulting from the exponential growth of the MILF since the peace talks with them started.

They have put the Republic in jeopardy, and betrayed the nation. The only honorable thing for them to do now is to resign.

Because of the incompetence of this President, and his greed to win the Nobel Prize that had eluded his mother, combined with the servility of his security officials to him, our nation is now in the gravest situation ever in its post-war history.

There will be bloodbaths worse than Mamapasano, until we achieve real principled peace without giving up Mindanao and keeping the Republic intact the way it was conceived since 1898.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Rigoberto Tiglao

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32 Comments

  1. hadrian arroyo on

    They should not just resign but be charged with TREASON for willfully and knowingly selling out the nation and its interest. And we all know the punishment for treason, which is….

  2. Cabinet of aquino will remain until his term will end. Puro magagaling sila at hindi magnanakaw maliban kay nonog na matagal na dapat magbitaw. Akala niya siya ang ipalit nang mga mataas na lider nang katoliko naguudyok na magresign si pinoy. Ano siya sinuswerte.

  3. this piece of Ambassador Bobbi, ought to be a reader for classes in National Defense College of the Philippines on the course on governance and national leadership

  4. laarni natividad on

    In the senate inquiry, it came out that they only texted each other and nobody dared to call. Are they that stupid or are they so ignorant of not having a postpaid or unlicall plan? Ignorant or stupidity, these people, should not be serving us because they don’t have a sense or urgency, responsibility and above it all, honesty to tell the truth. I used to admire Roxas when he was Trade Secretary discussing abt the economy. I guess his ambition of becoming the next President has made him so lame and stupid. He is not a President-material and will never be the President in the future unless he stands up for the truth now. By telling the truth now is his chance but he is wasting his only chance….

  5. It makes me wonder why during the time of the failed Mamapasano operation messages for help or reinforcement were done thru text? It was a matter of life and death at the time and top brass of the military were exchanging text.

  6. ST—D Ding Velez and this administration should have never started any negotiations with the MILF for teo (2) reasons:

    1 – The Philippine Government were already negotiating with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) since the Tripoli Agreement and the Jeddah Accord which were duly recognized by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC); and,
    2 – the MILF is not even recognized by the OIC unlike the MNLF who is a regular member with “observer status”.

    ISN’T THAT PLAIN ST—DITY!!!

  7. “Roxas even said that the reports were in the “ordinary course of business,” and that he routinely gets reports of “encounters there, encounters here.” ”

    They claim that there have been no encounters since 2011-2012. If that is the case, then the “encounter” should not have been in the ordinary course of business as claimed by Sec Roxas. This should have been news to the security team as they claim that “encounters” have been uncommon since 2011. Obviously, Roxas and the rest of the security team were lying.

  8. Why do I have this aching suspicion that many of our top generals and peace negotiators are in the payroll of the Malaysians ? Is it beyond the Malaysians to try and bribe our officials? No, of course not. Is it possible that our officials are indeed getting paid? After seeing the scale of corruption these current officials are capable of, why should I harbor any doubt? Ganyang uri na ang Pinoy ngayon, 500 years after Christianization and 25 years after EDSA.

  9. I don’t want them to just resign. I want the sovereign people to run after them relentlessly day and night for at least 44 days until they physically collapse or become madmen (gaya ng bossing nila) and decide how to eliminate themselves. Pero pag naglaban ibang istoria na yon.

  10. and to think when the “martilyo gang” struck an SM mall, the same guy who said “encounters here, encounters there” was at the scene… and when a slab of a building facade blew out from a condo building in Serendra, the same guy who said “ordinary course for business” was at the scene….

  11. War with the MILF would be Aquino’s legacy to the nation.I hope today’s generation who would be the ones who would bear the burden of defending the nation’s territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as national honor would be up to the task.
    Let us not fool ourselves,you see the pictures of MILF fighters bearing arms and their leadership issuing open threats of war if the BBL is not passed.They know the present administration does not have the stomach to stand up for the country.They view talk of peace as weakness.Those who talk of peace at this time further encourages the rebels.I don’t desire war and violence for its own sake.Human lives and the nation’s stability and progress are at stake.But any talk of peace at this time further adds to the morale of the enemy.We should instead talk about national defense and patriotism.The present political and military leadership projects nothing but weakness.The MILF would not be so emboldened today if it sees a strong sovereign protagonist in the government.The country should prepare for any contingency that might arise.The present regime that has brought us to the present perilous stage should be replaced with leaders of strong conviction and love of country not just with politicians who dreams of fabulous wealth by looting the country further.And more importantly we should be courageous to defend the country against rebellious elements in the south because the situation there has the potential to open the floodgates of foreign influence that is engulfing the world from the Middle East to Western Europe to South Asia.

  12. I first noticed Mar Roxas’ incompetence during the Yolanda crisis. He does not know how to coordinate and he lacks true leadership.I totally agree to fire all these people. The President and Roxas do not have military backgrounds and yet they like to play Rambo and the secretary of defense looks old and senile to be relied upon.We need Gringo Honasan and Lacson to head these positions.They were PMA classmates and have shown charisma and leadership.Gringo has been wounded as a soldier in Mindanao in the seventies so he knows the terrain of the battlefield compared to these lazy and incompetent Generals who just want to sit on their fat asses in their air conditioned offices. Lacson was a former PNP chief and has shown true leadership with a hands on approach. Trillanes have the brain and the balls to be included in our national security team.We have competent and honest people that could lead the country . The President should should select the best and experienced regardless of political party affiliation.

  13. Ferdinand Marcos said on a separate Mindanao Republic….. Its Impossible. These Aquinos are traitors… from the grandfather, to the father (giving sabah just to gain the presidency, to the mother who is coward enough to fight malaysia, and to the son who is a friend of the terrorists and malaysia. These family should never be allowed to sit any political position to the country. they should be declared Traitors of the republic.

  14. Mabuti na lang nandito si Ambassador Tiglao
    na nagsasabi ng totoo.

    MABUHAY KA AMBASSADOR
    MORE POWER TO YOU

  15. Yes, they should resign. Roxas, Gazmin, and Catapang.

    To this very day they still play innocent on the situation and doing a lot of cover-up.

    Look at their reactions and faces when they were asked who informed the President – it seems they were caught of guard. It took them so long to answer the question.

    I was even more shocked at the way Gazmin answer.

    I hope Roxas will now say goodbye to his ambition to run for 2016 Election.

    The Philippines can’t afford another incompetent individual to run the country the second time around.

    It’s like: “DOUBLE JEOPARDY!”

  16. Melchor Vergara on

    unfortunately for the nation, Roxas and the security officials have no sense of shame nor guilt to resign…

  17. This administration, the cabinet and the president claims they know nothing. By their own admission or omission only means one thing… They really admit their incompetence. And now we are asked to endure these guys????

  18. CESAR not Carlos Garcia. He was a METROCOM captain during Martial Law. He is one notorious officer on arrest and torture of political detainees. I wonder how Pnoy appointed him as National Security Adviser, who is a part in jailing his father, Ninoy? Is he afraid of these guys who tortured his father? “Buwang ka” really Noynoy.

  19. Sack Pnoy and Gazmin – the Duo Who let MILF Grow
    Gloria Arroyo and het Military People Too
    The Media and YOU (Mr. Rigoberto Tiglao) as Press Secretary of GMA, are all to be blamed for their non-visionary strategy of tolerating the MILF to grow!
    Now MILF is trying to negotiate peace from a point of guns and big standing “army” of well trained and ideology-dedicated followers back up by MUSLIM supporting countries like Malaysia, which has an economic motivation to help MINDANAO! We all know that the ultimate objective of these MUSLIM group (MILF, MNLF, BIFF and Jalamiya) is to secede and obtain the Muslim independence from the a republic and be a sovereign Islamic State of Mindanao. This is to dismember the the republic to the territorial, economic and political disadvantage of the Central government. It is feared that throwing the BBL to the gutter spells WAR vs the Muslim. But the government must be truthful and courageous in dealing with this century-old problem. The National government must allow the Muslim to participate in their economic and political pursuit of an autonomous self-rule by forming their own political parties that has to participate in the process that will avoid friction and rebellion. The Muslim thru non-violent protest can air their grievances to the National leadership, which has to take care of Mindanao economic and political development. The national government thru its national agencies like the DPWH, Energy, Trade, and DWsA must pour its resources to assist in a big-scale development of Mindanao that Muslims have to,be involved in. This way Muslim can say the are doing their own progressive participatory and partnership development of their region in a meaningful non-violent fashion!

    • Very good and a win win approach.Don’t you think we should first declare Martal law in the region to get rid of the rebels, firearms and ammunition and eliminate all these corrupt Moro leaders who are foxes in sheep’s clothing?How are we going to Filipinize these Moros whose been brainwashed and indoctrinated in the worldwide radical Muslim ideology of killing infidels in the name of Allah.

  20. Such a development will aptly signal the start of a peoples power revolution to oust the incumbent President. Mangyari sana!

  21. Is there a legal way for these incompetent and lying men who hold the reins of the AFP to get removed even without their patron BS Aquino’s approval? They have allowed the MILF armies to grow. Their incompetence and wrong-headed ways in effect caused the Mamasapano Massacre. If a company of AFP soldiers under a general went around planting bombs in people’s homes and malls, with the approval of BS Aquin, is there no way of for the Republic and the People to stop them?

  22. sonny dela cruz on

    The National Security officials of Pres. Aquino is not listening to what the people is saying, maybe they are just laughing at us and saying, to hell with you all. We are in power and we can declare MARTIAL LAW anytime to protect the president and YOU can’t do nothing. PERIOD.