Scapegoat committee finds a scapegoat cop

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Let me say this plainly and directly. The lead committee of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano incident/massacre is a scapegoat envisioned to take all the blame when the inquiry falls short of producing real answers to serious questions that underpin the tragedy, and casts a shadow on the future of peace and stability in Mindanao.

Sacked Special Action Force (SAF) director Getulio Napeñas is the designated scapegoat who will take all blame for the ill-fated law enforcement operation in Mamasapano, by conceding under oath that no official higher than him ordered the operation, least of all President Aquino.

The problem with this tale of multiple scapegoats is that the media and the public will not buy it. Already made skeptical by President Aquino’s dithering and wishy-washy leadership, they will get angry when the inquiry officially comes up with nothing

Some people tell me that the Senate inquiry was not designed to produce anything in the way of serious facts and perpetrators of the massacre. I should look at it as a political inquiry, and not as a serious investigation whose objective is to establish facts and submit findings that will lead to the indictment or firing of people.


If this is the case, then the Senate is proving yet again that it cannot be trusted by the people.

What are we to conclude when we are told that the hearings, after parading before us grandstanding senators, clueless generals and inscrutable MILF officers, have abruptly been aborted.

After just three hearings, and with the inquiry finally getting some revealing answers from witnesses and resource persons last Thursday, the lead committee chaired by Sen. Grace Poe announced that the hearings on Mamasapano are over. It offered as indirect explanation the committee’s decision to hold an executive session with generals Purisima and Napeñas, during which they would be quizzed on confidential matters, some involving President Aquino and some involving (I’m guessing) the US government—which the Times editorial yesterday said are the biggest elephants in the Senate hall.

After whipping up public interest in the inquiry, the Senate is abandoning it with nary a whimper. It seems convinced that Senate President Franklin Drilon can now report to President Aquino “mission accomplished,” because a scapegoat for Mamasapasano has been found in the person of sacked commander Napeñas. Aquino’s responsibility in the tragedy has been successfully covered up. It can report truthfully that every time a question was raised about Aquino’s role and US involvement in the incident, the witness would clam up and invoke executive privilege or ask for a closed-door session.

Every time someone brought up the idea of calling Aquino to testify, he or she was buried by truckloads of arguments that said the President can only be summoned by Congress in an impeachment proceeding.

Sen. Grace Poe tried her utmost to portray an able chair of a Senate committee, but she was in over her head. On a matter of supreme national interest and urgency, the Senate sent the most junior member of the chamber to play the gladiator among the lions. Seasoned observers of congressional and independent inquiries wondered why the Senate reposed so much faith in Senator Poe’s ability to unravel the tragedy of Mamasapano. They wondered even more when Ms. Poe asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to orate on her legal opinion and acumen, which no one could relate to the issue at hand.

Besides Poe’s committee on public order, there were three other committees involved in the hearing, which are headed by more senior senators, viz.: the Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. , the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation chaired by Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III; and the Committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Each of these committees is tasked to tackle issues that are integral and fundamental to the nation’s questions about the Mamasapano incident. And they are headed by chairs who are experienced in conducting hearings, and have gone out in the field to questions from the people.

Presumably, Poe’s committee was picked because Mamasapano involved a law enforcement operation, and because Poe was the first to file a resolution calling for an inquiry. But if the reasoning was as shallow as that; why should the public and the media place any faith in the hearings? Why should we have confidence that Ms. Poe’s committee has gotten enough from its inquiry to come up with a report that can help resolve the crisis.

Given its narrow scope and shallow investigation, it is doubtful whether a serious inquiry report, with conclusions and recommendations, can be produced by the Senate inquiry, because in truth Ms. Poe refused to delve into areas that could shed more light on the incident, and on actors involved in the drama of war and peace in Mindanao.

This is all that the Senate set out to do. This is what President Aquino wants. He doesn’t even have to lie anymore.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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39 Comments

  1. All these will just be forgotten, as we Filipinos have short memories. We can trust ourselves on this,

  2. Kayong mga nasa gobierno esp.ang mga involve sa mamasapano tragedy bakit ninyo pinagtaksilan ang mga kapatid nating pnp ,[saf44]Hindi ba kayo natatakot na mangyari din sainyo ang inyong ginawa.

  3. Hindi na kayo natuto sa Philipines politics and kahit sino ang magiimbistiga diyan ” white wash” pa rin ang resulta and do not blame the greenhorn Poe …………..

  4. Having Napenas as the scapegoat for the Mamasapano massacre is a cheap price to pay for the US-Aquino regime. They will probably give Napenas or promise him a few million dollars and voila !!! …. President PeNoy is free and clean again. But the problem is that no Filipino will believe that Napenas could have given the go signal by himself alone for operation exodus to go through. But since PeNoy and his US handlers are awash with money (stolen from the people) it is just a very small matter for them to promise Napenas such a thing. And Napenas could retire in comfort !!!
    Never mind the 44 SAF victims of PeNoy’s stupidity !!!

  5. I thought Poe was the saving grace of the Senate …. It seems the whole bunch of paid clowns are beyond redemption……where iare Osmena and Miriam in all of this ….

  6. I find something hopeful in Philippine society and for women in public service when I hear/watch Sen. Poe talk during sessions and hearings. In all fairness, she has the the composure of a strong woman who can control and lead well. On the part of the hearing, I am positive that the committee report will bring significant analysis and propose strong measures para hindi na maulit ito. But still, it needs full cooperation from both executive and legislative for this to work.

  7. Michael Corleone on

    First: no committee in either the House of Representatives or Senate has the power to prosecute, punish or sanction anyone. Inquiries by said august bodies are all IN AID OF LEGISLATION. Sen. Poe’s inquiry regarding the Mamasapano incident aims to come up with legislation in relation to the Modernization of the PNP, the efficiency of its operations, equipment, etc. As to the culpability of certain personalities that you and the author above wish to crucify, the congress’ committees can only RECOMMEND as the prosecution and sanctions are under the realm of the EXECUTIVE and JUDICIAL branches of the government.

    Second: Sen. Poe is a neophyte? Yes. Sen. Poe is incompetent to handle the inquiry? THAT IS NOT TRUE! Compare the hearing in the House of Representatives led by “more experienced” and “seasoned” lawmakers. I will leave it to you. Sen. Poe cannot abdicate her obligation to spearhead the inquiry because it falls squarely within the jurisdiction of her Committee. Was it her fault that the incident happened and the same falls squarely into her committee? Since all of you are smart enough, I will leave the answer to you.

    Third: Sen. Poe cant even ask the proper questions? MY GOD! HER QUESTIONS ARE GREAT (at least for those who truly understand the ins and outs of effective questioning)! The author above and some of you want questions that are stupid enough that no one in his/right might would answer. Sen. Poe’s questions are crafted in such a way that the person being asked is made to believe that the question is harmful for him/her or that his/her answer will implicate him/her. That is how Sen. Poe crafts her questions. Considering that she is not even a lawyer, her lines of questioning are superb. The resource person is happily and cooperatively answering but after reading the TRANSCRIPT of the hearing he/she will be caught saying “what the??? ang dami ko palang inamin na ginawa ko!!!!” That’s how Sen. Poe ask questions, not grand but properly and intelligently crafted to make the liar speak the truth. Unlike the “more experienced” or “seasoned” lawmakers with their usual intimidating and condescending lines of questioning. If the bits and pieces elicited by the questions of Sen. Poe will be taken together, for sure the rights persons will be implicated!

    Let’s sit tight and observe. Hearings are not yet over. Committee Report still to come out. Let’s be all for the SAF44.

  8. Raine de Jesus on

    Eto nanaman tayo with the blame games. Hindi pa nga tapos ang entirety of the Mamasapano hearings, lumalabas na ang mga witty kuno at bumabanat ng mga ganito. The committee, imho, is doing all that it can to uncover the truth without endangering national security. The Executive Sessions are done behind closed doors and we just have to be patient and pray that what they have discussed about will pave the path towards justice. Mme. Poe made a promise that she will divulge to the public what they can divulge. Wait before making conclusions.

  9. When the tragic deaths in mamasapano was made known to the public, the people clamored for justice. In light with the events that have happened, an inquiry was welcomed. Now that the inquiry is being conducted, people are already concluding and making assumptions such that there will be a cover up.This is not fair.

    Not everyone in the government is honest or sincere as experience taught us, but I would like to think that what happened in Mamasapano tugged at everyone’s emotions and realized that there are indeed people who will die for this country in order to protect it. That is reason enough for me to have hope that this hearing and its succeeding outcome will be fair even if sensitive information will not be disclosed to the public. Justice for the fallen.

  10. This is the undoing of Filipino electorate, who are prone on voting non-qualified people to serve as public servants, Filipinos have a penchant of choosing these type of persons with nothing more than just being popular, the public make demigods out of these frivolous wannabes.

    Now, look where our nation is at, in a cesspool. All these investigations, headed by neophyte ‘lawmaker’ is going nowhere. Then, the nation will also contend with old traditional politicians, who in a blink of an eye will jump ship and coalesce with a party that will extend them favors in return for their vile service.

    Nothing can be expected from these investigation, except of course to point to a scapegoat. How will it come about to such a point? The answer is staring right at our faces, who among these politicians are honorable, to a point that not a single infraction had one done to get to his/her elected position?

    So, end of the day, it is easy to find a fall guy who will accept his/her fate, than to find the guilty party, because most Filipinos are easily distracted and will move on to the next sensational entertainment. Expect Filipino politicians to practice scratching each others back, a favor phrase was coined – politicians do not have permanent enemies, only temporary friends.

    The republic can expect one thing from Poe, and that is she cannot get to the bottom of things, even if she will call out the name of her father for help.

  11. The Senate Investigation re: Mamasapano Incident is IN AID OF LEGISLATION.

    I think it is premature for us to judge the Senator, especially Sen. Poe, regarding the matter.

    Let us wait for the committee report and scrutinize its contents.

    Also, the Congress (Lower House) leadership has announced that they will defer any hearings and wait for the Board of Inquiry report. Atleast the Senate had three (3) public hearing and an organized one under the chairmanship of Sen. Poe.

    • The senate has not produced a single legislation out of its numerous hearings on numerous topics since the legal eagles of yesteryear left the erstwhile august chamber. It has come as no surprise though, since the current membership of the body is as shallow as a waterless well.

  12. Both the House and Senate inquiries are nothing but Moro-moro scripted as damage control to save PNoy. When the procedures were coming close to the truth, these were suspended for flimsy reasons. Do these politicians really expect the people to believe them? Their actions enrage the people because it is an open insult to the people’s intelligence. That’s what these politicians should be careful of. 2016 elections is close at hand and the anger of the people will spill out on the ballots. Administartion candidates will surely get a beating.

  13. In addition, Poe is indeed a newbie. But we have to give it to her for the way she has handled the committee. It’s not easy moderating when everyone wants to get a word in.

    Plus, the fact that the other senators, even Miriam and Guingona, gave way to her committee to conduct the hearing shows that they have do respect her and believe that she is capable in doing the job.

    I for one cannot wait to hear or read the report that they will release once this hearing is over. Hopefully the fallen 44 and their family receive the justice they deserve.

  14. “last Thursday, the lead committee chaired by Sen. Grace Poe announced that the hearings on Mamasapano are over.” Mr. Makabenta,

    to be fair to Poe, she did not utter these words. What she said if you were watching the news was that she will consider and review everything that had happened during the hearing and see if they were able to obtain all the necessary information. And if they did then, they would be considering closing the hearing. However, it was also reported yesterday in the news that, Poe saw that there are still details that needs to be addressed so the committee will continue to conduct the hearing, albeit some of them in executive sessions.

  15. oh c’mon guys, give the Senate committee on public order a break. We all know Miriam, TG and Bam can handle a hearing well, and Sen. Poe can do it too! If you have been watching her conduct the PNP Modernization hearings, MRT hearings and Mamasapano, a lot can be said about her. As compared to the house hearings on Mamasapano, hers is very well-conducted. A fresh face in the Senate and in this hearing is what the people need. Someone they can trust and someone who can ask tough questions which the Senator has been doing well enough.

  16. In all fairness, we heard the testimonies on the record because the committee held a public hearing. The committee did its job. Let’s wait for the committee report before making hasty generalizations like this.

  17. you know, instead of making conclusions this early, y’all should sit tight and wait for the upcoming committee report. mme. poe is doing all she could to keep the people sober and the hearings rational–unlike that circus in house that put even the noisiest markets to shame. if after the committee report y’all are still unsatisfied, then that’s when you point fingers. then again, people with your mentality are doomed to always see the negative–isn’t life sad for you?

  18. Grace Poe is so inexperience to be trusted to handle a ticklish and delicate matter. Poe can not even form a sensible question relating to the massacre issues! She could have just asked the five principles of investigation: who, what, why, when and how!
    She can then form a series of relevant questions to each of the resource witness she called in the hearing. Poe is incompetent to handle this type of senate hearing!

  19. Charles G. Belgica on

    Our lawmakers and peace negotiators are either playing dumb or plain dumb. As it is, they act as if they do not know that these armed groups in Mindanao are coddlers of terrorists, extremists, and criminal elements or that these armed groups are criminals themselves.
    Second, it is foolhardy for government to think that these armed groups represent the people of Mindanao or our Moslem brothers. There are other stakeholders (MNLF, BIFF, etc.), the silent majority who do not use the force of armed conflict to reach a peaceful resolution to their clamor for justice and equality. The government should expand the peace talks to include everybody not just the MILF. This will make the peace accord a more lasting peace.
    Finally, I think before any peace talks, government should have restored law and order in the affected areas. Doing so will establish the framework in which peace should be pursued. As it is government is being blackmailed and confronted with the threat of an all out war if the demands of the MILF through the BBL are not met.

  20. Few important issues that need to highlight and consider as follow :

    1. MILF never recognised the authority of Philippines Government that is why they insist to be recognise as Revolutionary Organisation.

    2. Despite the above subject, MILF in the spirit of pursuing peace has agreed to strictly conditioned Cease Fire under Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

    3. Unfortunately, in the rushing of pushing for permanent peace – Philippines Government have given away excessive benefits to MILF which clearly breaching many provisions of the constitution.

    4. Philippines Government or certain quarters in the government have realised that they may need to “create” certain conditions that may give them the advantages to arm twist MILF to revoke certain provisions in BBL.

    5. The SAF was meant to be sacrificial lamb in the process to arm twist MILF.

    6. Sending 400 SAF to capture 2 terrorist is overkill action. Remaining 300 SAF that stood still and watch their comrades to be slaughter is must be penalised accordingly.

    7. Attacking during prayer time is provoking enough. Marwan finger was cut? What the SAF expect? No mercy! It’s in my opinion that this is the consequences of breaching cease fire procedure. They might think the Philippines Government back out from the Peace Process and going for all out war! Massacre? It’s what it’s… consequences of arm conflicts. PNP and AFP is also known to be ruthless and act like animal during conflicts time. If PNP & AFP legacy is politeness and gentlemen during Mindanao conflicts, the MILF or MNLF will never exist in the first place.

    8. Why breach the cease fire terms? Until the BBL is become law and fully implemented Philippines Government is at war with MILF… that is the true. This seems miss out by everyone.

    The following questions was never asked publicly during Senate Hearing :

    A. MILF report 64 casualties among SAF. Who is the extra 20? US special / black ops?

    B. 300 SAF was very near but never come to rescue. A BIG why?

    C. US Drone is watching the whole thing from beginning but never share the exact location or coordinate of the besieged SAF with AFP that cause for delay reinforcement? Or it was already agreed planed that the troop is designated Sacrificial Lamb?

    D. MILF casualties only 18? Where is the 100s casualties reported by surviving SAF members? Is MILF is covering up the government ass to avoid major setback of BBL from other camp of MILF?

    E. When does MILF was notified on the SAF operation and why it takes such longer period to successfully stop the gun fire?

    F. MILF claim to rescue 18 members of SAF. Is it true? Any SAF members can come forward to confirm this or its part of “whitewashed” process? Until now it was never confirm or denied.

    G. What is the involvement of US Special Force or Black ops team?

    My Opinion is the incident was simply a political move to outmanoeuvred MILF to restructure the already agreed term of BBL. Less than few days it was published that disarmament of MILF will be part of the condition of BBL to survive which contrary to earlier arrangements.

    Will we ever see peace in Mindanao? I pray and hope so.

  21. Sure as the Sun rises from the East, those committee hearings in both chambers will come into naught. There are few among them who can be trusted for a while, but when monies trickle down to their table everything will be forgotten. Filipinos are Filipinos, they will never change – all of them are like hunters waiting for their preys.

    Our leaders cherish very much to their liking to be called his/her excellency, honorables, and other laurel wreath. But deep down inside of them, their main aim is to corner the wealth of the nation and to have power and oppress their people. What a shame to be called a kababayan.

  22. Kala ko ba lying is a big crime among PMAers. Tanda ko pa na may tinanggal sila na isang PMA cadet (Cudia) because of lying because according to them it is against PMA code of ethics.

    Asan na ngayon yung sinasabi nila na code of ethics. Following that reason, tangalin na rin sa serbisyo yang mga sinungaling na yan.

    • ha ha ha, napansin mo pala yung code of conduct daw ng mga pmayers. mukhang pang kadete lang yon at pag naka=graduate ka na at nasa afp o pnp kana, ibang usapan na iyon. he he he

  23. Hayop din itong si Grace Poe; natuto lang ng kaunti, isinama pa at minana pa ang kasinugalingan at pagtatago ng katotohanan!

  24. May I state again and remind everybody who are tasked to search the truth; “Ang kasingnungaligan ay kakambal ng pagnanakaw.” I hope the good Senator ( Grace Poe) will be guided by this statement…Tell us lies with regard to the 44 heroes is to rob us from the truth..’We will be patient and wait for the truth to come out… No cover-up please….

  25. Talaga naman…. people should remember na hHuwag na huwag. Do not re-elect Noy-the-Noynoy for another term as president. Iba naman!!! Maybe Grace Poe, maybe the Bise who is great friends with this-one or that-one… maybe even Trillanes or Pagunuran who is in good standing with Walden Bello…. but not Noynoy. Iba naman!

  26. Anyone who believes in the senate investigations result is so naive, to say the least. First of all, being a senator is no guarantee that one is a good or better investigator. Secondly, they are political animals; they have their own political alliances, personal relations and private agendas.

    But, no matter what will be the result of this investigation by any congressional committee or the DOJ, the “dog is already out” with all the reports in the media and the expert analysis of objective reporters and columnists. Who trusts the senate and congress anyway? They have “self-destruct” through the years. After all, the people are more intelligent that these politicians think.

    • i have already said that poe would not go against the wishes of boy sisi. una sinabi na ni lolo (ng) frankiski na walang kasalanan si boy sisi. so ngayon biglang tapos na daw ang imbestigasyon kasi baka lumabas na ang totoo sa pagtatanong sa mga resource persons. sabi nga ng editorial ng manilatimes nung isang araw hindi tinatanong ni poe ang involvement ni boy sisi at ng fbi. inililihis nya ang usapan kung baga

  27. Correct. Grace Poe should not have agreed to be the Chair of the committee of the PNP/SAF massacre inquest. She is too much of an amateur, inexperienced and does not know an iota of how the military and police operates. Agree that this could be a plan hatched by Franklin Lolong Drillon to feed Poe to the alligators, and later on expect Poe to fall apart and close the inquest. This action will definitely take off pressures from PNoy.

  28. The act of Ms Poe in handling the committee portrays her immature and biased act w/c adversely affect her quest for a higher position. This is attributable to the fact she has been depending on the order of Abnoy not to divulge his participation for the gruesome massacre of the SAF.

  29. Poe is proving to be a weak chair of the 44 SAF massacre. Why is it thare was an in camera session with Napenas? That is not transparancy and accountability probe that public wants.

  30. Muriel Magtanggol on

    Dapat talaga dissolve na yang Senado. Walang ginawa kundi huthutin ang pera ng bayan. Kung mga tuta din naman, sa city pound na lang o askal kumuha. Mas mura pa… Food scraps lang, not even packaged dog food ang kailangan!
    Pati congresso… Sa Manila Zoo kumuha ng mga buwayang pampalit!

  31. mikhail hieronymus on

    As I imagined even before any investigation or hearing was started, it will be for naught because as usual, it will just be a cover up to protect the inept president Aquino.

    The hearing was conducted by the minions of Aquino and as it turned out, it was the usual Moro-Moro. What do you expect from a make believe investigation or hearing? This is really a very sad chapter in our history! I can not believe the depth of corruption in the heart and minds of those elected politicians. Their minds and hearts are as dark as a moonless night. Very SAD indeed !