Senate probe closed, but case vs. Aquino stands


In trying to shield President B. S. Aquino 3rd from any accountability for the death of the 44 Special Action Force police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima virtually immolated himself, took the grand prize for lying, and all but dethroned Beelzebub as “the father of all lies.” He claimed total accountability for the fiasco, and tried to whitewash it of any presidential culpability or involvement. But the attempted whitewash failed to wash. Aquino remains stuck where he is.

According to Purisima, “the responsibility, the accountability rests with me,” without saying that he now awaits his just desserts within the power of the law. He admitted running Operation Exodus for the President, briefing him regularly on it, but “failing to coordinate” with the AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. and the acting PNP Chief Leonardo Espina, after involving SAF commander Getulio Napenas in it. And he did all this while under suspension by the Ombudsman as PNP Chief in connection with serious corruption charges.

Senators were quick to denounce “usurpation,” but quite slow to see the President’s hand behind it. As a suspended police officer, Purisima had lost his active official standing in the police organization; he was no more than an outsider as far as the office of the PNP chief was concerned. He was able to insert himself into Oplan Exodus, which was tasked to go after two international terrorists being sheltered by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, only because Aquino had ordered or authorized it. But the order violated the existing suspension order of the Ombudsman, and was therefore void ab initio.

Thus Purisima could not rightfully say, “the responsibility, the accountability rests with me” since, legally speaking, there was no “me” to speak of, in the first place. He had no right to be where he was as far as Oplan Exodus was concerned; he had no legal personality to be in charge or even part of any police project whatsoever. The only thing he could have correctly said was this: “The responsibility rests with the President. He authorized me to run the operation, despite my having been suspended from office. I simply obeyed him, even though I knew he was violating the law in giving me my assignment. We violated the law together, that’s why I have resigned while awaiting my just punishment, and that’s why I expect him to do the same as well.”

However, this point seemed beyond the senators’ grasp. They confined their questioning to Purisima’s “failure to coordinate with the military” and with Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas and acting PNP Chief Espina, whom Aquino had previously cut out of the loop. Aquino could have ensured “coordination with the military” by simply adhering strictly to the established chain of command instead of outsourcing everything to the suspended PNP chief.

But this was not—this is not—-the real issue. The real issue, which the public expected the Senate inquiry to resolve, was “why did the operational command fail to send reinforcement” after the commandos were pinned down by enemy fire, and had begun crying for reinforcement? Despite the SAF’s alleged failure to coordinate with the military, a light armored brigade was reported to have been standing by, a few kilometers from the killing zone, ready to roll in. But at the last minute it was ordered to stand down. Why?

This report, quoting highly informed sources, and repeated several times over in this space, has never been denied nor denounced. Again and again, we have asked, who ordered the stand-down? Where was the President, and what was he doing at the time? Was he in the middle of some important meeting, waiting for Purisima’s latest feed, or was he in fact watching the operation in Mamasapano by means of images fed to him in Zamboanga City by a drone?

From all accounts, this is what appears to have happened. On his late mother’s 82nd birth anniversary (on January 25), when his sisters were supposed to gather and offer a Mass in her memory in Manila, he chose to be in Zamboanga City. What was the supreme importance of being there on that day when he should have been with his only family celebrating an important anniversary? Did he not, in fact, go there expecting to watch the Mamasapano operation, and cheer its expected success from his listening post? As we said before, he went there to oversee the operation by remote control, and it was what he did. He alone could have given the order to stand down, and he gave it. If he did not, he alone could have reversed and cancelled the order, if somebody else did. This is where the back of the camel breaks.

Yet this critical issue was never touched. This was the biggest crime at the hearing, beyond all the lies coming from those trying to protect Aquino from himself. The Senate terminated its hearings after finding Purisima and Napenas “accountable for the SAF’s failure to coordinate with the military.” But the case against Aquino remains wide open; they just can’t shove it under the rug.

In Memoriam. I ask the pious reader to offer a prayer of thanks for the long life the Lord gave to Dr. Jack Wilke, founder and longtime president of the International Right to Life Federation, who was called home to the Father in Cincinnati this week. Jack was a very dear friend who, with his wife Barbara, who passed on earlier, led the worldwide pro-life and pro-family movement for most of his life. Thanks.


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  1. This president’s disregard for the law is amazing. We can say that about the senate as well. Involving a suspended officer in any capacity even as an adviser or interpreter of military jargons or whatever excuses he has to involve Purisima is simply and clearly a violation of the suspension handed to Purisima by the Ombudsman. Admitting that he “employed” Purisima proves that he is either arrogant thinking nobody can touch him and he can do whatever he wants, or simply a sign of stupidity that he is not aware he can be impeached for it or the people will clamor for his resignation or ouster. Either way, we deserve a better commander-in-chief.

  2. Dear ex-Senator Tatad,

    Hope this open letter will not be deleted so as your reader can read this for most of my letter/comments is always erased by this paper.

    Your comments is just full of hate. And as if that whatever steps the government will make for the country, your group and specially yourself are praying that it will fail. You felt left-out of the politics and for that you just hate it and do not want to concede your defeat one way or the other. All your comments against the government is so bias and you make it appear that it is really hopeless and very much inconvenient to retire now in the Philippines. I resides in the US for more now 25 years and planning to retire/die in my native country. Your news conference in Cebu with Cardinal Vidal as your spokeman(via ABS-CBN Cebu}, you at the background issued a statement for the removal of the president. Was it helpful for our country to do that? Everyday I read US newspaper and search anything about the Philippines. But all I read about Philippines are positive economically. I learned that Philippines will continue its growth next to China. All the financial institution in America as will in Europe wants to invest in the Philippines. Now, who is not telling the truth. In Marcos era when I was there, paper said everything was good , but in the US was not even good. As an example how your group hated the president,,you and all the opposition are making issues against the president, when a vehicular accident happens its the president fault, for he did not repair the traffic lights. You want your group that the office of the president will act as a policeman, tax collector, traffic enforcer, fireman and battle field commander. That is what your group now. You thought you love your country, but you do not.

    • Wherever anyone wish to retire, in US or the Philippines or in any other countries of your choice, nothing can be called a perfect peaceful world like the paradise most retirees and most people , very much could wish for . I don’t think Mr. Tatad is writing the article to hate his country and mislead his own countrymen. It is his job as a dedicated journalist to give information in relation to what is exactly happening inside our gov’t . , our society and the way of life affecting mostly the less fortunate (the poor) who has no voice at all (suppressed ) and will never have a chance to go abroad for better opportunity but to hope for a better gov’t at home, the Philippines.

  3. Don’t be surprised if these groups are financed by the Binays to have a short-cut way to Malacanang. These groups actually want Binay to be the President to obtain high government positions to enrich themselves. So what happens to those corrupt politicians in jail when Binay becomes the President? Binay will all set them free and they will say ” Happy days are here again” and will continue robbing the government’s money. There will be no more end to corruption if Binay becomes their choice. Lord, God please save the Philippines from the Binays.

  4. Being the Ama ng Bayan as a moniker, PNoy have admitted the responsibility of the botched operations but accountability is not his alone since he laid down to the project officer and ground commander of the PNP SAF special ops, cardinal rule of the game, coordination with AFP and PNP chain of command.

  5. It is said that the more you clamp a pot of boiling water or whatever, the more it will boil over, so will the truth. Save your presidency and your legacy for your sake and that of your parents by coming out clean with the whole truth and nothing less than the truth in all matters that come before you. Sacrifices have to be made and the SAF 44 have made their share. We owe them much. Present yourself to your people Noy for their judgement.

  6. So, where is Poe? I thought she’s for truth. In the end she’s the same color like all of om them. She’s full of shit!

  7. it’s because everybody already knows what really happened… except the senators, of course!!!

  8. virgilio s escaler on

    In lieu of what had happened in Mamasapano, congress should put BBL on hold. We’re supposed to be one country, one flag and under one constitution. Giving in to MILF/BIFF demands is no different than giving in to terrorists demands, The government should instead focus on financing development of Mindanao infrastructure, energy program, educational system and creating jobs for all our brothers and sisters in Mindanao.

  9. I

    Peaceful Co-existence or Religious War!
    It is predicted a religious war, and some say civil war, will occur if the Bangsangmoro Law is not passed or thrown to the dustbin of history.
    Secessionist war or Religious war but not civil war! This is because not the whole country and its entire population are going to fight vs. one another. It is only the Muslim inhabitants of a certain region (MINDANAO) that will be afflicted by the religious “war fever”. The religious “war fever” must be contained and isolated only in the region. The Republic must put a tight military and police control over the Muslim rebels whether they be the MILF or MNLF, and must assert its national authority and the legal justice system and, foremost, the Constitution, as the governing fundamental law of the land including over the Mindanao region. The MILF or MNLF does not have any legitimate power and authority to resist the legal national authorities like the AFP military and PNP police exercising its responsibilities to enforce the law! Any such resistance must be deemed obstruction of justice and if these MUSLIM group violently confront the authorities they must be treated as ordinary criminals. If they subvert the law and commits rebellion for bearing arms to overthrow the government and proclaim their own independence, then they must be considered REBELS and they must be confronted with national armed forces and prosecute and jail them for treason, rebellion or sedition.
    These fanatic groups advocating a separate Sovereign government are renegades secessionist who will not pursue a peaceful co-existence with the majority of the populace. They will continue to act as brigands and resort to banditry, like bombings, kidnappings for ransom and extortions of businesses to finance their outlawry activities.
    The National government must pour and finance large investments in infrastructure, energy, agricultural and educational projects that will assist in the fast-track sustainable development of the Mindanao region that will uplift the socio-economic status of the Muslim population. The Muslim groupings must also be formed to participate in the national and local elections do as to be part of the political processes in the region. The notion that if no BBL is passed there will be “WAR” between the Muslims and non-Muslims in MINDANAO must be dropped and must not create an atmosphere of hate and animosities. Continues dialogue for the mechanism of Mindanao development and financial assistance by the National government to the Regional/local government of Mindanao must be laid on the table and explored by all parties until the processes are adopted and implemented.
    If a full-scale financial and development assistance is rejected and instead violent secessionist rebellion is pursued, then the Republic has to defend itself with all its might and state resources to force these renegades into submission and obedience to the lawfully constituted Republic of the Philippines.
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    Luciano Adan

    Write a comment…

    • There is nothing wrong in your comment today. In fact these are ideal things to take up if the government will do what is supposed to. My only concern is, are we to expect that the Muslims will do their share to make governance work with the existence of Christians and Muslims. History does not believe so. Remember during the Crusades, the Church were forced to arm itself and declared war against the Moors (Muslims) because these group were taking over Christians countries and forcing their citizens accept their religious beliefs. To make the long story short, after evolving, the Catholic Church laid down the armaments of their army and the Crusades disbanded. How about the Moors (muslims)? Did they do their part? Of course they did not. Fact is the Muslims are now stronger than before and instead of being present in Arab Africa, they are all over Black Africa, Eastern Europe in the EU, Asia and the Americas. Instead of embracing religious peace, the Muslims are now very busy killing, kidnapping and raping in the Arab Africa and Black Africa. History and what is happening now is a dangerous flag not to be ignored by the Filipinos. Muslims WILL NEVER LAY DOWN THEIR WEAPONS all because they have war-like mentalities. They are even willing to discard their wives and children than discard their weapons. This is already a Muslim pride and part of their culture. Ergo, this BBL agreement is a farce.

    • i disagree on one point on this comment; saying that it cannot be called a civil war because its isolated only in the Mindanao region is like saying that “its not a civil war because they aren’t Filipinos”, and that, i believe, is what’s at the heart of the matter; Filipinos who does not share the same beliefs as our Muslim brethren have long abandoned them, we have allowed the perfect concoction of social injustices to make our brothers and sisters in Mindanao snap and take action.

    • sonny dela cruz on

      You are right, this is the way the Philippine government should do. We don’t need that BBL. The peace loving Moros can go around the Philippines to work and make a living, practice their own religion by building mosque without complains from the non-muslim people. These MILF, MNLF, BIFF and the ASG are terrorist, now they are taking advantage of the governments inept and corrupt leaders by saying war without BBL. The Philippine government should wipeout and contained these terrorsist. Once we accoplice this mission. The government should develop Mindanao and give them their share for economic development, free education, health care and to rehablitate their mind to respect the constitution and laws for a lasting peace in Mindanao.

  10. No way Aquino can weasel out of his culpability in the Mamasapano slaughter. In the Manila hostage crisis, Aquino was simply indiferrent or incompetent or both. In Mamasapano, it was Aquino’s still unexplained failure to authorize timely rescue and his belated half-hearted approval (the stupid “best-effort rescue without endangering the rescuers”) that killed the SAF 44.Time will not heal the wound inflicted by this crime, contrary to the claim of the Malacanang lackey Coloma.

    • iamwell bungari on

      “The President is again attempting to avoid responsibility for the raid and its bloody consequences by foisting the blame on Purisima. I do not mean to imply that Purisima is guiltless. Indeed, had the President not put Purisima in charge of the operation, blatantly defying the Ombudsman’s suspension order, this tragic fiasco might never have happened. Responsibility was shared, and it’s the President’s attempt not to own up to his share that infuriates me,” Bello said.

      Bello, who was not among the lawmakers in the select group, said the President should have emulated US Presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter who took full responsibility for military fiascos under their watch—Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba for Kennedy and the Desert One rescue operation in Iran for Carter.

      “Why can’t this President be presidential enough to do the same and suffer the consequences, as Kennedy and Carter did? He really has to do something drastic with his style of governance,” Bello said.

      He said the House leaders should be careful lest they be accused of “acquiescing” to Malacañang’s news management.

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  11. ‘hope people will see the whitewash that just came from the senate. you don’t have to be a senator to see that suspended purisima cannot just alone and have no authority unless given by Aquino. why cant those sweet talking senators see that??? its sad that this senate and congress have become the lackey & dummies of this mis-administration.

  12. Leodegardo Pruna on

    If Purisima was running the show for the P-Noy in the Mamasapano tragedy, then P-Noy should admit complicity if not directorship of the whole thing. All of those in the know should have the guts to resign. God bless the Philippines.

  13. All the dishonorable members of the current senate are pygmies in stature compared to the senators of yore. Either it was intentional or they are so devoid of analytical thinking and even average intellect that they have conveniently forgot to ask questions that will ultimately unmask the idiot behind this deadly mission. Pity my poor Philippines.

  14. Bribe money is much too tempting for all legislathieves in both houses of Congress. The mention of the PNoy name is a mortal sin, a no, no, no.

  15. I agree with the assessments expressed here. However, what the heck this memoriam inserted here! It is an abuse of the readers’ public trust in the report. Thumbs down!