In sorrow, shame and anger, we say, ‘we’re all SAF now’

49

It was the least President B. S. Aquino 3rd could do, even if it seemed too little too late – to declare a day of national mourning for all the members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) who perished in the Maguindanao massacre in the hands of the Muslim Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) last weekend. It came one day after the National Transformation Council called for a period of nationwide mourning – and prayers – for the victims and their bereaved kin. But apart from this, Aquino’s short TV address on the tragedy on Wednesday evening merely fueled the people’s anger across the nation.

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Indeed, Filipinos are angry and their anger is mounting. It’s all over the social media, in the coffee houses, schools, factories, board rooms, and everywhere else. On Wednesday, I was in Cebu City where the Cebu Daily News bannered the story, “2 Cebuanos die with boots on.” There I saw a group literally hooting down Aquino as they listened to his speech that evening. I heard the same reaction from various groups in the city the next day.

Aquino supporters turning around
A Cebuano columnist-friend, writing for another Manila paper, told me that a well- known cleric who had long stopped talking to him since he started criticizing Aquino, has just texted him saying, “BSA 3rd is an idiot.” He said many other pro-Aquino supporters have since turned around. From Manila, I started receiving text messages urging the NTC to reissue its call on Aquino “to step down.”

One young Cebuano, apparently inspired by the slogan “Je suis Charlie Hebdo” (I am Charlie Hebdo), which went viral worldwide after the recent Islamist killing of 10 journalists and two others at the headquarters of the weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (for Hebdomadaire) in Paris, suggested the entire Philippines had become PNP-SAF. “We are all PNP-SAF now,” he said, and proposed that we use all means to proclaim it.

What Aquino failed to condemn
People expected Aquino to condemn the massacre and the mutilation of a number of the victims in the strongest possible terms. He did not. He was careful not to offend the MILF and the BIFF. He even refrained from calling the massacre by its proper name, but merely called it an “incident.” He was more interested in defending his so-called peace process, and the passage of the constitutionally questionable Bangsamoro Basic Law (Babala), as though the Maguindanao massacre never happened.

Babying the MILF
They expected him to demand that the MILF surrender all those involved in the massacre for the appropriate due process, and apologize to the nation for the cold-blooded killing of so many of our best-trained law enforcers. But he decided to baby the MILF instead. All he could say was that he would like the MILF to “identify” those involved in the “incident.” And instead of asking the MILF to prove to the government that it was still interested in pursuing peace, he said he was confident the MILF was “studying how to demonstrate their sincerity in the peace process.” This has not changed the matter-of-fact statement of the MILF, saying that what had happened had already happened and could no longer be undone.

Did he personally authorize the botched mission?
They expected him to tell the nation whether or not he had personally authorized the mission of the police commandos that brought them to their tragic death. But he failed to do this. He successfully evaded the question, leaving the public to sort out things for themselves. Unfortunately, the tidbits of information coming out tend to show him in the worst possible light.

One newspaper had reported that the assignment given to the SAF commandos – to serve arrest warrants to Malaysian bombmaker Sulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and his Filipino partner Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao – had come directly from the still-suspended PNP director general Alan Purisima, who had personally cleared it with Aquino himself.

Waiting for glory that never came
This was why Aquino was in Zamboanga City on Sunday, waiting to receive the “captured terrorists” on the day of the massacre. Both he and Purisima wanted to “surprise” the nation with a “big terrorist catch,” to rehabilitate their sagging political fortunes. This story has not been denied.

Incriminating information
Since then, the following unconfirmed information has trickled out from highly informed police and military sources:

1.American and local intelligence providers had tipped off the PNP high command on the presence of Marwan and Usman in Maguindanao as early as last November. However, the information was confirmed only during the week of Pope Francis’s visit in January. Planning was kept between the President, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, who chairs the anti-terrorism council, Purisima, the Regional District Commander, and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. The PNP deputy director-general had vague knowledge of the operation but was not involved in its planning or in its execution.

Were the Americans informed?

It is not clear whether the Americans who have offered a total bounty of $6 million on the head of the two terrorists, through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were involved in the operation.

Extent of support for operations
2.About 450 troops from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP were deployed along a 10-kilometer radius of the area of the operation, as the “exfiltration” or extraction component during the operation. This included a light armor brigade deployed along the highway some 5 kilometers from the area of operation. All members of the SAF company were outfitted with throat-activated peer-to-peer communications equipment, as well as satellite and radio equipment, but apparently had no chance to really engage the MILF forces on equal terms.

Light armored brigade ordered to stand down
3.At the height of the fighting, the SAF company relentlessly called for support. But orders came down from the operations command for the light armored brigade, which was the unit closest to the fighting, to stand down.

4.The MILF forces were equipped with high-powered weapons, originally sourced from government, but having taken away all weapons from the fallen policemen, all their sophisticated weapons and communications equipment, including Barret sniper rifles and Steyr AUG A3 machine guns, are now in the hands of the mujahedin.

Aquino no-show at Villamor
Following his speech on Wednesday, the public expected Aquino to be on hand to receive the bodies of the fallen commandos upon their arrival at Villamor Air Base yesterday. He failed to show up, citing as his excuse a previous appointment in a factory in Calabarzon. To many observers, this simply underlines his utter lack of humanity, and his greater lack of any valid reason to stay one minute longer as president.

fstatad@gmail.com

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49 Comments

  1. Those men were immediately surrounded on all sides and cut down mercilessly, showing that the enemy was prepared for them when the SAF should have held the initiative which they immediately lost to the enemy in a flash. Perhaps they never had the initiative. Were they betrayed, or was this just a plain failure to apply basic military science. Is the military still abreast with military science, or have they been totally emasculated by the human rights campaign being waged against them by the Americans and the communist NPAs led by Joma in the Netherlands? Did I say the Americans and the NPAs are together waving the human rights banner against this country? Mystifying. The SAF failed to bring back the bomb maker’s body, so we only have the Americans’ word that it is indeed him based on the DNA. These are the same guys who said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and that they got Osama bin Laden but dumped his body in the sea without showing it to the world and we only have their word based on, again, DNA. Isn’t it also mystifying that the Americans and the yellows are bent on giving Muslim Mindanao away to these thugs styling themselves as rebels with a cause when the Americans are waging a war on terror, against mainly Muslim extremists? Don’t they know that the MILF, BIFF and the dreaded Abu Sayyaf are all in bed together? I guess they are not afraid that Bangsamoro will become a sanctuary for terrorists, or is that part of the plan? Some years ago, during the unlamented President GMA’s time, an American, supposedly a tourist, was injured by a bomb that went off accidentally in his hotel room in Davao City. Before he could be investigated , the Americans came and whisked him out of the hospital over the objections of the military and Mayor Duterte. Like the Sphinx, GMA just kept silent on the issue. Just some food for thought while ruminating over this latest outburst of God’s Wrath on the this BS of a Chief Retardate ruining this land. Yes, ruining.

  2. While the whole Nation is mourning on our fallen SAF heroes, the so called “Commander in Chief” attended the Inauguration of Mitsubishi Motors Phils. Corp. plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. If the “President” is the father of this Nation, how come the president is rejoicing and all out smiling in a party while the “children of this nation and the bereaved family are mourning over the fallen soldiers?
    Ganyan ba dapat itrato ng isang “Ama ng Bansa” ang mga nagbuwis ng buhay para sa kapayapaan ng bansa? Where is your empathy Mr President? What is more important to you? You could have cancelled your appointment and send a representative instead.. Ano ginagawa ng napakarami mong spokesperson? or sana na lng isa sa mga kapatid mo ang pina attend mo jan sa party na yan..
    By just watching the news, i couldnt do anything but to pray for this fallen heroes. May their souls be rest in peace!

  3. No surprise the insensitive reaction from your president Aquino. I made similar comments during the major typhoon calamity that slammed your country and your president was only interested in his photo ops and downplaying the body count rather than rebuilding Tacloban and helping the homeless. To this day he has done practically nothing to rehouse the affected people. Now the massacre of your troops brings only more poor performance from your insecure leader. I cannot believe that your people continue to allow President Aquino to stay in office representing your country.

  4. kawawa ang bansa na ang pangulo ay isip bata,maging mga opisyal niya ay maging katulad niya.

  5. Jaime San Juan on

    Mr. Francis co Tatad and other Manila Times Columnists:

    You as a group must lodge a suit in the Supreme Court sue the Current & Past Presidents (Aquino, Ramos) & all Senators and Congressmen who advocate/negotiate for peace with enemies (milf, etc) of our Nation in exchange of portions of the Philippines Territorry , authority, and sovereignty
    FOR TREASON..

    ONLY THE SUPREME COURT, AS THE JUDICIAL BRANCH OF THE REPUBLIC CAN DECLARE THE RESPONDENTS LISTED ABOVE GUILTY OF TREASON AGAINST THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILLIPINES.

    No Filipino can exchange any territory of the Philippines & constitutional authority for appeasement of our enemies. Congress won ‘t impeach Aquino because they support him. The Judiciary as co-equal branch of The Philippines is empowered to indict ELECTED TYRAMTS FOR CULPABLE TREASON.

  6. sonny dela cruz on

    The death of the 44 elite SAF police will not be in vain when the Armed forces of the Philippines will start attacking the Moros after the internment. Let them pulvorize the terrorist, dismantle all their camps. Let them feel also the pain they gave the families of the massacred SAF police.

  7. YES THAT WAS THE ORDER!!!! THE ARMY TO STAND DOWN!!! HAD THE ARMY WENT IN CLOSER, THEY COULD HAVE AT LEAST LESSENED THE CASUALTY!

    NOW, WHO GAVE THAT ORDER???? Hindi nila masagot! I was hoping fro Gazmin to say the truth as he is already old and suffering from diabetes….but the HE LIED AND PROTECTED HIS PATRON IN THE PALACE!

    shame on you Gazmin,Roxas for inflicting this aaabnnooyyyy on the nation! you have now the chance for an exit strategy for this immature president but you are choosing to perpetuate him in power!

    Maganda na sana itong reason for his RESIGNATION and the nation will see him as a great leader who can do the ultimate sacrifice and his legacy would then be great!

    But NO, they missed this chance! now,they will forever endure the unending curse that will befall them because of this continued bungling!

    They have no humility in their hearts.

  8. Hearing this President quote the Bible during the visit of the Pope and during his
    pathetic 4-day late speech in defense of his Bangamoro “babies”, I agree that even the devil can quote scripture.

    Similar to the “inhuman”, therefore bereft of souls, Moro terrorists , thieves even, desecrators of the dead, He, his” peace (soul-less) people” ,Ferrer and Deles deserve condemnation. Same should be given to the one who used “ceasefire” as a reason to allow the slaughter of the young idealist policemen, this AFP chief too who does not give respect to his family name.

    Also the purveyors of the misencounter theory, they are worse than the collaborators in WW II. Ang iba nasa dugo na !

  9. The death of 44 soldiers would have been averted and/or minimized if the plan was thoroughly reviewed identifying all the possible risks and mitigations. Clearly this is not just one man who should be blamed. There are officers and leaders who have to look back, review the events and see where they failed.
    This forum is no place for blaming. I was born in this place 60 years ago and lived when the war between the muslims and Christians broke. My father was a soldier and has been a military spokeman at the time. There were daily operations and deaths. The fighting went on for many years. There is lack of trust between the groups. My thought for us Filipinos, we should strive to reach for peace. The peace plan should continue and also agree that our muslim brothers should police their ranks.

    • This BBL item is very flawed. Major reason is Murad and Jaffar are not respected by many other armed groups in Basilan, Cotabato, other areas of Mindanao. Murad and Jaffar signature on any documents — walang-halaga because there are too many “Lost Commands” who disrespect Murad and Jaffar. While maybe (maybe only…) maybe Murad and Jaffar may know Geneva conventions about prisoners etcetera, the other armed groups are thugs in banditry, kidnapping, blowing IED’s close to public markets, schools…. and providing bodyguard-services to Arwans-of-Malaysia and other Arwan-wannabe’s.
      Gobyerno-Pilipinas should wait 24 months or longer before continuing the BBL talks.

  10. maybe peace in mindanao is not really in the president’s agenda; US nor Malaysia are not going to be happy with a peaceful mindanao.

  11. Vicente Penetrante on

    From the ‘white house’ in Crame to Mamasapano in Mindanao is long distance. The sight for glory is not clear, even with telescope. Only a ‘sap’ would pull the trigger. Aquino is supposed to be a gun enthusiast and good at targeting.

  12. It is now time for those serving in the armed forces both military and police (holding ranks lower than a general), to have a deep soul searching and understand the dire situation that they are often put into, they are often made pawns by those who give orders, yet those that give the order are always out of harms way.

    It is time for them to eliminate these devious characters, and clean up their ranks and the government which they took aoth to protect and serve, should they not come to terms with having to stand up for what is duly right in service of the nation – then they should expect to leave behind widows and orphans, with only a piece of cloth (flag) to remember them by, while those they left behind will continue to struggle to find meaning for their loss.

    May God have mercy on their (massacred SAF troopers) souls and eternal rest grant unto them!

  13. Quote”AWOL COmmander in Chief morally lied again. He should RESIGN. PNoy is indeed morally responsible for the death of 44 PNP SAF commandos and he will pay dearly for this debacle. After everything had been said and done, our thoughts are to the families and survivors of this alleged misencounter and the whole grieving nation can only share the grief and the great loss of your loved ones. This is now the time for the national govt. and MILF to review their commitment to to the resolution of a peaceful Mindanao and may both warring but reconciling parties should show now a genuine respect. sincerity and commitment that the BBL will be passed into law for the sublime reason that indeed the legacy and sacrifice of these 44 fallen PNP SAF heroes have not gone and forgotten in vain.”Unquote

  14. This incident should already call for a revolution to remove Noynoy Aquino from the presidency but no one is making a move..just all talk of disappointments and frustrations. What is it about Noynoy Aquino that no soul is able to touch him? What is the catholic church doing when for over five years this man have done nothing but to put the Philippines to shame? It was so easy for the catholic church to forget about the separation of state and church when they help remove a brilliant president from office so why can’t they do this again for a real worthy and meaningful cause?

    • Revolution is not the answer!. It will bring many deaths. This was done during Erap time and the muslim force has gone bigger.
      The good thing that happened is one of the high value target was killed. He could have killed more people because he is a bomb expert.

    • Patrick Gatdula on

      Revolution is the answer… not just to get rid of a non-functioning president but a government dominated by the most corrupt Filipinos. It’s time to take back the country from those who have raped the nation for over 25 years. It is these politicians that cause the problems of the nation – education, poverty, joblessness, crime… all the result of terrible governance. Even if the law is used… many don’t even respect those laws. What choice is there? A revolution – peaceful or violent – is a step to the right direction.

  15. armando flores on

    This is a clear case of MURDER on the part of aquino. He allowed his men to be killed and decimated by the MILF/BIFF when there was an opportunity to save them. Aquino virtually conspired with the MILF/BIFF. Aquino and the MILF/BIFF leadership must be charged in court and meted the death penalty.

  16. even a well crafted operation plan can go awry and disastrous! how much more a plan crafted and authored by noynoy, who is a certified m**on!

    perhaps God is showing noynoy that he can’t go away with all his whims, caprices and plans for self glorification -and without consulting God of his plans, he will most certainly fail!

  17. to makabayan bloc, kaya nyo ba impeach si pnoy ? diba kakampi nyo yan. diba meron truce kayo with milf terrorist that you’re both one in arms.

    dapat lang magkaron ng isang rebolusyon tulad ng ‘bolshevik revolution’ sa pilipinas. exterminate pnoy and his armed wings, cpp-npa, milf terrorist and its armed wings, and all his cohorts sa congress at senate.

  18. pnoy is the commander in chief of the milf terrorist and its armed wings. he is nothing but a terrorist like his dad. ‘the ball is in your hands now, son’. filipinos should take him out of the palace and be prosecuted to the fullest for all his crimes done to the republic of the philippines.

  19. All Filipinos should show our digust with Aquino. I will spit in his face if he comes close to me.

    Law and order must be re-established in all of the Philippines.
    A. Bring the murderers to Justice.
    B. Outlaw and disband all private armies.
    C. Outlaw all weapons larger than a pistol in the Philippines.

    A,B,C must be accomplished to achieve peace. BBL discussions must wait until that is accomplished.

  20. chthonic monster on

    “there will be wars and rumours of war”! it seems the prophecy about this numbnuts is being fulfilled day by day! he will plunge our Nation into chaos and anarchy, malaaz ‘tong si balut penoy! buwisit sa taong bayan! and he still believes in the “sincerity” of the moklo ay Dios mio what an ass!

  21. The current & past presidents of the Philippines and those in Congress & Senate who advocates/negotiates peace with terrorists, rebels, and enemies(MILF, Communists,BIFF, etc) of the Republic by surrendering portions of the whole Philippine Territory and its Constitutional Sovereignty are on notice they are liable/guilty of TREASON AGAINST THE PHILIPPINES.

  22. I want the truth!
    Condemened and punished who’s behind that “operation”. Bakit kailangang ilihim kay DILG Sec. Mar Roxas at sa military? I smell something fishy > hindi kaya si Purisima ang involved dito???

  23. Autopsies by reputable entities should be conducted how each one of our heroes was killed by TERRORISTS & to seek the Truth if truly, they were slain with multiple bullets in the head.

  24. The president is not worthy to be saluted by the uniformed personnel. Maybe, the salute for pakitang tao will not be that smart. Pity for the PNP personnel.The incident happened Sunday and his address was on Wednesday-what speed is that! The killing is massacre and they called it misencounter. Misencounter is between friendly forces. Are the MILF and BIFF are friends with the government forces! It took 10 hours to stop the brutal and barbaric killings of our government forces! His address is as feeble as castle made of sand, and as weak as dust in the street. What kind of decisiveness is that! The country lacks sovereignty over its territory. The muslim rebels have their own territory, maybe, we need visas to get inside their territory?Do we arrest these rebels when they go out from their territory? Does the MILF ploy to have the BIFF as an option ?If the BIFF is not part of the MILF why not run after them? They are cohabiting with them?If the so called decommissioning of firearms will be implemented, the better firearms will be in the hands of the BIFF and the discrefit will be in the hands of the government as a token of compliance. At the start, the whole peace talk is a long range vision of the Malaysians for their end goal. Borneo will be forever be theirs, no more Kirams to fester them and the worst is to muslim territory to join them as confederacy state. Kaawa-awa ang Pilipinas at ang nagbuwis ng buhay ay mauwi sa wala. Hu hu hu!

    • There is your main problem. The Muslims were Given their own territory. That’s like rolling out the red carpet and saying ‘ Welcome all Islamic and extremists groups “.You reap what you sow.

  25. muriel magtanggol on

    This is nowhere close to Charlie! How about “Aquino, step down now!” “Take Binay and Drilon down with you too!”

  26. That’s what we get by electing a person by “accident”. Now it can no longer be denied that the president we elected has no leadership instinct, if at all. We are all to blame for this.

    • Korek ka dyan. We all deserve the leaders that we elect. But who knows, the process can be “speeded up”…..

  27. PNoy is a disgrace. His idiocy has cheapen the presidency. How many more blunders will he commit before he is replaced? How long do we have to endure his cringe-worthy presscons? I say, enough already with this showbiz president.

  28. All I can say is we have stupid PCOS President
    who relied on a Suspended PNP Chief by the Ombudsman.

    Why did the two do this? That is why this PCOS President was in Zamboanga
    at that time together with Purisima – correct?

    I guess they wanted to pocket the $6,000,000,000.00 rewards
    from the U.S.

    The two got shit instead.

  29. All has been said about Penoy.. nothing more to add to describe the present ”student-council” government that we have. God Bless our country.

  30. hindi nya kayang makita ang ginawa nya sa grupo ng pinakamagaling na mga pulis kaya hindi sya nagpakita sa villamor. WE ARE ALL SAF NOW!!!

  31. sonny dela cruz on

    The NTC should stop talking but do the action now. Rally the people behind you to kick out the BS Aquino gang in Malacanan, the House of representative and the Senate. Start drafting the Federal Constitution so that there will be peace and prosperity in the country.

  32. The glory that never came. What a predicament pnoy is now in. I wonder if he can still sleep soundly. I wonder if he can already feel the seriousness of the situation. . . , the mounting anger of the people. I believe his days are now numbered.

  33. Based on those unconfirmed reports, could it be that the information of the presence of Marwan in the area is a counter-intelligence balloon out to draw the SAF into the area and hence ambush them thereafter – to embarass simyon, earn the ire of the military for them to turn the tables on him and make him lose all credibility because he has earned disfavor from the US? Whoever gave the order for the light armored brigade to stand down must knew of the plan to ambush the guys. I can even surmise that the order to stand down was basically to sabotage a Purisima operation so that the guy would look more stupid than ever. Indeed, the massacre was classic Bay of Pigs fiasco.

  34. The discussions over BBL should be delayed. Reason — it will be too early to give policing-authority to Murad/Jaffar MILF. Murad has already said that he did not know that Murwan was in their territory. What kind of policing competence is this?
    Give policing to MILF and there will be more Marwan’s and Marwan-trainees in Mindanao. This is super-DANGEROUS!!!

  35. charlie castro on

    this pretending president is not only idiot but without soul! Pnoy should be the next candidate for the presidential contest of the republic of idiot!