• The Poe-Escudero hoax in Mamasapano Senate inquiry and report

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    First of two parts

    The arbitrary decision of the Supreme Court to amend the Constitution in order to proclaim Grace Poe-Llamanzares a natural- born citizen left me wondering about when we Filipinos voted to authorize CJ Sereno and her justice cohorts to rewrite the Constitution. We did not.

    Truly, this abomination will haunt the court and the nation for years unless exorcised.

    Alas, this abomination is not the only hoax perpetrated on our people and our country by Grace Poe and her partners and financiers.

    In this two-part series, I report the research finding that Senators Grace Poe-Llamanzares and Francis Escudero perpetrated a series of deceptions on the nation in the conduct of the Senate inquiry into the tragic events in Mamasapano, and in the writing of the Senate’s joint committee report.

    It appears that their plot on the presidency was launched when they hijacked the Senate’s Mamasapano inquiry, and manipulated the writing of the Senate committee report.

    Hijacking the Senate inquiry
    Control of the Senate’s Mamasapano inquiry was wrested by Poe and Escudero when they succeeded in placing the committees they chaired (the committee on public order of Senator Poe and the committee on finance of Senator Escudero) at the forefront of the inquiry.

    The two senators rushed the Senate into opening the inquiry, with themselves as chief probers, even though there was support for a joint House-Senate inquiry and wide public clamor for an independent inquiry by a special commission created by Congress, similar to the commissions that probed the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the events of 9/11. We can now only wonder about how an independent commission might have hastened the achievement of closure, which we still pine for.

    Poe and Escudero performed like a wrestling.tag team during the hearings, picking each other up whenever either one faltered. They were running mates even then, milking public attention at public expense on a matter of grave national importance.

    For Senator Poe, it was her debut in the spotlight. She who was a tabula rasa in public affairs got an opportunity to fill in the blanks. She did not waste the opportunity.

    Three major deceptions
    In preparing the Senate committees’ report and an executive summary of the report, Senators Poe and Escudero deceived the Senate and the nation three times.

    First, the Executive summary of the joint committee report, which Senator Poe presented to the media and the public on March 17, 2015, is not a summary of the committee report at all.

    The summary’s key message and sound bite — that President Benigno BS Aquino III is “ultimately responsible” for the Mamasapano tragedy — is nowhere to be found in the committee report. Yet the public was made to believe that it was the main conclusion of the inquiry.

    Second, there is a marked difference in substance and wording between the committee report and the summary – with the report reading like a serious and fair summation of the hearings, and the executive summary reading like a talking points memo.

    While the report concluded that President Aquino needed to exercise leadership and admit mistakes in connection with the Mamasapano Massacre, the executive summary settled for declaring him “ultimately responsible.” Third, the verdict of ultimate responsibility, which is not a typical finding of Philippine legislative inquiries, was evidently copied from one inquiry and report in the US congress.

    Together, they add up to a level of dishonesty and deception never before seen in the Philippine Senate.

    Let’s turn now to the evidence.

    Exhibit A – Executive summary of committee report
    The executive summary consists of 12 pages.

    “Ultimately responsible” made its first appearance in our public life at the media conference called by Senator Poe on 17 March 2015. Today happens to be the first anniversary of this invention of Senator Poe.

    At the media briefing, the senator read passages from the executive summary of what was then described as a “draft committee report on the Mamasapano incident.”

    The key passage from page 5 of the summary reads as follows:

    “The Mamasapano incident raises serious questions about whether the President, as well as some other high-ranking officials of the government, could have done more to minimize the number of deaths which resulted from the incident….

    “Perhaps, if the President and the key security officials who were with him in Zamboanga City discussed the incident and shared information with each other at the early stages of the day, coordination between the Army and the PNP might have been hastened and fewer lives would have been lost.

    “As the Commander-in- Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines, the President exercises supreme operational command of the nation’s military forces. The President also controls all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He wields the awesome powers of government, and has its vast resources at his disposal.

    “The President’s decision not to use these resources at that instance, must be explained by him. The President is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the mission.”

    The committee report was not released to the media and the public that day. Only the summary was circulated.

    Exhibit B–Senate joint committee report
    The Senate Committee report on Mamasapano consists of 129 pages. It is simply titled “The Committee report on the Mamasapano incident.”

    It began by describing the Mamasapaano tragedy as just an incident. Then midway, it shifted to calling it a “massacre.”

    The important findings and conclusions of the committee report can be found on pages 119 to 129.

    The passages most directly related to Senator Poe’s executive summary read as follows:

    “Perhaps, if the president and the key security officials who were with him in Zamboanga City discussed the incident in Mamasapano and shared information with each other at the early stages of the day, coordination between the Army and the PNP might have been hastened and fewer lives would have been lost.

    “As the commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Philippines, the President exercised supreme operational command of the nation’s military forces. The President also controls all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He wields the awesome powers of government, and has its vast resources at his disposal. The President’s decision, as well as that of his men, not to use their resources at that instance, must be explained….”

    Note how the paragraph does not end with the finding of “ultimate responsibility” of President Aquino, as it did in the executive summary.

    The report’s strongest words on President Aquino can be found on page 126. They read: “At this crucial time in our history, it is imperative that the President display unquestionable leadership, be forthright and candid with our people, accept responsibility for all decisions he makes as President, and admit the mistakes that have been committed with the Mamasapano massacre.”

    The wording and conclusion here is different from Senator Poe’s executive summary.

    The full report, all 129 pages of it, is much better and more tough-minded than we were led to believe.

    Inspiration from US Congress
    I am critical of the Poe-Escudero conduct and manipulation of the Senate’s Mamasapano inquiry and report because it involves a national tragedy that had inflicted a deep wound on our national life. It caused great anguish and pain to many families across the archipelago. Our people looked to the official inquiries to help in bringing closure to the tragedy.

    The Senate inquiry exacerbated the anguish by engaging in deception.

    The tragedy was exploited rather than closed.

    My next column will disclose the US Congress committee report, which apparently gave Senator Poe the inspiration for “ultimately responsible.”

    yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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    18 Comments

    1. Precisely the reason this Grace, who misrepresented herself in that probe as a lady of great wisdom and discernment, condescendingly and cavalierly dismissed the veteran, tried and tested former National Defense Minister/Secretary and statesman Senator Juan ponce Enrile in his attempt to deepen the investigation into that tragedy.

      She did not want Enrile or anybody to outdo her even if it will lead into us really getting to the crux of the matter which is something she never intended to do in the first place when she and Chiz shanghaied the probe, satisfied as they were with earning ganda/pogi points with the more impressionable segments of our people.

      It was a calculated move on the part of this Grace meant to send a stern message to Penoy that he better think twice about trifling with her ambition to run for president with or outside of the LP.

      It was a slyly veiled counter blackmail to dissuade Penoy from using his minions in the Supreme Court to throw a monkey wrench on her determined bid to get to Malacanan, her questionable citizenship and residence notwithstanding.

      As the Penoy appointees-dominated SC with the surprising help of no less than the Solicitor General came up with the highly anomalous decision allowing her to run, it is clear that this Grace had her way with the President by virtue of that hijacked Mamasapano probe which damned then later exonerated him from criminal responsibilities.

    2. Hinilot ni Poe and report para I-salba si Aquinoe. she was hoping that Aquinoe will anoint her as the presidential candidate of the LP. Kaya si Aquinoe in good terms kay Poe to the extent na sa mga social gatherings “lovey-dovey” sila.

    3. For Pinoy voters who still dream of “new Philippines” with these presidential candidates lined up for you to choose from (no other choice) but to go to candidate with “less evil” in his/her sleeves. Kawawang Pinoy!!!

    4. EFREN ANDRES on

      I am totally convinced that Chiz Escudero is a master manipulator. His dream of becoming president is so obvious when he rejected Erap’s offer of becoming his VP unless he stands to be on top of Erap, instead. Now Escudero saw the chance by manipulating Grace Poe, another bolera The problem is there’s lot of BOBOTANTES in the Philippines. Poor Filipinos!

    5. siegfred sumicad on

      if indeed such wordings have been literally changed I am amzed with some peoples comments like “ano ang masama sa ginawa nila”? This are the mind sets of people whom I believe will just shove injustices under the carpet. Meaning, nabubulagan sila minsan kung hindi nila naiintindihan ang issue. Example, they said na ginawa lang nila ang dapat nilang gawin, pero nakakalimutan nila yung fine words yung mga importanteng salita na dapat pagtuunan ng pansin na sa kung saan sa tingin ang sabi ng sumulat ng balita na ito ay binago ni Grce Poe / chiz Escudero. Yun ang punto ng sumulat at hindi yung pag ganap ng hearing. Well, on the otherhand, sa tingin ko si chiz talaga ang may pakana nito he is the one who has the sigths of being the president and again the Philippines will again vote for another accidental president just because she gained or became famous dahil sa SAF44 inquiry.

    6. This pattern of deception that this American foundling, Llamanzares, has mastered is truly an abomination and an abomination truly. My country, how long are we going to let this cheat, fraud and a liar deceive us? It is said that where there is smoke, there is fire. And we cannot hide smoke, it will come out sooner or later. There is a lot of smoke in our household, let us extinguish it.

      • Agree. However,She is not alone as she is a neophyte. She Was aided also by lawyer politicians who are the working brains behind all her moves. They are bunches of scheming people loving Machiavelli. Using their access to government power against the peope paying for the bread and butter their family eat on their table

    7. ma aurora corpuz on

      can the people initiate an impeachment for the 9justices who raped the Phil Constitution?

      • anybody can file an impeachment complaint ma.aurora corpuz. all you need is an endorsement from any member of lower house. your problem will be the justice committee where your impeachment complaint will be disapproved or approved for discussion by the entire membership. easy going, hindi ba? reality check. majority of the members, both in the justice committee and the entire membership, are under the thumb or rather under the payroll (dap & padaf) of benito. tapos na ang boksing sa justice committee pa lang. marami na ang nagtangka pero lahat bagsak sa justice committee.

    8. We should never allow Poe and Escudero to handle the 2 highest positions of our country. The SC’s legitimizing of Poe’s candidacy according to the behest of an abnormal president, which in effect “changed” the Philippine Constitution should be stopped, and stopped outright, before the tentacles of corruption will be added and ‘regenerate’ into becoming a new persona in either ROXAS or POE.

    9. Jose Oliveros on

      They are not yet in power, yet Grace Poe-Llamanzares and Chiz Escudero have already resorted to deception, fraud and dishonesty. What more if they are already in power?

    10. Sir, can we oblige the Senate or Senate Committee in the Mamasapano inquiry to submit the report in a Plenary sessipn?

    11. GP is so devoid of experience, where she can draw well thought out wisdom. Fit for the Kinderfarten classroom only.

    12. Wala namang masama sa ginawa ni Chiz Escudero at ni Grace Poe e, ang gusto lang naman nila na magkaroonnng hustisya ang mga pamilya ng mga namatayan. Gusto lang nila na maging patas ang lahat. anong masama sa ginawa nilang ito? ang pagsasabi na ginagamit lang nila ito para manira sa mga kalaban nila o gamitin para lumakas sa kampanya, ay isang malaking kalokohan. hindi sila ganoong klase ng tao dahil hindi na nila kailangan pa na manira para lamang dumami ang boto dahil kahit wala ito ay malaki at malakas ang boto nila.

      • Are you kidding or just blind sighted yellow zombie? Please do your homework, just read the article, baka dimo binasa at di naunawaan ang nilalaman. Kaya nasisira ang bansa dahil sa isang katulad mo,low info voter okay nga(o di Kaya bulag)!

    13. Natalia Salvacion on

      Wala akong nakikitang mali kung pinagtuunan ng pansin nila sen poe at sen escudero ang kaso ng mamasapano, dahil karapatan ng bawat pamilyang nawalan ng mahal sa buhay ang mabigyan ng hustisya, bakit ba naman kailangan pa kwestyunin yan. POrket sila ang nagpatawag ng senate hearing maqy iba ng pakay, ano ba? pwede bang isipin nalang natin ang ikakabuti ng nakakarami. kaya sen poe at sen escudero huwag kayo magpatinag sa mga detractors ninyo.

    14. Matagal ng hindi nareresolba ang issue na yan tungkol sa mamasapano kawawa naman ang mga kaanak ng biktim amula dito. Ang ating Presidente ang under sa kaso na ito siya ang nagaasikaso ngunit wala naman nangyayari buti pa ang Partido Galing at Puso umaaksyon ukol dito. Sana naman mabigyan hustisya na ang mga biktima dito.