IN the parallel world, after a growing demand from an outraged populace, the President reluctantly met the press to answer questions about a massacre that had bedeviled his administration. Here’s the transcript of that presscon.
Reporter 1: Mr. President, why didn’t you send reinforcements immediately to the encircled commandos of the Special Action Force?
President: Because they were still alive when I received the report.
Reporter 1: Sir, then why did you order the reinforcement at past 4 pm?
President: All the commandos were dead by then. If I didn’t order the reinforcement after their death, their bodies would have been left to the elements. Next question.
Reporter 2: Mr. President, are you now admitting full responsibility for the operation that had resulted in the massacre of 44 SAF commandos?
President: You’re putting words in my mouth. Is my face red? The full responsibility belongs to the SAF head and the former chief of the national police who told lies to me.
Reporter 2: What lies did they tell you? What are you going to do to them?
President: The lies they told me are covered by executive privilege. I will definitely put the full weight of my office against the SAF head.
Reporter 2: Sir, what about the former chief of the national police? What action will you take against him who’s your best friend?
President: You’ve already asked too many questions. Next reporter may ask his question.
Reporter 3: Sir, what’s your reaction to claims that you’re too trusting in handing over much power to the revolutionary Muslim group?
President: Those people questioning this are anti-Muslim and pro-war. There’ll never be any peace as long as we don’t give that Muslim group what they want.
Reporter 3: Sir, there are also doubts on the loyalty to the republic of the persons you have chosen to talk with the revolutionary group.
President: They’re definitely loyal to me and they’re against war. Do you know of any better way to stop the war against the revolutionary Muslim group that had already cost more than 150,000 lives? Next.
Reporter 4: Good afternoon sir. May we know why you seem to be friendlier to Muslim leaders than to Catholic priests?
President: We should always be open-minded and stop stereotyping the Muslims. Not all of them are extremists. As regards the Catholics, well even their die-hards don’t behead those who criticize their religion.
Reporter 4: Sir, how can you put good faith in the revolutionary Muslim group when they had been giving sanctuary to terrorists and had executed your wounded children?
President: My children, the SAF commandos, are to blame for not coordinating before entering the group’s territory. The Muslim leaders say the terrorist’s hiding place is outside their territory and that it still has to be proven that their men were the ones who executed the commandos. I believe them.
Reporter 5: Mr. President, how will you cope with the growing opposition to your administration?
President: Ha! Did you see the pitiful number of those who tried to demonstrate against me at Edsa? They couldn’t even fill an LRT train. Why, the soldiers and policemen I ordered to block them from Edsa were even more numerous than the demonstrators!
Reporter 5: Sir, what are your comments on the investigation of the massacre by Congress?
President: Let me make it clear – what had happened was a clash, an incident, and not a massacre. The investigation by Congress has led to the heightening of emotions in the nation and I’m thankful the independent Congress has seen it fit to calm things down and stop its inquiry. One last question.
Reporter 6: Sir, why do you find it unhealthy for the nation to express their shock, anguish and outrage over this massacre that you call a clash or an incident?
President: Emotionalism will stop us from thinking clearly. Look, emotionalism over my mother’s death had led the people to elect me as president.
Back to the real world
Retired Lt. Gen. Antonio Sotelo, one of the true heroes of EDSA, had this to say about the Mamasapano massacre:
“The conduct of the PNP-SAF in Mamasapano is a microcosm of the Filipino character and his institutions, a legacy from a long series of corruption, mediocrity and incompetence through the years.
“We can overcome this if we as a people show our outrage at corruption, mediocrity and mendacity and mendicancy. We must be angry and show our demand for good governance, excellence and self-reliance from our leaders. Only then do we expect our fighting forces to bring those values to the battlefield.”
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