• They did not die only to save Aquino


    There seems to be some kind of conspiracy in the Senate and in the conscript media to save President B. S. Aquino 3rd from any criminal liability for the death of the 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) who were massacred by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters while trying to bring in Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan” and his Filipino associate Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

    In an obvious effort to exempt from any accountability the person primarily responsible for the unmitigated tragedy, everything is being done to focus public attention on why the suspended PNP Director General Alan Purisima and the now-cashiered SAF commander Getulio Napenas had failed to “coordinate” the secret operation with the Secretary of Interior and Local Government, the acting PNP chief, the military, and possibly even the conscript press. All sorts of questions are being asked to divert attention from the most important questions. We shall return to this later.

    The DILG Secretary, the PNP chief, and the Regional PNP commander are part of the PNP operational chain-of-command, which begins with the President. They were all left without the merest sliver of information about the project. But Purisima and Napenas are now being asked to explain why the tragedy happened. No one has had the courage or the brains to point out that this question should be directly addressed to, and answered by, the President.

    The most pertinent, if not the only such question that should be asked of Purisima is this: What was he doing in that operation? How did he manage to get there after the Ombudsman had suspended him for six months from all his official duties and responsibilities, because of charges of corruption? In a previous piece, I pointed out that he had been designated “case officer” of the project to get “Marwan” and Usman long before he was suspended, and that his designation was never revoked since then. But I failed to point out that this was not good enough.

    Aquino knew that his suspension had reduced Purisima to the status of a private individual, and an outsider, without any function in the PNP administrative or operational chain of command. If his designation as “case officer” had not been revoked earlier, Aquino had (has) the full authority to revoke it any time. So why didn’t he? Instead he authorized Purisima’s pivotal participation in the highly sensitive operation, in violation of law and all known security protocols.

    Purisima himself knew he had no legal right or duty to carry out any official task in the name of the PNP, especially one with such serious national security implications. He should have declined the presidential offer or order, knowing he was in no legal position to be the pivot of any PNP operation. But the more serious accountability rests with Aquino who knew of Purisima’s legal disability, yet simply ignored it altogether.

    Now everyone in the Senate and in the conscript media seems unable to see this far. They are eager to hear Purisima “talk”, instead of asking Aquino why, and by means of what right or power did he choose to involve Purisima at all.

    Indeed, so many other questions are being asked, many of them with sensational headline potential, and the ability to divert attention from the most important questions to the peripheral. Did “Marwan” perish during the gun battle, as claimed by the MILF, or did he escape, as claimed by the Moro National Liberation Front? Who would receive the $5-million bounty in case Marwan’s reported death was finally confirmed? Were the Americans involved in Operation Wolverine, as the operation was called? Whom should we believe, the US Embassy statement denying any American involvement or the unverified report about an unidentified farmer seeing a blue-eyed Caucasian corpse among the victims?

    In the meantime, the Aquino regime, supported by Malaysia, several foreign powers, and the various foreign NGOs operating in the Philippines, would like to railroad the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (Babala) to create a new political entity for the MILF to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao created earlier for the MNLF, as though the 44 policemen had offered their lives for the “balkanization” of the Philippines? We shall not discuss this here.

    But back to some pressing questions. Who, aside from the President, was in command and control? Who ordered the reinforcement units to stand down? This last sums up everything, and is the most important question. The answer to it also answers the question posed by the bereaved families of the 44 fallen warriors, and so many of our countrymen: Why did the 44 have to die? Who was ultimately responsible? The 44 were prepared to die fighting, but not under the circumstances under which the one in command left them.

    There were sufficient forces standing by, including a light armored brigade, which could have turned the tide in their favor, if they had moved in. But they were asked to stand down. Exactly by whom? Nobody knows. Not Napeñas certainly, whose men were the ones being slaughtered. Neither Purisima most likely whose presence there as suspended PNP chief was at best questionable, and whose order might have been questioned and disobeyed by the support units.

    The only official whose authority would not go unquestioned was the President himself, who was in Zamboanga at the time. He was monitoring the operation from an intelligence facility in the Western Mindanao Command, together with Teresita Deles, the presidential adviser on the peace process. He need not have given the order directly to the units himself; he could have done it through Deles who is well-known to the police, the army, and the Bangsamoro insurgents.

    Now, is there anyone in the Senate or in the conscript press willing to raise this point? Aquino’s cronies and allies might have no inhibitions in saying he had authorized the operation. This is because the data can no longer be controverted, and there is nothing criminal about it. But it would take more than raw courage to say Aquino had ordered the “stand-down,” which left the 44 to be butchered by a savage enemy by denying them much-needed reinforcement. To say so would be tantamount to accusing Aquino of treason, since what he did was a treasonous act.

    Instead of saying so, Sen. TeofistoGuingona 3rd, chairman of the Senate committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, has proposed that an “independent” fact-finding commission be organized to conduct an inquiry into the massacre. This sounds very good good, but it is at best meretricious. Given Aquino’s authoritarian hold on the entire government, how “independent” would be an “independent commission?” To whom would it submit its final report? To an “independent” Congress? And who would implement its recommendations and findings? A culpable President?

    We may have reached a deadend, a point of no return. At heart, our people know what happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. But they are powerless to make sure that the guilty parties are punished. Because the President is primarily involved, and he has seized virtual control of the tripartite system of government, there can be no justice for our fallen heroes while Aquino remains in office.

    Justice is possible only under a new, reform-oriented government. The only other possible relief is, as Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has suggested, for Aquino to be brought to the International Criminal Court as an international criminal even before he is turned out of office.



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    1. Hail to chief ……. Irregardless where he takes us ,,.. He can do no wrong … After all he is an Aquino ,,,,,,, it’s not enough that he disregards the constitution , is not a answerable to anyone, destroys his opponents and covers up for his friends …promotes
      Policies that enrich the wealthy, destroys the middle class and neglects the poor and the helpless. … We couldn’t have chosen a better leader to lead us to nowhere

    2. We just cannot swallow that in spite of the so.called a uses of Marcos he was a President standing tall and making the Filipinos proud ,the yellow personalities after that pretnd to be pro poor and pro Filipino it we have nosedived while other countries have a poked … The leadership should accept And admit this

    3. No doubt PNOY messed this one up and the degree of his incompetence was palpable. But when demand for his head comes from Tatad or people like him, the sting of the narrative is diminished. It is like drinking a glass of coke after it was left open at the pantry the whole evening.

      Let other people whose credibility is unsoiled ask PNOY to step down. Tatad should keep his mouth shut. This is the only way the movement for PNOY’s ouster will come to a heed. He would be doing this country a great service if he would not join the chorus of people asking PNOY to step down.

    4. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that PeNoy is a retard unfit for his position. Impeach him! Now!

      • Pinoy is a fat pig that congress like to stay to suck money thru him. They know the more retarded the best so they in congress continued the supply of untraceable bribes. Liberal and nationalista like him to stay in a greedy purpose. Who ever support this administration should not get any vote from the public

    5. BS is the best asset those opposed to the entire yellow regime have had since this yellow scourge descended on land 30 years ago. Leave him where he is for the moment, he just might bring down this evil regime without any effort on anybody’s part, soon. By the way, when this BS is finally jailed, put him in the same cell as GMA. She was the one who resurrected the MILF after Erap had practically buried them alive. Throw in FVR for good measure, he started it all when he gave, yes gave as in surrendered without a fight, the MILF their camps which terrorists are now using as sanctuaries. Why did these three presidents do their best to hurt our national interest? Because they were following the dictates of their master, the Americans.

    6. MY prayers go out to all the people ( on both sides) who unnecessarily died that day due to an unnecessary breach of a peace agreement that was in place to prevent further violence.

      So when I read of these people dying because they were attached by terrorist really highlights the sad view and awareness that Filipinos have. If you look at all the arguments of why and who in the government caused this, then in the same breath fingers pointing to the groups that were being attached by the SAF in the first place,I have to shake my head. If the people truly see that these people that died where being sent to their death for other peoples’ agenda, and it was not that they were attached, instead were attaching these Muslim groups for people up in Makati..

      You can hate them because they are Muslims or whatever you want, but the fact is that the SAF broke an agreement and attached for some agenda created up in Makati or by US efforts.. The Muslims never got up that day going out looking for a fight.
      The sooner that the people understand that most military operations are for other’s interest – then they might start to point the finger at the right criminals and stop blaming others for what shouldn’t have happened in the first place. There was a peace agreement and the SAF entered and broke that agreement with aggression and it is that simple. And more simple is a lot of innocent people died because of those agreement breaches and special interest of others..

      There was a peace agreement in place and the government broke it. Simple and a lot of innocent people died because of some coward who gave orders to attach from some safe place .

      It is easy to send people to their death when you are not part of the aggression, and easy to hide when it all goes to hell and innocent people die – people that should not have been there in the first place attaching others who then fought back…

      The sooner the people understand the enemy is the govt/military giving the orders to attach – the sooner there will be peace in the Philippines.. BUT I am a pessimist, who sees the power of media and manipulation winning always. Just as the USA does this continuously around the world. You are our friend if you do what we want, and our enemy and a terrorist when you don’t do what we want. Saddam or Gadhafi ring a bell – to name a few.

      What would be said if the SAF had killed 44 people. Ahh they were just terrorist or muslims. The sorry fact is all that died didn’t have to and would be having dinner with their families today if the SAF were not ordered to break a peace agreement and enter into a hostile aggression against people who were not looking for a fight, but rose to the challenge – a challenge they never asked for. It was brought on to them.
      So the Muslims never killed those SAF troops . The govt or military leaders killed them and cowardly stood back and left them to die and then allow the finger to be pointed at the people who were attached… The people know this, but allow themselves to still point fingers at easy scapegoats when they also know the truth about their own corrupt govt and military..
      asking questions about why and who, yet are easy to point at those so called savages down in Mindanao.. when we all know the real problem…

      Stop being fooled that it is all about the Muslims or terrorist. Yes bad people exist on both sides, but sorry it was the bad people up in manila that caused this problem – that turned deadly for at least 52… Yes, I know they said they killed one of the bad guys, but then they said they killed him last time as well. That leaves 51 dead for what??? for who??? and why????

    7. Vicente Penetrante on

      “Who, aside from the President, was in command and control? You asked.

      Why? The President can’t even decide who to replace the heads COA, Comelec, CSC, and PNP. It’s hard for him to make decisions.

      • Well then who; if not the President and why would the military and police obey a stand down command from anybody except the President.

    8. Aquino has much to answer for. His control of the entire government will enable him to escape answering for his decisions and criminal lapses of judgement. I will welcome 2016 arriving and finding Aquino in jail. I would also not resist a takeover of the government by anyone to get Aquino out now. I will even support it.

    9. Lahat ng Pinoy may pananagutan sa isat isa.So kong walang mangyayari na justice sa FALLEN 44 then dapat ang mga botante sa 2016 election shld. vote for someone who is not endorse by Pnoy nor related to liberal party or ung mga trapong politicians .

    10. JaimSanJuan@gmail.com on

      “there is no worse price than capitulating before an enemy who attacks you without any right to do so.”

      Poor Filipinos! You have a narcissist for a President.

    11. Dominador D. Canastra on

      So, boys and girls, what are we waiting for? Make your demand for Aquino to resign more forceful.
      More bishops are now with the Natioal Trans formation Council. But majority in the CBCO–or maybe just the leaders of the CBCP, especially the close friend of the Aquino Family Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who sway the majority–are so afraid that the Aquino family will lose politically to the more honest, the seriously moral and Catholic Church believers. Never mind if injustice and corruption have become worse under the Cojuangco-Aquino president son of Cory and brother of Kris. This is the great tragedy of our nation and Republic. Even the CBCP is governed by elites, anti-peasant landlords or their men in the hierarchy!!!
      Pope Francis, please take a look at the Philippines more closely. And tell your fellow bishops here that they should truly love the people and their nation and help save them from an immoral, corrupt and hypocritical President!!!
      Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary. that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you, O virgin of vrgins, my Mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful, O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not our petitions but in your mercy hear and answer me and the other Filipinos. Ask God to deliver us from the corrupt, immoral, uncaring, anti-poor and anti-Church government of Benigno Cojuangco Simeon Aquino and his closest people in the Liberal Party and the Congress.

    12. victor m. hernandez on

      This is really an amazing story of a broken leadership, a humpty dumpty of sort. It was a covert operation, calculated to disrupt whatever else needs to be done in Bangsamoro. Everyone involved, including those or the one who authorized the operation need to deny their involvement, only that those who are closely involved and those or the one who authorized it almost denied he has no knowledge of it. Fantastic, amazing. It’s kaput, this BBL. Brace for the aftermath. Broken!

    13. While, the issue of the carnage caused to the brave 44 SAF troopers rages on, the invisible president is nowhere to be found, he must have dug another foxhole to hide himself into, only to break cover when his lackeys have successfully turned things around, and make him see daylight once again.

      The hope, which Philippines is looking for, is to get this prince of darkness to where he should belong and together with all his stooges – a dungeon. They should all be locked up and be made to pay back all the monies they stole from the people, they vowed to serve.

      Peace in Mindanao is elusive, because of so many interest that come to play, not just on national level but one of foreign, which pushes the agenda of a sub-state. A sub-state that will be free of ascribing itself of the Philippines constitution, but would undoubtedly accommodate some particular external influence – like having a forward base built close to a perceived threat on charted territories.

      Such is at stake for having a weak government, with weakened institutions.

    14. My God! It sounds like we have no one to turn to because the one person who s claims to be the father of the nation, the one person who should uphold the law, protect his people, happens to be the main protagonist. Most of the people surrounding this president are all under his thumb for reason we all knew and will therefore save his ass. There is no justice in the Philippines and all this rhetoric coming from this administration and allies is nothing but another way to make its citizens look like bunch of gullible and nitwits. It is time for Senator Miriam Santiago to spear head the lawsuit against this president to the International Criminal Court.

    15. sana miriam spearhead the filing of cases against boy sisi in the icc. tutal kabisado nya siguro ang style ng icc. hindi ba na appoint syang member judge ng international court??

    16. BS Aquino – RESIGN! The people are seething in anger. Read the writing on the wall before it’s too late. The people will devour you and your cohorts.

    17. Muriel Magtanggol on

      I challenge those congressmen and senators who will participate in the cover up of the liability of the CIC! 44 men were slaughtered while on the line of duty. Their blood will be on your hands too! May their memory forever haunt you!

      And listen to this verse…”The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love. And forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the 3rd and 4th generation”. There is a curse for sin. And remember how God loves and cares for widows and orphans. Mang api na kayo ng iba but huwag sila.

      If you have not yet felt God’s wrath for all your evil and unjust deeds, it’s because he is giving you a chance. If you still stubbornly thread your pretend “straight pathm, the curse will extend to your children and their children’s children!

    18. Guilty party is the rebel who took refuge of the said terrorist. Who talk peace but still carry out this gruesome killing.there are some SAF members who surrendered but was blatantly murder at closed range. I don’t trust this combined force of rebels . They are traitors and don’t deserved to be give self rule statues.

    19. First ask SAF head Napenas who ordered him to let the other SAF groups to stand down while even knowing that the first SAF arresting group were already massacred. If he will not tell the truth then it is the end of all the investigations even if they push through with the Truth Commission. That leads to a white wash and eventually absolves Aquino and Purisima of their culpabilities. Then Aquino will ask for the railroading of the BBL from our lapdogs from Congress that will again resurrect his broken image. I’m sure this is now the plan of the Palace men and justice for the 44 SAF will be forgotten in the near future while all these scheming politicians in the Congress, Senate, Malacanang and the MILF leaders will be very happy as all the lump sums in the new budget will be distributed already and nothing will be left for the more than 50 million poor Filipinos.

    20. The Catholic Church and Iglesia ni Kristo and other Christian churches should take the Francisco Tatads’ argument as the only valid and simple line to give justice to the 44 SAF Warriors.

    21. Sen. Tatad, on behalf of the Filipino people, can you file a case against Pnoy at the International Criminal Court?

    22. Go ahead with anew EDSA as long as the accused senators (Revila, Estrada, Enrile and the Binays) remain behind bars. As long as the leaders of the new EDSA are not the Binays that’s fine with us Filipinos. The Binays will take advantage of the situations for their own political interest. Who knows, it might be Binay who is behind the massacre for him to become the President just in case the Filipinos want Ninoy out of the Palace.

    23. I totally agree with you Kit. Thank you for being with the Manila Times

      BS Aquino should be brought to the International Criminal Court to give
      justice to the 44 SAF men who were massacred.

      It is all about the NOBEL PRIZE – at any price.
      B Shhhhhhhhhhhhhttttttttttttttt

    24. Could it really be that President Aquino tried to do it all by himself calling the shots without the benefit of advise and counsel except from Purisima whom he trusted explicitly, in the honest belief that he had sufficient knowledge and plan to pull it off? Was it for the Nobel prize he purportedly covets, or he just wanted to test what he had learned in video games to which, they say, he was addicted? Which ever way it was, the result was tragic and unconscionable. Let’s pray for poor him, he must be mentally and physically suffering for the fiasco.

    25. PILIPINAS! DON’T let is international criminal Aquino run our country. OUST him and let him account for all his abuses against the people. TO AFP/PNP – YOU ARE THE PROTECTOR OF THE PEOPLE. The nation invokes that you exercise that authority NOW!

    26. Mr. Tatad, why don’t you consider filing the charges yourself at the ICC with your friend Atty. Alan Paguia? You have spearheaded and championed the filing of the opposition charges against the RH Law 2 years ago at the Supreme Court, can you not also pick up the gauntlet for the country by filing criminal charges against the Abnoy at the ICC. Now is the time to unseat him.

      I am confident many groups will support you on this. The NTC lead by Archbp Arguelles will no doubt be behind you as well as the swelling number of disgruntled people who are just “tolerating” the Abnoy. The country will owe you a great lot if you can charge the Abnoy at the ICC.

    27. This is very good analysis – as only a masterful writer like Mr. Tatad could write. The facts are there coherently put together to wind up with the inevitable conclusion that it is the Abnoy and he alone is responsible for the untimely death of the 44 fallen heroes as if he pulled the trigger himself to murder them.

      The order to “stand down” in the face of an attacking enemy is the “wrongest” decision the Abnoy can make. It only proves he was not concerned with the soldiers under heavy fire, he was concerned about the BBL which he felt must be pushed at all cost. And the cost had been incalculable indeed – the slaughter of 44 top of the line SAF troopers . They were sacrificed by the greed and glory seeking demented mind of the Abnoy .

      As things stand now, I am convinced that the best way to deal with this Abnoy is to bring criminal charges against him at the ICC. I think the right party to bring charges against him would be the NTC of Archbishop Ramon Arguelles. He has a pastoral and moral duty to protest and take action for the country against the criminal unconcern of this demented fake president.