FORGET Clausewitz. Throw away your copy of Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings. Machiavelli who? Move over Sun Tzu. Here comes Sen. Kiko Pangilinan whose strategic insights could make these luminaries lose their relevance.
On Sunday, July 30, armed with search warrants, a PNP-CIDG team conducted a raid on the houses of the notorious Parojinog clan of Ozamiz City. A similar raid was supposed to have been conducted in August 2016. However, on the day of the raid, the Parojinogs were not there. Vigils were held in their houses hours before the raid, which seemed to indicate that someone had tipped off the Parojinogs (Inquirer, August 31, 2016).
This time the raid pushed through, It led to a bloody encounter, leaving 16 people dead, including Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and his wife, Susan. Reacting to the raid, Pangilinan lamented the following in a post in his Facebook account:
1. The “warrant of arrest” was served at 2 a.m.
2. The CCTV cameras were disabled by the police before entering the house.
3. Fifteen suspected drug lords and their armed bodyguards were at the scene and were all killed.
4. No police officer was injured or dead.
Then, based on these premises, Pangilinan concluded that what happened was “not realistic.” Never mind that the raiding team was not there by force of an arrest warrant but of a search warrant, which could be served at any time. Let us focus on the strategic implications of points 2 to 4.
Sun Tzu once said, “let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” The essence of that dictum is to gain a tactical advantage over one’s enemy. And that could be the guiding principle of the raiding team, when they scheduled the raid at an ungodly hour and when they disabled the CCTV of the enemy so they would not be able to monitor the positions of the raiding team.
What is perfectly in line with Sun Tzu’s dictum is totally at odds with Pangilinan’s idea of how a raid should be conducted. For him, a raid should make sure the enemy would not be tactically disadvantaged. In other words, the raid must be as predictable as possible to the enemy. There is no need to handicap the enemy; they must be given a fighting chance by our police officers.
Thus, Pangilinan must have found it really unfair that 15 died from the side of the enemy, while there were no casualties on the side of government. To satisfy him, operational raid plans must lead to a “realistic” number of casualties on the government side. However, he was not clear how many police officers must die so that he could be convinced that a raid was realistically executed.
So, Pangilinan is livid. The raid is an operational failure. Perhaps he was also unimpressed by the fantastic intelligence work our police force did to be able to serve finally the search warrant on the Parojinogs, who have been elusive. He wants blood not of the enemy but of our police officers. For him, it is the raiding team’s fault that the armed bodyguards of the Parojinogs were caught unprepared.
I am very sure Pangilinan would be one of those who would grill Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido during the Senate hearing that Sen. Risa Hontiveros wants to conduct on what she called a “state-sanctioned massacre.”
Yet you never heard Hontiveros and her allies call for a Senate investigation into the horrendous drug situation in Ozamiz City, which Ozaminons know very well. Why would Hontiveros care about that? Why would she care about the reality that children as young as 11 are already hooked on shabu in Ozamiz? Just like Pangilinan, she might be itching to ask Espenido, why did no one die among you? And just like Pangilinan, she might not like the answer—superb tactical planning— because for them, that is “not realistic.”