What chain of command? Aquino’s above everything

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We did not need the 120-page Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry report to tell us that President B. S. Aquino 3rd “violated the PNP chain of command” in the Jan. 25 Operation Exodus, where 44 PNP-Special Action Force commandos were massacred by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. We all knew this before the inquiry began.

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This was the cause of everything else that went wrong in the operation, and of all the lies we have since heard from the effort to absolve Aquino of all blame. We did not need the BOI report to tell us this. We needed the report to tell us why Aquino broke the chain, and what punishment should be inflicted on him for all the harm his act had caused.The BOI report was completely silent on this.

The report tried to treat Aquino with kid gloves. Instead of saying Aquino “violated the chain,” (active mode), the report said, “The chain of command in the PNP “was violated” (passive mode). The President, the suspended CPNP (Chief, PNP) (Alan) Purisima and the former Director SAF (Getulio) Napenas kept the information to themselves and deliberately failed to inform the OIC (Officer-in-Charge) PNP (Leonardo Espina) and the SILG (Secretary of Interior and Local Government, Manuel Roxas 2nd). The chain of command should be observed in running mission operations,” the report said.

The “chain of command” runs from above not from the ground
The PNP chain of command runs from the President to the SILG and to the PNP Chief, and ultimately to the component units. Therefore, Aquino alone violated the chain when he excluded Roxas and Espina from the operation, and put it in the hands of the suspended Purisima and Napenas. He, and not Napeñas, had the duty to inform Roxas, (and Roxas, Espina) about the operation. So Purisima and Napeñas were only his instruments in breaking the chain, not his co-principals. The “chain of command” is so called because command runs from above, not from the ground.

By making Purisima and Napeñas equally responsible as Aquino, and saying it was Aquino’s “prerogative” to deal directly with Napeñas, the report tried to spread the blame and lighten Aquino’s load. But not content with that, Malacañang questioned the BOI finding, saying Aquino did not break any chain of command. The PNP is but a civilian organization over which the President exercises absolute control, said the spokesman Edwin Lacierda; he is not subject to PNP’s “internal rules.” The chain of command is nothing but a PNP internal rule, which can be disregarded anytime, he said; just as even the Constitution could be disregarded anytime.

He told Napeñas to deal directly with an unbriefed much superior officer, AFPCS Gen. Catapang
Aquino was inclined to break the military chain of command as well. During a meeting with Purisima and Napenas in Malacanang, according to the report, Aquino ordered the then-SAF commander to “coordinate” directly with Gen. Gregorio Catapang even without the AFP Chief of Staff having been briefed earlier by competent authority about the operation. This is simply execrable.

The military chain of command runs from the President and Commander-in-Chief to the Secretary of National Defense to the AFP Chief of Staff to the various services and commands and ultimately to the foot soldiers. The correct procedure would have been for Aquino to inform Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin about the operation, and for Gazmin to inform Catapang, who would then inform the appropriate command that would be working with the PNP-SAF. Napeñas would have had to “coordinate” with a specific command, not with Catapang, who is way way above his rank.

Aquino’s ad hoc approach during that reported meeting was completely unprofessional. It cannot be justified under any rules of conduct by any head of state or government, in relation to the military or the police. Now, trying to defend what is eminently indefensible merely compounds Aquino’s offense.

How did Operation Exodus get started in the first place? The report failed to give this point the importance it deserves. According to the report, Aquino approved the operation and Purisima and Napeñas implemented it without the knowledge of Roxas and Espina. The objective was to “neutralize high-value targets,” identified as international terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, Ahamad Akmadatabi Usman, and Amin Baco, alias Jihad. Until this report came, the media had identified only two targets—Marwan and Usman—for whose death or capture the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had offered a bounty of $6 million.

Who originally decided to mount Oplan Exodus and  why did it end up like a ‘personal enterprise’?
But the first question is this: Did the decision to mount an operation originally come from Aquino, or did he get it from Purisima and Napenas as a finished product? There seems enough reason to speculate that the idea had come from Purisima, who must have received the first intelligence report on the terrorists before he was suspended by the Ombusman on Dec. 16, 2014, and who alone was close enough to Aquino to ask him to run a police operation without the knowledge of Roxas and Espina, his known rivals. He must have thought that his success could serve as a jumping board for his triumphant reentry as PNP Chief. This seems the best explanation why Operation Exodus took on the appearance of a “personal enterprise.”

But breaking the chain of command was but Aquino’s first offense. The more costly and unforgivable offense was his reportedly ordering the reinforcement to stand down when the 44 SAF commandos asked for it. Aquino was reported to have ordered the stand-down from his Drone-assisted monitoring facility in Zamboanga City, after the SAF 44 had run out of ammo and called for help. The BOI report was completely silent on this.

Was there, in fact, such an order? I was the first one to report on this, based on the most knowledgeable sources, and have since repeated it several times in this space. Not once has Malacañang, the PNP, or any of the defense authorities tried to deny it.

How Aquino could have given the stand-down order and his legacy of death frighten many people
Obviously the BOI did not pursue this question for fear of coming face to face with a truth they were not prepared to address. Moreover, they were limited by the fact that Aquino, like Purisima, Catapang, and Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero of the West Mindanao Command, had refused to grant any interview for the report. Although the report now says Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the Sixth Infantry Division, “took it upon himself to withhold artillery fire support in consideration of the peace process and artillery fire protocols,” those who had monitored Aquino’s presence in Zamboanga on Jan. 25 insist that everyone in the city knows that the stand-down order had come from him.

How Aquino could have given such an order is what frightens many people. Given the legacy of death that has accompanied his presidency from the very beginning, and his surprising inability to show any sign of regret or discomfort over such occurrences, we have to ask ourselves what kind of abnormal person now controls the presidency. What indeed if Aquino’s rumored madness has become officially certifiable?

That, for me, is a danger I cannot begin to imagine. But our inability or refusal, as a people, to want to do anything about it, in the name of every stupid thing in the world, is what I consider to be the far greater danger.

fstatad@gmail.com

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44 Comments

  1. Amnata Pundit on

    The reason for the people’s seeming refusal to take any action against this Boy Sayad is because all the alternatives being offered are in reality more of the same. There is no semblance of real honest changes being offered except in the names and faces of those who will be in power next, but in the case of the NTS even these names are being kept confidential for some unknown reason, which makes everybody justifiably suspicious. There is really no need to pound on the flaws of Boy Sayad as these are well known already even to his closest advisers. The job of those who are after real reforms, not merely a change of president, is to awaken the people some more to the lies and the deceit of the yellow regime for that is the real enemy, Boy Sayad is only tool that they can use but who is now turning out to have been a foolish idea that has blown up in their faces. God is Great !

  2. Chain of command or no chain of command, what Aquino did was poor management of people.

  3. I agree with (Guadalupe), “…..the people just want to be clarified on how to go about removing him and who or what should come after.” For me, it should have been easier for us if the vice president now is not also filled with controversies. Also, it’s not easy to decide who to trust.

  4. While as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the President is responsible and accountable for giving the order of a mission to proceed. He is not responsible nor is accountable for the details and planning of the operations of the mission.
    That responsibility and accountability of the mission success or in this case failure lies with PNP Officers who plan and executed the job. It clearly shows, and validated by the results that the PNP Officers were very inept and incompetent planning the operations.
    All PNP officers directly involve with the operations should be Court Marshalled and given dishonourable discharge. Napenas and the rest of the officers directly involve in the operations is a disgrace to the PNP organization.
    The rest that’s happening in Media is all fluff…a political circus typical of Philippine culture!…..only in the Philippines!!! It’s more fun in the Philippines indeed!

  5. I miss the good Jaime Cardinal Sin (rip).. Kung sana ay buhay pa siya, last month siguro wala na pwesto si Pnoy.. Cardinal Sin was a “discerner” of good and evil, and only the brave can receive such charism!

  6. eltee mulawin on

    >>> Mas maasahan mo pa sa kagipitan ang isang silahis kaysa sa isang nais maging macho pero psychopath at sayad ang utak sa bungo.

  7. emmanuel mallari on

    “But our inability or refusal, as a people, to want to do anything about it, in the name of every stupid thing in the world, is what I consider to be the far greater danger.”

    The above is very true and this is simply because we are sick and tired of going out in the street in protest of what’s happening in our country…plus, we have the social media where Filipinos bent their “ire” against this government.

  8. The massacre of the SAF soldiers is the wake up call for the nation to examine
    the Peace process as well as this corrupt government lead by of BS Aquino .

    Their sacrifice must mean something more than just talking about it. We have to Act and find Justice so Peace may flourish.

  9. Amnata Pundit on

    As usual, its the Americans who will decide, as if you didn’t know. So far, he has proven himself to be very useful to them. What now after this debacle? The State Department is quiet, so obviously he will stay. Until the country’s real masters change their minds, the best that can be done is to strengthen the propaganda movement against them and the yellows and wait for God to step in. We must be all ready when that happens.

  10. The sad and frightening fact that faces the nation, regarding BS Cojuangco Aquino III, is how he expressed himself in front of the widows and orphans of the murdered 44 SAF troopers, when he told them of his view, of the murder of his father which makes them all even.

    Throughout this years, his pent up feeling had finally been exposed, BS Cojuangco Aquino III, puts blame on all Filipinos and to the country as a whole for the incarceration and death of his father. It therefore matters not, that Filipinos will suffer any consequence of man-made or natural calamities, just so he can get even. And just like any psychopath would do, he let lose the dogs of war on Filipinos, caring none for those who will die in the process, only to exact his revenge on all of us.

    Salvation of the country will only come from those who are in position or weld defensive service, and who still hold their conscience about them, to provide relief on this troubled nation.

  11. I am asking the same question:

    “But our inability or refusal, as a people, to want to do anything about it, in the name of every stupid thing in the world, is what I consider to be the far greater danger.”

    It is very frustrating….let us ALL WAKE UP

  12. So pathetic Filipinos. So afraid to fight for the truth. Maybe, they are not. But anger on aquino is limited to discussion among themselves while drinking beer, playing cards or mahjong. Serves you right Filipinos.

  13. Bert O. Romero on

    Lacierda claimed President Aquino ” doesn’t leave things to chance”. That he is hands on, studies things thoroughly and is pro-active in his style of management. After the 9 January briefing at the Bahay Pangarap, Aquino could have directly called up Secretary Roxas, General Catapang and PNP OIC Espina and told them that Oplan Exodus is a “go” within the time frame of 23-25 January and that the AFP should extend all necessary and requested assistance to the SAF. And not leave it to chance by merely instructing Purisima and Napenas to coordinate with the AFP. Those three officials were merely a finger away. A glaring deviation from a president who is not known to
    leave things to chance. But the fact that Purisima was in the thick of the planning , despite his already being suspended as early as December, erases any doubt that Aquino had no intention of letting those three officials – Roxas, Espina and Catapang – participate in what he expected would be a glorious vindication of his friend Purisima. This distorted decision making of Aquino merely reinforces his now well- known pattern of seeking his comfort zone with his kaibigan, kabarilan at kasamahan – attributes all possessed by Purisima – in making decisions. Not one of the three main actors during the 9 January meeting – Aquino, Purisima and Napenas – had the intention to inform the uninformed trio of Roxas, Catapang and Espina. All things considered therefore Aquino should be held primarily responsible for the Mamasapano tragedy .

  14. Vicente Penetrante on

    Be careful, according to Catherine Valente, “Aquino: We will crush you!”
    “B.S.Aquino 3rd a HOPELESS case,” said Rick Ramos.

  15. Senator Kit Tatad,
    I think the best way to free us of this President
    is to drag Him out of the Palace.

    • The better scenario would be noynoy to vacate and leave the Palace and his cabinets and liberal party and go to other country that will grant him political asylum. The rank and file don’t have respect to him. He will not be a dictator because he has no wisdom and foresight of a true leader and the Armed Forces is not a mercenary group.
      We need a new form of government and new leaders to effect the changes and bring justice to the people. Investigate all the government officials and those found of corruptions their unexplained wealth should go back to the peoples’ treasury. Nobody should be above the law.

  16. The glib-tongue, blabbering, loquacious, MADMAN, balls-less Simeon da3rd, lies the fate of the whole nation until this Retard leaves office by June 30, at noon of 2016.

    As if running the affairs of this impoverished third world RP is just a mere one of the many levels and mode of PsP game toys he indulge himself in….

  17. Secretary of Justice De Lima, really confusing the issues of the of the SAF 44 massacred in Mamasapano, Maguindanao , the commander-in-chief and executive power of the President B. S. “ABNOY” Aquino III are very difficult to understand technically, but the bottom lines was in the time that support assistance to aborts massacred is needed President B. S. “Abnoy” Aquino III denied SAF 44 or stand down that really give time to massacred, President behavior and compassion to the victim of SAF 44 families has no concern at all, to the soldiers in the uniform. that confirmed treason is in the making. The Filipino people are furious and angry and want the President B.S. “ABNOY” Aquino to resign now.

  18. Mass action? Only the well-off upper middle class and the oligarchs can worry about these things. The majority of the middle class are too busy working, and all of the poor are too busy minding where to get food everyday. The appalling situation of the country seems irrelevant to most of the people struggling just to survive each day in this country where most of the wealth are kept by a few oligarch families and corrupt government officials. Keeping the poor poor helps in perpetuating this apathy towards the state of the country. In this way, the oligarchs and corrupt officials have free hands in pillaging this country. It is not that nobody wants to do anything about it. Nobody acts because everybody is busy trying to survive.

    • This is very true. A very sad state of our country. From one president to another president, it’s all the same. When can we safely say that we are finally free from these insensitive politicians?

    • What a pathetic situation and this is sadly sooo true ! We are all barely surviving paying the high power rates, the water bill, Skycable and internet bills rocketing high. Food and commodities are out of control in prices. This BS Aquino should do our country a favor by STEPPING DOWN. He should make that supreme sacrifice to let go of power and shame. Since he is not happy with his position – may he discern to QUIT and be a hero by retiring now and giving the power to people who can transform this country. BSA –you can still be like your Mom and Dad –there is a space for you on their 500.00 bill photo–you will be our hero if you step down and opt to RETIRE for the sake of the Filipino people.! Thanks.

  19. Leodegardo Pruna on

    The principle of “Chain of Command” runs formally or informally. Without a “Chain of Command” in any kind of enterprise, confusion and ultimately chaos will run supreme and havoc which could end finally into self destruction, dissolution or bankruptcy. Thus, the excuse of the president’s prerogative in the case was not only out of order but totally misplaced. The kind of governance we are having now is almost a replica of a previous administration of the same brand. God bless the Philippines.

  20. Yes the big question is who said what to whom that resulted in the AFP not supporting the PNP until a cease fire was in place.

  21. Manong Kit, meron kasi syang Asperger Syndrome. Sa harap ng isang katotohanan na di kayang tanggapin ng kanyang pagiisip, nawawala ang kanyang katinuan – bigla nagiging blangko ang kanyang utak. Pangalawa, alam ng mga taga Malakanyang na pag di kaya ng utak ni simyon ang mga nangyayari, nagkukulong ito sa isang silid at nagsisisigaw na parang baliw. Malamang na nung naibalita sa kanya ang mga nangyayari, nagkulong na ito at nagsimula ng magsisigaw kaya hindi na sya malapitan ng kanyang mga alipores. Inaantay syang mag kalma at huminto sa pagsisigaw. Natakot din ang kanyang mga aso na lapitan sya at mapag buntunan ng kanyang galit – baka sila biglang sibakin sa pwesto at mahinto ang kanilang mga dilihensya. Tumigil lang ang kanyang kabaliwan nun napainom ng gamot. Kun isiniwalat sana ito ni Manong Ernie ang sakit sa pagiisip ng anak ng kanyang kumpadre nun magsimula itong mag kampanya noong 2010, naisalba siguro ni Manong ang bayan sa isang walang kwenta at sira ulong mangaagaw ng kapangyarihan na anak ng isang congenital liar.

  22. It is very ironic that the Malacanang is now questioning the findings of the BOI report. Prior its(the report) made public, during his televised speech, the people were encouraged to wait the BOI report. According to BS Aquino, “hintayin natin matapos ang BOI report na ito dahil ito ay atin maasahan, kapapaniwala at walang kinikilingan”. However, when it comes out he himself as well as his cohorts is in doubt of the report. The Malacanang is now justifying in every means and every angles to exclude BS Aquino from any liability. As a Filipino, I could not imagine a President of the Philippines is lying before his “Bosses”. There should be a neuro exam that will be included as a qualification to run for President. Mahirap sa isang tao na walang pag-iisip o may problema sa pag-iisip….

  23. concerned citizen on

    I agree with you completely, Mr. Tatad, especially as regards the last thing you said in this piece, that “our inability or refusal, as a people, to want to do anything about it [the fact that Aquino may have gotten mad and is still president], in the name of every stupid thing in the world, is what I consider to be the far greater danger.” Indeed, a democracy can succeed only if its people exercise the power that is theirs. Sadly, we seem to have surrendered our power to Aquino. And that’s the downside of democracy: we all rise together or we all go down together….

  24. There really are signs of Aquino’s madness and I don’t believe his puppets in the Senate and House of Representatives doesn’t know this, much more his cabinet members. Truly, his stand-down order was not a decision of a normal Commander-in-Chief and chief planner. I’m sure most of his congressmen and senators knew his mental incapacity and afraid to do the right and patriotic thing to do which is to impeach him because of one thing: they are propping up this maddened presidency for their own vested interests. For the House of Representatives to impeach Aquino, it is tantamount to cutting their own necks. What is very sad is that our political system has sunk to its lowest level and totally lost its relevance as part of national governance. Together, Congress and the Executive departments fail to serve the best interests of the citizenry and it really is fitting for the NTC to call for their ouster NOW.

  25. Dominador D. Canastra on

    The PNP-BOI merely repeated what we already learned from the congressional hearings–obviously with the approval of or actually directed by Malacanang. Now they (Malacanang spokesmen) are pretending to dispute some of the Report’s contents. But the important things that the members of the PNP-BOI dared not inquire into show that they were and are under the direction of Pres. BS Aquino and his crew.

  26. Unlike the judicial and the legislative powers, the executive power is a sole preogative of our president. And this is basic in our form of government. This executive power can be delegated to presidential alter-egos and be revoked at the pleasure of the president based on his sole judgment.The system of the so-called chain of command is a prerogative of the comander-in-chief and he alone can decide to follow or alter that chain.

    • Nicarter Baguio on

      The application of “prerogative” term for the president in any particular operation makes him directly responsible for its success or failure.

  27. “But our inability or refusal, as a people, to want to do anything about it, in the name of every stupid thing in the world, is what I consider to be the far greater danger.” Really?

    NEVER AGAIN!!! Never again will our people allow the return of the kind of president whom you served as cabinet secretary- as Minister of Misinformation.

  28. That’s right, Sir Tatad, father of the nation Noynoy does not feel any remorse about sacrificing his sons only to spare his ill-advised peace pact with his friends MILF. Widows of the fallen 44 and the other victims of the Mamasapano tragedy must pursue justice at all cost even if it takes eternity to do it, anyway God is at their side. We repeat this clamor time and again for Congress to stop passing this BBL as this peace pact is exclusively for Pnoy and MILF only and does not care about the sentiments of the other stakeholders not to mention the more serious threat that this Bangsamoro Entity will later evolve into a sub-state status and the spending of more than 500 billion pesos taxpayer’s money for a few years development.

  29. Indeed, it is very frightening to follow PNoy’s orders. First his orders may probably by just coming from the mouth or written without much thought and does not involve correct decisions making processes. Second, if something goes wrong, those who will follow his orders will be blamed later on.

  30. sonny dela cruz on

    I QUIT, making recommendation how we can achieve a better Philippine with a lasting peace. I read in this column what Lacierda had said that even “THE CONSTITUTION CAN BE DISREGARDED”. This is a MORTAL SIN saying that because in the United States, their constitution is sacred. It never been altered or disregarded for more 200 years and anytime there is a conflict they always refer it to the Constitution and when the President swear to take responsibility of a nation, they always say I solemnly swear to defend the constitution and not disregarded. HOLY COW, WHAT KIND OF PERSON IS THIS IN THE PHILIPPINES in the highest office of the president saying that! ?.

  31. Why the death of this SAF44 are treated differently to the death of our Army down in the south. If they are told to do the job with bolo and spears for that kind of operation, it should be questions. Are they died in the line of duty so as with the Army? I talked to a widow last night of captain who is a member of 57 IB whose husband died in insurgent campaign in Negros. She almost throw-up when we talked about this SAF44 in which politician got in, the SAF44 widow are reacting and being used by politician and the mainstream media. She told me, they were armed too to the teeth as her husband and when he died she accepted it with honor for that is how dangerous is his job. When his husband was buried, no media, no Politian, no mayor no congressman nor governor attended. It took her a very long time to collect the benefit money from his husband. With the SAF44 widow its like lightning they got it plus the politician money. Why they are treated that special way, she told me. The only people wants them to die are the enemies, not the president, not its commander/officials and not themselves. Its a big tragedy that the command and control got a big hiccups. Its getting boring now and as if that, it is the biggest and only problem of the country. Let them rest in Peace.

  32. The BOI admitted that Aquino (true to John 8:44) had refused to cooperate in the investigation and ignored requests to be interviewed.

    So, why was his self-serving lie that he had been fooled by Napenas and is therefore blameless — “kung nalaman ko lang na mali pala, hinindihan ko sana” — included in the report?

    Aquino’s statement was not made under oath. The investigators did not even get it directly from him. They just quoted it from his public rants against Napenas. They used it to mitigate his guilt.

    The BOI report is part of the efforts to cover up Aquino’s crime.

  33. Lusot ang Pnoy na iyan . Pera lang ang katapat ng mga imbestigador . Shame on you ! Kung mayroon kayong hiya.

  34. Of course, it was clear to me since a long time ago, since his mad laughter over the massacre of the Luneta hostage victims, that the RUMORED MADNESS OF THE ABNOY IS ALREADY OFFICIALLY CERTIFIABLE.. His subsequent reactions to and his statements in all the crises and disasters that plagued our country year after year were tell-tale symptoms of his warped mind. Consider how his own words went during the Yolanda disaster -“Buhay pa naman kayo, di ba?” Consider also what he told the widows and families of the slain 44. “What do you want me to do? Fingerprint the MILF? And the recent TV statement considered by former Pres. Ramos as “un-presidential”. But of course! Is it not pambabastos to call your subordinate “tanga” and to say “if I am fooled the first time, shame on you; if I am fooled the second time, shame on me”. Now isn’t this plain “kanto boy” language?

    In all his utterances, it is very clear that he is really :”ulol” . In fact, according to one writer in this space, he regretted voting for the Abnoy because he did not know “ulol” pala.

    Now as to the danger facing all of us is he is not removed, I agree with what you said that : “our inability or refusal, as a people, to want to do anything about it, in the name of every stupid thing in the world, is what I consider to be the far greater danger.”

    On this matter, I think the people just want to be clarified on how to go about removing him and who or what should come after. I don’t think our countrymen are timid not to move to oust this dangerous mad man in our midst.