The Mamasapano that Aquino wants to delete from his memory

What would you make of these?

• President Aquino’s deafening silence in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), that 44 Special Action troopers were massacred in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by Muslim insurgents in the government operation to capture global terrorists during his term.

• His no-show as guest of honor on the founding day of the Philippine National Police Academy, during which a huge canvas painting of all the SAF 44 was to be unveiled. He unceremoniously snubbed it—earlier ordering the PNP to abort a scheduled unveiling, to which Vice President Jejomar Binay agreed.

• His order to remove the canvas from the main hall of the PNP Academy. His spokesperson, Herminio Coloma, has been so used to lying through his teeth the past five years that he didn’t even realize how ridiculous his explanation of that order sounded: “There was no appropriate place for it in the camp because they do not have a museum.”

• His order, through the Presidential Management Staff, to abort the posthumous awarding of the Medal of Valor to SAF officer PO2 Romeo Cempro and the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the lone survivor of the massacred team, Supt. Raymundo Train. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, which has been Aquino’s big fan, quoted an anonymous government official as explaining: “The President did not want to bring back the memories of the Mamasapano [encounter].”

I believe the Inquirer. What Aquino’s weird actions portray is similar to a situation in which a mobster boss (or a tyrant king in ancient times) orders no word be uttered in his presence that would remind him of some evil deed he did in the past. In his perverted mind, Aquino foolishly wants to delete the Mamasapano massacre and his role in it from the history books. He is afraid that bringing up the topic would bring up his role in the massacre.

The SAF 44 painting that Aquino didn’t want to see. A widow of one of them, Roselle Nacino, with their baby in her arms, looks pensively at the image of her husband, Nicky, in sniper camouflage. (The genius of this piece is the haunting beauty with which each of the 44 troopers was portrayed exactly as they looked in real life on to the canvas based only on their file photographs.)
The SAF 44 painting that Aquino didn’t want to see. A widow of one of them, Roselle Nacino, with their baby in her arms, looks pensively at the image of her husband, Nicky, in sniper camouflage. (The genius of this piece is the haunting beauty with which each of the 44 troopers was portrayed exactly as they looked in real life on to the canvas based only on their file photographs.)
 

Aquino’s complicity in the massacre of the SAF 44 troopers, if only we had an independent Congress and media, is enough to impeach and boot him out. Our Congress and Press would go down in history for their colossal failure to bring justice to the massacre of its elite troops by making Aquino accountable.

The facts of Aquino’s complicity are so crystal clear:

He was on top of the entire operational planning, and even had three meetings in Malacañang with suspended police chief Alan Purisima and then SAF head Police Chief Superintendent Getulio Napeñas, and even intelligence officer Fernando Mendez. However, it was illegal for Aquino to appoint as his de facto operations man his bosom friend, Purisima, who had already been suspended by the Ombudsman at that time.

For that, Purisima was charged by the Ombudsman for usurpation of authority. But it was Aquino who ordered him to usurp authority. Why wasn’t he made accountable? Could Purisima refuse an order by the President, his close friend?

He remained on top of the entire operation as the tragedy was unraveling on January 25. He even boasted in an impromptu speech before the SAF two days later that “Maaga pa lang, tuloy-tuloy na ang mg ulat na natatanggap namin.” (Since early morning, the reports have been coming in continuously.)

He was with his top security officials in Zamboanga City that day, starting early in the morning up to dusk on the pretext of checking on a bombing incident two days before.

His scenario, though, was for him to immediately go to Cotabato City, an hour by helicopter, to congratulate the SAF troopers for their capture of the global terrorists in Mamasapano, and to boast how he himself was on top of the operation. Yet even when he had received reports that the SAF troopers were pinned down and begging for artillery and air support, Aquino did nothing.

It wasn’t as though he was stupid or too dumbstruck to rescue the troopers. The chairman emeritus of this newspaper, Dante Ang, had reported, based on his reliable sources, that Aquino actually ordered the army to stand down, as their efforts to rescue the SAF troopers allegedly would risk his peace talks with the MILF. This claim has not been refuted.

Aquino and Purisima have covered up the President’s complicity. The transcript of his cellphone conversations with Purisima had a yawning eight-hour gap, which is impossible.

Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares exploited the investigation in the Senate – lucky for her as she was head of the committee on public order that had jurisdiction over the issue. The investigation catapulted her to national attention, so much so that she now thinks she can be President – because of her seeming boldness in declaring that “Aquino must own up to the responsibility for the massacre.”

But she actually, in effect, aborted her committee’s report by not submitting it to the plenary for discussion. Technically therefore, her report, which she announced in a press conference in March – five months ago – is still pending. i.e., without conclusions. Llamanzares was in the best position to call for a deeper investigation into Aquino’s role that led to the massacre. She didn’t.

A cartoon by artist “Andoyman” getting viral in social media.
A cartoon by artist “Andoyman” getting viral in social media.
 

Our nation, though, may owe much to Llamanzares. Aquino realized that what Llamanzares did in the investigation of the Mamasapano massacre was a clear message: “I can go against you, or I can save your skin, especially when you step down from power. Why choose Mar?”

That pushed Aquino to consider for a few months making Llamanzares his anointed for 2016, rather than his sidekick Manuel Roxas II. Roxas, of course, raised a howl, and likely threatened Aquino to rat on him if he wasn’t anointed.

As a result, Aquino’s Yellow Gang has lost its tempo, its momentum for the 2016 elections 10 months from now, with the Liberal Party becoming divided over the issue.

The Yellow Gang’s defeat in 2016 could be the SAF 44’s revenge, and we would owe them not only for their heroism in fighting terrorism but for helping get rid of this yellow pestilence that has descended upon our nation.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Bobi Tiglao