Dear Mar,
It has been a difficult 40 days for the Filipino people and the families of all those who died in the Mamasapano incident. I could imagine it has been a difficult period for you as well.

I heard your radio interview today as you announced that the Board of Inquiry report will be out soon and that you also sought answers to the questions on everyone’s mind. I also saw your TV interview and how you said that despite being kept in the dark about Mamasapano, you think it was still the President’s call and that you seemed to accept that. But you said it, seemingly with a heavy heart.

Both in the radio interview and in the Senate hearings, you always stopped short of bringing the issue of accountability to the President. Reasonable people believe that the President, in assigning his suspended buddy Gen. Purisima, violated the Ombudsman suspension order as well as the PNP chain of command. This violation, which was the basis of the utter lack of coordination among government agencies, proved to be fatal for the SAF.

How can you be so blind to this basic conclusion when it is already staring you in the face? You of all people should know this.

How can you stand the constant lying of the President; when he said that he would wait for the BOI probe on why you and Gen. Espina weren’t informed, when clearly he already knew WHY you weren’t informed. Aquino after all coordinated only with Purisima throughout the entire planning, preparation and execution of the operation to get Marwan. Aquino already knew of Napenas’ recommendation that Espina and the AFP would only be informed “time on target”, meaning you and the PNP chain of command will be kept out of the loop up to the last minute. How can you accept the lie that the President was only consulting Purisima about the jargon of the operation, when text messages reveal that Purisima was providing updates to the President and that the President in turn was giving instructions to Purisima.

Aquino even said in his first televised addressed that he previously discussed the Marwan operations with you, yet in the briefing with Napenas on January 26, you clearly said you had no idea of previous attempts to get Marwan.

How can you convince people of your leadership qualities when you meekly accept that you were left out of the loop in Mamasapano; that when you reported to the President, all he texted was “thank you” along with the reminder that you shouldn’t publicly discuss details of the operation?

Mar, it is not enough to tell the public that you didn’t know of the operation in Mamasapano. It is not enough to claim ignorance. That does not establish the accountability of those who knew. That does not render justice to those who died.

Mar, your current position is untenable and downright pathetic. How long will you go along with the lies? How long will you allow yourself to be treated like a presidential doormat? How do you expect people to respect you as a leader when you allow yourself to be disrespected by the person you claim to serve?

Are you still waiting for Aquino’s endrosement for 2016? Seriously, do you think that would do you any good?

But this is not just about you and your personal political ambitions. There is a lot more at stake here. By allowing yourself to be part of the grand cover up, you disrespect the memories of the men who died under your watch. You commit a great disservice to the Filipino people. And you again show us what kind of a leader you are in the face of a crisis.

Mar, please do yourself a favor. Please do everyone a favor. Stop defending Aquino. Make a stand. Give up your post as a sign of protest. In doing so, you will gain a lot more respect now than you ever did during the last 5 years. ###

 

After talking with the AFP generals in Zamboanga about Mamasapano, Aquino proceeded with his original schedule of visiting the Zamboanga blast site.

In an interview today on DZMM, AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang who was with the President in the morning of January 25 said that he did not inform the President of the ongoing Mamasapano encounter as he did not think it was yet that important compared to Aquino’s original agenda in Zamboanga. Aquino was already in Zamboanga at 8am while the firefight between the PNP SAF and various armed groups was ongoing.

It was only at 2:00 pm says Catapang that the President asked him what was going on in Mamasapano. By this time, the entire 55th SAF was already overrun by armed groups, having sent their last radio transmission.

News reports say that it was around this time that Aquino met with the military officials who were with him in Zamboanga. The meeting caused a delay in the President’s itinerary. Aquino would emerge from the meeting with the AFP officials and proceed to the Zamboanga blast site at 3:30pm and a hospital visit.

Catapang tells DZMM that he was not the one who informed the President and that Aquino was the one asking the questions in the afternoon of January 25. Strangely, it was only then that Catapang started updating Aquino of developments in Mamasapano up to 11:30pm that day, when the President had already returned to Manila.

At today’s Senate hearing, Catapang, DILG secretary Roxas and DND secretary Gazmin all said that they were not the ones who informed the President of the unfolding crisis in Mamasapano.

If not Catapang, Roxas and Gazmin, who then was updating the President? When did the President know of the Mamasapano crisis and what did he do upon finding out? Only the president can answer this question.

It certainly appears that someone else, very likely the suspended Alan Purisima, was updating the President. If the President was indeed informed earlier of the incident, what did he do? Why did it take him between 1pm and 2pm to meet his military officials in Zamboanga, at which time the entire SAF blocking force was already decimated. And why did the President simply went on with his original itinerary as the crisis was unfolding?

Was Purisima giving Aquino assurances that the crisis was being handled? If so, why was Aquino taking advice from a suspended official? Was Aquino simply clueless as to the gravity of the situation in relation to the lives of his own men and in relation to the peace process? The guidance he reportedly gave AFP Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. GenRustico Guerrero .was to exert “best effort” in the rescue of the SAF.

The situation in Zamboanga also raises questions about the role of Purisima. If indeed he was the one informing the president and even AFP’s Catapang, it only shows that the operation was being run by the suspended PNP official.

When Purisima was asked by the Senate on whether or not he informed the President at any time about the debacle in Mamasapano, he avoided the question and instead requested for clearance from the President.

That answer alone tells us a lot about what was going on and who the President was listening to all the time.

The Aquino-Purisima clique is at the center of the Mamasapano incident. The two share responsibility for the bloody incident. The two cannot invoke executive privilege to cover up their involvement. ###

 

philippines-us-special-forces-training-afpDespite the stonewalling of the AFP and PNP officials every time the issue of US involvement in Mamasapano was raised at the Senate hearing, we now have more information to show that the US was indeed a part of the operation to get Marwan.

The involvement of the US is important since they were providing training and funding, dangling a $7 million reward, and most likely, dictating the terms for the operations. That a foreign government can set the terms for a domestic operation that involves sacrificing the lives of Filipinos is definitely a problematic situation. Mamasapano also demolishes the long-propagated myth that US forces are not involved in combat operations in the Philippines.

Based on the Senate hearings and recent news reports, here are 5 indicators of US involvement in Mamasapano.

  1. Napenas admits that the tissue sample of Marwan was immediately brought by the SAF to FBI agents waiting in General Santos City. This indicates that the US had prior knowledge of the operation and were already present in Mindanao to receive the tissue sample for DNA testing. The SAF did not even bother to inform the PNP Headquarters or any other agency, and instead went straight to the FBI. Why was the FBI already in General Santos City? Napenas testimony before the Senate may shed light on this. In his statement, he says that on the eve of the operation, “the three Police Commissioned Officers moved to General Santos City for the final mission planning and coordination together with all the unit commanders and key personnel involved in the operation.” The final mission planning in General Santos could explain the presence of the FBI in that city.
  2. One news article quotes a SAF trooper who joined the assault on Marwan saying that a drone was overhead at the time of the Mamasapano operation. He reportedly takes a video of the drone.
  3. During the Senate hearing, the Mayor of Mamasapano said he saw a white object hovering above during the operations. He believes this was a drone.
  4. SAF Director Leo Napenas testified that he was able to directly ask help from US forces based in Zamboanga indicating that there was already prior coordination between the SAF and US forces in that province. This level of coordination is important after another article pointed out that the SAF and US forces were training in a secret facility in a resort in Zamboanga and that the US was funding the operations to get Marwan.
  5. Every time US involvement is being asked, the PNP and AFP would invoke national security and ask for an executive session. It is the clearest sign that something is going on that they don’t want people to know.

More information from this article.

Does the end justify the means? Is US involvement made acceptable because the SAF got Marwan? The question is no different from the one asking if the death of Marwan was worth the lives of the 44 SAF. These questions can best be answered by examining the bigger context of US involvement and the Aquino government’s subservience.

The US is carrying out its war on terror without regard for the lives of Filipinos, whether combatants of civilians. It carries out its war on terror without regard for the national sovereignty of the countries were the alleged terrorists are supposedly hiding. In other countries, the US employs drones to target so-called terrorists, often ending up killing civilians. Here they send Filipino foot soldiers right into a death trap.

It is important for the US and the Philippine governments to emphasize Marwan’s record of terror so that even the violation of national sovereignty and the loss of lives of 44 SAF troopers as well as 5 civilians who ended up collateral damage, would somehow be acceptable.

In one news article, a police source explained that “because of the Americans’ obsession to get Marwan, many SAF men died.” He pointed out that the Americans were more interested in getting the location of the SAF team that had Marwan’s finger than in helping the SAF blocking force trapped in the corn field. All but one of the 36 member blocking force died. The SAF assault team proved to be more important for the US because of what they had, the source laments. ###

 

 

aquino-purisima-0912

We have heard enough from the Senate hearings to be convinced that suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima was indeed running the Mamasapano operations against Marwan, despite his suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman. No amount of palusot can save Purisima. His distinction between an “order” and an “advice” is one for the books. No one believes any of that.

 

Based on the testimonies, here are the strongest indicators that Purisima was running the show.

 

  1. Former PNP SAF Director Leo Napenas called Purisima the “focal person” constantly consulted by the President on the operation. By definition, being a focal person means you’re at the center of things.

 

  1. Purisima brought Napenas and other SAF officials to the President’s official residence in Bahay Pangarap on January 9, 2015 so that the SAF director can give “mission updates” to the President. Napenas made it very clear that it was Purisima who brought them to the President. The meeting took place just two weeks before the actual Mamasapano operations.

 

  1. Purisima was texting Napenas on January 19, 5 days before the actual operation, asking for the final details of the plan to get Marwan

 

  1. Napenas keeps reporting to Purisima. He follows Purisima’s orders-slash-advice on operational matters, including the “advice” not to inform the PNP OIC Espina and Interior secretary Mar Roxas until the SAF reaches the target. Purisima would justify this as part of “operational security”, an explanation that no one is buying. Napenas also continued to meet with Purisima at the White House in Camp Crame despite Purisima’s suspension.

 

  1. Purisima met with top AFP officials including Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang and officials of the Western Mindanao Command in December 2014 at Camp Aguinaldo to discuss the use of precision bombs to get Marwan. Purisima was already suspended at the time of the meeting.

 

  1. During the January 9 meeting in Bahay Pangarap, Purisima told Napenas that the former would be in charge of informing the AFP Chief of Staff once the SAF troopers are in the area. “Ako na ang bahala kay Catapang,” was what Napenas told the Senate. How can a suspended PNP Chief be coordinating with the AFP COS?

 

Of course, the Senate failed to ask the most obvious question. How can a suspended official run an operation while keeping the PNP OIC in the dark? Where was Purisima getting his authority?

 

During his first televised speech on Mamasapano, Aquino told the nation that he was merely consulting with Purisma on the operations jargon by the time he was suspended. He also told the media that the Board of Inquiry will have to determine why Espina and Roxas were kept out of the loop.

Well Aquino doesn’t need a BOI to answer that question because he could very well answer it himself as he was present during the meetings.

 

Aquino lied about Purisima’s actual involvement in the operation. Aquino also feigned ignorance on why Espina and Roxas were kept in the dark. The President, in allowing a suspended Purisima to run the operations, and in disregarding the chain of command, violated his oath of office to uphold the laws of the land. It is a ground for his removal from office. ###

 

benigno-aquino-mamasapano-truth-commission

May mga nagtatanong sa panawagang “resign”: “Sino po ba ang gusto ninyong maging presidente?”

Tapatang sagot: Wala ho kaming hinahangad na iluklok na kung sinong pulitiko para maging presidente. Ang hangad po namin ay baguhin ang sistemang bulok at mapalakas ang boses at kapangyarihan ng mamamayan. Tapatang sagot muli. Hindi po namin ito ginagawa para kay Binay o kung sinumang pulitiko. Wala ho sa pulitiko ang kaligtasan natin. Nasa kamay po ng mamamayan, wala sa mga pulitiko, ang tunay na pagbabago.

Eh ano ang ipapalit kapag nag-resign si Aquino ?

Dalawa lang naman ang pwedeng mangyari dyan eh. Parang EDSA 1 na extraconstitutional ang scenario o parang EDSA 2 na constitutional succession ang itsura.

Para sa mga aktibista, syempre mas maganda yung una. Mas malaki ang tsansang magtulak ng mga kagyat na reporma kung may konsehong transisyon na papalit. Ito rin ang maghahawan ng daan para sa eleksyon. Kasama dapat sa konseho ang iba’t ibang pwersa na kumilos laban sa kasalukuyang rehimen. Pero magiging posible lang ito kung malakas talaga ang pagkilos ng mamamayan para mapupwersa ang mga naghahari na kilalanin ito.

Magkakaroon pa rin ng eleksyon matapos ang transisyon. Taongbayan pa rin ang pipili ng lider na ihahalal nila. Pero kahit sa panahon ng transisyon, magtutulak tayo ng mga makabuluhang repormang makakatulong sa mamamayan. Sa proseso, lumalakas din ang boses ng mamamayan. Mahirap din ho talaga yung business as usual lang eh. Yung magpalit lang ng tuktok eh akala nila ayos na ang lahat. Wala po tayong ganung ilusyon.

So anu ulit ang papalit? Sa kagyat ay isang konsehong transisyon para sa pambansang pagkakaisa. Sino ang bubuo nito? Iyong mga nagtulak ng pagbabago at yung mga pwersa at personaheng naghahangad ng pagbabago. Lilitaw at makikilala natin sila sa proseso ng paglaban sa rehimen.

Tama po na hindi naman malulutas ang lahat ng problema natin kapag napalitan lang presidente. Pero ang mahalaga dito, at nakita na natin ito sa kasaysayan, napapalakas ang tinig ng mamamayan at napapahina ang sistemang bulok. napapanagot din ang mga malalaking maysala, hangga’t sa dumating ang araw na may sapat na lakas na tayo para ganap na mabago ang bulok na sistemang iyan.

Kaya ang tanong ay hindi kung sinong presidente ang nais nating ipalit. Ang mas tamang tanong siguro ay anong sistema ang nais nating ipalit. Walang maikling paliwanag o daan tungo dyan na pwedeng pagkasyahin sa isang FB post. Masasabi lang natin ang itinataguyod natin bilang alternatibo sa bulok na sistema ang TUNAY NA KALAYAAN AT DEMOKRASYA, REPORMA SA LUPA, PAMBANSANG INDUSTRIYALISASYON, NAGSASARILING PATAKARANG PANLABAS AT MAKABAYAN, SIYENTIPKO, MAKAMASANG KULTURA.

Sa mga nagtatanong, marami pong organisasyong kaanib ng BAYAN ang handang magpaliwanag sa inyo ang PAMBANSA DEMOKRATIKONG programang ito labas po sa FB at social media.

Pero sa kagyat, pwede naman siguro nating pagkaisahan na lubhang kailangan natin ang pagbabago. At ang kasalkuyang nakaluklok sa Palasyo ay hadlang di lamang sa pagbabago kundi pati sa katotohanan at pananagutan. ###

 

Ang artikulong ito ay orihinal na lumabas bilang FB status post.

noynoyBy now it is clear that President Benigno Aquino III is not telling the whole truth about his involvement in the Mamasapano operation that led to the deaths of 44 PNP SAF troopers, 18 MILF fighters, 2 BIFF fighters and at least 3 civilians.

The demand for an impartial investigation, for an independent body, is gaining ground because of the gravity of the allegations and the obvious inability of the PNP’s Board of Inquiry to uncover the truth and hold accountable the highest official of the land.

Others have called for Aquino’s resignation over the bloody incident.

Cracks are showing within the administration as the police and military continue to hurl accusations against each other. The crisis is the inevitable result of Aquino’s actions in relation to Mamasapano.

No doubt, Aquino should be held accountable. His actions constitute grounds for his removal from office. And he should be criminally charged when he is no longer in office.

Once again, here are the six deadly sins committed by Aquino which led to the bloody Mamasapano clash.

 

1) Violating the chain of command by placing the suspended Gen. Alan Purisima in charge of the operation - When one is suspended from office, one is stripped of any official functions. One ceases to be part of the chain of command. The President of all people should know this. His decision to place Purisima in charge of the operation, even during the period of his suspension, is a serious offense. It also creates an untenable situation where there are two chains of command within the PNP organization. Former SAF Director Napenas affirms several times that it was Purisima who was running the Mamasapano operation. It was Purisima who told Napenas not to inform PNP OIC Leonardo Espina up until the SAF troopers have commenced the operation.

 

2)  Violating the suspension order of the Ombudsman – In making Purisima in charge of the Mamasapano operation, Aquino violated the suspension order of the Ombudsman. This is a clear violation of the law. Purisima is under investigation by the Ombudsman for his alleged involvement in a corruption case within the PNP.

 

3) Failing to inform his own PNP OIC and DILG secretary of the operation – Aquino apparently had plenty of time to consult with Purisima and SAF director Napenas, but never had the time to inform both DILG secretary Mar Roxas and PNP OIC Gen. Leonardo Espina. Why so? Aquino says he is leaving that point to the Board of Inquiry!? Will the BOI invite Aquino to answer this question? We don’t think so. The omission is obviously deliberate. Aquino is aware of the conflict between Purisima and Roxas and in this case, the President chose to side with his barkada rather than uphold the mandate of his office.

 

4) Failing to coordinate with other cabinet officials and the AFP- The lack of coordination between the PNP SAF and the AFP proved to be fatal for 44 PNP SAF troopers. There was no air support, no other means of extracting the PNP SAF elements. Of all the people who knew about the operation, Purisima and Napenas included, Aquino was in the best position to inform other government agencies such as the DND and the DILG but such was not done. It is untenable that for such a major operation with immense implications, Aquino would just remind the SAF director to coordinate with other government agencies. It is also quite an anomaly that Purisima would tell the SAF director otherwise, and that Aquino would just be fine with it.

 

5) Failing to inform the government peace panel and the MILF, thus violating the ceasefire agreement – Aquino practically violated the ceasefire agreement by authorizing an operation into MILF areas without proper coordination. OPAPP’s Ging Deles says she knows nothing of Oplan Wolverine. The MILF thought there areas were under attack. The ceasefire mechanisms were only alerted when the heavy fighting was already underway. The AFP’s Gergorio Catapang, in an interview on ANC admits that launching an operation within the area would “unnecessarily provoke” the MILF and BIFF. What Aquino did was to put deliberately put his troops in harms way, marching them into a death trap. The use of the SAF for example, is a deliberate attempt to circumvent the ceasefire with the MILF by making the operation a “police operation” e.g. serving a warrant.

 

6) Allowing the participation of a foreign government in an internal operation – Former SAF director Napenas has admitted that the US was involved in Operation Wolverine. Various accounts have placed the US government as the source of the actionable intelligence on Marwan and Usman, via US assets within the MILF, as well as drone surveillance and GPS tracking. It is very likely that it was also the US that asserted the operation be compartmentalized between Aquino and Purisima and the SAF director. It is very likely that it was the US that directed Aquino to undertake the operation despite the potential loss of lives and huge political costs. Several news reports already point to this. One source says that it was the US obsession with Marwan that led to the deaths of the 44 SAF.

 

The Filipino people should not allow a cover-up of Mamasapano. Aquino, Purisima and their US handlers should be held accountable for their crimes. We cannot allow government to be run barkada-style, without regard for laws and without a shred of accountability.

 

For the sake of truth, accountability and justice, Aquino must go. ###

 

Photo from Kodao

 

 

 

noynoy

  1. Who authorized the PNP-SAF operations against terror suspect Marwan? At what level was this decided? It is unbelievable that 392 supposedly elite SAF elements were mobilized against a high-value target on the US most-wanted list, and Malacanang says it knew nothing. That’s just unlikely for an operation of that scale and of that importance.

 

  1. Did the US provide intelligence for the operation against Marwan? The US has long been involved in operations against terror suspects including Marwan. In 2012, it was reported that the US Pacific Command provided real-time intelligence and helped in an airstrike that supposedly killed Marwan. The Mamasapano operation was supposedly triggered by the interception of a cellphone communication involving the target. Was the operation undertaken upon the directive of the US? What was the extent of US involvement in the actual operation? Was the operation approved because of the $5 million bounty dangled by the US?

 

  1. Why was the operation conducted exclusively by the PNP? Why is the AFP saying that there was no coordination between them and the PNP SAF? Is this a means to circumvent the processes of the ceasefire mechanism? Or were there other considerations? The firefight lasted several hours. Throughout this period, was the AFP ever notified or informed? Was there ever a PNP request for support during the fighting and was this request ever acted on by the AFP? If not, why so?

 

  1. Why was the MILF peace panel not notified of the operation considering it was being undertaken in an area that is a known territory of the MILF? Was this deliberate or was this an oversight on the part of the Aquino government? Based on the established protocols, who should have informed the MILF?

 

  1. Finally, did Aquino know of the operations? As commander-in-chief of the AFP, and as one who claims to support the peace process with the MILF, did Aquino have prior knowledge of the Mamasapano operation?

 

The Aquino government has a lot of explaining to do. The incident already has affected the peace process, including the congressional deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Some quarters are also agitating for all-out war.