A depressing consequence of the Mamasapano encounter

PNoy with friend and protege, ex-PNP chief Alan Purisima.

PNoy with friend and protege, ex-PNP chief Alan Purisima.

At the MSN website on national issues there is a poll survey asking the question: Who should be prosecuted for the deaths of SAF 44? As I write, those who participated had President Benigno Aquino (PNoy) at 39%, the MILF at 34%, Alan Purisima at 19%, Getulio Napeñas at 6%, Mar Roxas and Leonardo Espina at 1% each.

While it is revolting enough that 44 brave police commandos has to die the way the courageously died allegedly in the hands of MILF and BIFF rebels while pursuing known international terrorist with price tags on the heads, what is even more depressing is the fact that no less than the president of the country himself, PNoy, has been eyed as the most culpable person in the deaths of the Fallen 44.

No amount of explanation from PNoy’s spokesman, Secretary Edwin Lacierda, will ever change the fact that had PNoy not disregarded or disrespected the chain-of-command in the PNP hierarchy, events would not have turned as ghastly as it came out to be.

This is not about PNoy’s involvement in “policy level” only and not in the “operational level”. In fact both levels had nothing to do with how PNoy pictured the covert operation, called Oplan Exodus, to be.

It was all judged from a “personal level” and PNoy’s personal opinion that listening and swallowing hook, line and sinker, the advice and updates of his loyal friend and protégé, suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima, was perhaps more convincing and reassuring than to have Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and OIC Deputy Director Leonardo Espina being listened to for their inputs. Note that it was Purisima’s idea to keep Roxas and Espina in the dark, not until the police commandos were already at the site, and for PNoy’s naiveté, he agreed to this as if bewitched by Purisima.

The Senate hearings showed that what resulted to the carnage was the lack of timely arrival of support or artillery from the military. This was expected since Purisima took the responsibility of informing AFP chief Lt. Gen. Gregorion Catapang about the operation, as what Purisima told former SAF commander Getulio Napeñas he would do. Purisima probably told Catapang, but probably it was late at best, and inadequately explained at worst.

What Napeñas did wrong was that, this time, he distrusted the AFP for leaks that aborted previous covert missions conducted by the police. Unknowingly, however, trusting Purisima more would cost him the precious lives of 44 members of his police commandos and, now, the uncertainty of his future.

President Aquino admitted that he knew and was being updated about the Mamasapano mission by his friend and protégé Alan Purisima, but to this day can’t seem to admit that he made an error in judgment breaching the PNP chain-of-command, where Espina and Roxas have significant roles, in favor of Purisima, who, at the time of the massacre was serving a suspension order for corrupt practices.

Even without the poll survey, the people already know where PNoy stands on the Mamasapanao massacre that resulted to the Fallen 44.

Friends and foes alike are asking PNoy to acknowledge his mistake and this is also what most people are asking for. Yet, he remains adamant.

I don’t think the result of the poll survey will change any time soon. It is simply depressing for PNoy not to be forthright in dealing with the Filipinos on this issue.

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