It has been two years since the Mamasapano (Maguindanao) massacre where 44 members of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police were killed. The tragedy was commemorated with the families of the slain cops still crying out for justice.
The families of the SAF members met with President Duterte, who promised them he would create a truth commission to find out what really happened and establish who was truly responsible.
Mr. Duterte called on former President Aquino to answer specific questions about Oplan Exodus, which was led by then-PNP Director General Alan Purisima, Aquino’s friend, even as he was on preventive suspension at that time.
Despite the deaths of the SAF members, President Aquino never acknowledged any responsibility for what happened.
The truth commission, if it comes to pass, would be composed of Supreme Court justices and private individuals of known integrity and independence.
These are some of my questions in relation to the Mamasapano massacre:
Why were former Interior and Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas and former PNP Chief Leonardo Espina bypassed despite the chain of command? Obviously, BS Aquino did not trust them.
Why did BS Aquino put a suspended police chief in charge of a sensitive operation?
Was it truly a CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) operation like what President Duterte said? It would seem so, since the Americans who were stationed at Zamboanga City helped the SAF operation with drones, and were quick to provide medical relief and ambulances, even helicopters, to the victims of the Mamasapano operation.
Why did BS Aquino have the SAF undertake the operation when, as President Duterte said, when it comes to operation against terror groups, it should be the army? The police is only mandated to counter urban terrorism.
Was it true that the army, which was stationed close by, did not lift a finger to do anything to help the SAF policemen despite the fact that the AFP generals were fully aware of what was going on?
Did BS Aquino’s peace adviser, Teresita Deles, really make the army stand down for fear that the military’s intervention would adversely affect the peace process with the MILF? She has denied this, but the questions linger.
Only a truth commission can provide answers to all these questions. The President did not give a timeline as to when the issue will be resolved, but at least he has given the grieving families a glimmer of hope.
The fact that those responsible among the MILF and the BIFF have already been identified gives us some hope that justice will finally be given to the relatives of the Fallen 44 SAF members.
Santa Banana, Mr. Aquino’s, displaying his lack of compassion and empathy, did not even take the time to meet the bodies when these arrived at Villamor Air Base. He chose instead to attend the inauguration of a car plant.
The Duterte administration should charge President Aquino for his role.
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Reports have it that the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are zeroing in on the war against illegal gambling. This would supposedly show that drug lords are also gambling lords.
Illegal gambling is so pervasive and deep-rooted, more so than illegal drugs nationwide.
This has corrupted not only local executives and cops, but generals in the AFP all the way to Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo.
In some communities in Luzon, gambling lords have become so brazen that jueteng results are broadcast two or three times a day.
In fact, I am told that in some parts of Luzon, people would protest in the outlawing of jueteng because residents are employed as “cabos” or collectors of bets. Gambling lords also have their own “cobradores” or collectors of losing bets.
I have my doubts as to how far the PNP and the AFP can go against illegal gambling. There is just too much money going around.
The war on illegal gambling may not as be as brutal and bloody as the war on illegal drugs, but if the President wants to get to the bottom of it, he’ll be surprised that corruption goes all way up to Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo. Santa Banana, would you believe that even parish priests get donations from gambling lords?
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has adopted what is called Small Town Lottery to replace jueteng. The problem is that the same gambling lords are operating them. My gulay, with the PCSO expanding the STLs, it’s like the government is also expanding jueteng and masiao.