Not privacy but criminal liability

It is most disgusting to see Senate President Franklin Drilon blocking what the people want to hear in the supposed recorded conversation between a lawmaker and a ranking government official, which according to retired Police Chief Supt. Diosdado Valeroso, was an attempt to cover up the truth behind the bloody massacre of the 44 country’s elite members of the Special Action Force. Drilon keeps on reminding Valeroso that under Republic Act No. 4200, unauthorized recording, possession and communication of tapped conversation is illegal, cannot be made admissible as evidence, and any person who commits such violation can be penalized by imprisonment.  

The attempt by the minions of the Aquino administration to prevent the public from knowing the contents in that taped conversation confirms their suspicion of the President did not just have knowledge but actually oversaw the bungled operations, and are now desperately trying to sanitize him from any responsibility.  

The issue is not about national security or privacy but the extent of the President’s criminal liability.  As the inquiry slowly unearthed the details on what transpired, they all conclude that PNoy knew or maybe participated in the planning of Operation Exodus, and was possibly monitoring the progress inside a military base in Zamboanga City.  Worse, he did not send reinforcement to the beleaguered SAF to minimize the casualties or to turn the tables against the encircling MILF and BIFF forces.  

Effectively, whether President Aquino gave a stand-down order to the Armed Forces encamped nearby is only of secondary importance.  What is clear is that he was aware that a carnage was going on, and did not lift a finger to save the lives of the remaining police forces, many of whom were seriously wounded and purposely videoed by those  terrorists  to show how they finished off a fallen soldier with his body still twitching in pain.   Some even insinuate that PNoy probably saw in “real time” the slaughter, alleging there were drones taking photos of the area. 

Such humiliating defeat in the hands of terrorists who beg for peace while waging a bloody secessionist war is most disheartening.   We have a President whom we gave the title of commander-in-chief but forsaking his embattled men.  Major General Angelito de Leon’s statement blaming wholly General Getulio Napeñas for the fiasco, allegedly failing to coordinate with the Armed Forces, was meant to focus the blame on the police general.  But to whom would SAF coordinate in that tense moment when fighting was raging?   

Even if the demand for assistance did not pass through unusual “protocol” of coordination, the duty of the commanding officer of the Army encamped in the area was to take the initiative of saving the lives of their comrade-in-arms though belonging to a different agency of the government. In fact, the MILF-BIFF encampment was within the reach of artillery fire from the army base to relieve the beleaguered SAF who were under heavy gunfire. Rather, their inaction was telling that they were awaiting orders from the commander-in-chief who was politicking with the lives of those men obeying orders to secure the arrest of two terrorists.   

Senators Drilon, Antonio Trillanes and that overtly ambitious Senator Grace Poe need not belabor on the illegality of the tapped conversation.  The issue of national security has nothing to do with what Valeroso would want to share to our people.  Everybody knows that the operations ended up in fiasco principally because of the ineptitude of President Aquino who is more interested in saving the peace agreement than in saving the lives of our policemen who were doing their duty of enforcing the law.  

Even in the US where we love to cite jurisprudence involving wire-tapped conversation used as evidence have often been upheld when public interest so demands.  The “Watergate scandal” wherein the tape of conversations of President Nixon to his confidants who carried out the burglary at the Democratic Party headquarters was ordered to be made public to prevent whitewash of the case.  And when it became clear that the Senate would vote to impeach him, President Nixon had to resign rather than wait for the verdict of being kicked out of office. Here, misconduct in office, plunder, and even treason has been so politicized that PNoy is likely to get away with them.

PNoy would not mind being called a puppet.  What is important is that he finished what the US wanted him to do.  This was clear because there was a ceasefire that was supposed to be in place after the signing on March 27, 2014 of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to replace the law creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.  The US, on the other hand, was pressuring him to get that Malaysian terrorist, Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino Muslim terrorist identified as Basit Usman, Marwan had a price tag of $5 million for his capture, dead or alive.  Many believe that US intelligence operatives were involved because Caucasian-looking men, possibly Americans, were seen airlifting the wounded out of the battle zone.     

Many political analysts wonder why the US did not press the PNoy government to segregate the MILF from the BIFF to prevent them from pinpointing at each other as a terrorist organization.  The Mamasapano clash catalyzed the truth that they were united during the fighting, as they fought side by side to repulse the arresting SAF force on Jan. 25, 2014.  Moreover, while the US was interested in keeping intact the peace agreement signed by the government with the MILF, it was unwilling to delay the arrest of the two terrorists even if that could jeopardize the deal.    

Thus, the Aquino government was forced to come out with a strategy of limiting the parties involved in the operations. That explains why his protégé, Local Government secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas (with which the PNP is supposed to be a part of his department), and then acting PNP director Leonardo Espina who temporarily took over the post of then suspended Chief of Staff, Alan Purisima, were both  excluded in the operational planning to get the two terrorists.  

Now that it has failed with many of our legislators promising not to ratify the BBL, plus the events in Europe, in the Middle East and in Africa where there has been a surge in terrorism and the US having second thoughts on whether to continue supporting these groups that openly declared having connection with the MILF, PNoy is once again unable to solve the problem that badly tarnished his reputation.  

The debacle has even affected his endorsement of Mar Roxas and his LP ticket.  They have become a political pariah which only their elitist–controlled media are romping them as popular.  As said, PNoy cannot now distance himself from the massacre that brought humiliation to the nation because it has become evident that he had knowledge in the planning, implementation, and now wants to get away from the aftermath that ensued.  

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Topics: Rod Kapunan , Not privacy but criminal liability
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