11 March 2015
On Aquino’s “ Binola Ako ni Napenas “ Speech
By Ric Reyes
Aquino’s March 9 speech at the prayer session with Christian non-Catholic religious leaders at Malacanang is his third on Mamasapano. It is also the worst.
Many were expecting that as President he would come clean with the people about the most crucial questions that arose from the bloody incident like who was/were really responsible, why American troopers were all over the place during the operations and why suspended PNP director general Purisima was calling the shots. Instead, the Commander in Chief trampled on the already sacked SAF ground commander Napenas, blaming him exclusively for the deaths of 44 SAF policemen but exculpating himself and mentioning nothing about Purisima and the Americans.
Aquino’s speech will go down in our history as one of the most if not the most shameless attempt by any leader to wash his hands of a major fiasco. His long rambling account of what happened in Mamasapano on
25 January 2015, obviously to impress his audience that he has a detailed grasp of the events, concluded with a shocker that seriously compromised the Presidency’s competence and reliability : “ Binola ako ni Napenas “.
( I was fooled by Napenas ).
Reactions like “ kung nabobola ang president, kawawa na tayo “ makes a lot of sense. How many times has this happened ? One incident concerns the emergency power on electricity that has just been passed by Congress. Petilla hyped on a power shortage in the coming summer and called for emergency power for the president. Aquino endorsed it. The House hearings that followed showed there was no shortage, only that the reserves must be increased which may be done by other ways. Still, Aquino and his lieutenants pushed for an emergency power. Nabola ni Petilla ?
Like many FQStormers, I fought the dictatorship and its military and police. But even then I knew and knew personally from my relatives in the military – two uncles, a father-in-law, brother-in-law and a younger cousin, especially when later I shared prison life with men in the armed services, that there are many officers and men in the military and police who in their belief in service to country value honor more than self, who know that owning up to their responsibility is a cardinal principle. But here we have a Commander-in-Chief who displayed no honor. He showed no compunction at all at throwing the entire blame on an erring subordinate for a botched major operation where he was directly involved as his own account of the events showed.
Or is it just incompetence and a lack of sense of honor? How do we make sense of the many faux pas, or bloopers or what have you : on Laude?
“ bakit ko siya dadalawin, hindi ko naman siya kilala” ; speaking to SAF 44 relatives :” ako rin namatayan ng ama, patas na tayo “; choosing to inaugurate a car plant than welcoming to do honors to the dead SAF 44; smiling while visiting the site of the Luneta tragedy; and many others that defy normal behavior. These are not trivial lapses. What are these? Bratty behavior of a prince who became king? Or something worse?
I dread the thought that our oligarchic political system and the yellow democracy that shrouds it has become so bankrupt of able and presentable leaders that it is now afflicted with the disease of the Monarchy which foists on an unwitting and disempowered society somebody unfit as leader of the State ? This time, not by hereditary accession but through election using a combination of media hype, social engineering, big money and a panoply of experts from all political spectrum and professions.
The bloody fiasco at Mamasapano has multiplied our difficulties in pushing for a genuine Bangsamoro autonomy and a Bangsamoro basic law that is true to the spirit and substance of this autonomy. The new push has to be restrategized but before we can come up with something that can work, we have to sort out first the bloody mess that bad presidential leadership and his cover-ups , political patronage, Oplan errors, operational mistakes on the ground, and US intervention have brought us Mamasapano and its ensuing fallout on our society and politics.