Mamasapano: The Messy Search for Truth

Mamasapano, #NasaanAngPangulo, Fallen44

But should P-Noy resign
and give way to Binay?

What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last January 25, 2015 that led to the deaths of 44 elite police commandos?

Personally, I have lots of questions. I mentioned these in my last column in Sun.Star Cebu titled “Seek the Truth.” Among others, I asked: “…who gave the go-signal and why was suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima on top of the failed operation.”

As more information are published each day, the questions in my mind further increases.

Embed from Getty Images
Too many probes

One question I like to highlight now is why the number of inquiries into the tragedy? The Philippine Daily Inquirer listed eight investigations. And the editor put the story’s heading this way: “To many probes (8) may spoil the truth.”

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) immediately conducted separate investigations. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) also ordered its own probe.

However, Malacañang prefers investigations by regular agencies. Thus, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ordered a separate probe. As this developed, Human Rights Commission (CHR) chairperson Etta Rosales announced a separate fact-finding initiative. Both the House and Senate public order committees likewise went into the motions of opening their own respective inquiries.

The International Monitoring Team (IMT), composed of foreign military officials that monitors the implemention of ceasefires between the government and the MILF, is also gathering information on what happened.

Revelations by the PNP Director Getulio Napeñas, the suspended commander of the Special Action Force (SAF), that President Aquino had knowledge of the operation prompted calls for an independent investigation.

Map of Maguindanao showing the location of Mam...
Map of Maguindanao showing the location of Mamasapano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


As of this writing, or some 10 days after the tragic Mamasapano encounter, we can now see that the PNP and the AFP are blaming each other. The PNP is saying that the army units nearby failed to reinforce the  SAF. However, the AFP said some 300 SAF elements were merely on standby four kilometers away from the firefight.

The law enforcement and defense arms of the government at loggerheads shows weakness at the top. What can one expect from a commander-in-chief who prefers a car company event than the arrival of the fallen 44? As the nation grieved watching the bodies of the fallen 44 arrive in Manila, the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo became trending in Twitter.


The popular outrage has prompted various quarters to call for the resignation of President Aquino. One group pushing for the resignation is the National Transformation Council (NTC), which has earned the support of some bishops.

The resignation call, however, is also being met by this fear of Vice President Jojo Binay — who is busy evading the Senate probe into alleged corruption — emerging as president.

What are your thoughts, guys?


Blogger posts real Gloria ‘mug shots’

The published mugshots of Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are said to be fake. So people began the search for the real mugshots. As they say in Cebuano, “way aso nga makumkom.”

And the search (actually my daughter Alya shared this) brought me to the blog “Onward to Mars” where samples of mug shots are posted.

Here is a sample:

Click on the photo to see more mug shots. Gitika ko bay!

P-Noy’s political will against GMA only, not the Ampatuans?

Thanks to the Philippine Daily Inquirer for publishing these mugshots. Thanks to Kevin Ray Chua for alerting me on this. Click on the photo for the PDI's latest on the Arroyo story.

We have seen political will in the handling of President Noynoy Aquino‘s administration against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last week.

Consider the following:

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima prevented the former president from escaping abroad despite a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court. The warrant of arrest was issued just hours after the filing of the electoral sabotage case filed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). The police immediately served the warrant that afternoon.

But why has the Aquino administration failed to show the same political will against the Ampatuans for the Maguindanao massacre?

Tomorrow — November 23, 2011 — we will observe the second anniversary of the worst massacre the country has seen. It has been some two years since armed goons of Maguindanao warlord Andal Ampatuan Sr. gunned down some 58 Filipinos, including 32 journalists.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), in a statement calling for justice as the second anniversary approached, said:

“As today, only two Ampatuans have been arraigned. Only 93 of the 196 accused have been arrested. Prosecution and defense lawyers have listed 300 and 320 witnesses, respectively, which, according to Senator Joker Arroyo, a veteran human rights lawyer and courtroom litigator, may take 200 years to present.

Meanwhile, the families of the 58 victims continue to suffer from the loss of their loved ones, most of whom were family breadwinners. Some of the children continue to innocently wait in vain for their murdered parents to come home.”

Come to think of it, public outrage against the Ampatuans worked in favor of candidacy of Noynoy Aquino in the May 2010 elections. The Ampatuans were strong political allies of the administration of then president Arroyo. The Ampatuan political machinery was vital to the Arroyo camp’s questionable electoral victories in 2004 and 2007.

Pursuing the cases against both Arroyo and the Ampatuans deserve the same political will from the Aquino administration in the interest of justice.

Why show political will only against the Arroyos today?