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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Going through the humiliation


By Rod Kapunan 
There are many things this government has to explain to our people. It appears the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have been coming out with one  interpretation of the treacherous ambush of the  country’s elite police force, the Special Action Force (SAF), that resulted in the death of 44 of our brave young boys.  As they lay dead, their bodies were riddled with bullets, while other rebels were seen stomping on their face, getting their weapons, ammunition, and stripping them of their uniform and personal belongings. 
Both Secretary for Communications Operations, Herminio Coloma, Jr. and MILF chief negotiator Mohaqher Iqbal termed the treacherous ambush as a “misencounter.”  Maybe Iqbal’s statement was expected, but Coloma’s concurrence in treating what happened as equivalent to an accident has raised serious doubts on the competence of this government.  With that kind of explanation, it appears that the government is the one justifying what happened.  Iqbal’s insistence that the government should have “coordinated” with the MILF is telling that we cannot just enter “their territory” without first seeking their permission. 
For that, we now see the deadly consequence of the yet to be ratified Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).  Strictly speaking, jurisdiction cannot be raised because the “intrusion” of SAF was to carry out a police work to secure the arrest of a wanted Malaysian terrorist identified as Zulkifli bin Abdul Hir, alias Marwan.  He was a “high value” target that carries a price tag of $5 million for his head offered by the US government.  Marwan is said to be a bomb specialist who saw action in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The other is his Filipino terrorist protégé identified as Abdul Basit Usman.  His cohort is identified as a member of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist cell of Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia.    
Adding to our humiliation was the view voiced by some members of the “mainstream media” who were quick to blame our policemen while not getting over their grief for the alleged victims of the “Jabida Massacre.”  Of course, these creatures who have been styling themselves as “investigative journalists” were created by the West to purposely discredit their own government; that while the country fights a lonely war to keep intact our territorial integrity, they were being lavished by Malaysia and the West.  They condemned SAF, for allegedly violating the “jurisdiction” of the MILF, even applauding the decision of President Aquino in sacking its chief, Director Getulio Napeñas, without him admitting that he, together with suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima, were aware of the operations that ended in complete disaster.    
Equally appalling was the reaction of the Philippine negotiating penal headed by chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Teresita Quintos-Deles and Undersecretary Jose Luis Martin Gascon who  urged Congress not to derail the ratification of the BBL  just  because  of the “incident.”   Of course, they were referring to Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government who abruptly suspended hearing on the proposed BBL until a satisfactory explanation is made by the MILF.  As one would put it, the Philippine panel has now been reduced to that of a stooge of Malaysia.    
To begin with, this pretending to-be-honest government should not have negotiated with the MILF.  There was reason not to negotiate.   In 2000, the Armed Forces of the Philippines upon orders of then President Estrada, made an all-out assault and successfully overran their main lair at Camp Abubakar and 23 of their satellite camps.  Their followers were already on the run and their founding chairman Hashim Salamat and his deputy Al Hadj Murad sought safety in Malaysia.  Because of pressure from the US, Mrs. Arroyo handed back Camp Abubakar to the MILF and even attempted to grant them the same right to secede.  Fortunately, the Supreme Court declared the proposed MOA-AD unconstitutional.   
No sooner the MILF began to metastasize again.  Malaysia and the MILF found a conduit willing to part a portion of our territory, instead of us getting a territory which our country has a historic right and legal title.    Despite denials by the MILF, many of its members are also members of known terrorist organizations, and our government has been playing coy about this fact.   While the government insists that the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is an outlawed terrorist organization, the line that separates it from the MILF remains porous.  Many suspect the BIFF is the dirty operator of the MILF assigned to put pressure on the government.
To be specific, for the entire duration of the negotiations, the name of that Malaysian terrorist had already been known to the intelligence community.  Surely, our panel had been informed about the presence and activities of Marwan and Usman, but surprisingly, not a whimper of protest was raised during the negotiations.  Rather, Ferrer, Deles and Gascon, acting like stooges of Malaysia, came out to take  the threat of the MILF for us to speedily ratify the BBL or face possible complication, without considering that the treacherous attack on our SAF amounts to a declaration of war for which peace  could only be resolved in victory. 
In fact, our own penal added insult to injury by announcing they will fly to Kuala Lumpur to sign an agreement for the decommissioning of the weapons held by the MILF while the country is still mourning the death of our fallen heroes naively equating the decommissioning of weapons as equivalent to the surrendering of arms.  As one would ask, if the MILF refused to acknowledge the presence of that Malaysian terrorist that had himself holed inside their “territory,” what more for them to surrender their weapons?  
Moreover, many failed to analyze that it was possibly the reward of $5 million that compelled our officials to hastily order SAF to enter the alleged MILF territory to secure the arrest of Marwan.  The cash reward made the operations their top priority.  Nonetheless, many are puzzled, for while the US is openly engaged in a global war against terrorism, it stands squarely behind Malaysia in urging the Philippines to negotiate with the MILF.   For that, the US could have put pressure on Malaysia to demand from its stooge the surrender Marwan.  Had that channel been resorted to, maybe we could have avoided that unnecessary bloodbath.   
In fact, the Army was aware that fighting was raging from within its vicinity, and did not lift a finger to assist the embattled SAF for reasons they were not given orders to assist the retreating policemen.   This we say because PNoy admitted he was aware of the operations, and was in touch with suspended PNP chief Purisima.   The operation was compartmentalized such that Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and acting PNP chief Leonardo Espina were kept in the dark.   Now that the operations ended up in total blunder, PNoy now wants to deflect the responsibility by firing SAC chief Napeñas.  Again, that would not be easy.  For  PNoy now to come out with a moronic idea of demanding the names those  involved in the massacre would only give the MILF greater bargaining leverage, which is for us to ratify the BBL, but only to renege on their promise once they get what they wanted from our hallucinating President. 

rpkapunan@gmail.com

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