Friday, February 27, 2015

No justice, no accountability

By Emil Jurado
It’s exactly one month today when 44 police commandos were slaughtered at Mamasapano, Maguindanao by a combined force of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and armed Moro villagers. And after a month, we are not nearer the truth. Justice and accountability seem so remote.
What can you expect from a President who refuses to accept responsibility? What can you also expect from from the MILF which insists that the clash was a misencounter?
The MILF insist that the police commandos did not ask the Moro rebels permission to enter its “territory”.
It was a matter of self-defense on our part, the Moro rebels keep on saying. Santa Banana, that’s baloney! The MILF had been coddling Marwan and Usman for years!
So how in the world can the grieving wives and relatives seek justice when the perpetrators of the slaughter refuse to accept responsibility and blame?
And how can the nation, in pain and anguish over the Fallen 44, expect justice from a President who refuses to accept accountability as the head of the nation? From Day One, he was aware of so-called Oplan Exodus.
All along, President Aquino had his former bodyguard, suspended and resigned police chief Alan Purisima, on top of the operation.
We have no less than eight investigations going on the same time to find the truth and seek justice and accountability, but at the rate they are going, we may never find out the truth.
There’s the PNP Board of Inquiry. But, my gulay, will the President ever be held accountable since the PNP is under him? He broke the chain of command.
There are also the Senate and the House of Representatives conducting investigations. The latter has since suspended hearing because it was getting to be a circus. The Senate on the other hand, has found out that there was no coordination at all between the police commandos and the armed forces that was stationed not far away despite frantic calls from the SAF who were being slaughtered.
My gulay, and to think that the firefight lasted 10 hours! That means that the Armed Forces is to blame for the slaughter when it could have been minimized.
Santa Banana, even the President was found to be misinformed when Purisima, who was at his mansion in Nueva Ecija at that time and resting, texted the President that artillery and mechanized reinforcement had already been sent to Mamasapano. My gulay, that’s unforgivable. And where in the would you find police commandos and armed forces relying on mere text messages? How Jurassic can we be?
With President Aquino so insensitive, scolding the widows who were only seeking justice, we should not expect too much.
No wonder civil society, the clergy, academicians, students and even the President’s uncle, Peping Cojuangco and aunt-in-law Tingting Cojuangco are getting restive. While all these may not amount to a coup, this should prompt Mr. Aquino to think and reflect -- that is, if he is even capable of doing so.
The big question now is: What will the MILF, which considers itself still a “revolutionary organization” until the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, do if the Bangsamoro Basic Law, is not enacted into law before President Aquino steps down?
MILF negotiator Mohagher Iqbal answered the question when he said “we are ready for it,” meaning that the Moro rebels will continue to be at war with government. In fact, the MILF has been preparing for war with its continued recruitment and training of its 10,000 fully-armed rebels. My gulay, the MILF even has its own factory of high-powered firearms, although reports say that Malaysia keeps on shipping arms to the MILF through Sabah.
This just shows you the duplicity of the MILF. While talking peace with the government, they are in fact gearing for war.
What I am worried about, however, is that government peace negotiators like Miriam Coronel Ferrer and Teresita Deles have become MILF spokesperson to the extent of coming out with statements that they are willing to compromise with the MILF just to have the BBL enacted by Congress.
The bottom line here is sincerity and trust. Can we still trust the Moro rebels that slaughtered 44 police commandos who were simply sent on a mission to serve arrest warrants on two terrorists?
So, what will government do if the BBL is not enacted? Analysts say that it must exert all efforts to have all stakeholders, not only the MILF, enter a peace agreement. It was a mistake for President Aquino in the first place to talk only with the MILF when there are so many other stakeholders that are crying out for peace.
This may take some time, but it’s worth all the effort. We have seen how untrustworthy the MILF has become.
While the nation’s focus is on the pursuit of  justice and accountability for the Fallen 44, let us not be diverted from other critical problems which are mounting.
There’s far instance, the report of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency that of the 1,706 barangays in Metro Manila, just over 130 may now be considered drug-free.
About 92 percent of the villages in the National Capital Region are “drug-affected” or found to have drug-users, manufacturers, peddlers or “cultivators” in their areas. Metro Manila remains the worst among the regions, followed by Calabarzon where 33.78 percent of the barangays were declared drug-affected. But, nationwide, only 20.51 percent of the country’s 42,065 barangays is considered significantly affected by the drug menace. The drug of choice or the most used narcotic remains to be shabu and marijuana, which are still considered affordable.
I am alarmed at this. Aren’t you?

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