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Thursday, February 19, 2015

The public awaits the truth on Mamasapano from the President


MALACAÑANG must be desperately wishing that the Fallen44 stories, which have been hogging the headlines the past three weeks, would be pushed out of media’s front pages.

They are hoping that interest on the Mamasapano tragedy which claimed the lives of 44 of the country’s elite police officers, 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and some civilians would die down without President Aquino telling the truth about the operations that only he, suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima and relieved SAF commander Chief Supt. Getulio Napeñas know.

No way. Unfortunately for Malacañang the issue has evolved into something sinister: coup d’etat.

How Malacañang handled the crisis is a perfect study in “How not to manage a crisis.”

At first they thought that if the President didn’t say anything about it, the story would just die down in a few days. His silence, not even a condemnation, was deafening, it became the story.

The story had become so big that his speech on the fourth day of the debacle added more fuel to the public anger.

The worst was his absence in the arrival of the remains of the Fallen 44 at Villamor Air Base. He preferred to be at the launching of the Mitsubishi Motors plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. From there, it was downhill.

Aquino, which is seldom seen and heard these days, is said to be depressed, sources said.

He should be. A source said an internal survey by the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay showed him reversing dramatically the spiraling of his approval ratings the past two weeks. Without doing anything, Binay gained a 15 percent increase of his approval ratings, the source said.

Not that Malacañang didn’t try diverting the issue from the Fallen44. They tried hyping up the Panatag (Scarborough) shoal incident where Chinese vessels which have been there since May 2012 shooed away Filipino fishermen.

It was not sustained, however, despite diplomatic protest by the Department of Foreign Affairs because this story has become commonplace. None of the fishermen were hurt which reports on the Fallen44 shout “overkill.”

Now we have stories about a coup against Aquino.

Everybody says it won’t succeed. So, it should be good only for a few days.

When the Senate hearing resumes, the public won’t settle with questions “Why didn’t you tell the President?” and the officials acting stupid thinking that the people would buy their answers like Interior Secretary Mar Roxas saying “I didn’t think it was important” or Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin saying,” It was a police matter.”

The public wants to know what Purisima could not say in open hearing. Why did he have to ask the permission of the President to answer the question of what time did he inform him about the Mamasapano debacle?

Aquino has professed adherence to what is true. Last year, at the height of the Senate probe on alleged overprice of the Makati City Hall Building2 and unexplained wealth of Binay, he said “At the end of the day the truth will set us all free.”

The public is waiting for him to do what he preaches.

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