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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Unfathomable stupidity


By Rod Kapunan
There is no doubt our enemies seeking to divide this nation are laughing at our leaders’ unfathomable stupidity.  There is a saying that “when one uses the wrong foot to take the first step, everything will go wrong.”  That is now telling of the kind of leadership we have.  The blunders committed by the President down to our panel tasked to negotiate peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are giving life to what we are saying.  Our enemies are laughing to their hearts’ delight, for instead of us being galvanized by the treacherous ambush that killed 44 of our elite policemen, that sad episode has exacerbated the finger pointing on who is to blame.
Instead of us focusing on what to do in the wake of the aftermath, the nation has become more deeply divided with each coming out with his stupid interpretation about the incident such that Malaysia and its client, MILF, are now reaping the windfall of our debacle.  Our stupidity is hopeless as when we concurred with the  spokesman of the MILF, Mohaqher Iqbal,  that we should have coordinated with them to get Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, and his Filipino henchman Abdul Basit Usman as if they would not exploit our request to  give time to allow the “high value target” to leave the area.  Yet, for that simple failure on our part to “coordinate” we are now being blamed for what happened. 
The unfortunate thing is our politicians want to put up a show that will focus on our failure to coordinate, thereby justifying the blaming those officers involved in the operation, and not in getting those criminals who exhibited their ferocious savagery in desecrating the bodies of our fallen policemen all in the name of giving the “Bangsamoro Basic Law” a chance.  As one would ask, what is the use in creating a Board of Inquiry when its objective is to pin the blame on those they want sacrificed, in sanitizing the President from responsibility, but not in identifying those involved so they may be brought to justice?   In fact, none of those pathetic politicians entertained the thought of using the Board of Inquiry as litmus test to the proposed BBL by demanding the surrender of those criminals.    
As if our humiliation is not enough, the latest report is that two erstwhile rebels who turned traitors against their comrades are the ones going to get the huge bounty of $5 million offered by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.  It is reported that they were given uniforms to join the operation for them to pinpoint the prized target.  If true, then all that talks of “failing to coordinate” with the MILF means that the blame should be on us for leading our men to their death trap.    
Instead of talking of coordination, the MILF leadership and its broker, Malaysia, should have offered their surrender to the Philippine authorities as gesture of sincerity while the two panels were still negotiating.   Conversely, if our panel, headed by (now Supreme Court Justice) Marvic Leonen, and Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Martin Luis Gascon, and the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Teresita Quintos-Deles were also informed of the whereabouts of Marwan, their duty was to demand from their counterpart the surrender of  Marwan.  The problem is that most of our panel members were plucked from various NGOs believed to be funded by foreign intelligence services, and that has put much doubt on their credibility whether they are truly working for our national interest.  
What made us most ridiculous is that our panel went to Kuala Lumpur to sign the so-called decommissioning of arms while the country was still mourning the dearth of our 44 policemen without them analyzing that decommissioning is to simply retire or to take out of active service their arms, but not necessarily to surrender them to the government.  Most specifically, decommissioning refers to men in active service, and not to weapons.  Our panel failed to analyze the difference; all because these hypocrites wanted peace even if that would be at our expense.      
The same question should be asked whether the MILF would have surrendered the two terrorists had our panel demanded their surrender.  Many doubt whether the MILF would comply.  In fact, that could have improved their image had they volunteered to surrender the two.  But as it is, the MILF is now on the upper hand of the propaganda, and the issue of US involvement deeply buried by such unimportant issues intended to mislead our people. 
As if to amplify our stupidity, PNoy and the chief of the Philippine National Police, Alan Purisima, seen as nothing more than a henchman of the President, has elevated the secret operation to bag terrorist Marwan and Usman on the basis of the reward as the top priority, and not because that they were considered threats to our national security.  That means the botched arrest happened because we were more interested in the reward than in securing the safety of our men. 
As said, our panel should not have entered into negotiations with the MILF considering that there exist other armed groups vying for recognition, like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) of Kumander Kato.   That alone should have forewarned us of the grave danger should we sign an agreement only to be repudiated by other groups.  Thus, despite the fact that the MILF and the BIFF groups were encamped in the same area, and their armed fighters mingling and reinforcing each other during operations, the buck-passing of responsibility is now evident by their demand that we ratify the BBL.     
But, whether or not there was a chain of command that was broken, PNoy ought to know that as Commander-in-Chief, responsibility remains in him.  In fact, that misplaced argument of Ramos is now being used by PNoy to pin down some officers to the delight of the MILF rebels.   Rather, PNoy should take full responsibility and use what happened as an  opportunity to rally the patriotism of our people; that the 44 men did not die in vain.
Lest we forget, those who died cannot be considered casualties of war.  Their killings happened while the peace agreement subsists, and were out there not to attack the rebel positions.  Their assignment was to secure the arrest of wanted terrorists.    The SAF units need no coordination from the MILF, much that the BBL has yet to be ratified by our people to justify their claim of the area as their territory separate from the Republic of the Philippines. 
Moreover, the SAF unit was ambushed in the same area occupied both by the MILF and BIFF forces, and for which the firefight saw them greatly outnumbered.  Taking these into account, the prosecution of those involved in the ambush should be the foremost concern of PNoy and not in seeking peace or in asking the return of the arms and the personal belongings taken from our fallen policemen.  

rpkapunan@gmail.com

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