Saturday, March 14, 2015


Every knowledgeable source I checked had only good words for Getulio Napenas, the sacked SAF commander and now obviously the escape goat for a presidency quickly running out of persons to blame for its lengthening list of failings.
The man is certainly held in very high esteem by his men. These are not ordinary men. The men and women of the SAF are the best there are. It takes a fine officer to exercise command over such a fine bunch.
The SAF, after all, is the most distinguished branch of the PNP. The men and women who compose this unit of police commandos went through tight screening and intense training. Mediocrity is unacceptable in this service. Professionalism enjoys highest premium.
Napenas’ biodata is exemplary, to say the least.
Raised by ordinary folk in La Union province, Napenas made it through the tough admissions process at the Philippine Military Academy. The stringent academic and military training program at one of our country’s premier institutions where excellence is as important as honor prepares one for the responsibilities of command like no other.
After the PMA, Napenas acquired two master’s degrees. The second degree was for strategic management at a respected institution in the UK.
Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Napenas’ educational attainment clearly overshadows that of one Benigno Simeon Aquino.
Early in his career as an officer, Napenas joined the Special Action Force of what was then the Philippine Constabulary. Joining the commando unit, with all the rigorous training and dangerous missions this unit undertakes, requires very high professional motivation. This is certainly not a unit for slackers.
In addition, he served on several UN missions and assumed important duties in the PNP hierarchy, including several stints in Mindanao. By the sheer force of professional achievement, he rose to two-star rank. Not bad for a commando.
If circumstances were more benign, Napenas might have become a serious contender for the top post at the PNP. He had the credentials and the service record.
Napenas’ career record certainly eclipses that of one Benigno Simeon Aquino, who served three terms at the House of Representatives and half-a-term at the Senate without any mentionable legislative achievement.
Yet, all the comparisons notwithstanding, it was Aquino who found the gall to describe Napenas as unprofessional, to characterize him basically as an idiot who did not know what he is doing. Aquino was totally unrestrained when he went after Napenas last Monday as he tried (rather vainly) to tar and feather an officer widely respected by his own colleagues.
The whole effort was clearly intended to build the narrative Aquino prefers: that he was tricked into allowing Oplan Exodus to proceed by an officer whose expertise was in flattery and not in battle. The blame just had to be passed. This we know from constant repetition is Aquino’s (mis)understanding of leadership.
 Unfortunately for Aquino, the only person available for passing the blame to happens to be an officer with a sterling record.  While Napenas is well regarded by his peers for his accomplishment, Aquino has been widely derided for incompetence.
This is not an instance of the pot calling the kettle black. This is an event where the clown calls the savant an idiot. A tough sell.
 In trying to sully Napenas’ reputation to achieve his own despicable goal of evading responsibility, Aquino has transformed this game into a clash of service records. In such a clash, the voluble President is dwarf and the quiet police officer a giant.
The odds become even more uneven as this becomes a comparison of gentlemanliness.
Gen. Napenas was instructed to keep his peace until after the Board of Inquiry releases its findings. With great self-restraint, he has abided by those instructions. Here, after all, is a man trained in discipline.
From January 25, Napenas has submitted to the processes like a true officer and gentleman. He submitted to being interviewed by the Board and surrendered his phone for forensic examination. By contrast, neither Aquino nor his best friend Alan Purisima fully cooperated with the inquiry.
Aquino, for his part, pulled that stunt of crudely smearing Napenas just as the Board of Inquiry was about to release its report. It was clear he wanted to steer the report to his version of the universe. It did seem he was not only pulling rank and smearing Napenas. He was bullying the Board of Inquiry itself.
When the Board delayed release of its findings, the public became even more suspicious. People think the report is now being massaged to cohere with Aquino’s strange narrative. If that is confirmed by a flimsy report, the credibility of the PNP as an institution will be severely damaged.
On the other hand, if the report due to be released today contradicts the narrative Aquino has been peddling by his lonesome, then the President will suffer a blow to his credibility that he cannot cure given the short time he has left in office. Aquino has spoken out of turn and offered the public a brazenly self-serving version of events. He has made himself even more vulnerable to public repudiation.
Aquino has resorted to cheap name-calling to insist on his version of events. His statements change from day to day more dramatically than a kaleidoscope does. He was short-tempered and irritable dealing with grieving widows. He entrapped himself in a web of contradictions. He has set himself up as the villain in his compelling morality play.
Purisima behaved oddly as well, assiduously avoiding the widows and escaping all ceremonies of closure to this event. He, in turn, sets himself up as the devil’s assistant.
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