Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Commander-in-Chief: What Went Wrong? by Erick San Juan

"It takes two to tango.", as the saying goes. As the commander-in-chief of the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNoy showed a strange attitude during the AFP command conference last week. He reportedly faulted the officers and men of the special forces unit and put the blame on them for the death of several soldiers involved in the operation against criminal elements at Al Barka in Basilan. The legitimate military operation was done to serve the warrant of arrests for the group leaders who were responsible for the crimes against the people of Basilan and the beheading of our 10 marine soldiers in the past. According to Col. Alexander Macario(Task Force Basilan commander), they even cleared the entry of our military component with an MILF leader. But instead of assisting our hapless soldiers, they were killed and beheaded by these evil Abu Sayyaf's with the help of the MILF.

The MILF even arrogantly owned the responsibility for the slaughter and the wounding of our unfortunate soldiers. Instead of giving moral support to his soldiers, PNoy even scolded them in public and relieved two of it's officers, including Col. Antonio Parlade, the army spokesman. He committed for an 'all-out justice' and promised to move swiftly in fighting lawless elements. But out of the blue, he reiterated his call for the MILF to stay at the negotiating table and categorically absolved the MILF of the crime. The worst, at the Ciudad Fernandina forum at Club Filipino, retired Commodore Rex Robles commented that he was shocked when he heard PNoy saying that 'he will protect the areas that we control'. Robles added that the way the president speak is difficult to comprehend. "He seems to have given the MILF some of our territories." Robles concluded.

Some of PNoy's supporters are now his critics. Others said that the president has been breaking protocols and seems to be following the orders of his real 'boss'. Legal experts said that he's committing treasonous acts, firstly, when he met with the MILF leaders headed by Al Hajj Murad in Narita, Japan and today, wednesday, Malacanang admitted that his peace adviser, Marvic Leonen even gave the MILF P5 million pesos for the BMLMI (Bangsa Moro Leadership and Management Institute). The amount allegedly came from the presidential social fund. Sec. Ging Deles in another interview said that the BMLMI was created during the time of President Gloria Arroyo. Leonen even described the Al Barka incident as an 'isolated case'. Pundits said that it seems impossible to believe that the MILF leaders were 'soft touched' by P5 million pesos. "How cheap for a group claiming control of a big portion of Minsupala.", a coffee shop wag at the Hotel Intercon commented.

Where are PNoy's trusted lieutenants who should give him precious counselling during this time of crisis? Is the DILG code not enough to be implemented by barangay officials, the mayors, the governors who should oversee that law enforcement and it's implementation as part of the local governance and responsibility? How can the local government negotiate in a position of strength if they themselves are in cahoots or they could be possibly the puppet masters of these bandits? What happened to the humint (human intelligence) operation of the barangay tanods? Even Congressman Mujib Hataman of Basilan rightfully commented that the issue here is a correct governance.

The citizenry had seen the difference between PNoy and former President Joseph Estrada. Estrada during his watch ordered the Armed Forces to over run the MILF camps. It became successful because of the secret help of the US drones that simultaneously attacked the two main MILF camps namely Abu Bakr and Raja Muda and its 44 satellite camps. Without the knowledge of Estrada, our troops headed by Gens. Camiling and TP Salazar(now Nica chief) backed by artillery barrages and air strikes were assisted by the US drones.

When the late Defense secretary Angelo Reyes arrived from his 'consultation' from Washington DC during Erap's time, I was invited by then Defense undersecretary Mel Rosales to have breakfast with Reyes at the Camp Aguinaldo's officers clubhouse. Reyes told us that Pentagon wanted to neutralize the terrorists in Mindanao especially the Abu Sayyaf and the MILF. The US Department of Defense was allegedly worried about the MILF because of a nearby state supporting its cause. Secretary Reyes was astonished when he was told that if our government will not do it, they will move on their own. Reyes reported the briefing to Pres. Estrada and the president despite our meager resources, capability and ammunitions commanded Reyes to overrun the MILF. The rest was history.

What went wrong? Why is the US government now supporting the MILF? Is the war on terror being propagated by the US government plain hypocricy and double talk? This is a big joke and unbelievable. Reality check will affirm that the US government will definitely protect it's interests in the region and the weak leadership and mediocrity of our officials gave the foreign powers the impression that we dont have the capacity to manage the nation.

"Kano ang boss ko!"

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