Skewering Puno

The scheduled article will be delayed one day to bring in this perspective before the esteemed Senate starts mucking around in things.

Wow, what a dust up over ex-Under Secretary Puno, eh? The flurry of news articles and commentary has been astounding, motivated in large part by the passion for Jesse Robredo and the sense that someone has been messing with his legacy.
As rumors and reports and accusations were flying about, I happened to read a transcript of the “60 Minutes” interview with the Navy Seal who has written a book (“No Easy Day”) about the Osama bin Laden raid and killing. The author described the organized chaos of the raid that emerged after one of the two US assault helicopters crashed into the bin Laden compound.
The original plan had to be abandoned on the fly. The Seal described it as akin to a pick-up basketball game where people read what others are doing and react. They had rehearsed as many as 100 times for the raid, using different scenarios. But the episode was fast, unpredictable, and furious as they crashed in and through the house, shooting first and asking questions later. A lot of time was spent trying to figure out if the one dead guy was indeed bin Laden because his beard was not grey and he looked fairly young. Then they had only 10 minutes to grab all the material in the house, computer files, written documents, bin Laden in a body bag, and scram to the pick-up helicopters.
They told the demolition guy to start laying charges. He started putting them all around the house.
“Not the house! The helicopter!!”
Oops. So the demolition guy stopped work on the house mighty quick and set charges to blow up the crashed helicopter, which had a lot of top-secret gear aboard.
They blew up the crashed machine, got aboard the pick-up choppers and headed for the safety of the Afghan boarder, taking off 10 minutes later than planned. That 10 minutes meant the surviving attack helicopter did not have enough fuel  to make it out, so it had to stop in a remote area to get fuel transferred from another chopper.
Man, that book is flying off the shelves, and will for some time.
But what is my point here?
My point is that those in the media, and those who read the media, don’t deal with the unexpected very well. They jump to conclusions. Run at the mouth. Run wild-eyed speculation as news headlines. Start rendering people guilty. It is a pickup basketball game and everyone is fouling like hell. Jungle rules, as we called it out in the streets. It is disorganized chaos, not organized chaos.
In the Puno case, President Aquino has been called out and criticized. On hearsay and rumor and circumstantial information and words taken out of context. And Puno himself, of course.
No mercy.
The facts are starkly clear if you believe what was printed. Puno raided the Robredo condo to get rid of information that would prove he benefitted from a gun purchase contract and so the President fired him.
Well, excuse me if I think that is all a little premature.
I think it is a little unreasonable to declare guilt before trial. No. No. A lot unreasonable.
The Robredo crash created a chaotic situation. And the media ran about much like extremist Muslims after hearing about a movie some fool made that was blasphemous.
The President was not in his office with his staff surrounding him when the flare-up blew up. He was in the field, where he needed to be. Looking for Robredo. Which, incidentally, is going to be the title I hang on the next presidential election campaign, because that is what the nation should do. Look for someone with the values of Robredo, and his dedication to good work.
  • “Looking for Robredo”, campaign 2016.
But I digress. The president was moving left and the media mob was moving right. And backward and forward and zig-zagging. It was a very sloppy pick-up game. One horridly botched military attack.
Here is a collection of headlines I’ve pulled together, a glimpse of the chaotic shouting that went on:
  • Lockdown or raid? Puno, police visit to Robredo condo raises questions, TV-5 Online, 9/7
  • Puno tried to search Robredo condo, office , Philstar, 9/8
  • Robredo opened probe into Puno’s P600-M ammo project, Inquirer, 9/9
  • Aquino asks PNP chief to replace Puno, Inquirer, 9/9
  • Lawmakers to put Puno in hot seat on gun deal and ‘visit’ to Robredo condo, GMA News, 9/10
  • Events contradict Aquino claim on Puno, Rappler, 9/10
  • Enrile defends Puno on Robredo office lockdown, Inquirer, 9/11
  • Rico Puno resigns, Philstar 9/11
  • Aquino eyes ‘nice, quiet’ job for Puno, Inquirer, 9/12
  • Bishops urge Aquino not to give Rico Puno another gov’t post, Inquirer, 9/12
  • Puno did nothing wrong – Aquino, Manila Times, 9/13
  • PNP Chief Staying, Won’t Replace Puno, Rappler, 9/13
  • ‘Puno not yet off the hook’ Philstar, 9/13
  • Puno: Too hot to handle, Inquirer 9/13
How many of those headlines are factual, and how many are sensational? For those that were factual, how many were prejudicial? Out of context?

How many twitter-style readers took the headlines as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
  • Puno raided Robredo’s condo
  • Puno was being investigated by Robredo
  • Puno was on the way out with the PNP Chief tapped to replace him
  • Puno will be investigated by the Senate
  • Puno should not be given another government job
  • Puno is too hot to handle
Talk about a guy lynched before trial.
Big stories on partial pieces of information.
News reporting in the chaos of battle.
Editors breathing heavy.
A Senate panel yanked together in three days and to Hell with the RH Bill and women’s health.
These Senate clowns are also magicians. They got Sotto to disappear.
What in the Hell is a Senate panel doing mucking about in this? Senator Santiago has lost it, caught up in the emotion, the sensationalism, the glory of the moment. Man, if she wants the Ombudsman’s job, just apply for it. Don’t put the nation on hold because the headlines were juicy.
The only thing we are missing in this outta control mob scene is Nicole.
51 Responses to “Skewering Puno”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Who's Nicole, sorry? Re that bestseller heard Pentagon's bringing a case against the author for a breach on disclosing top secret ops. Pinoys act like the mob sometimes. Instigated by political operators. Helped by sensationalist media. Worked to a frenzy by bloggers like me…DocB

  2. Nicole is the drunken Filipina who had a rough night with a drunken American soldier who had a rough few years being skewered by Philippine media. It ended when Nicole changed her story and went to the U.S. This was, oh, 2006 or so.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The media frenzy over Puno has saved the arse of Sotto!

  4. Yes indeed. The media are very centered on "the Now". Not concerned with the past, which is past, or the future, which has not yet arrived. Spiritually healthy all the way.Or they are a bunch of reactive sensationalists abandoning any pretense of journalistic ethics.You decide.

  5. Anonymous says:

    From Island Jim-e (aka: The Cricket)RE: GOOD….. MORNING….PHILIPPINES!1. Does anyone remember the good old daze of "Taxi-dancers" and how it might apply to ourwonderful "daze of our lives" PH-soap operas?2. Can anyone compare, contrast, define anddescribe the "PH-KINGDOME"? It seems to me that we (the sheep) are chased-PUSHED-around by thesheepdogs (media) while the WOLVES ARE AT THEDOOR!3. Did you know that a group of baboons are called a "CONGRESS"?4. John Adams said somethin like: In my yearsI have come to a conclusion that one uselessman/person is a shame, two become a law firm,and three or more is a CONGRESS!"5. I hope that enough civilians will WAKE UPin time to vote out the trash and vote in thequalified before it is too late! I would love to see the island talk shows and news/documentary people become positive factorsto educate and inform the people that need toget out and vote!chirp!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Joe for that Nicole tidbit. I think that was a low blow for Nicole. Poor girl. Pinoy media operate on casual cruelty for the poor and schadenfreude for the rich. Rappler may be an anomaly. Pnoy's comm group or maybe Pnoy himself being candid, does not help matters. In short, Pinoys love to skewer the high and mighty. Sotto, Puno. Next…DocB

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anon, Puno saves Sotto. News cycle. Amnesia.

  8. John Adams. What a bunch of smart people we had as the early leaders in America. Where have they gone? The U.S. Congress behaves as baboons, too.People need to get out and vote. And vote smart. Not for popular stars or local kings.

  9. Yes, I retract the remark. I didn't mean her, personally, but her the symbol for wild-eyed journalism. She took as bad a beating as Private Smith. Two wayward ordinary small people became the lightning rods for a nation.I fear Sotto earned his skewering and I hope he gets put back on the barbecue stick as soon as Ms. Santiago stops her strut.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I'm surprised no one tried to link Sotto behind this ongoingcontroversy, after all he benefited tremendously.

  11. I think it is still there, waiting for this to die down. Every time he steps to the microphone, red flags will go up.

  12. chohalili says:

    Why do I have the feeling that Pnoy is covering up Puno? by saying yes I sent him to Robredos but to office only. And why don't I believe he was advised by De Lima to do so? very elementary indeed.

  13. chohalili says:

    Ever wonder about Osama Bin ladens death? why we never get proof, was it really him or was it the right date? maybe he was already dead before…lol too many maybes..whos accountable if we want proof? can Barak give us proof? yes the DNA but I want pictures like the pictures of 2 sons of Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi.

  14. Anonymous says:

    "Talk about a guy lynched before trial."Ah, but another guy also comes to mind. Corona.Daniel Smith, too. I took their side.It's fun when the mob is with you. When it turns against you, you understand.ricelander

  15. Ah, my. True to an extent. So far all I've read about Puno was denial that he has done anything wrong regarding the arms purchase. All the other "facts" originated elsewhere and are blurry and conflicting.Corona was laying out a track record of behavior unbecoming a Chief Justice from the day he accepted the Arroyo midnight appointment. The trial was only a technical way to move the Philippines forward, at least in the eyes of the President, the prosecutors, most of the public, and a certain occasionally hypocritical blogger.But you are right. Righteousness is determined in large part by whose ox is gored. Score a half point for ricelander.

  16. I shared the feelings, but now think I was influenced by headlines. A "lockdown" does not require entering a premise, and Puno did not enter. And if he indeed behaved improperly regarding the arms sale, I'd think the evidence (copies of correspondence) is not solely with Mr. Robredo. It would have been stupid to take anything from the condo.I don't think it is a Pnoy cover-up; a cover-up would be equally stupid. Pnoy essentially asked the guy to resign back in July as I understand it.

  17. Bin Laden was shot in the face, and four times in the chest to expedite getting him out. The decision not to release inflammatory photos seems wise considering the irrational volatility we are now seeing in the Middle East (Egypt, Libya, Yemen). Better that skeptics would doubt. I am 100% sure you will see no more Bin Laden video tapes.

  18. Meanwhile the RH Bill, the Freedom of Information Bill, and the Sin Tax Bill are all in limbo.

  19. And Senator Sotto is cooling his heels in a hammock sipping wine with his robed backers. Smiling broadly.

  20. Mu unsolicited advice to a couple of friends, one who works in the Palace, the other who writes a popular column, was to suggest to the president to turn over all the files to the Ombudsman and be done with it. There is no way that the Palace can investigate cabinet members and those close to the president without questions being raised about the process. So give it to the Ombudsman. She's the equivalent of a the US special prosecutor. Unfortunately, they thought I am nuts.

  21. I was reading your note saying "Yes! Yes". Then I got to the last line and it turned to "oh, shit!". I think the President is a little tone deaf about how the public perceives his relationships with those close to him. Suspicious.

  22. I am frankly exhausted with the news regarding Puno and to a certain extent the late Sec. Robredo. The media is just muddying the waters and I cannot decide who to believe anymore. The bruhaha that surrounds Puno and his actions may or may not be legal but until the investigation produces evidences on whether he was guilty or not I am keeping neutral. So many forces surround the "raid" like vultures sweeping for the kill. Regarding the actions of PNoy I cannot second guess on what he thought was right bu until proven otherwise that he is covering up one of his "friends" then he still has my cautious trust. i mean we have to trust somebody in the government and losing our trusts completely might derail the anti-corruption drive by the administration.

  23. all the more reason why it should be the ombudsman on top of all this shit.

  24. Hey Joe out of topic but I am quite curious and you are the best to ask this question since you were a banker, Regarding the US Federal Reserve, where does the profit/income they generate after a fiscal year goes to? Does it reflect back to the Federal budget, kept by the Federal Reserve entirely or are divided according to the composition of the Federal Reserve? Thanks for answering my inquiry.

  25. Well if they want they can have separate investigations, by the DOJ and the Ombudsman. Anyway if the Ombudsman discovers any irregularity that office is still responsible for prosecuting official(s) who erred. I just hope that no one will use the opportunity to throw senseless and idiotic ideas of impeachment for PNoy since IMHO his error is in the unconditional trust and loyalty he gave to his friend. However any evidences of cover up is another story so I guess it is best if we all observe what will happen in the later days.

  26. That's an interesting question. The Fed is unique and I've never studied how their assets are structured, or their income statement. My guess is you might be able to get this by prowling on the Fed's web site. It ought to be pretty comprehensive. My engagement was with a domestic commercial bank, working in marketing, planning and special projects, so I am not a technical banker.

  27. I'm glad you said that, Dave. I share your exhaustion regarding Puno and Robredo and all the emotionalism. I don't mind kicking Sotto and Santiago around though. ha I'm watching the China/Japan face off with considerable interest. And of course the riots in the Middle East. Oh, and watching Obama get re-elected as Mitt keeps opening mouth and inserting foot. I think Obama will pulverize Romney in the debates. Loose and intelligent and knowledgeable vs stiff and structured and citing general platitudes.

  28. jcc34 says:

    If you ask me Joe, the constitutional presumption of innocence should be reversed if a public official is involved. This will make them more transparent….On the other hand, this mirrors the degree of skepticism and mistrust the public have on their officials… You do not have to prove to convince the public that most of of them are crooks.. They already believe that they are crooks even without evidence. The yardstick for judicial officers that they be 'above suspicion' must apply to every public bereaucrat.

  29. Now that's an interesting perspective. I don't go along with it, as it would throw government into turmoil and subject people to charges of malfeasance for political gain. I do think, however, that that is essentially the PUBLIC's attitude now. If there is any inkling of suspicion, it must mean there are bad deeds behind it. Social media are increasing the pressure of this view, as Senator Sotto found out.The Robredo tragedy just has too much emotion attached to it right now, amplifying things. That rolls over onto Puno and even President Aquino. I've retracted to a calm meditation.

  30. JoeAm;I had a teacher back when I was a student in the Ateneo, who really liked Charlie Brown's "How can we be wrong when we are so sincere?" Those times where the Marcos' years. So I could not really relate to the quote. Honesty and commitment were clearly more important than competence. Now that I am older, I could see what happens when we focus so much on honesty. Every instance that something may not be good, our instinct says it is about corruption when there is also incompetence which can likewise lead to bad results. And now I understand why I get criticized when I write against the education policies of the Philippine government. They say that I am ignoring the fact that there are honest people with good intentions working to reform education. I think, as a people, we have equated incorrect with evil. Things can go wrong without bad intentions. Things can go wrong with incompetence. People do not have to be dishonest to make mistakes.

  31. Anonymous says:

    To Angel,Are you saying there is no malice when errors involve incompetence? That a bumbling idiot deserves pity rather than derision?

  32. Yeah the international scene is much more exciting than the so-called "puno-gate" for the reasons that the media instead of being as objective as possible, they unnecessarily (more like something's fishy) influence and inflame the scattered facts allegedly given by "reliable and anonymous" sources. Even Raissa herself is confused as to what is the real story despite interviewing directly people (except Puno) surrounding the issue (or non-issue IMHO).The problem is that the people and media are concentrating on the botched "raid" and although morally Puno might have erred because of his failure to inform Leni that they have orders (from the President) to secure the papers of Robredo, the media quickly blamed or crucified Puno (whether he is a crook or not) that he was there to steal papers. I mean DAFUQ? We might not know on whether Puno was overzealous in his orders and I do not think Puno is that stupid to steal the papers and forge/destroy them since atleast another copy is sitting elsewhere and the shadow of doubt will rest heavily on him since CCTV's abound in a Condominium.Finally Mitt is an official idiot, I think Bush Jr. is smarter and much more clever than him (God how I puke with my statement), I hope enough democrats and sane republicans can win the US congress and finally discredit the so-called "3rd party" (Tea Party). The US should finally put its shit together and if these same tea-party'ers have moral backbone on welfare and fiscal responsibility, then no matter who wins in this coming election, they should propose on the complete abolition of all type of welfare in the US (Hello agricultural and big oil subsidies).

  33. Thanks for answering my question, I am merely curious since the Fed is willing on another round(s) of QE with their recent announcement of an open-ended purchasing of $40billion worth of bonds every month to spur the economy and bring down the stubborn unemployment rate. I am quite fearful that the Fed is feeding another bubble akin to the 2007-2008 financial crisis.Well I gotta research what the Fed does with the income it derives for knowledge, I might use it someday in a quiz show he he he 😀

  34. No, that is not what I am saying. There is nothing wrong with people being fired for incompetence.

  35. Yes, you are a real troublemaker, I'm sure. Goodness of heart is best in church, but in the workplace competence is king. Mistakes are natural, I suppose, and there ought to be room for a few of them in the workplace. But incompetence is the longer term trend, and ought not be permitted. It can be dealt with through training and counseling, or changing people. Keep on criticizing. I rather think that to be complacent is to assure incompetence because incompetence is easy.

  36. It's the Philippine Media's fault. And the primary fault is the Philippine government's dal-dal bureaucracy. And the 2ndary fault is the Filipino's cultural love for gossips and suggestive innuendoes. And the 3rd fault is these college graduate unemployable, underemployed and unemployed loves Philippine media's propensity of entertaining the public thru misinformation.PHILIPIPNE MEDIA IS THE REFLECTION OF THE BRILLIANCE OF THE FILIPOINOS.

  37. Joe, that you mentioned Abbotabad, there are so many missing pieces in U.S. government stories that I cannot swallow.In past news report a Pakistani heard the blackhawks at around 1:10 a.m. Firefight lasted 30 minutes. That is 1:40a.m. total. They buried Bin Ladin's body at sea at 2:00 a.m. 20 minutes later when Abbotabad is far far north from the Indian ocean. So, therefore, those blackhawks must be superfast. If they flew that fast, it would have disintegrated in mid-air.

  38. After the genius brilliant snotty-englsichtzes-snob Philippine Media divulged the name, pictures, addresses, affidavits and occupation of Nicole, Nicole has had enough. She contacted Americans at the embassy that she'll change her story if she gets a Visa. She got her Visa within 24 hours. Which I have difficulty applying for tourist visa even I am a manager of a corporation while she is a prostitute. She doesn't have relatives there. Therefore, she's given a monthly stipend by American government. It was the idiot Philippine Media and their ringling circus that changed her mind. Goodbye Philippines and the Filipinos. Now she have a happy life in America that any Filipinos would love to trade places with her.Good job Nicole. Filipinos are not worthy dying for.

  39. Sotto must be praying sooooo hard. God acts in a very mysterious way. Sotto has to be protected by God because he is totally against RHBill.Doncha love God? Sotto must have tithe big. Tithing is ecclesiastical bribery. It is bribery. Ask any Filipinos. Whenever they have problems or sinned, they tithe and they tithe big time. What the Filipinos do not know is they are buying God's graces. Sotto should thank his God.

  40. One of the many goot things about American Media is I am educated what those framers of constitutions were thinking and who were they and why they framed the constitution the way it was written and intended.In the Philippines where I've been living here for the past 75 years, to this day, I DO NOT KNOW WHO THE FRAMERS OF PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTIONS ARE, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING, WHY THEY FRAMED THE CONSTITUTION THE WAY IT IS WRITTEN.Can anyone here tell me who the framers of Philippine constitutions at the top of their head starting right now without googling or wikieing it? TTic-toc. Tic-toc. Tic-toc. C'mon people I do not have all day…. OK. Nobody knows the answer. Thank you and many thanks to Philippine Media.

  41. See, you are as superstitious and cynical as the everyday Filipino. You know the attitude of most Americans? He's dead. I don't care what they did with him. Good riddance. They'll also run out and buy the book for all the juicy details.

  42. Nicole is never heard from again. She is given a new identiy by the American Government. Maybe, she is now MRS NICOLE SMITH. We will never know.And I really thoughting that Philippine Media has very goot investigative journalism. No, correct me. ALL PHILIPPINE INVESTIGATIONS turns into ADMISSIONS and CONFESSIONS. Either Filipnios are very HONEST PEOPLE or NBI's investigators are made of priests OR they used enhanced investigations called Tickle-me-Elmo.

  43. Yes, and why in 1987? What the hell ever happened in 1987? It is like one of those years we forget about, but it is when the Philippines finally crystallized its democratic ideals. WHO FRAMED THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION? Looks like a blog waiting to happen.

  44. This time Sotto will not speak. Robredo and Puno has given him a break thru the intercession of Filipin's God.

  45. Have you considered writing a book? "A history of the Philippines" by Mariano Renato. "No bull shit."

  46. Ahahahahahahaha, Tickle-me-Elmo. Is that like balls in a vise?

  47. @Mariano If you will take the time to read, US Special forces have access to the newest and baddest toys in the military arsenal. Per wikipedia "The Black Hawks appear to have been never-before-publicly-seen "stealth" versions of the helicopter that fly more quietly while being harder to detect on radar than conventional models due to the weight of the extra stealth equipment on the Black Hawks, cargo was "calculated to the ounce, with the weather factored in." So there you have it, they have modified versions of the Black Hawk and do not forget that the US know how the air defenses of Pakistan work since they trained them.

  48. I strongly believe that Bin Ladin died of natural causes. To bring closure to 9/11, someone must have hired a Hollywood scriptwriter and stuntmen to dramatize the killings to make it look like that Bin Ladin died in gore and made SEAL heroes to send message to all terrorist that they cannot escape.Too many missing pieces. 1. Seahawks cannot fly mach 1.0 from carrier group off Indian Ocean to north of Pakistan in Abbotabad;2. Seahawks require refueling in mid-air?;3. The 20-minute fly-by from Abbotabad to the carrier group … prep Bin Ladin's body for sea burial;4. If some Pakistani twitterer heard the Seahawks, those in the Abbotabad compound should hear it also;5. and, oh, Obama's government changed their story when I questioned the 20-minute fly Abbotabad-to-Carrier while checking DNA when it takes U.S. Child Support 2-months to check if I fathered the child of Halle Berry. According to Obama, they went to Afghanistan to ID Bin Ladin and check DNA. So, if they went from Abbotabad to Afghanistan then to Carrier Group takes longer than 20 minutes6. Why bother dump the body of Bin Ladin in the sea when they could have buried it in Afghanistan? Because some resourceful Afghanis might check on the burial site and 7-days later the body has resurrected and it was not Bin Ladin after all.7. Why ever they get Bin Ladin in a compound very very very close to Pakistani's armed Army compound and not of these Pakistanis armies heard but a INDEPENDENT Pakistani jouranlsit heard it and twittered about it. Bin Ladin is like Pol Pot. Pol Pot died of heart failure. The world was dismayed he was never brought to justice.

  49. Corona was absolutely lynched. I did not like the guy because I trust my senses. I do not like Renato Corona's face. He ha a face of a crocodile. Corona was dragged to impeachment because of his judiciary dicisions. Yet, he was impeached because of hidden account, thanks to Mr. Anonymous and Little Lady in Red Riding Hood with their surreptiously, illegally acquired photocopies of his account. This cannot happen in America where these prosecuting ding-dongs went to study. But I am glad that he is gone. Now, the Filipios will have to contend with a rubber-stamp Supreme Court JusticeS who are quaking in their high-heel shoes.As to Smith, I have a feeling he was lynched, too. So the public can know that there is such thing as "Law" in the PHilippines. And thank goodness, Nicole has had enough when the media gayly splashed her face, her name, affidavits, and her employment in the irresponsible snotty-englsichtzes-snobbery of PHilippine Media.Why would I trust Philippine Media when homeless skid row addicts has better minds than Philippine media. Take a look at Ces Drilon kidnapping news blackout. The whole PHilippine Media did not report the kidnapping becuse they were afraid the publicity0-hungry Abu Sayaf terrorist might get angry that they kidnap Ces Drilon. That was the highlight of STUPIDITY OF THE PHILIPPINE MEDIA.

  50. Mariano, I fear you are as superstitious as your Catholic Filipino brothers. Next Bin Laden will rise from the dead and be seen in a white robe on Broadway in New York converting all the Jews there to his faith and its doctrinal obsession with murdering as many innocents as possible. Here is my belief, my faith, my trust: The guy is dead. He is fish food.

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