Day 4 of the Senate Mapasapano hearings

milf sniper

MILF sniper

The 4th day of public hearings focused on the responsibility of the President in the Mamasapano fighting, the engagement of the cease fire team, the role of the US, the commitment of the MILF to Philippine law and order, and, pushed back to private hearing, the operating failures and lack of coordination between PNP and AFP. The findings outlined in the blog “Mamasapano: who was at fault and why” remain substantially accurate.

Here are bullet-point highlights from the Day 4 hearing:

  • President Aquino was not involved in the operation and was under the misconception during the day that AFP was providing needed support (infantry, mechanized, and artillery) to the PNP forces.
  • The senators were broadly supportive of an active working relationship with the US in the global fight against terrorism. DFA reported that the US had no operating role in the Mamasapano engagement. (We can presume the US provided intelligence information). The point was made that the US conducts no activities that do not have Philippine approval (ah, sweet sovereignty). Senator Santiago was not in attendance. She has historically been a critic of Philippine/US agreements and activities.
  • The cease fire team did not have any operational engagement with AFP or PNP, and did not request that artillery fire be withheld.
  • Senators expressed considerable concern about MILF’s position on not turning over people who engaged SAF, or SAF personal effects, and about whether or not they support Philippine law enforcement and due process. DOJ is continuing its work to investigate who was involved in the attack and will continue to pursue legal remedies.
  • Exploration of the failure of coordination and AFP’s engagement will be carried out behind closed doors to avoid divulging operating methods, strengths and weaknesses.

I offer up the following observations which are interpretive and not really a part of the hearings:

There are a lot of people who own President Aquino an apology for their harsh judgments based on press rumors. His role is strategic in planning, and that is the role he played in this operation. He had always assumed AFP coordination. He was diligent in confirming that AFP was providing support to SAF, and was given assurance by Chief Purisima and AFP generals that support was being made available.

It is clear that Philippine media are hysterical, negligent and largely ignorant about command processes. They published A LOT of bad information based on speculation, rumor and political manipulations. President Aquino’s trial by media reflects a severe blot on the credibility of Philippine journalism.

Senator Poe issued a subtle warning at the beginning of the meeting that the senate was aware that certain activities (I read it as coup activities) are a threat to national security and need to be dealt with.

Senator Binay irritates Senator Poe with petty interruptions. haha

The final hearing will be tomorrow, then the committee will wrap up its findings.

 

Comments
101 Responses to “Day 4 of the Senate Mapasapano hearings”
  1. Bing Garcia says:

    That is why Joe you play an important role in making aware the sorry state of Philippine media.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, I wish they’d get their sorry act together so I can spend more time at the beach.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      The Philippine Media are like Muslims. You touch one hair of Philippine Muslims and all Muslims around the world gang on on the Philippines. But on the other hand 1stWorld Professional non-University of the Philippine graduate tabloid journalists made Brian Williams pay for “miscommuinicating” his activities over at Iraq.

      The Philippine Tabloid Media is so silently non-apologetic because they do not know what to apologize about. The Tabloid Media protect their own.

      We also cannot blame the Englsichtzes-snob Tabloid Media because they have lifestyle to maintain and put food on the table by way of pitting filipinos against Filipinos.

      • macspeed says:

        @ MRP

        he he he I like your comparison with Media are like Muslims, truly indeed, the brotherhood of Islam the good one, not the fanatics such as ISIS, Al Queda and Abu Sayyaf and the killers of Fallen 44 (will be a movie part of Philippine Media culture to make money), are joining each other to counter anyone who oppose their belief not in bloodshed but in Islamic or peaceful way.

        Every media business he he he is earning via Headlines, may it be real or chizmax he he he that is Philippine media, may they be a UP graduates or not, the aim is to earn. Headlines such as “Soldiers died during Marwan Mission” will not sell compare to “Fallen 44 in Mamasapano” or “President order the Mission for the Tragic death of Soldiers”…or any worst Headlines just to sell.

    • macspeed says:

      Yes!!! Thanks to your momentum and work done, efforts equivalent to science of Journalism, I salute you Joe AM!!! Bravo….

  2. andrewlim8 says:

    #NahimasmasanKaNa

    #NasaanAngUloMo

    Those hashtags are dedicated to the headless chickens, the screaming banshees, the hysterical Harrys, who all tried to fit their preferred conclusion to the facts of this case.

    People like Ellen Tordesillas, Harry Roque, the Stuart-Santiagos, the netizens who swung from vine to vine when Mamasapano exploded.

    • Joe America says:

      Yep. Start with an agenda and manipulate everything to fit it. The Inquirer is still at it today with a lead headline screaming that Purisima advised the President of casualties. Nothing about the President being given misleading representation by generals that the SAF were receiving mechanized and artillery support. Nothing about him operating with the understanding that AFP was a part of the operation.

      It has been a trial by hysterical and irresponsible media. An ignorant media, really, that has greatly hurt the families of the SAF 44 by leading them to believe that President Aquino had something specific to do with their loss. No, he operated in good faith, for good reasons, and was let down by PNP and AFP generals. Not to mention MILF citizens.

    • stpaul says:

      Upon swinging from vine to vine, we got here. lucky us :)!

  3. Thank you for your series re your findings in the Senate Hearings…. lucky you who can watch them in real time… we, the middle class sector have to be in our offices toiling, toiling…..

    Hopefully, when the committee wrap up its findings, speculations, rumors and self-serving opinions of those claiming to be experts in military operations will die down and we could go back to other matters. This is not to belittle the sacrifices and heroism of the Gallant 44, in fact, thanks to them, Marwan was neutralized, BBL will be scrutinized in the upper and lower house of Congress, trust and proper coordination will hopefully be in place in the AFP and PNP, FOI to be enacted. Soon, the millions of benefits promised to the kins of not only the Gallant 44 but also to the previous heroes as well who were not as controversial as the them, but should by recognized as well, should be monitored and distributed.

    Hopefully, too, the President will be vindicated in his effort to cooperate in the fight against international terrorism even in the midst of a peace negotiation with our Muslim brothers and our own fight against our home grown terrorists (BIFF, MNLF, NPAs, etc.)

    This is my own feelings only – I so pity General Purisima. In the evening news, there he was, being shouted at by grandstanding senators and congressmen, and he had to request for executive session to explain because he is a professional, cautious and mindful that security matters need to be protected even at the expense of him being humiliated in front of the camera… is he convicted already of his crime? (look at Estrada who was convicted already of plunder, but there he is, allowed to be a presidential candidate in 2010 and now Manila Mayor, strutting with the Enrile, Binay, Peping and the NTC group) God hep us all…

    • as controversial as the them. = as them (or they?)… sorry

    • Joe America says:

      I feel the same way, actually. I think everyone played this in good faith, the real problem is the lack of trust between Napenas and Pangilinan, both of whom should have been relieved some months ago. Plus, the poor anticipation that MILF and BIFF commanders could put 800 fighters on scene so quickly.

      You know, you think of how many media, crooks, and political gameplayers have stepped on and enlarged the grief of the SAF 44 families to advance their personal agendas . . . it is all really quite horrible.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      I prefer reading Joe than Philippine tabloid media. Tabloid media still have a lot of rice to eat.

  4. PinoyInEurope says:

    A lot of people in the Philippines are starting to make sense now after all. After many behaved like the Seven Dwarfs when they found out Snow-White was dead. Actually I am not thinking of the Walt Disney version. I am thinking of a crazy Filipino version I watched as a kid with our lavandera and my yaya. With unanos of course – acting really panicked and corny. Inspite of that many people have realized that there is a state and a nation to be defended here.

    Secretary Lima warning those who want to cause unrest. Very low attendance during the rally led by Peping and Tingting Cojuangco. A lot of comments on the Internet suggest that very many who are critical of Aquino see through the power games of his rivals and do not want him ousted. Enough people who are OK with Aquino but deeply critical of the BBL. A few people who still go the simplistic way – Noynoy pa rin, or Noynoy out – but my impression is that a mature political discussion is emerging, and that more people are genuinely concerned for the country.

    Mamasapano was a warning sign – that the people and the state can have real enemies that mean business, so the time has come for people and state to get one’s act together instead of blaming the president. Just like in sports you cannot just change the coach in the middle of the game even if he made a mistake, because then you will definitely lose to the other side. Those who tried to use the deaths of the SAF 44 have in my opinion failed. These young men came from the common people and are a symbol of their sacrifices. They are like a wake-up call.

    • Joe America says:

      “. . . a mature political discussion is emerging . . .” I was actually impressed by the maturity demonstrated in the Senate today, without Senator Santiago’s anti-US rant (she was absent). Even Senator Sotto said something to the effect that “We work with the US on terrorism . . . so what?” Senator Cayetano underscored how important it was to not let people like Marwan operate in the Philippines, and the US provides necessary assistance to the Philippines. I was impressed, frankly.

      Yes, it is possible the tide of public opinion may change. But the Inquirer was still at it today trying to make the President complicit in some way.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        After so many nice tries, I do not take the Inquirer seriously anymore. Neither do many of the people who write in the comments section – I doubt that these people buy the paper.

        The next few weeks will be a test of how mature Philippine democracy has become. If institutions manage to hold up and if people actually respect these institutions.

        Nobody will respect a state that is not able to get its act together – this is why China, terrorists and others keep disrespecting the Philippines. Time to end that nonsense.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, for this state to get its act together it will need to regulate its puppet media because media thrive when the state is falling. I checked three media outlets (9News, Rappler, Inquirer), and, even after today’s hearing, they are all three still trying to make President Aquino the culprit in operations.

          • Joe America says:

            Puppet to political interests opposed to stability . . .

            • stpaul says:

              And one gets to wonder is a free media helping or discouraging our government in implementing reforms? Marcos had the leeway because he controlled it but sadly, he had other priorities.

              • Joe America says:

                Excellent question. I’d just offer the observation that the media contribute to a crab mentality, picking at any flaw, outside of context, and running it as the headline. Even good works get condemned in that environment.

              • stpaul says:

                I cannot reply to you Joe, no more reply button. I’ll put it here. Raissa’s blog, “Binay, the New Noli De Castro.” was posted in one fb group, people commented on it, notice that the common reply was way way off what Raissa wrote. They just read the title and that’s it.

              • Joe America says:

                @stpaul, you did the reply correctly. When threads go 7 deep, you have to go to the last remaining reply button, and it will drop the reply to the bottom of the discussion thread. The title is indeed as far as most get, I would guess. Only news junkies actually read on. Regarding Inquirer and other popular discussion threads, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being rich with understanding and 1 being an inane troll, I’d rate 80% falling between 1 and 5, another 18 % between 5 and 8, and 2% in the 9/10 range.

                Here it is much different.

          • Steve says:

            It’s difficult for the State to regulate media without being accused of censorship aimed at media outlets that are critical of the government. Even the most shameless political whores among the media shriek like violated virgins and paint themselves as crusaders at the first hint of government control. Ultimately the control lies with the readership… when people stop buying nonsense they will stop printing it. That’s a long way off, though…

            • Joe America says:

              Yes, agreed. But I think there is a two-pronged approach that can be taken. One is to start advocating for media regulation so that ethical guidelines can be put into place, and the other is to stop buying. The third, I suppose, is this blog and others. Make a lot of noise about it.

              I take to the discussion threads of the more gross violations of ethics and call out the paper. I note that a lot of other people are doing the same thing.

              So there are three approaches. (1) Regulation to impose ethics, (2) stop buying and watching, (3) criticize media.

  5. PinoyInEurope says:

    My present conclusion about Aquino – and his government, I look not only at the person on top alone but also at his ministers – is that he is the best choice for the Philippines at this moment. Similar to what Winston Churchill said about democracy – it is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried. Philippine society will find better leaders in the future if it continues to mature, because a nation always gets the leaders it deserves.

    To glorify Aquino, the whole Yellow Cult, was as much of a mistake as making him a scapegoat. Maturity is about learning that all leaders are human and imperfect, and that in real life no miracles happen. The only things that really have permanence are the results of hard work, perseverance and realism. What Noynoy could be seen as in the future is a transitional figure – from the old elite feudal system to a modern system, if the Philippines continues to develop the way I think it is developing. The old guard hate him, the new guard expected more from him.

    The result for the Philippines and for the people is what matters in the end – not Presidents.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m not sure there was much of a yellow cult as much as people believed he had his mother’s good intentions (he does), and they stuck with their belief in the face of a lot of pretty nasty criticism of the President. Every politician has its zealots I’d imagine, and there is a reason President Aquino has a large base of loyalists.

      That said, I wish he’d fire Abaya, or transfer him where he can’t further muck up large infrastructure developments.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        I prefer to look at results: Noynoy has delivered when it comes to economic fundamentals and that is what I look at – the Philippines has a better Moodys credit rating than Greece. But I don’t like it when people are worshipped – it is not a politically mature attitude. Idealizing any human being too much can always lead to bitter disappointment which is part of the reason why people got so emotional – because of unrealistic expectations.

  6. Bruce in Iloilo says:

    Too many people, in my estimation, assume that the MILF is one big happy united family. It is not of course. Like all guerrilla independence movements, the influence that the “central command” have over the commanders in the field is limited and is far, far short of having the ability to order a field commander around. This is especially true in places like Mindinao where family loyalties trump organizational loyalties. When talking to the MILF leadership, one must always assume that they do not speak nor have the unquestioned loyalty of for field commander or soldier. Those MILF units involved in the massacre may only be part of the MILF in name only — note the “may”.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      A lot of people pretending to be one group but in fact falling apart into separate groups all the time.. are we talking about the MILF or the Philippines? So inspite of their claims not to be Filipinos, the MILF are typically Filipino after all. Seven Dwarfs without Snow White.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you for putting that into words that I couldn’t find in whipping out this blog in short order. I wanted to characterize Iqbal’s comments, which basically, as far as I could understand, is exactly to that point. He does not have “command authority”. No one does. They can only seek to work out a general consensus and it takes time.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Why give them (MILF and all these individual groups) a chance to create disorder. The state should define what lines should not be crossed, just like they are very correctly doing towards those who wish to destabilize the state. The lesson to all should be – there is only on nation and one state and one set of rules for everybody. No exceptions because they set a bad example. The state should establish command authority.

        Even better if Iqbal is unable to, because if he has no command authority, he has no authority to represent anybody, much less define the future of the area. Perfect opportunity for the government. Give them a deadline to disarm and crush those who are still causing disorder after that deadline. Every exception to the rule that the state has a monopoly of power creates a precedent for others. Or did the LA police ever negotiate with the Bloods and the Crips? Because this is what they are for me – armed gangs.

        • Joe America says:

          “Crush” is militarily difficult because of the type of land, funding and arms of the rebels, and decentralized operating ways. A lot more bodies will be coming back in boxes. Mamasapano gave clear warning of that. Look at the photo in the blog. That is what is awaiting “intruders”, which is what indigenous moros believe government forces to be.

          I do think there will be some stiff amendments to the BBL, and it will be resurrected. Perhaps it will draw some lines.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Yes, and the next time they talk they should invite all stakeholders and not just treat Iqbal as if he represents everybody, because he obviously does not. Might make things easier – if one can get a major part of those groups to agree and then deal with what is left. In fact it would have the nice effect of effectively conserving state power in the area instead of giving it away to groups with very doubtful allegiances – which might cause more trouble.

          • Steve says:

            The MIF actually receives very little external funding, which is one reason why the center has to negotiate control over the different units. Funding flows from the ground up, not the other way around. If the central command had significant external funding, it could use that to more effectively control the field commands.

            • Joe America says:

              Ah, very interesting point. That does make it tough. But it also suggests that some units want the agreement to occur. Maybe their mothers and wives are tired of all the relentless fighting. But this incident does cause me to want changes to the agreement. Like, I don’t think additions to the Bangsamoro territory ought to be up to local voting whenever there is a petition of 10% of the approved by voters. Expansion ought to be considered every 10 years, or something on that order, through plebiscite or other method. I can envision bands of thugs going about intimidating communities into joining the Bangsamoro. Other changes, too . . . which reminds me, I need to get back to reading the BBL . . .

  7. a lot of things that the media missed, even the minor detail of asking the AFP why it withdrew its support to the previous operations as mentioned by Napenas. it remained unanswered. nobody dared from the media to ask about it.

    another thing was, they did not ask what the AFP has been doing to capture marwan despite the fact that he was under its AOR, 6th ID to be specific.

    these are little things that they missed. little things but it exposed the sincerity of the AFP in dealing terrorism.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes. It is all connected, I think. Perhaps they asked it in the Executive session, but I’m not confident. All of the generals on the AFP side were still finger pointing, even today. I don’t like it.

      • It seemed to me that they were still smarting from the fact that they were excluded from this specific oplan (the latest) so they were not that prompt in responding, knowing they can use the excuse of not being informed beforehand, thus putting the blame on Purisima and Napenas, or even the president.

        This never ending finger pointing and blaming leads to a full circle discussion. They could not accept that leaks can come from their organization, thus, the failure of previous oplans to capture / neutralize these terrorists. What is TOT anyway? Is Roxas really a teka teka (wait, wait) kind of leader?

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, that’s the way I read it, too. I was disappointed to see that even the higher ranking generals were still blaming “lack of coordination”. That misses the point, the point being: “After you found out that SAF units were in trouble, why did you not pull out all the stops to rescue them?” I mean, give me a break. Notification at 6 in the morning and firing artillery at 4 or thereabouts and in between nothing but a pile of excuses.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      What the AFP has been doing is a very good question, considering this:

      http://www.rappler.com/nation/83325-afp-milf-abu-sayyaf-basilan

      http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/441688/news/regions/afp-milf-clash-with-biff-in-pikit-north-cotabato

      Why does the AFP help the MILF – even RESCUING them in one case – two times just this February?

      And when they had to help the SAF, they did not – that is the question that actually needs to be asked.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Could it be that is the reason why Napeñas did not inform the AFP – because some of them are effectively already working together with MILF in Mindanao? Could it be that the place is completely becoming a place where alliances between armed groups – including parts of the military – shift all the time for whatever reason? MILF and BIFF shoot up PNP SAF in Mamasapano, AFP doesn’t help. AFP rescues MILF from Abu Sayyaf two weeks later in Basilan. AFP and MILF join to fight BIFF, again two weeks later. My head is starting to ache from this. Sounds almost like Lebanon in the worst period. The Senate should be looking at the entire situation and asking the really hard questions I am asking myself now.

        • Joe America says:

          I doubt if they are, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that AFP were not heroes in this incident, or helpless as they project.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Can’t shake my Filipino paranoia on this topic either, knowing how things CAN work.

            I remember a Filipino non-comm who was involved when some coup attempts happened in the 80s that the main loyalty in the Army is to one’s commander, whatever side he happens to choose. Given the typical Filipino unruliness (both within the Republic and among rebel forces) I would not be surprised if some commanders have their own deals with rebel commanders on the ground – Manila is far away and they are in the same place.

      • Adrian says:

        Or maybe it’s simpler to do so. Hostile and non-hostile forces could easily be identified? With all due respect, when malice is removed, you may know the answer to your question.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          It doesn’t make sense for the Army to help rebels, even against other rebels – and then not help their own police. Or maybe I just do not understand something. Has MILF already been declared as an official ally of the AFP, or why are these things happening?

          • Adrian says:

            It doesn’t make sense if you are trying to relate it to the Mamasapano incident.
            You are presupposing that AFP helped/rescued MIs. What if they’ve done it with their for their own benefit?

            Fostering goodwill with MILF which we are on a Peace Agreement.
            Inflict damage on Abu Sayaff. Imagine, Scout Rangers no longer need to look for them in the jungles.
            Dale Carnegie would call this win-win situation.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Fostering goodwill with the MILF just after they killed policemen? The Peace Agreement is not yet signed. It is not win-win because the MILF can become enemies again.

              And I am not presupposing they rescued the MILF, it is in the report. Why not let MILF fight Abu Sayyaf so both are weakened. Both are STILL enemies of the state.

              Ceasefire means the two sides are still enemies. Until there is a peace agreement.

              • Adrian says:

                It’s getting late, thanks for the exchange of ideas.

                1. Again, you are connecting it with the Mamasapano incident.
                2. OK, if it’s not your presupposition then it’s the report’s. Doesn’t matter really. Please read JoeAm’s blog about PDI.
                3. The military decided to attack Abu Sayyaf when they are exposed. I believe that’s a good call.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                The report on Abu Sayyaf is Rappler – same source as you used below. I am getting a bit tired of this as well – it is very hard to know what really happened. This is why good courts of law gather all testimonies and all the details before making a judgement.

                Yes – it could also be a military and political strategy. Pretend to be friends with MILF so that they feel safe and use them to help eliminate the others. We don’t know in fact.

                I don’t have a final conclusion here. Not one newspaper or blog gives a good summary of the whole incident with maps and timeline, identifying different versions of what happened so that the reader can judge for himself. I just have an impression and many questions.

  8. Adrian says:

    Interesting perspective here:

    http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/84735-saf-survivor-kills-unarmed-rebels-mamasapano

    Killed 4 unarmed rebels and a civilian, hailed as hero on the media.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Reading the report – which I did – I can see only that the villagers CLAIM it was the SAF survivor. And why do they come out with this only now? Just asking.

      • Adrian says:

        1. PO2 Lalan already gave interviews and an affidavit (to the senate). The only difference with Rappler’s article is the number of “enemies” killed.
        2. “And why do they come out with this only now”?
        a. I don’t know.
        b. Maybe:
        i. They just finished the investigation.
        ii. They wanted some sympathy. If this is the case, they shouldn’t have “under-declared” the number of casualties.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Do we know if these rebels were really unarmed? We have two conflicting versions of the story. It think we have to look at the whole context of all his other comrades just killed, some with gunshots to the head – probably running scared and already a bit paranoid.

          I don’t really believe he shot 4 people who were sleeping in a mosque, doesn’t make sense to me. If I were in such a situation I probably would run for it and shoot anybody on the street who looked like a threat, not stopping at any building and looking inside.

  9. Pallacertus says:

    Just posting here because I feel sickeningly smug somehow.

    (Blessed are the noisemakers, for they can all go home now.)

    • Joe America says:

      I was going to dump your comment until I read who posted it. Then I laughed. You get a freebie. I hope you recover soon.

      • Pallacertus says:

        I was half-expecting my comment to be deleted; smug glorifying ain’t the foundation of this article. So I’m gonna add something half-substantial and half-ghostlike:

        With the Edsa 2/22′ and the NTC’s version of events in Mamasapano fatally undermined by the brute fact that Noynoy did not know enough about what really took place to take decisive action (or else forgo said decision as they keep on insisting), what else will these people rally to? Such stuff as has been aired for the past few years?

        Rhetorical questions, I know. (Cue comic drumroll.)

        • Joe America says:

          Very good, no one has pointed that out. Yesterday’s revelations, along with today’s that paint a very different picture of President Aquino’s reason for not attending the caskets (he wanted the families to have a moment alone with their loved ones; something he never got with his father’s death), the legs have been cut from the protest, and any claims for “resignation” ring absolutely hollow and self-serving.

          I’d say raise the President’s security, because some people are getting desperate.

          If I were the President, I’d try to get confirmation that Binay was colluding with the NTC, in which case I’d dump him from the cabinet. Hey, it is election season. Time to get serious. They want to to play hard ball, fine. Play ball.

          • pussyfooter says:

            Off topic sorry, but that bit about him wanting to give the families “alone time” that he didn’t get strikes me as very telling about how differently he operates from the average Pinoy. And I say this as someone immeasurably disgusted with how avwrage Pinoys

            • Joe America says:

              I was struck the same way. He was really saying, I feel your pain. They thought he was saying, I feel my own pain. I think the family member who impressed me most would be the family member who thanked Mr. Aquino for his thoughtfulness, and for the kindness of his time and attention. I doubt that I will read about that.

  10. ella says:

    I still believe that General Pangilinan should also have been fired just like Napenas.

  11. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “Exploration of the failure of coordination and AFP’s engagement will be carried out behind closed doors to avoid divulging operating methods, strengths and weaknesses.” – JOEAM

    Failure of coordination and AFP engagement are all in the tabloid for all to read. Right at this very moment in Tabloid Inquirer THEY SENT A MECHANIZED BATALLION TO EXTRICATE THE SAF44 !!! A MECHANIZED BATALION? Can’t they know that a mechanized army are slow and lumbering that would take two days to reach Masapano?

    What are these PMA thinking? The Chinese at Spratleys must be laughing very hard.

  12. Charles Ng says:

    Still no explanation up to now why the other 300 PNP men were only milling around the highway, not supporting the 55th or the 84th on an escape route right away. (As mentioned by Gen. Pangilinan.) The President aware during previous planning of at least 160 PNP to be mobilized for the operation. Also of AFP artillery not shooting white smoke immediately, as asked by Grace Poe.

    • Joe America says:

      I think the Senate was examining exactly that subject at yesterday’s closed-door session. They can’t do it publicly because they don’t want to reveal strengths and weaknesses of AFP and PNP tactics and capabilities. Plus, I don’t think the PNP has wrapped up its presentation to President Aquino on the matter. I’m guessing they will deal candidly with what happened.

  13. BFD says:

    I read an Inquirer opinion writer who was at a Journalism camp. He was asked by the camp participants, “Does the media even have the right to be believed?”

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/82818/medias-right-to-be-believed#ixzz3Sba24vLV

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Thank you for the link. The White House and Obama did not believe the media. They are still silent on Marwan because they cannot know what they are reporting is to be believed. White House believed Al Jazeera than Tabloid Media from the Philippines. I cannot believe that these tabloid media personalities went to press with incredible stories on Mapasapano.

      • BFD says:

        The Philippine news reporting have an impunity of “anonymous sources,” which devalues its significance and importance and casts it as a gossip magazine.

        • Pallacertus says:

          As I’m not privy to protocols on anonymity as practiced by respectable foreign media, could you enlighten us on whatever is wrong with our media’s practices here?

          • mk03 (aka Mami Kawada Lover) says:

            For starters, when using anonymous sources, the reason for anonymity must be explictly mentioned in news articles. Second, there must be a good reason for anonymity in the first place. If the reason is weak, American ethics suggest that the souce not be used at all. Thirdly, the source should be described as accurately as possile without giving away exact clues to the person’s identity (e.g. “a senator who was at the meeting said” rather than “a senate source said”). Fourth, and in this case most importantly, the source must only be used for accurate informstion. Speculation, criticism, or praise by anonymous sources are frowned upon.

            You may be interested in reading the NY Times’ regular feature AnonyWatch for more info.

            • BFD says:

              Thanks MK03 for a great explanation on the “anonymous sources.” To add, here the Philippine media uses the anonymous sources freely, which then makes the dissemination of half-truths and lies and misinformation freely as we can see with the Mamasapano Incident.

            • Pallacertus says:

              Thanks for the info. Will be dipping into that AnonyWatch for more context, I think.

  14. josephivo says:

    You could see again that most witnesses in the room have their own suspicions. Who did leak information last time? Who has a life style that cannot be explained by a police or soldier’s salary? Who is lobbying with whom to get the next promotion? At the top of an organization the world is smaller, and a lot of small talk is going on there, most of them are just human. But suspicions and hearsay are not enough to sentence somebody but they are the white elephant in the room.

    • Joe America says:

      The cease fire guy was covering his ass, Napenias in prior meetings was covering his ass, the generals were covering their asses, Purisima was covering his ass and the President’s, Roxas, Gazmin and Espina had nothing to cover, Iqbal was covering his ass, the cease fire team was defending the BBL, the DFA guy was covering the great American ass (hyuk, hyuk) . . . who’d I miss? Marcos was covering his ass from his prior blathering about artillery, and blathered some more. Most of the Senators were playing it straight; not so much politics this meeting. Poe sets a very business-like tone and I think the other senators fall into line with that.

  15. mk03 (aka Mami Kawada Lover) says:

    You may want to take a look at the comments at Manila Standard Today. It’s so bad it puts Fox News and The Sun to shame. It makes the Star look good. For one, they hate all presidents not named Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and claim that Aquino is the most corrupt president in Philippine history. Come on, even most anti-Aquinos would not imply that Aquino is worse than Marcos. I don’t visit it often, but when I do, I don’t know if I want to rage or to laugh. Worse, some columnists also support Binay, but to give them credt most of readerbase is anti-Binay. Finally, sometimes comments get deleted, though I don’t know if they were troll comments or pro-Aquino comments, or both. No wonder MST is the laughing stock of Philippine journalism.

    • Joe America says:

      It is, and earns Andrew Lim’s distinctive title of Manila Sub-Standard.

      • karl garcia says:

        Does Ben Kritz write there nowadays?

        • karl garcia says:

          oops wrong manila. it is manila times, my bad….

        • Joe America says:

          Ben writes for the Manila Times. http://www.manilatimes.net/the-source-of-ph-infrastructure-woes/165197/

          I think he has stopped engaging in blog discussions and I have no idea if he still inhabits GRP as a regular.

          • karl garcia says:

            I knew it was either standard or times. I also have no idea if he still inhabits grp, I think he has found his home in Manila Times.

            • Joe America says:

              As a foot note, Ben and I don’t agree on all things, but I give him a great deal of respect because he stuck up for my right to be able to speak after BongV banned me at Antipinoy. He expressed the view outright that BongV was wrong. Ricelander did the same thing with regard to my being banned at GRP, voicing the view that GRP ought to accept opposing views when expressed in good faith. Neither had much impact on hard-heads like BongV and benigno.

              • karl garcia says:

                Yeah, I think Ben is the most reasonable among them.Since we are talking about them let me have the opportunity to admit that i thought MRp was bongv before or grp incarnate, but it does not matter anymore. I learned to value anonymity and appreciate great ideas like that of joeam.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      Re this rag, I picked up a free copy they are distributing at a deli in a rinky dink location. They have resized the broadsheet into tabloid format, and I think they are trying to get a share of the AB market. Just wanted to put this intel here, and show them they are being monitored. 🙂

  16. I used to buy TFC.TV prepaid cards. But I always get disappointed by so much bias in their reporting – esp. De Castro, Failon & Taberna.. Why can’t they report AS IT IS..? They are adding their own UNINFORMED OPINION in the news. Well, I ended up just browsing this and raissa’s blog and actually saved some penny for not buying prepaid cards anymore…

    Joe, put ads on this blog – I will click them all ^_^

  17. josephivo says:

    What a different approach in requesting justice to 44 soldiers and to 58 Ampatuan victims. Why asking more from a previous government enemy than asking from a previous government friend? Professional heavy armed soldiers versus unarmed journalists? Precise answers requested now versus maybe answers in 20 years? Does one resonates more with the public than the other, guarantees more political traction?

    • Joe America says:

      Fascinating question. Muslim murderers in both cases, so it can’t be a case of religious or racial bigotry. Maybe the victims of Mamasapano were from Luzon instead of Mindanao, so it resonated. Political gameplaying I’d guess was a huge difference. And the fluke of fate, that President Aquino thought he was being sensitive to families by not attending the arrival of the coffins, to give them a moment of private grief.

  18. Bellesouth says:

    What can you say about radio commentators who are obviously taking payola and spreading false information against Aquino? They should be exposed.

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