Editorial & Opinion

Aquino allergic to SAF 44

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With President Aquino, what you see is what you get.


He is not good at masking his lack of concern and sympathy for the everyday problems of Filipinos. Like when Tacloban businessman Kenneth Yu Uy complained to him during in his post-Yolanda visit to Tacloban in November 2013 about the peace and order breakdown in the typhoon-devastated province and he snapped at him “Eh buhay ka pa naman, di ba?” (Uy died last week of a heart attack.)

He is honest. He is no hypocrite.

That’s why Malacañang and Philippine National Police officials should stop making excuses about the deletion of the names two of the 44 members of the Special Action Force who died in the Mamasapano tragedy last January to capture two terrorists in the Wanted List of the United States.

That’s what their superior wanted. The President gets what he wants.

Inquirer reported that the PNP memorandum of the “Result of the Selection of Awardees” included the names of PO2 Romeo Cempron and Police Supt. Raymundo Train. In fact the widow of Cempron was informed by SAF to prepare for the awarding during the PNP 114th anniversary Aug. 7.

She was told that the award will be given by the President himself.

In Malacañang’s advisory on the PNP awarding ceremonies, the names of Cempron and Train were not included.

Inquirer reported that there was a verbal instruction from the Presidential Management Staff to the PNP “to remove the name of the Mamasapano awardees from the program.”

Reason: “The President did not want to bring back the memories of the Mamasapano encounter.”

Believable. In his sixth and last State-of-the-Nation Address. He boasted about the capture of “international terrorist Marwan” but made no mention about the SAF 44 who died in that operation.

He paid tribute to everybody including Paul Cabral, his dress designer and Cherry Reyes, his hairstylist, but no mention of the SAF44.

Coloma denied that Malacañang had anything to do with the removal of the names of the two SAF officers from the list of awardees on PNP Day. He said the President has always recognized what they (SAF44) had done for the country. Really? When?

He didn’t feel like honoring them with his presence when their bodies in coffins arrived in Villamor Air base, he opted to view a showcase of cars during a Mitsubishi Motors plant inauguration.

When he finally met with the SAF late in the evening, he told P02 Christopher Lalan , the lone survivor in the massacre, that he would have to turn him over to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front who alleged that the police officer from Kalinga killed civilians who were praying.

Lalan, in tears, told Aquino that he would not allow himself to be turned over to the MILF. He would rather go back to his tribe and dared anybody to get him there.

That’s the reason why when he talked to SAF and asked them if there’s anything they wanted to tell him, he was given the silent treatment.

The PNP gave all sorts of reasons for the deletion of the names of Cempron and Train. One said “the review” was not completed. Another said last week’s awards were for acts done last year and the Mamasapano operation happened last January.

They should stop. SAF44 will always be a reminder of one of the ignominious moments of the Aquino presidency and it is understandable that he does not want to be reminded of it.The people accept the President for what he is. Besides it’s only nine months to go.

We could not say it better than what former member of the military Dencio Acop posted in Facebook:

“This inept administration can say all it wants. It is, after all, self-serving. But there are those of us who do not buy your crap even if you are so full of it up to your eyeballs. This latest insult to the man in uniform only manages to further add salt to an unhealed wound.

“ If 44 men who paid the ultimate sacrifice for a mission personally sanctioned by a cowardly and emotionally devoid commander-in-chief do not deserve recognition, then I do not know who or what does!


“But I do know one thing. This president is no leader. He neither has the track record of having served in uniform nor does he care to do the only thing that one who hasn’t served can do: honor those who have and their selfless deeds in favor of us all. And I do not have any ounce of respect for all the self-serving lesser public officials, in uniform or civilian, who let this insult after insult of the man in uniform happen. God help this long-suffering country of ours from the greatest threat to its national security - its leaders especially BS Aquino.”

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