The 44 SAF troopers died heroes, but their deaths were all in vain

A lot of people are telling me that the tipping point has finally come — that a critical mass of Filipinos are finally seeing Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III for who he really is: the president who should not have been elected. Readers who have followed and read Get Real Post and participated in its lively online discussions from the beginning, know that we’ve called it years before. President BS Aquino is not fit to lead the Filipino people.

I used to say with a wry smile that Filipinos deserve President BS Aquino. I can’t say, however, that Filipinos deserve to die because of him.

Bodies of massacred Special Action Force troopers arrive at Villamor Air Base.
Bodies of massacred Special Action Force troopers arrive at Villamor Air Base.
That, of course, is not to say that Filipinos don’t routinely die preventable deaths under the watch of previous presidents. Indeed, equally appalling tragedies have happened in the past under the watch of better presidents. Yet, no lessons have been learned. Rickety overloaded passenger ships still ply the waters in between the Philippines 7,000+ islands. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos still live under the shadow of avalanches and flash floods waiting to happen. Manila’s squatter colonies are vast fire traps. Drivers of Philippine cities’ fleets of public buses and jeepneys are ill-trained, often drug-crazed homicidal maniacs. The list of killer stuff left unaddressed due to incompetence more than a lack of resources is long.

And to be fair, I have also long asserted that Philippine presidents really don’t matter to begin with — because much of what plagues the Philippines overall has more to do with the character of the Filipino than with the governance quality of any one ruling president.

So what then is so different about 44 Special Action Force (SAF) police officers massacred by the terrorist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)? After all, Aquino apologists assert, they are combatants who willingly put their lives on the line unlike the innocent civilian victims of state neglect.

But that is precisely why the deaths of the SAF 44 are special and why President BS Aquino is particularly accountable for this tragedy. BS Aquino is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the ultimate civilian boss of the Philippine National Police (PNP). The men and women of the armed services are under the direct control of the President. Their lives are at the president’s disposal.

So, really, whether President BS Aquino was aware or unaware of the circumstances of the deployment of SAF troops into “MILF territory” is beside the point. The fact staring him in the face is that, fairly or unfairly, he is seen to be responsible for the operation. It’s politics, not any sense of what is “fair”, that is at work here. BS Aquino should be familiar with this circumstance. It was this argument that he and his henchmen used to justify the underhanded and dishonest way they mounted the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.

Unfortunately for President BS Aquino, he is not a statesmen. Real statesmen are able to face bad PR situations head-on and come out winners. Aquino, on the other hand, squandered many opportunities to appease the public in the aftermath of the SAF 44 massacre. He waited several days after the news broke to face the cameras and address the public. When he did, he focused mainly on washing every bit of responsibility over the failure off his hands. He failed to condemn the elements of the MILF responsible for the atrocity. And the sheer lack of eloquence and pikon demeanour he exhibited over the brief period he spoke to Filipinos made even his admirers cringe.

And then he failed to show up at Villamor Air Base when the bodies of the fallen arrived, deciding instead to attend a relatively inconsequential event in Laguna that day.

We’d like to think the deaths of the 44 SAF troopers meant something — that their deaths will not have all been in vain. Sadly, we will have to face the truth that their deaths were utterly senseless. Nowadays, the MILF leadership happens to be in bed with the Philippine government thanks to President BS Aquino’s pet project, the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) being reviewed in Philippine Congress. In that sense, they were really not killed by the “enemy”, but by rogue “friendly fire”. They were killed by people they were not out to stop or were intending to fight.

For that matter, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Filipino soldiers and police officers who fought these Islamic terrorists could be said to have all been in vain. The enemy was not beaten. Though they died serving their country as heroically as Jose Rizal did, they did not really change anything.

So President BS Aquino can hang out with the families of the dead for however long the media finds all that newsworthy. He can even hang as many medals and hand out as many plaques to grieving spouses as he wants. The fact is, when he gets back to his office, the president will likely continue to treat the MILF like the “partner” he says they are in this so-called “peace process” and work through his final year-and-a-bit as president to get his administration’s “legacy” squared away.

Meanwhile, 44 fine young fighting men are dead. In time, they will join their other dead comrades in the dustbin of history; casualties of the agendas of the crooks the people they serve routinely elect to be their leaders and representatives.

[Photo courtesy, @MisterBanatero on Twitter.]

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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95 Comments on "The 44 SAF troopers died heroes, but their deaths were all in vain"

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Pallacertus
Guest
Can real statesmen make mistakes? Can real statesmen have emotions? Can real statemen have flaws too scarring for prime-time telecasts? I was one and still am one of those who vehemently decried Noynoy’s no-show at Villamor Air Base, but dear God! Can’t he show his grief in his own way? Can’t he have a personality? Or is he the people’s puppet, to be picked up and discarded as one sees fit, to assume all kinds of identities at all times, to act like a doll and only merely a doll before the hostile masses? He is the President, but fuck… Read more »
Pallacertus
Guest

“Can real statesmen have emotions?”

Correction: “Can real statesmen have emotions but not show them the same as everyone else?”

Jetlag807
Guest

A “real statesman” would have had his ass at the Arrival (Ramp) Ceremony when the bodies came home!Do you even know what a “real statesman” is?

Pallacertus
Guest

I allow people the privilege of breathing. Why can’t you?

007Hyden Toro
Guest
In any military operation …the Commander has to accept responsibility, if he wastes his mens’ lives. If he is at fault…he goes to a “Court Martial” proceeding….if he is negligent and guilty. He faces prison sentence or face the Firing Squad… Aquino is the Commander in Chief, who sent these soldiers/police to their death. and his negligence is GLARING. Now, he cannot Blame GMA or Marcos, who is long dead for 30 years…I am watching, who will he blame other than the SAS Chief…Purisima, the crook is not blamed…Roxas is not blamed. Maybe, Binay or Erap Estrada are good targets…or… Read more »
phanboi
Guest

Sorry, politicians who cry at the drop of a hat and use speeches as an excuse for personal diatribes rather than connecting to the people are deserving of vitriol. Unfortunately that is literally the only kind of politician the Philippines breeds, when there are exceptions the system sends his airplane to the bottom of the bay of Quezon with him still inside.

guh
Guest

I still think Jesse Robredo was assassinated. That’s how deadly it is to be a statesman in the Philippines.

Pallacertus
Guest

Unfounded speculations like this can only serve to poison the discourse, and convince people who have already hanged Aquino for a tally of capital and petty crimes in their own minds, and are raring to do so in the real world.

Gogs
Member

John F. Kennedy took responsibility when a similar covert force lost their lives . I may not know John Kennedy but Noynoy is no John Kennedy. He is not even a Caroline Kennedy.

Johnny Saint
Guest

Given the number of showbiz functions and ‘high society’ parties he attends, you might say he aspires to be ‘Jackie Kennedy.’

Cent
Guest

Sorry he cant arrived cause his busy with his Car Inauguration in Laguna, really an insensitive fuck

jameboy
Guest
I know a lot will disagree with me on this, fine, but we have to see all sides of the discussion. This notion that people were right or people are now realizing that PNoy should not have been elected is just splitting hairs that is irrelevant now. This crying over spilled milk reaction do not help the discussion. For me, it’s a sign of lack of new and solid info and ideas. Don’t get me wrong, the ‘should not have been’ theory is not exclusive to PNoy. It was a very strong issue against her mother, too. A very credible… Read more »
Jmac
Guest

You know what is splitting hairs Jameboy? You making a veiled and lame attempt at being an apologist for the President and his administration while using the “pursuit of justice” and arguing about chain of command as a cover.

Just admit it and cut the bs.

jameboy
Guest
That’s the statement I can respond to. Why? I correct, at least for me, wrong ideas, opinions, gossips, guesses and innuendos. And your post clearly falls on that category. When alleging something the very basic thing to do is back it up. You do that not necessarily out of fairness – because most posters are incapable of it – but to simply protect your self from being called a troll. I’m an apologist simply because I refuse to go with the flow? Because I refuse to sing the same song? I’m an apologist because I used my brain every time… Read more »
Jmac
Guest
So if not apologist, contrarian then. Plenty of those around the internet, and you certainly fit that archetype. These people are typical trolls and they always give out opinions that are contrary to everyone else’s just for the sake of it. “How can a ‘pursuit of justice’ and ‘chain of command’, words that are very relevant on the issue, be a cover when those are the very same thing we all need to find out the truth?” Chain of command precisely because those at the top ought to take responsibility for whatever happens to their subordinates. This basic concept eludes… Read more »
jameboy
Guest
Okay, lets take first the issue of apologist and also the other overused words such as ‘Yellowtards’, ‘Noytards’, ‘tardstards’ etc. For people like you, apologists are those who disagree with your mantra. If one sing a different song that you are singing, he is already an apologist. To me, that is a very bad and cowardly approach when you want to dispute the stand of another party. The old time rule you are conveniently forgetting is when you accuse you show proof. Disagreement does not necessarily mean one is your enemy already. That’s very basic in opinion writing. There are… Read more »
jameboy
Guest
Chain of command precisely because those at the top ought to take responsibility for whatever happens to their subordinates. This basic concept eludes you, and the fact that you are using this to absolve Pnoy of responsibility makes you an apologist. – Jmac ======== See? You talk about ‘chain of command’ but your eyes are focus on the top already? Why is that? Because at the top is PNoy! (Here I am again ‘defending’ PNoy) 🙂 Jmac, it is CHAIN of command and not TOP of command. Chain means a ‘series of ranks, position, etc. which has direct authority over… Read more »
Jmac
Guest
“For people like you, apologists are those who disagree with your mantra. If one sing a different song that you are singing, he is already an apologist. To me, that is a very bad and cowardly approach when you want to dispute the stand of another party. The old time rule you are conveniently forgetting is when you accuse you show proof. Disagreement does not necessarily mean one is your enemy already. That’s very basic in opinion writing. There are a lot of people like you here but do you recall me calling you morons or stupid because you are… Read more »
jameboy
Guest

Going ’round in circles ha, Jmac? Nice try pal. 🙂

jameboy
Guest
And if I call you a contrarian, what then? – Jmac ======== Contrarian as in a person who takes an opposing view, especially one who rejects the majority opinion? If that’s what you mean, I’ll go along with that. Fine with me. 🙂 But seriously, is it really important to call somebody names just because you don’t agree with what he is saying? Really? Really? Your obsession is to find out what name (apologists, tards-tards, contrarian, etc.) to call me? Aren’t we here to share ideas/opinion and argue or debate if necessary the position we take on issues? I mean,… Read more »
Jmac
Guest
“Going ’round in circles ha, Jmac? Nice try pal.” Lame response. You ran out of ideas? “Contrarian as in a person who takes an opposing view, especially one who rejects the majority opinion? If that’s what you mean, I’ll go along with that. Fine with me.” Takes an opposing view for no other purpose than to take an opposing view. In other words, a troll. “But seriously, is it really important to call somebody names just because you don’t agree with what he is saying? Really?” Important? No. I just stated an observation that you fit the contrarian archetype. Why… Read more »
jameboy
Guest

Jmac, your logic and focus is going haywire. There’s no more issue in your post. I don’t expect you to believe me and I’m sure you’re going to do what is necessary kahit mamilosopo ka pa to avoid something uncomfortable.

Your previous posts are more decent and issue-oriented especially when no one’s challenging your statements. But once challenged, you lose focus and resort to heavy-handed kind of conversation.

You are practically just aping Toro, the blog bully.

Anyway, go back on the issue and forget about me. I’m just a tarsy-tards and a contrarian. I’m nothing. 🙂

Jmac
Guest

“Anyway, go back on the issue and forget about me. I’m just a tarsy-tards and a contrarian. I’m nothing.”

I rest my case.

009Hyden 007Toro
Guest

A President is the Commander in Chief…he knew the operation. Sending soldiers/Police to arrest a terrorist is idiocy.

With no support of firepower:artillery or airpower. On a Cornfield which is Plain and Level is the most stupid thing , I know…

I believe there was no Reconnaissance, before the operation. So, those Police/Soldiers were Clueless, of what they encountered…they were “Sitting Duck”, to the terrorists…Aquino is to blame on the operation…along with Roxas and Purisima..

0001Hyden787Toro
Guest

Anyway, this was not the first time the MILF ambushed and murdered Soldiers…they did it before…and Aquino blamed the soldiers…

01Hyden797Toro
Guest

They call this: “TURKEY SHOT” (Sitting Ducks), during the U.S. Civil War Era…when the Union Northern Army were at war with the Southern Confederate Army…A Commander who would had been responsible for this situation , would had been executed by Firing Squad…

mack
Guest

Looks like Noynoy pulled an Obama by being a no-show at an important gathering. Gotta emulate everything Uncle Sammy does, especially the wrong things.

Jetlag807
Guest

If you’re referring to the EU/AFR Leaders Photo Op in Paris, yes. If you’re referring to being absent from “Ramp Ceremonies” (KIAs), wrong! President Obama, and those before him, will and have canceled or postponed scheduled events to attend these Ceremonies… You may want to check Google on this one!

jay
Guest

i pity you Pilipinos, you put a shame to your motherland the Philippines. it only takes you days to oust a good man, Marcos, but you can’t unseat a bad and idiot ruler who’s been spinning you around for years. aren’t you ashame? giving mindanao to terrorist who’s harboring a bin laden alike in southeast asia.

Pallacertus
Guest

Marcos was not a good president — he probably was for his cronies, the military, and for KBL supporters in general, but for the rest of the country he is not a good president. Or if he was, him becoming the very antithesis to a democracy belied his words and intentions.

jameboy
Guest

I think Marcos was a good president who turned bad.

domo
Guest

And I think your president is stupid because he suffers from melancholia.

jay
Guest

your president halts the reenforcement to protect his army the milf. what kind of a ruler he is? he’s the commander in chief of these terrorist no doubt at all. he’s doing his fathers’ dream, a promised to rashid lucman, father and founder of bangsamoro, a separate nation for malaysian activism who ran to mindanao when they were being apprehended in malaysia by the government. they’re not even Pilipinos like you guys, and now your president is rushing for that promised land for the terrorist.

Yawn
Guest

6 million came out to see the Pope.
No one comes out for the slain 44.

The 44 were sold down the river by their own.

Yes you are right they died in vain.

Pallacertus
Guest
No one came out for the fallen 44? Do you watch the news, go online for local news, for you to not know the massive outpouring of grief for the slain men of the SAF? If there’s any group of dead people that we’ve not “come out for”, it’s those sixteen MILF dead through Mamasapano, or so the MILF leadership. They’re all Pinoys, as Pinoy as those killed on the government’s side, but no one mourns for them apart from their families. And now some of us want to raise hell on their comrades and their loved ones, because they… Read more »
Yawn
Guest
True to form you went off the deep end and missed the point again. Unless millions of people come out on the streets and demand justice for the 44 the government is going to wait until public outrage dials down to a whimper and then try to sweep it all under the carpet. The victims and families deserve justice they have a right to know what happened. All the milf terrorist/government officials involved no matter what rank and file, or how connected they are should be held accountable. Cold blooded murderers have no place in a civilized society they should… Read more »
jameboy
Guest

Unless millions of people come out on the streets and demand justice for the 44 the government is going to wait until public outrage dials down to a whimper and then try to sweep it all under the carpet.

The victims and families deserve justice they have a right to know what happened.
========
And that’s the perception the gov’t. has to avoid. An unnecessary delay in securing justice will be adding insult to injury which the families of the slain policemen don’t deserve.

Pallacertus
Guest
“Cold blooded murderers have no place in a civilized society they should be locked up for life.” But what are the criteria for calling one side “heroes” and the other “cold-blooded murderers” — in a word, “villains”? This past week, we’ve all looked at the bloodbath from the view of the fallen 44: that the SAF men who died or were wounded were doing their job, probably killing Marwan and doing their best holding out on vastly unfavorable terrain against superior firepower. But what about looking at it from the MILF’s/BIFF’s side? For all they know, they would’ve perceived the… Read more »
Pallacertus
Guest

“The victims and families deserve justice they have a right to know what happened.”

Just them? What about those MILF dead? Don’t they deserve to get a word from us as well? Or are all men of the MILF (or their sympathizers at any rate) terrorists or coddling terrorists?

Are we small enough to entertain such an easy-cuts-it dichotomy? “Good-versus-evil” agad-agad?

jameboy
Guest

But what are the criteria for calling one side “heroes” and the other “cold-blooded murderers” — in a word, “villains”?
=======
The policemen were upholding and exercising their legal authority under the law at the time of the incident. The villains did not. They don’t even have license on those arms they used.

Ivory tower
Guest
On a post conflict assessment, pinpointing weaknesses in planning and implementation will always involve the roles of those involved in the planning and implementation of military/police operations. And that will always involve the commander in chief. As such we must make distinction between the man, his office and his powers as commander in chief. Planning wise, it seems it would have been much cheaper and more efficient to simply carpet bomb the area where the terrorist was located because the surrounding terrain was too difficult to secure. It doesn’t matter if the terrorist is caught dead or alive as long… Read more »
d_forsaken
Guest
Before my father died, he said the worst thing about growing old was that other men stop seeing you as dangerous…I’ve always remember that how being dangerous was sacred, a badge of honor. You live your life by a code. An ethos, every man does. It’s your shoreline. It’s what guides you home and trust me, you’re always trying to get home. Your father was a reader, Churchill of course, but also Faulkner and books about Tecumseh. He loved artists who painted people with bodies that looked like boxes. I’d give him hell about that. He’d just say you gotta… Read more »
Jetlag807
Guest
First off, thank you for NOT using the idiotic “miss-ecounter” term! Can’t thank enough! Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, who does not believe that the Commander and Chief should be in attendance during the Ramp Ceremony is either a complete “Noytard” and/or knows nothing about protocol. That SOB should have been right there on the tarmac giving his best Salute! Yet, some people would rather make up insane excuses to give Pnoy another pass. Worst yet, some people would rather ask stupid ass questions like “What about the 17 MILFs who were killed?” Really? You want to honor the terrorists… Read more »
Pallacertus
Guest

Wouldn’t it be unfair to the President to convict him of everything under the sun before the board of inquiry commences its investigation?

Wouldn’t it be presumptuous of you to tell him how to do his job as statesman? (This, from someone who was and still is one with the Twitter crowd in condemning the President’s no-show at Villamor?)

mack
Guest

This attendance to the ceremony precedes anything else that is going on in the country. As the Commander in Chief, he failed to do his duty to honor the fallen with his presence. Not only does he sucks as a political authority, but also militarily to boot. That’s a double whammy right there. Even Dubya Bush wasn’t this thick in the head.

Pallacertus
Guest
“Not only does he suck as a political authority, but also militarily to boot.” Let’s not speculate about Noynoy’s military capabilities while the various investigative bodies due to collect information on Mamasapano are still busy forming themselves. “This attendance to the ceremony precedes anything else that is going on in the country.” I thought then and still think now that Noynoy should’ve gone to Villamor to play his symbolic role, and sent the DTI secretary or VP Binay to the Mitsubishi plant in his place. So in a sense, I agree with you. What I don’t agree with is the… Read more »
jameboy
Guest

I think, rather than go ’round in circles, it’s better on the president’s side to apologize. There is nothing he can do in the overlook or ignored incident, defending on the fence you’re sitting, committed.

Pallacertus
Guest

Yeah, he should. At the very least it would mollify those not already inclined to read into his speeches, his inflections and choices of emphasis, his schedule, his everything, and are committed to hang him for them.

(Unless of course doing so would cause people to accuse him of insincerity if not murder.)

Jetlag807
Guest

I stand by my statement, most notably;
“He should have been at that Ceremony! Instead, he was at a Mitsubishi Plant laughing it up with that shit-eating-grin on his face! No amount of excuses or explanations can make this any better than what it was! A shameful display of complete disrespect for those under his command!”

Nuff said!

Hyden999Toro
Guest

It’s the Aquino way. First the Japanese Army Imperialist Army. Then, the NPA. Now, the MILF/ISIS/Al Queda…

The Aquinos have the Genetic Predisposition to be Traitors…it is in their Genes…Wake Up, Philippines!!!

jeni
Guest

…you must not forget the general, general servillano aquino, general of emilio aguinaldo. who’s also charge of treason.

jeni
Guest

there you go. pilipinos don’t need a truth panel. this is kinda spinning around process, what they need is a fast action, unseat the president. he is the one who ordered the ‘stand down’ to the reinforcement troups. he’s protecting the milf and its armed wings. what a mission he has as a president, to give mindanao to terrorist. his dad’s dream, a promised to rashid lucman, the father and founder of bangsamoro organization.

jeni
Guest

do not underestimate pnoy. he’s ready to fight for milf over his dead body for that promised land his dad gave to rashid lucman, who did a fake passport when ninoy came back home and a father and founder of bangsamoro rebels. the two are considered blood brothers during their days at the manila chronicle and the manila times as journalist.

jameboy
Guest

reminding the general population they erred is a good way of putting things on track. – tomas
========
But who is doing the reminding? What is his credentials? What is he an expert of to remind others how to put things on track?

maybe the 85+K followers of this site at least gets what’s written here and act on their critical thinking – tomas
========
There is no critical thinking when you are just parroting what the 85+K are saying.

tomas
Guest

on the contrary, 85k is a minority to what the greater population you seem to be part of are thinking.=)

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