Enrile’s Senate #Mamasapano Hearing further highlighted Aquino’s inutile command structure

Apologists of the Aquino government are currently celebrating a false ‘achievement’ following today’s Mamasapano Senate hearing. They think that “proof” that Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III did not give a direct order to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to stand down from providing support to the besieged Special Action Force (SAF) police officers in Mamasapano absolves the president of responsibility.

The point Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was essentially trying to make was a difficult one to bring across to a Filipino public accustomed to analysis-by-soundbyte — that President BS Aquino presided over a fragmented and inept government that failed to manage a preventable crisis. If there was anything further highlighted today, it was that the Philippine government under President BS Aquino was completely inutile when it came to maintaining a tight and effective command-and-control regime across its two main armed state services — the police and the military.


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Indeed, Mamasapano is no more than just the most recent of catastrophic failures owing to the dysfunctional command structure of the Philippine government. The police operation snafu that led to the massacre of nine Hong Kong tourists in 2010 was the first of these tragic failures in which the manner with which President BS Aquino performed under stress came under scrutiny. The other was the appallingly incompetent Philippine government response to the Typhoon Haiyan disaster in 2013. In both disasters, the government of President BS Aquino were heavily-criticised for not getting on top of the situation at a pace befitting the gravity of the crises unfolding.

CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper reporting on the ground in Tacloban City in the days following the Haiyan calamity observed an astounding breakdown in leadership just when it was most needed. There was, he reported, “no real evidence of organized recovery or relief” effort coming from the Philippine government. An ABC News report also observed of the Philippine Airforce’s performance in those critical days…

Villeamor Airbase – home of the Philippine Air Force and the main staging area for relief flights to the disaster zone – seems to be operating at half-speed. There is no thrum of activity, no evidence that there’s a real sense of urgency among the Philippine troops here. Every once in a while a civilian car pulls up and unloads a few boxes of goods some neighbors have collected. They put them on the sidewalk and drive away. A little while later, some Filipino troops (or reporters) move them inside. No method. No organization. It’s as if an earthquake hit southern California and Vandenburg or Nellis AFB were quiet and half-populated.

The contrast with the way other emergency and armed services from other countries performed was stark…

The U.S. Marines have swung into action, certainly. But there are just 215 of them right now, and they must coordinate with the Philippine government. As one high-ranking officer told me here about the host government, “They’re paralyzed.”

An Israeli Foreign Ministry official confirmed that impression privately to me. The Israeli team is here to assess what their country can contribute and where. Over the years, Israel has developed excellent field hospital capabilities that they’ve brought to disasters in Haiti and elsewhere.

But the Israelis, too, need to coordinate with the Philippine government. “When we ask them what they need, they tell us to talk to the Americans,” the official said.

In all of the above cases as he now does today, Philippine President BS Aquino enjoyed an unembarrassed plausible deniability for responsibility for all this non-performance on display. This is thanks to a multitude of fall guys left hung out to dry while the President hid from the public eye. It is not that much different from the way he handled the Mamasapano crisis in which 44 elite SAF troopers were gunned down in cold blood by Moro Islamic Liberation Front bandits. This plausible deniability was, yet again, held up by Aquino’s minions in the Senate as a means to cover-up his inability to cobble together a high-performing team that could respond to crises efficiently. In a country that is exposed to extremely high risk of disasters due to weather disturbances and terrorist attack, this failure on the part of a sitting president is unacceptable and likely to be criminal in nature.

Even if President BS Aquino wins this battle to wash the blood of the 44 slain SAF troopers off his hands, the fact remains, he is ultimately responsible — responsible for negotiating with terrorists, responsible for colluding with a belligerent foreign government to carve out a resource-rich chunk of Mindanao, and, more importantly, responsible for overseeing a government that is a consistent source of embarrassment to its people.

If China — or Malaysia — were to decide to invade the Philippines, this is the sort of government and armed forces it will be up against. It’ll be like a stroll in the park.

[Photo courtesy Inquirer.net.]

14 Replies to “Enrile’s Senate #Mamasapano Hearing further highlighted Aquino’s inutile command structure”

  1. He’s still alive? You have your very own “Strom Thurman.”

    I feel that unfortunate hostage incident falls on Mayor Lim and the Manila police chief-and I’m no fan of Benign Aquino.

    Also the four previous Presidents didn’t modernize the Philippine military.

  2. Aquino simply cannot handle stress. He hides, when stressful situation is there. This mentally retarded guy, is suffering from depression. Depressive individuals, simply runs away or remain “frozen”, when stressful situation is there.

    His YellowTard followers are pinning the blame to an “Escape Goat”. Whoever that person will be, will be just his/her bad luck to serve under Aquino.

    Aquino will be judged by History. I believe, History will not be kind to him…

  3. Mamasapano was a military operation to capture and/or neutralize two ‘terrorist-bomb-makers’ who were holed up in ARMM territory, among, and protected by, the MILF, (for whom BBL talks were initiated). The operation, being a raid, was done stealthily, under cover of darkness, and unbeknownst to the MILF. The MILF’s reaction..that of fighting and pushing back.. should have been anticipated. In the firefight, there were casualties.. as is to be expected in any shooting encounter. Unfortunately, the body count, 17 to 44 was lopsided in the MILF’s favor. To my mind, the barbarity of the MILF in the aftermath notwithstanding, it was a straightforward military operation where the PNP casualty was inordinately high and unnecessarily gruesome. But that’s as far as we should go. I would expect, though, that in future such operations… the outcomes would be different. The table must be turned.
    All that, having been said, the matter of the planning, the execution and, the handling of the Mamasapano operation, not only leaves a lot to be desired.. it leaves a lot of unanswered questions.. (a) Why was a suspended General assigned to call the shots.. (and), from Camp Crame? (b) General Purisima had never been posted anywhere in Mindanao in his career. His knowledge of battlefield conditions..terrain, available cover, landmarks and relative distances.. was as good or as bad the President’s. Wasn’t there a senior officer, well versed in conditions in the Cotabatos.. and ‘un-suspended’.. available? (c) Was the President who was conveniently and strategically in Zamboanga.. as the firefight was going on.. actively engaged in the conduct of the raid? (d) What was General Napenas, (the senior officer on the ground), who was on the other side of the creek and away from his troopers, allowed to decide on, without being countermanded from ‘Crame’ or Zamboanga? There are many more questions that an ordinary layman could not anticipate, much less, ask. However, just these four questions, if truthfully answered, would put most of us at ease. We might then, as the tired cliche goes.. “move on”.

    1. If you go on a “stealth military operation”…anything can go wrong. This is the reason, there had to be a “back up plan”…a way to retreat.

      Time is the essence. However, Aquino with his sidekick Purisima and Mar Roxas, simply had no back up plan.

      To APPEASE the MILF/AL QUEDA/ISIS , and save the BBL Law. They ask for a “ceasefire”…Ceasefire in the middle of an operation? So, they did nothing, and just sacrificed those courageous fallen 44 SAF heroes.

      To Aquino, Purisima and Mar Roxas. Lives of people are: expendable, cheap and did not matter. These Hacienda Luisita Swines, should be burned, on stakes…Look at how they behaved, when the bodies of the fallen 44 SAF heroes arrived in Manila. Did they even went to pay respect to them?

      No Sir, none of the “Three Stooges” were there. Ans now, one of the “Three Stooges” (Mar Roxas), want to become President.

      1. I am no ‘pulot-boy’ of Roxas; but couldn’t you cut him some slack? After all, he, like General Espina, was kept out of the loop on ‘Mamasapano’. But, without a doubt, General Purisima and President Aquino should have been on hand at the arrival of the remains of the fallen ‘Gallant 44’. Their absence spoke eloquently of their responsibility over the fiasco..the debacle..the tragedy, that Mamasapano was. There should be a mechanism for holding these reckless and bungling executives to account. The firefight was not a ‘play station’ game in a video arcade. It was a ‘live ammo shootout’ and 44 lives were wasted.. and we need some answers.

        1. Mar Roxas is as responsible, as Aquino and Purisima. They all want to get someone to own the blame, as their fall guy. Nape’s is a good fall guy.

        2. “like General Espina, was kept out of the loop on ‘Mamasapano’” yet he didn’t resign from his post and worst he still keep on singing praises for Pnoy. IMHO that show a lot about his character as a person.

    2. That Senator Enrile succeeded in bringing out the inherent disarray of Pnoy’s style of government leading to the massacre is an achievement, for it now made available evidence to later pin down Pnoy with criminal neglect after he loses presidential immunity!

    1. I would hold Roxas responsible for the ‘typhoon Haiyan relief fiasco, the further deterioration of the MRT/LRT systems, the arrogance displayed in the ‘Wack Wack Golf Club’ tongue lashing of a hapless employee, and for being a spineless pansy for the President; but there’s no way I’d pin on anyone some imagined and undeserved sin, character flaw, or judgement error.

  4. What is that guy:Enrile , doing in the Senate floor, anyway…Is he not in jail , awaiting trial for his Pork Barrel scam?

    He is there to orchestrate the “Political Zarzuela” of Mamapasano hearing , to divert people’s attentions from valid election issues. Hacienda Luisita Stinking Swines like :Porky Drilon and Trillanes, are also in the show.

    Aquino, Purisima and Mar Roxas should be tried in the Court, for their crimes, in the Mamapasano massacre.

      1. In the show business of professional wrestling. A “Fall Guy”, is the opponent paid to appear in the wrestling show to be beaten. However, he just appear to be “beaten”. He is paid to be “beaten” by the Victor of the wrestling show.

        It is a good entertainment. However, our idiot political leaders, are taking the : “Fall Guy” version show to the political arena. And to divert peoples’ attention from their irresponsibilities.

        This is the sad and sorry state of Philippine politics.

  5. The first duty of the command and control system is to survive. There must be a distributed network with hundreds or thousands of separate nodes connected through multiple paths. Messages would be broken into smaller “blocks,” sent along the first available path, and reassembled at their final destination. If nodes were out of service or destroyed, the network would automatically adapt and send the data along a route that was still intact.

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