P-Noy’s bloody folly

By Perry Diaz

SAF-justice-for-SAF-44In the four and a half years that President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III had been in power, nothing had come closer to torpedoing his administration than the Mamasapano Massacre, which killed 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP). One month after the heinous slaughter of the elite commandos, calls for P-Noy’s resignation continue to grow.

At the center of the controversy is the question: Who is responsible for the deaths of the “Fallen 44,” as the slain police officers have come to be known? And this was where finger-pointing had obfuscated the truth where lies were allegedly manufactured to absolve those who were responsible for one of the worst – if not the worst – massacres in the nation’s history.

And just looking at all the finger-pointing makes you cry… or laugh. It was a tragic comedy or comedic tragedy, depending on how you view this sad episode. Indeed, it had happened so often in the past that to assuage our pain and frustration, we brush it off as if it was just another incident — just like the Maguindanao Massacre, if you still remember it — that would be forgotten in time.

Does that mean that Filipinos have a short memory? On the contrary, we’re a people that don’t forget anything, particularly those that hurt our feelings. We call this “sama ng loob,” which we take to the grave. Sometimes I wonder if we’re too forgiving to a fault.

Bahala na

SAF-body-bagWhy then do we choose to forget it? The answer is as simple — and common — as yawning when one is having a siesta: “Bahala na.” Yep, “bahala na” is what we say when we’re unable or refuse to solve a problem – we just forget about it and say “bahala na” — come what may.

And when we say “bahala na,” it’s tantamount to absolving – or forgiving — the guilty, whoever they may be, which begs the question: Would the bereaved families of the “Fallen 44” forgive those who were responsible for the deaths of their loved ones? They are probably aware of the futility of punishing the guilty in our judicial system. So, why go after the guilty then when nothing would come out of it? It is easier to say, “Bahala na. Ang dios na ang magpaparusa sa kanila” (Come what may. God will punish them), and get on with our lives hoping that it wouldn’t happen again.

People power

Anti-pork-barrel-rally-Cebu-credit-Tonee-DespojoWhile many believe that “P-Noy” was responsible for the murderous rampage in Mamasapano in the wee hours of January 25, 2015, it surprised no one that the people did not react like the way they did in 1986 when their collective angst against the Marcos dictatorship ignited the EDSA “people power” revolution. Nor did they vent their anger the way they did in 2001 when a sham people power revolution — EDSA II – engineered by then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ousted then-President Joseph “Erap” Estrada from power.

It was a bitter lesson learned and since then the people have become wary of starting another people power revolution. And this explains why P-Noy has managed to survive attempts to oust him by similar methods.

The scandals involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) – or pork barrel — and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional, merely generated token demonstrations against P-Noy. It’s a sign that the people are numb – too numb — of the chronic corruption in government. They simply don’t care anymore… “bahala na.”

Stand down

MILF rebels

MILF rebels

But the Mamasapano Massacre was not your run-of-the-mill encounter in the rebel-infested Mindanao. The heinous slaughter spilled the blood of 44 police commandos who were left to fend for themselves when their calls for reinforcement were ignored by the military unit that was based only a kilometer away. The military command claimed that they were ordered to stand down. As it turned out, it was P-Noy no less who ordered them to stand down.

The question is: Why did P-Noy order the military to stand down and leave the SAF commandos at the mercy of the Muslim rebels? One reason that has gained traction was that P-Noy didn’t want to jeopardize the establishment of the autonomous Bangsamoro political entity, which the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation From (MILF) had agreed to when they signed the historic Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in March 2014.

On September 10, 2014, P-Noy submitted to Congress the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which would provide for the basic structure of the Bangsamoro autonomous government. It would supersede the existing Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Price of peace

Mamasapano-Maguindanao-mapAs a result of P-Noy’s bloody folly, the approval of BBL by the Philippine Congress is threatened. The day after the massacre, the Philippine Constitutional Association (Philconsa) released a 75-page position paper claiming that BBL bill was flawed and cluttered with unconstitutional experimental features to replace the failed ARMM.

At the end of the day, P-Noy has to come to terms with the complexities of peace-making in Mindanao. He cannot achieve peace in the region unless he makes peace with all the players in the conflict. He has to bring the two other groups — Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) – to the table with the MILF to discuss peace — and prosperity — for the Filipino Muslims in Mindanao. That is the price of peace.

If he could do that, then he is worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, a dream that had eluded him since ascending into the presidency. Otherwise, he might as well just say, “bahala na.”


8 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Bitoy says:

    I fully agree with you Perry. “Bahala na”, yan ang sabi ng mga Pinoy. Nguni’t ang mga nagsasabi nito ay ang majority ng Pinoy. Kaya walang mangyayari yong Esdsa-Edsa na iyan. Hindi katulad noong Edsa I na pati sa probinsya ay organized. Karamihan kasi ng mga Pinoy ngayon ay naniniwala pa rin kay Pinoy. Ang nangyari sa SAF 44 ay isa lang sa casualties of war.

    Isa pa tingnan mo naman yong mga nagrarally na iyan. Ang mga personalities. Sino-sino ba iyan sila. Ang usual na walang magawa kundi ang mga naghahanap buhay sa pag ra-rally.

  2. Noel Calisa says:

    Tama ka Pareng Bitoy, iyang mga rally ngayon ay pakana ng mga disgruntled na mga kurakot team ni gloria arrovo, at bobou kono ng NTC national transitional committe ay iyong mga pinuno ng mga rallista na sina Gonzales, corona,peping(babalu) cojuangco na #1 na kurakot ng panahon ni Cory,na hindi nabigyan ng puesto,mga financier na kurakot na mga
    senador,tongresman,mga businessman na kakutsaba ni Binay at binay na kunwari kampi kuno kay Pnoy. Ngayon lang sa panahon ni Pnoy naging # 3 economic progress in the world ang Pinas, #1 sa South East Asia at nabawasan ang mandarambong ng Pinas at nakakulong ang malalaking mga buwaya kaya maraming gustong matanggal si Pnoy. Hindi ba naisip yan ng mga nabubuhay sa pag-ra rally?

  3. Jaydee says:

    I burn inside me when I think of the lack of planning and careless behaviour of Pnoy on the masapano massacre and I also put the sole blame on the President. However calling for his resignation is not the solution because I think he is still the only worthy person to lead the country today. If he resigns, who do you think should take his place? VP Binay is as corrupt as as GMA.

  4. Duke Wilwayco says:

    You said “Does that mean that Filipinos have a short memory? On the contrary, we’re a people that don’t forget anything, particularly those that hurt our feelings. We call this “sama ng loob,” which we take to the grave. Sometimes I wonder if we’re too forgiving to a fault.”

    W]If so, why did we Filipinos allow the Marcoses to come back and now in positions of power again?

    • perry says:

      Hi Duke,

      If you remember, I said: “And when we say “bahala na,” it’s tantamount to absolving – or forgiving — the guilty…” Yes, we are forgiving to a fault but we never forget.


    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Our rationale is always ass backwards, we will hold a grudge on someone for calling us names but we are willing to forgive and forget when someone throws us under the bus. Really, what is the rationale for allowing the Marcoses to return to the country? Our culture is now in the toilet, actually we are going back to the stone age and if we’re not careful we are done as a nation.

  5. albert abellanosa says:

    Well said Mr. Perry Diaz. The bahala na has been with us Pinoys since time past & still with us at present & the years to come. We Pinoys can forgive but not forget our corrupt politicians who are responsible for what this beloved Philippines had become. Patuloy na nagpapayaman sila. Look at the family of NOGNOG, wala po silang legal business pero patuloy na yumaman gamit ang pwesto nila sa govt. Sila at iba pang corrupt govt officials and dahilan kaya ang mga mahihirap ay patuloy na naghihirap. Nagpapauto kasi sa mukhang mahirap at kawawang mukha na iyan. Na sa likod ng mukha na iyan ang walang habas na pangungurakot sa kaban ng bayan. idedemanda daw niya ang sinomang nagsasabi ng MAGNANAKAW siya…hindi naman di ba? CORRUPT lang siya at sa diksyonaryo niya iba iyong CORRUPT sa MAGNANAKAW. galit ang magNANAKAW sa kapwa MAGNANAKAW, o di ba. Sen. Miriam DEFENSOR SANTIAGO ? Sorry, Perry Diaz kung naiba ako sa topic mo. I don’t believe in the Electoral system sa Pinas. 30 years na po akong hindi bumoto dahil wala na pong totoong eleksyon. Iyong Hokus Pokos (PCOS) MACHINE na iyan…itanong mo sa mga taga COMMISION ON ELECTION….kaya nga ang tawag COMMISSION dahil may ALAM NYO Na….

  6. Willie Mandy says:

    You can not trust the Islamic radical Moro of the south- MILF- BIFF etc. they have one thing in common– kill all the infidel Christian and set an independent Islamic state. The radical muslin are connected to ISIL, Alquida, Abusayap, Sapsap, etc.in every aspect and nature of their fanatical belief. DO NOT TRUST THEM

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *