The Indonesian-Japanese venture Smart Communications has proof, or at least the smoking gun, for President Benigno S. Aquino’s “stand-down order” to the military, telling them not to save the police commandos trapped in Mamasapano.

This is contained in the company’s log of SMS messages between Aquino and his bosom buddy, the resigned Police Chief Alan Purisima. The President in effect illegally designated Purisima—despite his being suspended—as his executive officer for the police elite unit Special Action Forces’ Oplan Exodus, the plan to terminate international terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir aka “Marwan” and two of his collaborators.

As part of his sworn testimony to the Senate hearing last month, Purisima submitted a transcript of what he claimed was the exchange of SMS messages between him and Aquino on that fateful day.

His first message was at 5:45 a.m., which in a self-congratulatory tone reported that Marwan was killed, the mission successful, although the body was left behind. Purisima sent seven more text messages, his last at 6:20 p.m.

Aquino replied when he woke up, at 7:36 a.m., not to ask how the SAF troopers were but only as follows: “Why was it (Marwan’s body) left behind? The other two targets?” (Aquino’s second question reflected his intimate knowledge of the operation as he knew more than what the public had been told that there were only two targets, Marwan and his associate Basit Usman. Only when this transcript of SMS messages was submitted by Purisima and inquiries made why Aquino referred to two targets did the government disclose there was a third target, who got away – another Malaysian bomb expert, Amin Baco.)

But according to Purisima’s testimony, Aquino’s last message was at 10:16 a.m.

This is impossible. Aquino couldn’t have abruptly ended his communication with Purisima at 10:16 a.m. This even contradicts Aquino’s statement in his impromptu speech before the SAF on Jan 31 that “he was receiving reports the whole day” on the ongoing firefight.

Deleted? Facsimile of Purisima’s affidavit claiming SMS exchanges between him and Aquino on Jan 25.

Deleted? Facsimile of Purisima’s affidavit claiming SMS exchanges between him and Aquino on Jan 25.

The most crucial hours of the firefight were around midday, when the SAF 55th company commandos – ironically the “blocking force” – were being overrun and massacred.

That was the life-or-death period when Purisima would have told Aquino how desperate the situation of the SAF troopers was, and when Aquino, the commander-in-chief, should have issued his crucial orders to save them. Testimonies at the Senate and, more recently, at the House of Representatives yesterday bolster this newspaper’s Feb 5 report that President Aquino ordered his troops to “stand down” for the sake of his peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), whose forces have attacked and massacred the SAF troopers.

As SAF officers’ testimonies revealed yesterday, how could veteran army generals invoke the “peace talks” as their reason for withholding artillery fire they knew could save the lives of their comrades-in-arms, if they were not just quoting the President’s orders?

Based on all the testimonies of Aquino’s officials in the Senate, only Purisima was reporting to him, except for a single message the interior and local government secretary sent to him early morning, to which the President replied with an obviously dismissive “Thank you.” Or perhaps Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang was actually briefing him the whole day, which means the general was lying, committing perjury in his testimonies at the Senate as he stated he didn’t have cellphone communications with the President that day.

Purisima is obviously taking the Senate and us for fools by testifying that Aquino’s last message was at 10:16 a.m. He is covering up for his bosom friend.

Why did he delete Aquino’s messages after that early hour of the daylong crisis?

Because Aquino’s messages would have indisputably shown that he ordered his forces to stand down, as army actions to save the SAF troops could have endangered his peace talks. The messages would most probably show that he told Purisima that he had spoken with peace adviser Teresita Deles, who assured him that the MILF had issued a ceasefire order to its troops.

From Aquino’s behavior, I would bet he cursed Purisima again and again for the botched operation.

This reminds us of the infamous 18-minute gap in the 79-minute conversation between US President Nixon and his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, which had obviously been deleted deliberately as it would have shown his complicity in the Watergate break-in cover-up. (At least Nixon agreed to submit the tapes to Congress. In our case, our Congress has been too timid to ask Aquino to surrender his cellphone.)

But modern technology could come to our rescue so the truth would come out, even if Aquino and Purisima refuse to submit their cellphones for investigation.

Smart Communications, operator of the cellphones Aquino and Purisima used, has confirmed that it stores the logs — but not the messages — of SMS sent through its system.

These would show whether or not there were other SMS messages exchanged between the cellphones of Aquino and Purisima, or between the President and his other officials that day. It would be a smoking gun if the logs showed there were other SMS exchanges between the two that Purisima did not include in his affidavit.

Why hasn’t Smart complied with the Senate’s request for it to submit these logs?

I do hope Smart Communications would be patriotic enough to submit to Congress the SMS records of Aquino and Purisima — and even of Gen. Gregorio Catapang and his field commanders — so the truth can be established, which is important for strengthening our rule of law.

What am I talking about asking Smart to be patriotic?

It is a foreign-owned firm. A 100-percent subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Smart, therefore, is 46 percent owned by foreign firms, with the next biggest single stockholding bloc of only 8 percent being owned by Filipino John Gokongwei. About 26 percent is owned by the First Pacific Co. Ltd of Hong Kong, of which, 45 percent is held by Indonesian Anthoni Salim, son of former Indonesian strongman Suharto’s biggest crony, the late Sudono. The other 20 percent is held by the Japanese giant NTT, which is in charge of the firm’s technology. (Its chairman, Manuel V. Pangilinan, has 0.11 percent)

Foreigners control a strategic, near-monopoly communications firm that provides crucial telecom services for the battles fought by our military. Foreigners now hold information that would determine indisputably whether this President, deliberately or not, allowed 44 of our elite troopers to be massacred?

What a pathetic country we’ve become.

Roxas confirms (again): Aquino was in command

by Rigoberto Tiglao on April 7, 2015

Stupidity and arrogance seem to be contagious in this Administration.

In yesterday’s hearing at Congress investigating the January 24 Mamasapano massacre, Secretary of Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas came to the defense of his boss — at least he thought he did — by claiming the tragic blunder happened because Special Action Forces (SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas didn’t follow President Benigno S. Aquino’s orders.

Napeñas did testify in the hearing and in the Senate that in his meeting with President Aquino in Malacañang and suspended Police Chief Alan Purisima two weeks before the tragic operation, the Chief Executive had told them to coordinate with the military.

But Napeñas said he explained at length to the President that previous attempts to get the international terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir aka “Marwan” failed because of leaks in the military that had alerted the target and enabled him to escape.

The SAF head said that the President remained silent, which he interpreted as his agreement to the operation plan’s calling for informing the military only when the SAF police had reached the target. Napeñas’ interpretation was bolstered by the fact that after he left the room and Purisima talked to the President alone, the suspended police chief and Aquino’s bosom friend, as he left that meeting, told him that it would be him (Purisima) who would coordinate with Roxas and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Catapang on “Operation Exodus.”

No worries: Aquino, Roxas and Gazmin in Zamboanga City on the day of the massacre, pretending nothing was happening in Mamasapano.

No worries: Aquino, Roxas and Gazmin in Zamboanga City on the day of the massacre, pretending nothing was happening in Mamasapano.

In yesterday’s hearing, Roxas butted into a congressman’s series of questions to Napeñas by saying: “Aquino’s order was for Napeñas to coordinate with the military. Napeñas violated his order by interpreting that silence as the President’s agreement to his proposal.” Congressman Rodolfo Biazon, once a fearless general but now has become Aquino’s puppy in Congress, thought himself brilliant yesterday by repeating the same argument.

Napeñas the scapegoat
Roxas and Biazon didn’t realize the import of their attempt, making commando leader Napeñas a scapegoat: They were in effect affirming that Aquino was in charge of the operations, to the extent that he ignored Purisima’s suspension as police chief to allow him to be his “executive officer” in the operations and to be the only officer reporting to him on the day of the massacre.

As Roxas himself testified at the Senate, the President ignored with a curt “thank you” his message early in the morning that SAF troops were being killed. Aquino didn’t even bother to meet with his top security officials—Roxas, defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang—who were with him since morning and through the whole day in Zamboanga City.

That could only mean that Aquino remained in charge of the operation the whole time the ill-fated operation was being undertaken, and through noon when the 44 commandos were massacred. This, in fact, was further established by Purisima’s testimony and affidavits that he was texting the President to report on the operations, until his last message at 6:15 p.m.

PNP acting chief Leonardo Espina yesterday seemed to realize that his previous tearful testimonies in the Senate hadn’t gotten him any closer to Aquino, since he hadn’t been appointed police chief and the President had been widely rumored to be thinking of somebody else for the post

So the pathetic acting police chief chose to become as much a boot-licker as his immediate boss and made the incredible assertion in the Congress hearing: “The chain of command in the PNP in that operation involved only Napeñas and down the rungs.”

As I said, stupidity in this Administration is quite contagious.

Espina, obviously to spare Aquino from any blame, was in effect claiming that Napeñas was a rogue general who deployed 392 elite commandos from Sta. Rosa, Laguna and elsewhere to an “insurgent-infested” Mindanao area under the jurisdiction of the AFP’s Western Command. And Napeñas did that in order to take out a terrorist with a $5 million bounty on his head, and coordinated with American intelligence operatives, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation—all on his own.

Didn’t Espina believe the testimonies of both Aquino’s bosom friend Purisima and Napeñas that they met twice with Aquino, and in his official residence in Malacañang, to discuss Operation Exodus?

Aquino on top of command chain
Aquino was at the top of the chain of command of this tragic operation that had led to the massacre of 44 commandos. He violated it, though, by taking in as his deputy an official suspended by the Ombudsman for corruption, Purisima. That is what the Senate and the very courageous PNP Board of Inquiry have both concluded. Aquino even abetted Purisima’s crime, which, according to the Senate report, was usurpation of authority punishable under the Penal Code.

Living up to its brown-nosed image, though, the Congressional hearings yesterday and today will try its best—because of the huge pork-barrel funds (renamed Bottom-Up Budgeting) that the most servile Speaker ever, Feliciano Belmonte, has dangled over them—to white-wash the massacre and portray this President as a brilliant military strategist, whose orders just weren’t followed by the SAF head.

That, however, won’t work. Assume he, indeed, had a brilliant military strategy. But he did realize in the morning that his orders were not followed strictly, or that he was misinterpreted.

A more mentally balanced and experienced commander-in-chief, after the reports came in that morning that the operation wasn’t going as smoothly as planned, would have dropped everything and called his top security officials—Gazmin, Roxas, Catapang and Espina who were ironically with him in Zamboanga—to an emergency meeting to respond to the crisis and use all the forces and power centers of the Republic.

Aquino didn’t do anything until around 6:00 p.m., which was only when he called his security officials to a meeting in Zamboanga City, long after the 44 commandos were massacred. Or perhaps he did something: order his troops to stand down, so his peace talks with the MILF wouldn’t be jeopardized.

Did he panic and procrastinate in making a decision, as somebody would if like him, that person in his entire life never had a position of leadership, other than running his family’s security agency with a single client, Hacienda Luisita?

Was he too arrogant and egoistic that he wouldn’t admit that the operation only he and Purisima planned was failing, that he wouldn’t even ask Roxas and Gazmin to help him out of the quagmire he found himself in?

Or did Aquino choose to just forget an unpleasant event unfolding in Mamasapano so that he just went ahead with his planned trip around Zamboanga City as though nothing was happening, as an extremely spoiled brat or somebody with Asperger’s syndrome would?

We will never know. The deaths of 44 commandos will never be vindicated.

Aquino-MILF pact a curse on the nation

April 5, 2015

I wrote the following piece two years and five months ago, right after the much-vaunted signing by the government of the “Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro” with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Malacanang in October 2012. Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak would even be at the signing ceremony in March 2014 of [...]

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The real ‘fuse’ of the Muslim insurgency

March 31, 2015

I applaud the National Historical Commission for resisting President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s pressure to declare the Jabidah hoax as real. However, the NHC’s claim, enshrined in the marker it approved for a “Mindanao Garden of Peace” on Corregidor, that the “reports of killings of Muslim youth served as a fuse that led to the national [...]

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National Historical Commission: No ‘Jabidah’

March 29, 2015

Fourth of a five-part series Unlike the gullible President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his “peace” negotiators, and despite intense pressures put on this government body, the National Historical Commission has refused to recognize that a “Jabidah massacre” occurred. In his speech in 2013 in Corregidor commemorating the “Jabidah massacre,” Aquino ordered the National Historical Commission [...]

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Clearest indications that Jabidah was a hoax

March 26, 2015

Third of a four-part series The clearest indications that the “Jabidah massacre” – claimed to this day to have sparked the Moro rebellion – was nothing but a hoax are the contrasting fates of the alleged perpetrators and the supposed sole witness, Jibin Arula. The “Jabidah” killings purportedly occurred under the clandestine “Operation Merdeka” in [...]

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Only Aquino was fooled by ‘Jabidah’ hoax

March 25, 2015

Second of Three Parts It’s not just former police chief Alan Purisima and Special Action Force (SAF) chief Director Getulio Napeñas—key characters in the Mamasapano drama—who have managed to fool President Benigno Aquino 3rd, leading to the massacre of 44 elite police commandos. This arrogant, yet gullible president, out of all five chief commanders of [...]

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‘Jabidah’ was a big hoax

March 22, 2015

First of three parts The so-called “Jabidah massacre” has been the biggest hoax foisted on this nation. It was a yarn spun in 1968 by treasonous politicians of the Liberal Party at that time as a propaganda weapon intended to deal what they thought would be a fatal blow to then President Marcos’ bid for [...]

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Americans cared more about saving SAF than Aquino and his generals

March 20, 2015

The Senate report on the Mamasapano massacre revealed one of its saddest chapters, narrated in one of its executive (read: secret) sessions. Special Action Forces were radioing for help as they were trapped, and real-time video by American drones showed the actual battle that Muslim snipers were killing them one by one with their caliber-50 [...]

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Stop these mad men already!

March 17, 2015

The nation is moving toward a political crisis that looks nearly as bad as when President Estrada was impeached for high crimes. It is also nearly as bad as when those traitors known as the Hyatt 10, President Cory Aquino, and those opportunist Makati business organizations, called for President Arroyo’s resignation in 2005. Developments could [...]

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