The Napoles Story: So the Entire Philippines Will Know


By Alfredo Masigan

Janet Lim Napoles has strong ties before with the late Emilia Boncodin, DBM Secretary. Emilia is the one that keep Janet in the loop whenever a budget or SARO is approved and to which senator or congressman.

Gringo Honasan is a dear friend of Janet’s husband, Jimmy Napoles. I was surprised when I read somewhere online when Honasan was interviewed and he said that he doesn’t know the Napoles family.

During the coup in Cory’s time, Jimmy Napoles was driving a tank on the way to Camp Crame when his tank was hit by a mortar. Jimmy was operating the .50 caliber machine gun and the soldier driving the tank died during the blast. Jimmy survived and was jailed along with Honasan. If you can get clear photos of Jimmy Napoles online, you will see that part of his face and his arms show burn marks.


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Beyond the Cat-Dog Paradigm

Stray dogs attending to  deceased Mexican woman who used to feed them in life.

Stray dogs attending to deceased Mexican woman who used to feed them in life.

From the wires, we have this story of a woman. who, while in repose and in the cremation of her remains, was guarded and attended to by stray dogs. All her life, she fed stray dogs and cats, which daily made a beeline to her home.

Strange, you might say, that no stray cat had demonstrated its loyalty and affection to her in death, whereas the dogs did. Well, that’s the nature of cats–they act imperial as if the world owes them a living.

To bring the analogy to the Philippine setting: Those who, at every turn, bash President Noynoy Aquino are cat-like. They think that the universe revolves around them, they are excruciatingly self-righteous yet are blind to the vote-buying and the blatant corruption around them. Although they are in the minority, their hisses and meows are amplified and punctuated by the other cats–i.e. those with vested interests.

When James Fallows asserted that Filipinos have a damaged culture, I think he was alluding to Philippine cats. A majority they don’t make. Their grating meows are nothing but rage and fury signifying nothing.

It is thus reassuring that most Filipinos are thankful and appreciative of the Tuwid Na Daan program of the President. Rapid economic growth is one result. World-class infrastructures are another. Still another is world acknowledgment of the good things happening.

Since no one is more capable and viable at this point, let’s push for PNoy’s term extension.

And in a jiffy, I’d be a dog for that.

Would you?

On a Beautiful Day. . .

You could see forever. . .

Meanwhile, on the same day in Rome. . .

What could be more heartening than common people with the common dream of supporting Tuwid na Daan of the President. And this happened on a beautiful day, March 29, 2015.

Strategy, strategy, strategy. . .

Mabuhay to all!

The Way of Snakes

Even if you lick it or slather it in lotion, a snake will always be a snake.  Photo credit:  Meetville

Even if you lick it or slather it in lotion, a snake will always be a snake. Photo credit: Meetville

As if the country is in the grip of a diabolical force that makes its inhabitants so crazy as to find fault in someone else except themselves.  What could be this force? Is it the second coming Christ, as it were?

Some are so brazen as to accuse President Noynoy Aquino of mental instability, never mind that the guy is superb in managing the affairs of government, with foreign governments and businessmen taking notice and giving it an A rating. Pray tell, is that a sign of mental instability?

You might say that these contrabidas are only a handful, but the thing is, they are in media, and media have their own agenda, their own slant. But they grate just the same, and there’s the rub. Of course, these media people are not divine, a lot of them are unscrupulous. A lot of them are what we call “attack and collect”. Is there anything more vile than selling your soul to the devil?

Beware of snakes—they are everywhere including government. Say, haven’t you noticed that as soon as the Anti Money Laundering Council set sights on the bank accounts of VP Binay, the paid rallies and demonstrations came to a halt? That tells you the quality of men and women in those movements. They are not doing their thing as principled human beings; they are doing it for the money

There is also this neophyte senator, who won and became number one because of President Noynoy’s endorsement—and she becomes a snake, impugning the President’s integrity. Might it be that she tries to compensate her lack of gray matter by being controversial? She it was who machinated the ouster of PNP Chief General Purisima, such that when the Mamasapano Operation (which was Purisima’s baby) was launched, it resulted in many casualties, as it was half-baked, Purisima being only in the sidelines.

And what did this neophyte and devilish senator do? She came up with a half-baked report, again impugning the President. Did it ever occur to her that she is the be-all and end-all of the Mamasapano Debacle? If she did not engage in bamboozling General Purisima, it could have been an unqualified success, and not partly successful as was the case, with the killing of the most wanted terrorist Marwan.

Moral of the story: Beware of snakes—even if you slather them in lotion, still their nature is that of snakes.

Just to Editorialize

Although, in the micro level, GuinaronaDotCom is about promoting the Guinarona San Pascual Baylon Parish as a site for religious tourism and ecotourism, we cannot be so insular as to yank out the macro, the general, the national.

San Pascual Baylon Apparition on reliquary, March 19, 2015

San Pascual Baylon Apparition on reliquary, March 19, 2015

That is why. every so often. we feature articles of national and international import, and we encourage all and sundry to submit their MS for publication.

We wish to thank the irrepressible Manong Santana for his explosive and thought-provoking piece, Calling a Spade a Spade: A Message to Filipinos. Said article drove our viewership to the stratosphere as follows:

March 19, first publication 5,821
March 20                        83,206
March 21                        76,556
March 22                        31,032

In the meantime, here are the synchronicities around the aforementioned dates:

March 19                       Latest San Pascual Baylon apparition
March 20                       Spring Equinox and Total Solar Eclipse

Very mystical, isn’t it?

Oh, No, It’s a Half-Baked Report!

NOTE:  Re the preliminary report on Mamasapano by the Senate Committee chaired by Sen, Grace Poe, our expert chimes in below.  He has the cojones to do just that.

His bona-fides:  An International and Cyber Lawyer with an LL.B and LL.M; An Educator with an M.A. in Human Resource Development; An IT Chief Executive Officer with M.B.A. background; Community and Trade Association Leader; Lecturer/Speaker/Writer; Political Strategist; Technology Pioneer.

Ultimately Responsible? NO, Poe! 

By Benjamin Maynigo

My barber asked, “What is your take on the Senate Report on the Mamasapano encounter? According to the report, PNoy is ‘ultimately responsible for the outcome of the mission’. Do you agree?”

“NO, Poe!” I told my barber. The report bothers me. I believe that Senator Poe and the other Senators who signed the report have an erroneous understanding and incorrect application of the doctrine of Command Responsibility.  Their claim that as Commander in Chief as well as Chief Executive of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) respectively, he is responsible for the criminal or illegal acts committed by the subordinates under his supervision and control.

There exists a body of law as well as jurisprudence that govern and apply the doctrine of Command Responsibility.

Section 28 (a) of the Rome Statute states,  “A military commander or person effectively acting as a military commander shall be criminally responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed by forces under his or her effective command and control, or effective authority and control as the case may be, as a result of his or her failure to exercise control properly over such forces, where:

                    (i) That military commander or person either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit such crimes; and

                    (ii) That military commander or person failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.”

If the parties are non-military, Section 28 (b) applies, “With respect to superior and subordinate relationships not described in paragraph (a), a superior shall be criminally responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed by subordinates under his or her effective authority and control, as a result of his or her failure to exercise control properly over such subordinates, where:

                    (i) The superior either knew, or consciously disregarded information which clearly indicated, that the subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes;

                    (ii) The crimes concerned activities that were within the effective responsibility and control of the superior; and

                    (iii) The superior failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.“

The doctrine enunciated in the case of General Yamashita and the cases tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the Nuremberg trials, and other cases, clearly illustrate how Command Responsibility was applied.

According to the tribunals, for the Commanders to be liable and responsible for the acts of others, look for the following elements:

  1. A superior-subordinate relationship must exist, where the superior has supervision and control over the subordinate;
  2. A subordinate committed a criminal act;
  3. The superior either knew, should have known, or consciously disregarded information which clearly indicated that the subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes; and
  4. The superior failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to take steps for the punishment of the subordinates.

Applying it to the Yamashita case, for example: The Japanese Imperial Forces in the Philippines during World War II committed atrocities amounting to mass murder, rape, and other war crimes or crimes against humanity. It was decided that General Yamashita as Commander of the Imperial Forces was as guilty as his subordinates who committed the crimes.

General Douglas MacArthur was the Commander of the US Armed Forces in the Pacific that included the Philippines where he was initially stationed. When he left the country for Australia, the Japanese atrocities continued unabated during his absence. He failed to prevent them while he was in Australia. He was not ultimately responsible. In fact, he returned to liberate the Filipinos from these atrocities!

US President Harry Truman ordered the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing about 200,000 people. Was he ever cited for being “ultimately responsible”? No, it ended World War II!

Let us apply it to the Mamasapano incident. The Senators insist on calling it a “massacre” despite the fact that 392 SAF heavily armed Commandos participated. The Senators and the Press called the SAF 44 heroes and yet, they are being portrayed as having been mercilessly “massacred” by unnumbered BIFF, MILF, and other armed groups.  I assume that the forty-four (44) SAF policemen fought valiantly killing the global terrorist Marwan and other rebels. The Senate Report is silent on what the rest of the 392 did, but it was quick to conclude, “The President is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the mission.”

What was the mission, and what was the outcome? The SAF Commandos were tasked to serve the Warrants of Arrest to capture Marwan – a globally wanted criminal and terrorist and Usman– another terrorist. Fully aware that they were hiding in a very secluded area and protected by Muslim rebels, the Commandos knew that it was a risky undertaking. It was a great mission for them because capturing both would prevent more deaths from terrorist bombings.

They successfully served the warrants and neutralized Marwan. Usman was wounded but escaped. In the process, fighting ensued resulting in the death of 44 SAF policemen, and 18 rebels.  There were 348 SAF survivors returning safely and successfully avoiding being “massacred”.

Except for the “massacre”, the mission was successful. But for the “massacre”, the Senate Report says that the President is ultimately responsible. The basis was a lot of “could have been”, “could have done more”, and “might have been” which are in legal parlance “speculative” and therefore, inadmissible.

Most importantly, the doctrine of Command Responsibility is erroneously understood, and incorrectly applied.

First, the Senate Report claims that BIFF, MILF, and other armed groups committed the alleged “massacre”. There is no superior-subordinate relationship between President Aquino and the perpetrators of the “massacre”.

Second, President Aquino obviously did not know, could not have known, or consciously disregarded any information that the rebels would be committing a “massacre”. On the contrary, he received false information from his subordinates to base his decision.

Third, he did not have the power to prevent the “massacre” but definitely ordered the Armed Forces to go and pursue the criminals, and for the Secretary of Justice to investigate and file the necessary charges for the victims to obtain justice. Furthermore, he ordered the sacking of General Napenas and forced the resignation of General Purisima.

Either as a Commander in Chief or Chief Executive, it is his prerogative to skip any Chain of Command.  He may consult officers or officials of lower ranks if he chooses to in aid of Execution. He may rely on certain advisers or resource persons who have expertise and his confidence also in aid of Execution. That is why in Organizational Charts, there is what we call Table of Organization vs. the Table of Power as well as those who have Line vs. Staff functions.

In the Catholic hierarchy, here is the chain: God, Pope, Cardinal, Archbishop, Parish Priest, and Parishioner. Sometimes the Parishioner communicates directly with God or asks for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and/or the Saints.

Sometimes the CEO asks low-level employees to give their suggestions or express their complaints directly to him confidentially, thus – skipping the Chain.

In the Mamasapano incident, the Court issued Warrants of Arrest and asked the SAF policemen to serve the warrants, in aid of Justice Administration. Prosecutors and Courts make use of State witnesses to strengthen the cases also in aid of Justice Administration. Congress relies on resource persons or experts in their investigations, in aid of Legislation.

Let me reduce this thing to absurdity (reduction ad absurdum). The cause of the cause is the cause of the final effect (causa causae est causa causati).

If there were no warrants of arrest to serve, the SAF policemen would not have gone there and have not been “massacred”. Is the Court ultimately responsible”?

If BBL became law, Muslim courts would issue warrants, Muslim policemen would serve them and no “massacre’” would occur. Is Congress ultimately responsible?

President Aquino displayed bold leadership and daring to get the SAF to serve and execute a Court Order for a national and global cause. The Senate Report itself recognizes his commitment to the peace process that even former President Ramos supports.

There is a need for the Rule of Law, Justice and Peace to prevail in the Muslim region. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) are attempts to fulfill this need. PNoy and the Executive branch have done their jobs.

Senators and Congressmen, do yours! Blaming PNoy would get you and us nowhere! Amend it if you must but pass a constitutionally acceptable BBL that would guide the destiny of our Muslim brothers and our nation!

Who is Without Empathy?

NOTE:  The Mamasapano incident has been hogging the national discourse and is being fed fuel left and right, the latest being the allegation that army commanders in the field were wined on the eve of the event, the better to neutralize them.  On whose orders, you might say?  Doesn’t sabotage come into play?  And who were the saboteurs?

On the other hand, President Noynoy has been bamboozled, nay crucified for not being in Villamor to receive the Mamasapano-SAF cadavers. For “lack of empathy”.  Well, empathy cuts both ways:  Do we have empathy for the President? You see, context is important.  It is not enough that you shout to high heavens without–yes, empathy, without discernment.

Do you know the side of the President?  

Here it is, as elucidated by Malacanang Communications Director Manuel L. Quezon III.

Rogue | March 2015
The Mourning After

By Manuel L. Quezon III

Featured Image -- 65768As criticism bears down on his administration in the wake of the Mamasapano clash, President Aquino faces the impossibility of extricating his personal history from the national narrative.

THERE is a particularly painful grief that comes from having judged a person, only to discover later on, when it’s too late to matter to that person, that you were wrong. When those coffins emerged from the C-130s in Villamor Airbase, the steady beat of the drums, the constant repetition of “Nearer My God To Thee,” the sound of hundreds wailing as parents, wives, and children—realizing with finality that their loved ones were truly gone—broke the heart of a nation, one that had long ago consigned the uniform of a policeman to being a badge of shame instead of honor. We realized we had been wrong—and not just about one or two, but about many.

These men, in their metal coffins covered with the flag, were heroes.

The people of Zamboanga City knew it best of all. They had a personal relationship with the fallen; they viewed the liberation of their city from rogue elements of MNLF as a deliverance made possible by the SAF. It was a relationship the President shared, for we forget how he had joined them in the field and threw his full support behind them as they fought, with the Armed Forces, to clear the city, street by street. It was for this reason that he was in Zamboanga City soon after the bombs went off: the city was still recovering; its sense of security was still brittle; he wanted to ensure—and for the people of the city to know—that his interest in their recovery and their future security extended beyond past emergencies.

On his way to Zamboanga he began to get news that the operation in Maguindanao had, after its initial success, started to go very wrong. At once, conspiracy theories were hatched. When the President addressed the nation, the blame game took on Olympic proportions. Friend and foe alike joined the fray.

In August 2010, as dusk fell, the President came to our office and quietly told us that the unfolding Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis was reaching its most perilous point. The hostage-taker’s nerves are frayed, he said, and everyone involved will be tired and jittery; things can unfold in a matter of seconds, and the professionals must be primed to move swiftly and effectively to neutralize the hostage-taker if he snaps, and rescue the hostages—otherwise, a bloodbath would ensue. I will never forget how, as we watched the bloodbath he had feared take place on TV, at the back of my mind was the realization that the horror of the moment was compounded by what we knew, which was—the President had foreseen this, and he had been right.

Nor will I ever forget how, in the frantic, anxious minutes after he returned to the Palace, I suggested to him that he needed to go on TV immediately because the country needed a consoler-in-chief. He looked at me and said he owed the country the facts. He proceeded to interrogate the top brass; and only after this did he address the country. I only understood why he said this when it later emerged that prudent measures he had ordered to prevent mass slaughter were not carried out.

In subsequent crises—whether man-made, such as rebel attacks, or acts of nature, such as typhoons and earthquakes—we had the same President, but different reactions from him. His strengths—an understanding of logistics, a long view with regards to the national interest, a vise-like grip on his own emotions, a reluctance to say things for the sake of saying something, and an insistence on rationality and facts when addressing the public—have also been his weaknesses. We (the people), who live life so vividly, are often confounded by dogged determination to do his duty behind the scenes when what we have come to expect is the grand gesture, the clichéd phrase, cathartic unfolding of a familiar script.

When preparations were being made to return the remains of the fallen SAF troopers to Manila, the President instructed that the fullest honors be rendered; that every family’s particular circumstances be gathered, and every possible source within the limits of the law be explored, to provide for each family’s needs. Would he go to Villamor? No, he would not. But why? And he told a story: when they came home from Boston, they barely had any time to be together with their father for the last time: could we imagine what it was like to see his grisly remains for the first time? He would not deny them time. The families must have time to come to terms with their grief. He would not bring a circus to intrude but, instead, see them when his public role was proper—to deliver a eulogy—and his presence would serve a purpose beyond ritual: to assure them concrete plans were in place to provide material security to families confronted not only with grief, but anxiety about their future.

Here is where the vividness of the past collides with the forgetfulness of the present, and where duty defies expectations. The President was crucified for his absence in Villamor; and again, friend and foe alike thundered and shrilled, whether out of disappointment or delight.

The President belongs to a generation that was raised with a very different perspective on public emotion from what we have come to expect from celebrities. That perspective is derived from a life lived in public view; from a constant awareness not only of being constantly watched, but of always of being expected to set an example. This is particularly true of sons. I do not think and, indeed, I strongly doubt that my upbringing was very different from his—and from a very early age it involved a lot of don’ts: when in public, don’t fidget; stand up straight; mind your manners; do your duty, whether it’s enduring a speech, or making one; most of all, show strength and never cry. So thoroughly had this been drilled into me that, on the day of my father’s funeral, his reminders kept echoing in my head, and it was only when they were sealing his tomb, and most mourners had left, that I could cry. I practically collapsed in my aunt’s arms, and to this day, I wonder how she managed to keep us standing.

Consider this instinct, which is so strong in the natural course of things, and what it must be like for those who share the same instincts in the midst of the trauma of tragedy. My father lost his mother, sister, and brother-in-law in an ambush; among my earliest and most vivid memories was his telling me that the only time he had to properly grieve was in the brief time he had with his sister, when he arrived home after having been told the news. After that brief time together, time was not theirs, nor was grief; they were part of a collective experience that is both highly personal—for other relatives, friends, officials, and followers—and yet strangely impersonal, with everything reported, editorialized upon, filmed and photographed.

The President has said time and again that, when his father died, he became the head of the family, the protector of his mother and sisters—not only during times of genuine peril, but also in the years of near-constant political storms and stress. This is a situation that is not conducive to wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve, or demonstrating weakness, not just in public, but even in private. It is what made him who he is; it is the only way he knows how to do what he must.

Publicly, it meant he commiserated with the grieving the only way he knew how: in terms of his own loss, only for it to become clear how little anyone else can comprehend how colossal that loss was for him. Here was a very public rupture, indeed. Yet no one was at fault; certainly not those in the midst of grief; not a President confronted with, how unknowable to others, how deep one’s private loss can be; not the public, for whom the personal loss of yesterday had become intertwined with a national story of redemption at once deeply personal, yet which had become, over time, so distant.

We did not elect this President to be another run-of-the-mill leader. Every president ends up, sooner or later, obsessed with history; each one is the product, not only of the history of his or her times, but also of his or her own personal history. That history has been his strength, and at times, his weakness. Most, however, leave nothing to chance, and it is a rare President who takes the long view and possesses the certainty that, when the dust settles and emotions abate, vindication will be his. This surely comes at a high cost—not only politically, but personally. In the end, when he addressed the nation for a second time, he finally showed what he had felt all along, but hadn’t permitted himself, until that moment, to fully reveal.

Yet with the passing of that moment, he must continue to confront what he is: to his mind, someone not permitted the freedom of public emotion. For you will never be alone, never allowed to let go, never permitted to come to terms—until your own time is up, and the next generation steps forward to come to terms with what you had to live with all your life: neither joy nor grief are exempt from being public property.