ROUGH CUTS| The President’s mind game with the US

THAT the investigation on the bloody Mamasapano incident last January 25, 2015 be re-opened as contemplated by President Rodrigo Duterte must be pursued.

     Yes, the President’s intention to “let the truth out” is something that is of extreme importance in view of his antagonistic stance against the United States. The President needs to accumulate in his “arsenal” information that could put the US on the spot while the latter is in the process of discrediting the Philippine leader in the eyes of the Filipinos.

     We are all aware that the US is hammering the Philippine President very strongly in his alleged human rights violations in the conduct of his anti-illegal drugs campaign, a thing that President Duterte considers as most unwanted intervention of the affairs of a sovereign government long independent from the United States.

     This is the same admonition by the US government on Duterte’s alleged violation of human rights that the Philippine President has questioned the former as to its moral authority to do. And to strengthen his claim of lack of moral high grounds of the US, the President resurrected the Bud Dajo Massacre perpetrated by US soldiers in Sulu during the so-called “pacification campaign” against the Muslim Filipinos whom the Americans failed to subjugate in the early 1900s.

     Duterte was able to highlight the gory incident by showing the Filipinos a picture of the piles of bodies of Moro people, estimated to be a thousand of them, right after the massacre. The picture even showed an American soldier standing with one of his foot on the cadaver.

     In another snipe by Duterte the Philippine President reminded the Filipinos, the whole world, and of course the American government, of the US invasion and massive destruction of Iraq primarily because the Iraqi President at that time Saddam Hussein was alleged to be keeping in his country’s arsenal “weapons of mass destruction.”

     Duterte told the world, that might have known it already much earlier, that the US soldiers, despite their sophisticated equipment, did not find even a single weapon of mass destruction. Yet, the US proceeded to have Saddam executed.

     The President asserted that in both atrocities committed, the magnitude of the violation of human rights by the US soldiers was beyond comprehension. Yet, there never was any report of the US government apologizing for such dastardly acts, according to the President.

     Now we can feel that President Duterte is sensing with certainty some explosive information to buttress his claim of the US lack of moral authority to question his alleged human rights violations. This opportunity could come once the gamut behind the Mamasapano bloodbath is fully unearthed with the re-opening of its probe.

     By saying that his intention is “not really to prosecute people but just to know what happened,” we suspect that the Philippine President is harboring the thought that the serving of the warrants of arrest on Zulkifli bin Hir, a Malaysian national, and Abdulbasit Usman, a Filipino, was orchestrated by the US government.

     We have this idea because the President knows too well that it was the US who tagged Bin Hir as head of a terrorist group called Kumpulan Mujahidin of Malaysia, and a member of the Jeemah Islamiyah’s central command. Duterte knows as well that it is the US that promised a pot prize of 5 million and 1 million dollars for the capture of Bin Hir and Usman, respectively.

     And we have this notion that the President is aiming to get a definitive information on the level of participation of the US in that Mamasapano operation by taking cue from the admission of then Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) chief Gen. Getulio Napenas. In the January 27, 2016 hearing of the Senate on the said incident Napenas admitted under oath that his unit did not coordinate with the military operating in that area, the local police, and the peace process authorities. Instead, Napenas told the Senate probe body, his command coordinated with the United States government and its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

     Of course the President also knows that the SAF blindsided then Acting PNP Director General Leonardo Espina of the conduct of the operation. The SAF chief admitted he was taking orders from suspended Police Director General Allan Purisima with the knowledge of then President Benigno Simeon Aquino III

     We are certain that whatever comes out of a re-opened Mamasapano investigation it will further solidify the position of the President that he has sufficient reasons to complain about the unjustness of the US government’s intervention of purely Philippine affairs including his policy of stopping the drug problem in the country in a way he feels appropriate to the situation.

     Imagine 44 members of the elite Special Action Force of the PNP, 17 members of the secessionist and renegade Moro rebels and 5 civilians whose lives were snapped in that instance of recklessly executing two arrest orders on personalities doggedly wanted by the US government! Imagine a whole unit of highly trained policemen led to the road of perdition and sure death on orders from a suspended PNP chief apparently manipulated by intelligence people from a government other than the Philippines?

     Add to that the Merring caper in 2002 where the person involved in an explosion inside his hotel room was taken from his hospital confinement by alleged CIA members without coordinating with the local police and the civilian authorities of Davao City where the President was mayor then! That would be more than enough for a leader of a sovereign nation to raise hell.

     And with all those bloody misadventures of the US government herein-cited can President Duterte be faulted if he calls the US morally bankrupt of basis to charge his administration of violating human rights?

     In all these we feel that the President has the 4-square backing of the Filipinos. What is somewhat unacceptable is the way he communicates such intentions that oftentimes makes his statements misunderstood.


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