Nonoy Aquino on the families of dead SAF: “I feel what you feel.”!


MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE 5 – 1:02 p.m.) “Damang-dama ko ang nararamdaman ninyo (I feel what you feel),” President Benigno Aquino III told the families of the Special Action Force commandos who died in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Sunday as he recounted how he overcame his own grief at the assassination of his father, anti-dictatorship opposition leader Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1993.

Aquino, speaking at the necrological rites for the 44 slain policemen at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City Friday devoted close to half his speech on recalling how difficult it was to lose his father and how even more difficult it was to move from anger to acceptance.

The service, which had begun earlier Friday morning, was halted twice, first for around 30 minutes to wait for Aquino, who was scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. and, later, when he met privately with the families of the slain policemen after condoling with them.

In his speech, Aquino acknowledged that Sunday’s mission, intended to get Malaysian terrorist Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and his Filipino cohort Abdul Basit Usman, left several questions begging for answers, begging with “Why?”

He admitted he could not answer the question.

He nevertheless vowed to get Usman.

Although government has said Marwan was killed in the operation, there has yet been no hard confirmation of this information.

“We have already directed our forces to plan a better operation … We will prove that we are enforcing the law. I assure you, we will get Basit Usman,” he said.

At the same time, Aquino said he cannot let emotions get the better of him despite the massive loss of lives.

Hindi ako puwedeng magpadaan sa emosyon. Hindi puwedeng daanin sa bara-bara. Kung idadaan sa galit, baka lalo ko pang madagdagan ang problema (I cannot let emotions get the better of me. We cannot be too hasty. If I give in to anger, I might be worsening the problem),” he said.

He assured the families that all possible help will be extended to them, including scholarships and employment opportunities.

A day earlier, Aquino drew brickbats for his absence at the arrival in Manila of the remains of 42 of the fallen commandos to be at the inauguration of an automobile plant in Laguna.

Upon his arrival, Aquino, wearing a black armband, was accompanied by Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, acting Philippine National Police chief Leonardo Espina, and new SAF commander, Chief Superintendent Noli Talino, as he made the rounds of the 42 coffins, standing by each one for a brief prayer and handing medals to the slain policemen’s families.

At one of the coffins, the widow of the fallen policeman from Bataan did not take the plaque offered her by Aquino. Her mother did so in her stead.

At the start of the ceremonies, two police officers gave messages honoring their colleagues and vowing that their heroism would not be forgotten.

Marahil hindi po ninyo alam ang SAF, dahil hindi po iyan ipinamamalita. Ito po, kami po ang SAF (Maybe you don’t know the SAF because this is not often in the news. This, we are the SAF),” one of the officers, Chief Inspector Victor Lacwasan, said.

Earlier Friday morning, more than a thousand graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy marched from Fort Bonifacio to Camp Bagong Diwa in a “sympathy walk” to demand justice for their fallen comrades.


Peque Gallaga blast local media and the government over handling of the aftermath of typhoon:” (They) are more concerned with their showbiz image than confronting, accepting, and dealing with the problem.”!

Peque Gallaga lashed out at the local media and Malacañang for “self-servicing press releases” that tell a different story from the reality of the situation in the ravage affected places in the south after the onslaught of SuperTyphoon Yolanda.


Below is what Gallaga wrote on his Facebook account under the pseudonym Nelson Bakunawa:

“Not since Marcos have we as a people been so polarized.

“As far as our hearts and minds are concerned, it’s like we’re in the edge of a civil war.

“We are forced to take a hard look at ourselves and what we value.

“Because of this, we are fighting friends in coffee houses, on the telephone, and on Facebook.

“We are a people whose lives have been upended.

“We don’t know what to do to get things done right and right away. We lash out.

“We insult our leaders trying to get them to do a lot more than to pose for photo ops—of giving out relief goods on a one-by-one basis.

“We cry desperately for demonstrable government response—we get almost next to nothing.

“It is increasingly apparent that local media goes hand in hand with self-servicing Malacañang press releases, which are more concerned with their showbiz image than confronting, accepting, and dealing with the problem.

“What our leaders tell us is contradicted by the reports from international commentators, who are understandably more objective and growing less dispassionate as they witness the horrors around them.

“What our leaders tell us is also contradicted by the victims in these areas who are slowly able to give us the true picture of the realities of the situation.

“And the reality is that people are starving.

“The dead still lie on the streets even five days after the event.

“There are anguished souls scavenging for whatever they can to survive, as well as professional looters ambushing the helpless and relief caravans.

“It’s a war zone out there.

“This disaster has affected, not only the islands in the path of Yolanda, but all of us as a nation. We have all been judged and found wanting.

“But more worrisome, is that we take a long hard look at our leaders and we judge and we find them wanting.

“It is worrisome because we have chosen them and are paying them to serve the needs of our nation and it seems that they can’t deliver.

“I don’t think that anybody, even the most criminal politician, can be that hard-hearted and close his eyes to this calamity, so I can only surmise that they don’t know what to do.

“That they are impotent and incompetent.

“I am 70 years old and I don’t know what to do, but then again, I didn’t run for office promising the voters that I would take care of national concerns.

“I am a private citizen and like most of my fellow citizens, have given of what I have to the relief effort. I have given to the point of hurting.

“I am 70 years old and have been stupid a lot of times for seven decades.

“I want to think that I can be a little less stupid now.

“This time, I want to make sure that my hard-earned money will reach its intended goal.

“I am sick and tired of throwing away my money; of making our politicians wealthy because of my unconcern and my inattention.

“I am sick and tired of my stupidity.

“So I very much care now where all this help is going.

“I read Marvin Xanth Geronimo who was there when Yolanda struck: that TV personalities and politicians like Mar Roxas and Ted Failon going to Tacloban for the photo op.

“They never helped; endless tracking video shots of flattened towns with people walking clutching a plastic bottle of water with no government presence whatsoever; Korina Sanchez calling Anderson Cooper ‘misinformed.’

“Cooper was in Tacloban. Korina was not; the US landing 5 planes full of goods and not allowing any politicians to touch any of it.

“How much more do we need for us to realize that the enemy was not Yolanda? Yolanda was just a force of nature.

“The enemy is our leaders. And the leader of our leaders is the President.

“So what now? There’s nothing I can actually do. I can only rage, rage against the dying of common decency.

“I can only rage against this man who claimed in a Christiane Amanpour interview that he couldn’t get to the disaster areas because the weather after the storm left didn’t permit him to fly.

“This is 24 hours after the sun was shining all over the Philippines by then.

“I can only rage against a man who made light of the tragedy, refusing to identify it as a major disaster; who made light of a victim of looting who was shot at by telling him, ‘But you did not die, right?’

“I rage against a man who continually blames the LGU’s on the ground for their incompetence and their inefficiency, because it is beginning to dawn on me that these Visayan LGUs happen to be Romualdez people, and this man is playing politics with people’s lives.

“This is a crime. What this man does is unconscionable.

“I can only state it here. I can do nothing about it for now.

“I will wait for whatever movement develops after this fiasco and I will join it.

“But for now, what I can do is to declare that I am deeply offended by the people who try to stop me and others from stating the obvious.

“All those people who charge us for criticizing, for being negative, for Aquino bashing—I am done with these people.

“In a very Yellow Army way, they try to hide behind an illogical argument that we cannot help if we criticize.

“I don’t know how good these friends are at multi-tasking, but one does not cancel out the other.

“We can help and we can criticize.

“And at this point, I am convinced that we do help when we criticize; if at one point we can, as Hamlet says, ‘catch the conscience of the king.’

“But I know that this is futile. This man is no king.

“He is not even a real representative.

“What can you expect from someone who never worked an honest day in his life? What could he possibly relate to?

“So my friends who accuse me of Aquino bashing: I want you to know that I’m done with your line of thinking.

“Either you defend this man or you defend the people that this man is ignoring.

“Don’t believe that the people are his ‘boss.’

“This was a piece of advertising sound byte created by showbiz experts to get the unthinking masses out there to swallow this uniquely unqualified man.

“This man who is totally unprepared for the most difficult job in the country.

“So my friends, as far as I’m concerned, you choose him or you choose the people.

“But if you instruct me again to stop bashing this man, I am unfriending you.

“I will unfriend you in Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, and out in our leaderless streets.”

Noynoy Aquino did not “walk out” but just had a “bathroom break”!

Malacañang officials on Sunday evening denied that President Noynoy Aquino had angrily walked out of a briefing in typhoon-battered Tacloban, with one close aide saying all the media fuss was about nothing more than the Chief Executive taking a “bathroom break.”


In a statement released to all Malacanang reporters, Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary for Media Relations Renato Marfil, said it was not true that President Aquino left the briefing after being pushed by local sectors to declare martial law in Tacloban. The city, and much of the entire province of Leyte, has been left in tatters and disarray by supertyphoon Yolanda, which plowed through the Visayas region last Saturday.

Local officials have called for national government intervention after the city’s own first responders – police, medical, and emergency teams – were themselves overwhelmed and victimized by Yolanda’s devastating force. Reports are also emerging of a breakdown in law and order, with relief efforts and Leyte’s own residents being terrorized by desperate mobs.

On Sunday, it was reported that President Aquino was being egged on to declare martial law. Businesses were reporting widespread looting and emerging violence. In the same briefing, the President was also receiving updates and the latest figures from National Disaster Risk reduction and Management COuncil (NDDRMC) undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario.

The President was supposedly dismayed by Del Rosario’s figures, and grilled the official on the accuracy, as well as the basis, for his reports. He also was reportedly rejecting the suggestions for declaring martial law, specifically made by a representative of the local businessmen, who asked to address Mr. Aquino in the middle of the briefing, and informed him that local businessmen were being “slaughtered” by lawless elements for trying to protect their property and businesses from looters.  Based on a report by radio station dzBB, President Aquino told the businessman that declaring martial law was not that simple, and that he would have to study the matter further. Then he turned anew to the NDRRMC, vetting its information. Suddenly he stood up in disgust in the middle of the briefing and walked out of the meeting, according to the report.  He was said to have walked to the nearby Tacloban city police station. He returned ten minutes later.

On Sunday evening Marfil said the President had merely gone to the toilet.


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