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President Aquino at PNPA commencement exercise 2015
President Aquino at PNPA commencement exercise 2015

By ELLEN T. TORDESILLAS

HE couldn’t even mention the incident that he was asking the public for understanding.

In his speech at the commencement exercise of the Philippine National Police Academy’s Lakandula Class of 2015, the day after the nation marked the second month of the Mamasapano tragedy, President Aquino said, “Ikinalulungkot kong may mga pamilyang nawalan ng asawa, ama, kapatid, anak, dahil sa nangyari sa Mamasapano. Ikinalulungkot kong sa pagnanais kong bigyan ng espasyong magluksa ang mga makakakita, sa unang pagkakataon, ng nasawi nilang kaanak, ay may mga nag-isip na ako’y manhid at walang pakikiramay. Ang intensiyon ko noon ay makatulong sa paghilom. Ang gusto ko po sana, kapag may nagtanong ng “Ano ang nangyari? Bakit sila namatay? Ano na po ang mangyayari sa amin?” ay may dala na akong malinaw na sagot. Kung ang naging tugon ko sa mga katanungan ay “Hindi ko po alam,” paano ako makakatulong sa kanilang paghilom? Ikinalulungkot ko ring nadadamay ang ating usaping pangkapayapaan dahil sa sentimyentong naikakabit sa naging resulta ng Oplan Exodus. Sa bawat Pilipinong nabigo at nasaktan dahil sa mga pangyayaring kaugnay ng operasyong ito: Buong pagpapakumbaba kong hinihiling ang inyong pang-unawa. (It deeply saddens me that there are families who are now without a husband, a father, a brother, a son, because of what happened in Mamasapano. I am saddened by the fact that, despite my effort to give the families space to grieve, as they were to meet their fallen loved ones for the first time, some people found fault in this by calling me cruel or without regard for such loss. My intention was to help them heal. I wanted to have clear answers should I be asked, “What happened? Why did they die? What will happen to us now?” If my response was “I do not know,” how could I help hasten the healing? I am also saddened that our peace process has been affected by the sentiments connected to the result of Oplan Exodus. To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation: It is with the abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding.)”

We all know that he was referring o his much-denounced absence at the Villamor Air Base on Jan.29, 2016 when the remains of the 44 members of the Special Action Force arrived. He chose to be at the Mitsubishi Motors launch in Sta.Rosa, Laguna. Why couldn’t he say it?

 

I’m sorry Mr. President. I don’t buy this thing about wanting to give the families “space to grieve.”

A laughing Aquino at the Mitsubishi plant inauguration at Sta. Rosa, Laguna while bodies of 42 the fallen SAF arrives in Villamor Air Base.
A laughing Aquino at the Mitsubishi plant inauguration at Sta. Rosa, Laguna while bodies of 42 the fallen SAF arrives in Villamor Air Base.

You thought that the people’s outrage over the bungling of the Mamasapano operation would die down after a few days. You never imagined that it would last this long and that’s because of your post-tragedy actions and statements.

In the Pulse Asia survey conducted first week of March, eight of 10 Filipinos disagree with your choice of viewing the parade of Mitsubishi cars over the coffins of the Fallen 44.

You are only compelled to seek for the people’s “understanding” because your approval and trust ratings drastically dropped.

This is all about saving yourself and your presidency.

That’s what we understand.