Instead of feeling consoled by the presence of President Benigno Aquino III, the loved ones of the 44 slain PNP-SAF officers who died during an operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25 were enraged after their face-to-face interaction with the commander-in-chief last week.
In response to a query about why the reinforcements from AFP took too long to arrive, the President said: “Kayo ba kapagkunwari itetext nyo friend nyo, ‘Kita tayo sa MOA,’ ganun lang ba kadali sa inyo na pumunta dun?”
When asked what he’s going to do to bring the assailants behind bars, an irate Aquino retorted that it cannot be easily done, citing that identifying the killers and having them arrested is no easy task. “Namatay rin ang tatay ko, alam ko pakiramdam niyo kaya patas na rin tayo ngayon,” he added.
You might be inclined to think that those are lines published in The Professional Heckler or Adobo Chronicles, but no. Those are remarks uttered by the President. Aquino’s analogy is false based on the facts below:
*Senator Ninoy made the decision to return to the Philippines ON HIS OWN despite the possibility of him getting assassinated.
*The slain 44 PNP-SAF men went to Mamasapano, Maguindanao for an operation under the ORDERS of their SUPERIORS.
President Aquino’s long history of insensitivity and tactlessness
This particular incident should not surprise long-time observers of President Aquino. After all, he has long track record of making insensitive actions and tactless remarks since he took office in 2010:
1. In the aftermath of the so-called Manila hostage crisis of August 2010 which resulted in the deaths of eight tourists from Hong Kong, Aquino was criticized by both local and international press for “smiling” (or more like grinning) during his inspection of the bus where the incident took place and well as during a press conference. It took four years before this diplomatic row was resolved.
2. In December 2011, President Aquino received flak again because of his decision to attend that year’s Christmas Party for members of the Presidential Security Group (with Valerie Concepcion as the guest performer) during the height of Typhoon Sendong‘s destruction of Cagayan de Oro and its vicinity.
Instead of apologizing for the unfortunate circumstances, one of his sisters callously saying: “May mga masasamang nangyayari at may malungkot but then, life should go on. Hindi naman pwedeng huminto na lang ang buhay at magmukmok na lang tayo.”
3. The Aquino administration received an avalanche of criticism because of its response to super typhoon “Yolanda.” During a meeting with Tacloban City disaster officials, one business leader called on the President to place the entire city under martial law after his property was attacked by looters. Aquino immediately shot down his request, wryly asking the entrepreneur: “Buhay ka pa naman di ba?”
4. “I don’t attend the wakes of people I do not know personally,” Aquino said in response to queries about whether he’ll visit the wake of Jennifer Laude, the transgender from Olongapo City who was allegedly killed by Joseph Scott Pemberton from the United States Marines.
5. Aquino’s decision to skip the arrival ceremonies for the 44 fallen PNP-SAF officers last January 29 to attend the inauguration of a Mitsubishi Motors plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna was no doubt a public relations disaster for the administration.
The hash tag #NasaanAngPangulo became a trending topic on social media. Even celebrities who are not exactly known to be critical of the administration like Judy Ann Santos were suddenly airing negative views about the President.