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“P-Noy beware! The good die young!”

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Of all his responsibilities as the President, the most interesting to P-Noy is security. This was born of necessity since there were many threats during his mother’s presidency. This is also borne out by his love for guns and shooting. Thus, it is unfortunate that things could turn out so badly so early in his presidency in the area where he has the highest aptitude. We dread to think of the problems that are festering in those areas that are of low interest to him.

Thus, the Luneta tragedy has opened the Pandora’s Box. It is an example of what is wrong with the Aquino administration across the board, not only in security matters. Seven weeks into his presidency, he reaped the results of his inefficient and intrigue prone style of making appointments not only to co-terminus positions but also to career positions.

At a critical moment, the chain of command from him to the policemen on the ground was flawed. He appointed a Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary that he did not trust fully. He removed the Philippine National Police (PNP) from his area of responsibility. This is ignorance of the law. The DILG was created by law. By law the PNP is under the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM). The Chairman of the NAPOLCOM is the DILG Secretary. He appointed a shooting buddy as DILG Undersecretary and put him in charge of the PNP. He had a holdover PNP Director General who was more interested in retiring and installing his own choice as his successor than saving his boss from embarrassment. The National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) Director was an underclassman of the Manila Police District Director. His prior service was as Special Action Force (SAF) commander rather than Regional or District Director. Both were not too well known.

On the other hand, local autonomy means that the chain of authority does not exist per se from the President to the Manila Mayor. Since Mayor Fred Lim is a veteran policeman and Mayor of Manila, he outweighed DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno In stature. It would have been different if the DILG Secretary had been Vice President and former Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay.

When things go awfully wrong, a leader may have to sacrifice his men. Or better yet, a subordinate should sacrifice himself for his leader. The value of the sacrifice also depends on the stature of the sacrificed. After two coup attempts, the late President Cory Aquino sacrificed Secretaries Juan Ponce Enrile, Aquilino Pimentel, Ernesto Maceda and Bobbit Sanchez first in November 1986, and Secretaries Joker Arroyo and Jaime Ongpin later in August 1987. Except for Mayor Lim, the officials that P-Noy can now sacrifice are lightweights. After the January 1987 Mendiola Massacre the PC/INP’s Capital Command (CAPCOM) Commander Major General Ramon Montano resigned. After the Luneta tragedy only Manila Police District (MPD) Director Chief Superintendent Rodolfo Magtibay resigned. In willingness to sacrifice as well as in stature, Cory’s people outweigh and outshine P-Noy’s people many times over. In this, the son who won because of his parents’ legacy, the family that claims it does not want to tarnish its parent’s legacy, is not continuing that legacy.

By Linggoy Alcuaz




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