“Complacency” and “Laid-back attitude” were some of the words that Former President Fidel V. Ramos used to describe how the government officials, field commanders and peace negotiators handled the circumstances leading up to the m******e of at least 40 elite police officials.
The clash between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (M.I.L.F.) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (B.I.F.F.) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, has been dubbed as the “biggest loss” of the elite force in history. Heads are turning and questions are crying out: What happened? Who is to blame?
In his statement, Ramos also pointed out that the “two leading ladies” in the government’s peace panel should have sought the advice of the retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and PNP officers who have more experience and are more knowledgeable about conflict resolution in Mindanao before going into such a fragile operation.
The ladies he was referring to are Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, head of the government peace panel, and Secretary Teresita ‘Ging’ Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process.
Furthermore, Ramos said that the tragic loss is not just a result of the lack of coordination between the government forces and the M.I.L.F. Although this is a factor, he said it is also because there is a “poor strategic direction from the commander-in-chief.” He also slammed the M.I.L.F. because they seemed to lack sincerity on pursuing peace talks for the region.
The Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines gave arrival honors to the remains of 42 of the 44 fallen members of the PNP-Special Action Force on Thursday. The remains of 42 policemen arrived at the Villamor Airbase, Wednesday morning.
The government officials present were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas, Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Transport Secretary Jun Abaya as well as Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda. However, attendees noted the absence of President Benigno Aquino.