Peace and Justice for the Fallen 44 SAF Men

It's all over the news.

We were all shocked by the catastrophic death of the 44 PNP-Special Armed Forces (SAF) during the clash of the MILF and PNP-SAF in Mamasapano last January 25. Everyone was trying to research the story on what went down at Mamasapano that resulted to these dreadful tragedy.

Despite the ongoing peace talks of our government and the Moro-Islamic Liberation (MILF) to finalize the the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), we can't help but ask why, What really happened?

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As soon as news spread like wildfire, the administration immediately took the stand and Pres. Noynoy Aquino immediately expressed his side on the matter, which made the whole nation question his authority over the case. A lot of questions were generated, but it was clear that the President knew about the operation and yet he lead those poor soldiers into a battlefield with a wide blindspot. He lead them right into a bloodbath.

Why would the Chief Executive Officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (aka the President) authorize such crime and murder? The answer lies with Alan Purisima, the chief of the PNP. He's the one responsible for that said mission. The only problem is, he didn't alert anyone of the plan, (except the president, I suppose). With that miscommunication and misunderstanding, the 44 SAF Troops were lead straight to their deathbed brutally.

To add more salt to the wound, the President and his administration failed to express his empathy to the fallen soldiers. The government even went so far as to blame the SAF for their own deaths, they also did not take responsibility for their mission's failure. The president failed to attend the arrival of their bodies in the capital due to a lame excuse, and he was even late for their funeral service. The people can clearly see how little importance the President showed to the Fallen 44 men, who in the first place was just ding their job and following orders for him.

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We understand and empathize that Pres. Aquino's hands are tied because he is stuck in a situation where he will always be blamed for it. If he denied that he had no knowledge about the mission, he would be blamed for incompetence. If he admitted that he do has knowledge about it, he'll still be blamed for the death because he could have prevented it. It's a no-win situation for him. But despite that, Pres. Aquino could have done something! He could have apologized and expressed his empathy towards the families of the troops. He could have man up and own up to his mistakes.

What's done is done, the troops are already dead, we can't do anything about it. But Pres Aquino can do a lot more to avoid further complications that might stem from this tragic event.

Will the death of the Fallen 44 SAF be gone to waste and ignite further rage and conflict with the people in Maguindanao?

Or will Pres. Aquino "step up" and use this event as a catalyst to push peace and equality in Maguindanao?

I'm not too sure. We all have to wait and watch Pres. Aquino's next move.

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