Fans and Missing Heroes 2: #Fallen44

By Inday Espina Varona

Posted at Jul 29 2015 11:07 AM | Updated as of Jul 29 2015 08:00 PM

Who’s Joe America? Who cares?

There’s a long comments thread on a Facebook post that tries to guess the identity of the blogger singled out for praise during President Benigno Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA).

So, the President loves reading praise prose. Most of us probably do. Whatever fantasies are involved in the blogger’s foxhole remark are best discussed by the gentlemen in private, maybe while they’re zapping enemies of the state.

Mr. Aquino choosing someone named Joe America will surely launch a dozen memes. But I’m really more concerned about those the President left out in the cold.

He went out of his way for his stylist. He snubbed the #Fallen44.

He heaped praise on Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. He could not muster a shoutout for retired police Deputy Director-General Leonardo Espina, the man who carried with dignity and grace the burdens of a grieving, shaken Philippine National Police (PNP).

Mr. Aquino boasted of “neutralizing” international terrorist Marwan. He named a wanted man with a $5-million price on his head. He did not give credit to the men who lost their lives taking him down.

The President could not mention the#Fallen44 because he could not afford to mention Mamasapano. He called for the passage of his legacy, the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). He was silent on what almost killed the BBL.

He could not utter the word, "Mamasapano" though Malacanang continues with the fiction that the President did no wrong in the Jan. 25 tragedy. The President again sacrificed the #Fallen44 to protect his sorry backside.

Mr. Aquino's sixth SONA also ignored what Malacanang earlier claimed as his triumph – saving Mary Jane Veloso – because it would call attention to how his government turned its back on a victim of human trafficking, moving only when the country and the world screamed in rage. But the stakes are much higher with Mamasapano. The bloody trail leads all the way back to the Commander in Chief.

Mamasapano happened only because Mr. Aquino insisted on retaining a suspended police chief’s powers to call the shots on a high value and very high-risk operation.

Mamasapano happened only because Mr. Aquino refused to abide by legal guidelines for officials being probed for wrongdoing. He allowed -- gave his blessings – to the creation of a shadow command outside of the official PNP hierarchy.

He and Purisima and Special Action Force Chief Getulio Napeñas kept the officer in charge of the PNP and all other important state security agencies in the dark.

The #Fallen44 were promised immediate extraction. It was a promise that was never fulfilled. They could not extract beleaguered cops because they had refused to coordinate with units that could have moved the right equipment and troops into place.

Even when the horrifying news trickled in, these three gentlemen tried to contain the information.

Only when things were really desperate – and too far gone for any lucid solution – did the three men go to those they left in the dark. Then they demanded others solve the problem for them.

Mr. Aquino could not abide remembrance of the #Fallen44 because it would remind Filipinos of how he lied to them about Mamasapano.

READ: Avalanche of Lies Swamp Aquino

He claimed Purisima was consulted only until the Ombudsman issued the order of suspension. That was a lie.

He claimed only Napenas was in charge. That was a lie.

Purisima was the only one he deigned to speak to even when reports of a debacle were becoming clear. (He didn’t even bother to say “noted” when Interior Secretary Mar Roxas informed him of text messages.)

The Commander-in-Chief ignored Mamasapano because it would remind military officials that they were left to flounder as politicians shot them down, blaming them for sticking to a policy handed down – and then broken – by the President of the Republic.

READ Mamasapano tragedy

Mr. Aquino hails Joe America. He was silent on Mamasapano because it would remind Filipinos that Americans were in charge of that tragedy – even to the extent of trying to command Army officers.

He was silent on Mamasapano because it would dredge up memories of how the Americans cared only for their target and didn’t give a fig for the repercussions on the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

READ: US role in Mamasapano highlights conflicting interests in peace process

Mr. Aquino emphasized his humility during the SONA, saying he doesn't have to do ribbon cuttings or grace openings of projects. He could not mention Mamasapano – or the #Fallen44 – because he was laughing with Japanese executives at a car plant opening while the slain heroes were being welcomed by grieving families and peers at the airport.

Mr. Aquino could not afford to mention Mamasapano and the #Fallen44 because these betrayed the shallowness of his claim to the straight path.

Alan Purisima wasn’t just dogged by petty charges; he was being investigated for major corruption. Mr. Aquino didn’t care.

The President who touted his righteousness during his last SONA could not even mention the Ombudsman’s dismissal of Purisima as an achievement of his administration.

And that is why on the first day of the rest of this President’s life, the #Fallen44 were once more betrayed.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.