SAF 44 Debacle: We Want Answers

We join all peace-loving and patriotic Filipino citizens in mourning the deaths of the forty four gallant members of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF).

We also realize, however, that it is not enough to simply mourn. Just retribution must be sought! But that cannot happen either unless we first identify all those, who because of their sins of commission or sins of omission, contributed to this national tragedy.

Yes, we realize that combating terrorism and banditry will inevitably claim government casualties. Those 44 brave souls undoubtedly knew the inherent risks in their line of work. However, in this case there are firm indications that their slaughter could have been avoided, or at least significantly mitigated.

The fact that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and its dubious breakaway faction, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) unmasked themselves to be depraved sociopaths was not really surprising. We sort of expected that from them. It simply boils down to a question of whether or not the Administration has the backbone to hold them accountable for their crimes against humanity.

What really bothers us is why the badly needed reinforcements, which could have saved the cornered SAF commandos, never came? What manner of sloppy leadership or indecision ultimately lead to the apparent abandonment of those brave young souls in the worst possible time? Is there truth to persistent rumors that Administration officials held back reinforcements because an escalation in the fighting would have scuttled their precious Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)?

It is clear that the Aquino Administration has a lot of explaining to do. The families of those 44 courageous men and the Filipino people in general, deserve an explanation. It is only when we get a good sense of what went terribly wrong, that steps may be taken to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.

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