Archive for August, 2010

bus hostage bloodshed those accountable – mendoza, RMN (media), PNP, robredo, noynoy aquino

August 30, 2010 4 comments

rolando mendoza, mass murderer of innocent people, a criminal –  it is with this man that this bus hostage bloodshed  all began and it is with him where practically all of the accountabilities rest. nothing else matters, none of any of the reason he said on why he started the hostage taking is acceptable nor does it justify his actions.

the fact is rolando mendoza is a mass murderer of innocent people and he has brought shame and dishonor to himself, the PNP, hos country and to his family.

he is a policeman, with multiple awards but none of that counts now with this singular act of his as he not only committed a horrible crime, he committed a crime that he as a policeman is supposed to prevent.

his family displayed all the 17 awards he earned as a policeman on top of his coffin during his wake but none of those now mean anything and none of those the family can be proud of. the innocent people who are even foreigners had nothing to do with mendoza’s grievances, taking them as hostages and murdering them is simply an act of terror.

the ombudsman – inefficient and slow justice can kill .  while remote and down at the line of accountability for the bloodshed, we need to note the fact that there seem to be something very wrong in the way they conduct their business of dispensing  justice. there could be many more but the most obvious one is the very slow pace of cases being resolved by the ombudsman.

the PNP –  dismal operational failure, no saving grace at all. we all saw it one live tv, the PNP failed in their handling of the hostage drama. the hostage taking is a police matter, it is an incident they have the responsibility,  the power and the training to resolve the natter.

the PNP failed in strategic thinking, decision making, planning, execution, control and equipment.

  • they did not have the proper tools to break the window glasses of the bus.  they attempted in four different places but failed in all. the sledgehammer they used was not enough to break the glass.
  • they absolutely had no control on the whole situation – crowd control was dismal and media control was non-existent. hostage negotiations require complete focus and control from the authorities with  the hostage taker, something they did not have as media and other people  were able to get in touch with the hostage taker. moments after the hostage taker was killed, the public was allowed to go to the bus unhampered and uncontrolled.
  • we think it was correct to prevent gregorio, the brother of  the hostage taker from having further contact with the hostage taker and to be removed from the  place as he would have been a loose canon, but they have to both the effort to remove him from the place?  they made that decision while inside the police station but they were unable to do it effectively as according to mayor lim, the police did not have handcuffs to restrain gregorio. not being handcuffed allowed gregorio to run out to where media was and made a scandalous effort to delay his arrest by the police. it did not help that it appears the policemen and they were many did not seem to know how to restrain and remove 1 person from the scene. the handcuff finally came but that was after many minutes of live video showed the terror and drama of the arrest which not only the public saw but rolando the hostage tajer also saw through a tv inside the bus,
  • planning and execution of the bus assault was another dismal failure, it went beyond conedic, it was idiotic. they attempted 4 times in 4 different places and each one failed. they used a sledgehammer to break the glass in 3 different places but it was unable to break the glass.  it took them more than an hour to get inside the bus, very long for the hostage taker to make defensive moves inside the bus and more critically, a long time to get the hostage taker agitated, angry and in a panic mode.  they did not seem to think yhis through. what is even more astonishing is that media reported after the incident that the SWAT team did rehearse the assault at the back of the grandstand.  the rehearsal was not carried out to the actual and the resulting comedic effort  is what has hurt the PNP the most next to the death of many of the hostages.

media –  live radio interview with the hostage taker canceled the trust and put into doubt the police negotiator.  RMN radio was on the cellphone  with the hostage taker minutes before  the hostage taker saw his brother being arrested by the police and before he started to kill the hostages.  we think  this call did a lot of damage to the  efforts the negotiation  as it undermined the authority and credibility of the  hostage negotiator.

and yet if you listen to the interview, it was a non-consequential interview from an audience point of view.  the topic pursued by the radio interviewer was what the hostage will be doing next, a topic that is best left unsaid and for the hostage taker. in fact asking that question may have given the hostage taker a chance to think through his actions, plan better or worst if he did not have a plan yet, get him to think it through.

we think RMN acted very irresponsible if not violating laws like obstruction.

chilling audio recording of interview with media and hostage taker moments before hostages were shot ; view here :

DILG chief robredo – failure  to manage and show leadership on actions and moves after the hostage crisis.  while the PNP is all to blame for the failed efforts during the hostage crisis, robredo is to be blamed for what happened, actually what did not happen after the hostage crisis.

the PNP us under DILG chief robredo, he should taken leadership in applying corrective measures after the crisis. the most obvious action would have been to suspend from their jobs all key officers involved in hostage crisis:

  • Director Leocadio Santiago who is head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO)
  • Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay, director of the Manila Police District (MPD)  who  was the field commander during the hostage crisis
  • Chief Insp. Santiago Pascual  the SWAT leader who bungled the whole thing
  • All other leaders of the various teams who participated in the siege

aside from suspending the key personnel during the failed PNP efforts, robredo shuld have shown leadership in drawing up action plans for the near future.  a lot of the public’s dismay and anger over the government’s failure  during the hostage crisis would have been mollified had these things been done immediately, within a day or two after it happened. robredo’s inaction allowed the ill feelings to percolate.

days after the incident and in fact to this day, we do not see any leadership emerging on how to address the emotions and fix the situation. there is no one single person that we can really identify as to who is on top. this should have been robredo’s role being the top leader of the government agency to which the PNP belong to.

president noynoy aquino failed to show leadership,  calm down emotions and failed to provide  inspiration and direction  to get things done right. while aquino cannot be faulted for the failure of the PNP during the actual siege and bungled rescue, he like DILG chief robredo should take the blame for the actions after the incident. aquino’s failure may be much less than robredo, but both of them essentially were supposed to perform the same function.

however, not providing direction and inspiration for the government agencies and the nations is a failure that is solely’s aquino.  aquino seemed to be almost invisible during the whole time. if ever he was present his actions and words were of no significance and of very little weight.

we think this is the first real failure of the aquino administration.

bus hostage bloodbath aftermath – president aquino shows weak, invisible and minuscule leadership

August 26, 2010 2 comments

president noynoy aquino was not there at luneta when the hostage bloodbath occurred.  he was also not directly involved, not even remotely involved in the decisions made during the crisis.  and rightly so as he was the president or the chief executive of the country. the errors committed by the police during the whole thing is completely not his, BUT the actions and moves AFTER the incident is totally his.

and that is where we think aquino is failing – he has not done much in showing he is the top leader of this country. not only is he not doing much, whatever he is doing, he is doing too little of it.

add to that aquino makes additional mistakes like giving a smile during his visit to the bus and the press conference which are all unintentional and yes aquino is correct, it is being interpreted incorrectly. what it shows is that aquino at times forgets who he is and what he is to the country. while we recognize we all have unique quirks, aquino needs to understand he almost always cannot show his uniqueness as a  person but he needs to be always presidential because that is what he is.

while aquino not being the  police operational leader during the hostage crisis, we expect him to act presidential after the event. we think he has not shown decisive leadership after the fact. his actions have been largely invisible, minuscule and far too few that is appropriate for his position and  often stated campaign promise that he is the national leader who will lead this country to change.

we are measuring aquino’s presidency against actions taken after the hostage bloodbath, aquino is failing on this one by showing weak to no leadership.

adding 2 more years to basic education will further widen the rich & poor divide

August 14, 2010 41 comments

the DepEd seems all set to add two more years to the country’s 10 year basic education curriculum.  this is a very tough issue to crack. we think it is a clash between reality and the ideal. a question unanswered – is this for the common good?

the truth is there are already many problems at  the current 10-year curriculum and it has nothing to do with number of years. to enumerate a few – there are not enough qualified teachers to teach all the students; that is made worst with just too many students; there are not enough classrooms and schools to comfortably fit all the students (not to mention not enough bathrooms and water supply); there are not enough books; add the problem of poor quality books, on top of that there are not enough facilities and finally very high drop out rates.

the latter, high drop out rates is being caused by something out of the education system but affects a large part of the population – poverty.  there are just so many poor families and they are so poor that many of them cannot afford to pay for the already meager amount needed for the education of their children. grade school and high school are free in public schools with parents needing to just spend on uniforms, fare and some expenses. the tuition which normally accounts for a very large share of the total expenses are free and yet most poor families can still not afford of what is left for them to spend. it is not that the expenses are high, it’s just their income is very, very low.

it is this inability to afford the other expenses that has caused a very high drop out rate among students.

this plan of the DepEd to add two more years will of course not solve any of the above problems. in fact,  it will only extend all those problems  by two more years.  a longer basic education will also mean even higher drop out rates.

then there is the problem of  additional expenses for the government.  as of now, with the 10 year curriculum, there is already desperate lack of classrooms and schools.  the public schools cannot turn the students away when they show up to enroll. to cope many public schools have crammed as many students as they can inside the classroom with classrooms crammed with chairs from wall to wall. not enough, the schools conduct classes in at least shifts, in some instances  classes held very early in the morning till late in the evening.

with two additional years, the schools will definitely need to construct new buildings and classrooms or God forbid conduct classes 24/7.

the above is the reality part. below is the ideal part.

on the other hand, the DepEd could be right – the country’s 10 year basic education curriculum might be inadequate given today’s demands and may put the country’s students at a disadvantage versus our asian neighbors who already employ 12 years of basic education.

here is looking for the greater good – for sure, very few of the poor will benefit from the expected benefits of a 12 year curriculum.  an even larger number of the poor will drop out of school. they cannot afford to pay for a 10 year curriculum now, the more they cannot afford a 12 year curriculum.

the rich on the other hand will benefit from it. they can afford to spend for the additional two  years and if the DepEd is correct, we will have a much better educated and skilled middle to upper class.

will the country be better off as a whole with a large part of the population who are the poor less educated and a better educated upper class which account for a very small portion of the population.

education to the filipino family is all about opportunities for the students and the family and with this plan the opportunities it seems will be disproportionately distributed even more inequitably in favor of the rich.the rich and poor divide will widen even further.

where is for the greater good here?

RH Bill will be voted on in congress – belmonte

August 12, 2010 9 comments

this is good mews – after many years being just on the table,  the RH bill will reach the floor for a vote.  finally things will come to a head and we will know where congress stands on this.

RH bill to reach House plenary vote—Belmonte
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 20:20:00 08/12/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Advocates of the reproductive health bill can pin their hopes that under the leadership of the Speaker Feliciano Belmonte in the 15th Congress, the controversial measure will be voted on in plenary.

“I don’t know if it will pass the House, but definitely it will reach a point of being voted on,” Belmonte said in a news conference Thursday.

He said, however, that he could not predict how the members of the House of Representatives would cast their vote “because in the social setting of the country, it’s a conscience vote of everybody.”

The bill has been in the chamber since the 10th Congress, but has always failed to get the lawmakers’ approval.

It calls for government promotion of both artificial and natural means of family planning and sexuality education, as well as responsible parenthood.

Two bills authored by Minority leader and Albay Representative Edcel Lagman and Iloilo Representative Janet Garin have been refiled so far in this Congress.

colonel ariel querubin goes home to love and family

August 9, 2010 1 comment

we are publishing here an email sent by pong querubin, colonel ariel querubin’s wife to a yahoogroup for parents of ateneo students after the colonel returned home from prison. we are publishing it here to celebrate the joy of one family.

Colonel Ariel Querubin

Thanks so much for your kind words. We really appreciate it.

As a Marine officer, my husband was an absentee father even when he was still in the active service, for most of the time, he was out in the war zones like Basilan and Jolo and other parts of Mindanao. We would see him only 2 to 3 days in one or two months. I was praying so hard then to protect him from danger…

After the Marine Stand off in Feb 2006, when JAQ was 8 years old and was in Grade 2, he told us he was embarrassed in school because his classmates would tease him about his dad being in prison. Until one of his teachers told him that he should be proud of his father because he is a hero and just stood up for his principles. Now he is proud to be his dad’s son.

When my son AJ from 5 Intramuros arrived from school yesterday, he gave me a note from the mother of one of his classmates. The mother related how her son told them over dinner that he was sad and also very happy for his classmate (AJ) re: the imprisonment and the release. And during their prayer time, he offered a prayer for his classmate’s family.

I was so touched, I cant help but cry… how an innocent 11 year old boy would think and remember to say a prayer for somebody else outside their family…

The last four (4) long years were difficult but looking back I believe it was a blessing in disguise. It gave our family quality time every weekend when we visit my husband in the detention center. Seven of us would sleep in one small room close together… there was only enough room for the door to open. Those were the times when my 3 small boys would play and wrestle with their dad… But every time we go home, they would cry because they would want to bring their dad home with them. It broke my heart looking at my kids clinging to their dad but I had to be strong for my children and my husband…. and they would always ask: “Mommy, when is daddy coming home?”

We survived and now he is free! He is finally home. I can not explain my happiness. I know my children are very happy too and finally at peace.

Thank you to the sincere friends and relatives who helped us endure the incarceration. The Medal of Valor of Ariel was a gift from the Lord. One of the benefits of a Medal of Valor Awardee is free education in any private or public school from pre-school to post graduate. That is why we can afford to send our kids to Ateneo.

Thank you very much and may the good Lord continue to bless us all…

what is the point of showing a picture of president aquino getting his first paycheck? a presidency of trivial pursuit?

August 5, 2010 Leave a comment

can someone please tell us what is the point of publishing this photo of president aquino getting his first paycheck?  what is the value of that picture? is that anything related to any national issue? what is the message? what is the gain? purpose? does it enhance the image of the presidency or the office of the president?

please help….

edwin lacierda should learn to shut up

August 5, 2010 2 comments

it is really hard to understand how edwin lacierda can make so many mistakes in his job as spokesperson for the aquino administration. lacierda has made the mistake, actually two mistakes of announcing policy statements to a particular media outlet, abs-cbn, what should have been announced to all. in effect, he gave abs-cbn two news scoops.

isn’t there a procedure that the aquino admin media bureau follow when it comes to policy announcements?

it is normal practice that whenever an important policy announcement is to be made, the media bureau is contacted and told about it, discussed thoroughly with them and then a plan is made out on how to announce it to the public. in fact, it should be common practice that the plan by which it will be announced to the public should be approved by the higher ups BEFORE  it is actually done. lacierda committed such errors simply because they do not plan things out.

basing it on what happened it appears these things are not being discussed and planned out in the aquino administration. the aquino admin’s media bureau and lacierda in particular seem to be acting on their own and doing things off the cuff.

it feels like the aquino admin media bureau and lacierda in particular do not understand that they do work for the most important and most powerful office in the country and that anything they do speaks of the kind of leadership the president of the country has.  lacierda’s actions and most specially his mistakes are not just his alone, it is also that of president aquino.

it is also possible that a large part of the problem is that lacierda thinks he and his role in the administration is independent of the office of the president and president acuino. as spokesperson, it means he is totally and always tied up to president aquino and the office of the president. as spokesperson, he really has no personality of his own.  he speaks because the office of the president has something to say. what he says is what the president says. these are not really not his owrds but that of  the president. if the office of the president has nothing to say, then he has nothing to say.  in other words, lacierda should learn to shut up.

this is very early in the aquino admin and the issues they are encountering are really minor ones plus they are in the honeymoon stage. as the aquino admin ages, they will need to tackle pretty huge issues and it scares the hell of us that lacierda will make a mistake in the future in handling these huge issues.

we think one more mistake from lacierda should merit him being fired from his job. lesson number 1 – shut up, lacierda.

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