Enrile and the wounds of Mamasapano
On my way to Mandaue city from Banilad yesterday, I was at the intersection between A.S. Fortuna and Hernan Cortes Streets when a white Toyota Fortuner suddenly turned left to enter a corner strip mall where a pharmacy is located just after the intersection, effectively blocking cars on both sides of the lane. The Fortuner was doing a patently illegal maneuver under the very noses of two traffic enforcers who just stared at it and then waved everyone to drive on.
On the opposite side, the same traffic enforcers also allow cars to immediately turn left to Matias Barbecue restaurant barely a few meters from a very busy intersection, even if the proper thing to do would be for all cars to U-turn at least 50 to 100 meters from the intersection to prevent traffic snarl after the green light for cars heading to Banilad. Ditto for cars from Banilad that suddenly turn left to the new Gaisano Metro grocery shop on the other side, just five metes from the same intersection.
And you wonder why we have chaos in our streets? Have we given up on enforcement already? If so, throw out all those traffic ordinances and burn them. Let discourteous driving be the norm and announce to all drivers to do whatever they want on the streets since they can get away with it.
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It appears that the Mamasapano incident where 44 members of the Special Action Forces (SAF) fought and died bravely that fateful morning of January 25 last year will come back to haunt the final months of the Aquino presidency.
Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, the Senate minority leader who has successfully reopened the inquiry, appears to be having his “resbak” at the Aquino government for attempting to send him to oblivion courtesy of a plunder case. Unfortunately for the government and much to his relief, Senator Enrile was granted bail and is now finding his way back into the senate. Will the Mamasapano inquiry—which is to be opened exactly a year to the day the incident happened—lay bare the possibility of a non-bailable case against the president once he is out of office on June 30?
If so, his anointed candidate, who is lagging behind the polls, had better get all the help he can to ensure his victory and prevent a repeat of the ignominious fall from the halls of power that marked the exit of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The enemies at the gate are arrayed before P-Noy even now. One can only imagine the supporters and law fraternity brothers of former Supreme Court chief justice Corona preparing cases against him, for one.
For Enrile, his imprisonment and the filing of the plunder case against him and his cohorts in the Senate must have been a turning point of sorts in a long career marked by political survival against all odds. Remember that he ran unsuccessfully for a senate seat under the ticket of reelectionist Ferdinand Marcos in 1969 and yet survived in the halls of power, eventually running the Department of National Defense until the final days of the Marcos dictatorship. And, instead of leaving his beloved country to join the Marcoses in their lonely exile in Hawaii, Enrile survived anew by jumping the gun on his boss and belatedly getting the raves of the middle class that bravely faced tanks and armed soldiers during the now-famous EDSA People Power revolt.
And despite his alleged involvement and participation in many coups against Pres. Corazon Aquino, mother of our reigning president, while he was her sitting national defense secretary, Enrile managed to squeeze himself out of the firing squad. At the same time, he rescued his loyal followers that had formed the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) during the waning years of the Marcos dictatorship under the leadership of an extremely loyal follower and later fellow senator, Gringo Honasan.
Comes now the Mamasapano Inquiry Part 2 just as the election fever has started to heat up. Will Enrile make this his final oratory, opening up a can of worms that will spell doom to P-Noy? Or will he use this inquiry as his leverage to get concessions from Malacañang so that he can retire quietly and not be written off in history as a crook of massive proportions?
It is the wish of the relatives of the SAF 44 and the survivors that their plight not be used for political ends. Unfortunately, opening the inquiry in an election season will make that virtually impossible; what with beleaguered presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe chairing the inquiry anew. I am also pretty sure other presidential candidates with a beef against the Aquino government will be on a feeding frenzy. Thus explains the deafening silence from Malacañang.
Ultimately, it will most probably be the candidacy of Mar Roxas that will either benefit from the clarifications that are supposed to be made during this inquiry or suffer a major setback, especially since he was shunted out of the actual planning and the decision-making that accompanied the Mamasapano incident.
Already we are seeing yellow signs marked “Tuwid na Daan/Roxas Robredo” on the streets of Cebu. It is an affirmation that Roxas will carry the torch for Aquino should he win the presidency on May 9. But with the Mamasapano inquiry coming, would it be more prudent to begin to distance from this presidency and really carve out a different image, a different slogan? For if indeed “Tuwid na Daan” guided the Aquino presidency, why did the Mamasapano 44 have to die so senselessly, the operation carried out in secrecy such that even then-secretary of Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas did not even know what was happening?
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