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Kris-Crossing Mindanao

Is Pinocchio’s nose getting longer?

/ 12:39 AM September 14, 2015

HE HAS lied before. What reason should there be to believe he would not lie again?

In last week’s dialogue with the Inquirer staff, President Aquino said “there is an alternative version of what transpired” in the January clash in Mamasapano in Maguindanao. He said this “alternative version” is undergoing “very intense scrutiny.”

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Did we hear that right—“alternative version” undergoing “intense scrutiny”? We can safely venture to say that the public didn’t hear that.

Despite his revelation being given headline status, no fireworks followed it. Nowhere were the spirited discussions in social media. Mamasapano stories from the mouth of Mr. Aquino is no longer palatable to the public.

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A public that has grown weary of Mamasapano lies has become apathetic. A few months into the endgame of his presidency, the Aquino persona has successfully metamorphosed into a master of squid tactics. What version is he talking about that will not push Getulio Napeñas as the fall guy? Will this version finally nail the blame on Alan Purisima? If Mr. Aquino were so serious about his “daang matuwid” (others by now prefer to call it “matuwad”) legacy, does he think that Filipinos are so gullible such that he can forever toy with them and that if he feeds them hogwash, they will swallow it hook, line and sinker?

Consider what we now know seven months after Jan. 25, 2015. Of which the topmost fact, of course, was Mr. Aquino’s entrustment of the mission to a kabarkada who happened to be the suspended national police chief. Shifting the blame to Napeñas is very characteristic Aquino.

Incidentally, Mr. Aquino’s penchant for defending friends, even if their misdeeds are so public and blatant, has now become a pattern so familiar that it is certain to become the hallmark of his presidency. Even in the search for a new police chief, it was only typical of Mr. Aquino that the name of another friend—Raul Petrasanta—floated. Mr. Aquino remained true to form by keeping together his cabal of questionable friends despite his Mamasapano faux pas. Thank God the Ombudsman came into the picture, dismissing Petrasanta from office for grave anomalies committed. Thank God Petrasanta failed in his dream of becoming the country’s police chief.

The Petrasanta “attempt” was not separate from the lies that swamped the Mamasapano incident. It further bolstered Mr. Aquino’s image as a president keen on protecting friends at the expense of truth. Unfortunately for him, the public always finds a way of ferreting out the truth.

Thus, seven months after Mamasapano, the “alternative truth” may have already been out even before Mr. Aquino could hint about it. For instance, we have it on good American authority that about five to seven US servicemen died in the clash. This was confirmed by the hospital staff of the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center who were in the know of the “medical circumstances” that followed the incident on the very morning of the clash. But this never became part of the official story.

It behoove us then to insist on asking why seven months later, the “various government agencies tasked to ferret out the truth” are still clueless. Or are they just shackled still by official orders to cover up the truth? In the culture of incessant official lies, one tends to believe this.

The twist in Mr. Aquino’s “alternative version” may lie in this report on the Inquirer dialogue: “The so-called alternative truth, ‘may have very serious unintended consequences. Lives are at serious risk,’ said one Inquirer source who asked not to be named for lack of authority to talk on the matter.” It is a bizarre statement, to say the least. It implies that ferreting out the truth is not the aim after all; rather, the aim is hiding it to protect those who may be found liable. That for Mr. Aquino to say “there is no conclusion at this point” would be understandable only if the truth is being officially withheld.

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What then should Mr. Aquino’s “alternative truth” reveal to us? It must reveal what the public truly wants to know: Who gave the stand-down order? What was the American involvement in Mamasapano? Will Mr. Aquino’s version exonerate Purisima? What orders did Mr. Aquino give to the police and military to cover up for him?

If this is all about accountability, what will be Mr. Aquino’s liability after he steps down from office? No one, but no one, especially the son of democracy’s iconic couple Ninoy and Cory Aquino, must escape from the consequences of lying. The public can wait for that beginning high noon of June 30, 2016. The hours will soon tick into days.

From the way it sounds, Mr. Aquino seems to be conditioning us for a rewriting of the Mamasapano script. Coming from where he was, it is now unbelievable that this new script is the “complete truth.” For all we know, it may lead to more obfuscation of the truth. Unless he tells us the truth that some of us already know.

How dare he therefore say that he does not submit to the premise that war will break out? The dividends of peace are not created by lying, for lying is an affront to human dignity.

Mindanao peace will remain elusive because of Mr. Aquino’s lies.

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