there’s still so much to be said and asked about the aug 23 bloodbath but i’m holding back just because the hong kong chinese are hurt enough, enraged enough, and things are bad enough for filipinos in hong kong. also, even if i didn’t vote for him, i don’t want to make it worse for the president who, naturally, is getting the brunt of the blame for distancing himself, treating the hostaging of foreigners as a local rather than national affair.
like philippine star‘s boo chanco says, it’s P-Noy’s leadership abilities on the line:
He is just two months into the job and I want to believe he is competent and able to do the right things. Now I am not sure because of how badly he miscalculated the gravity of the hostage crisis. I also get the impression he is not organized to handle crisis situations. I am not even sure the people around him are experienced enough to handle crisis. For some of them, including the also invisible Executive Secretary, last Monday’s event may even be their first crisis situation….
Probably the Palace didn’t think much of the situation atthe start. That’s the first mistake. That’s probably why the President confidently left the matter to the police and went on to discuss with the Health Secretary the worsening dengue epidemic and the budget message with his budget secretary.
Any crisis involving life and death situations, more so one with international repercussions, should be given high priority. Duh! If the President’s Communications Team had more experience, they should have been more persuasive with the President taking a higher profile specially after the major networks pre-empted regular programming in favor of a live coverage of the event.
So we are told P-Noy was actually engaged. He was reported to have spent time that afternoon and evening at the nearby Emerald restaurant that served as a kind of command headquarters. But no one knew that. For all we knew, he was just feasting on the excellent jumbo siopao for which Emerald is known for. I understand, he was advised to stay in the shadows. It was a bad advice as we now all know.
Worse… the first thing the public saw and heard after the carnage was a President who seemed remote and in the words of a Hong Kong legislator, frivolous and dismissive. It was unfortunate that P-Noy was seen by the world with a smirk on his face as he said that anyway, there were more casualties in similar hostage events in Russia (the one in the concert hall and the one in a schoolhouse in Beslan) and the one in Germany (possibly Munich Olympics).
That may be true and may probably provide perspective but was a most insensitive thing to say. It was also beside the point at a time when 8 lives were lost because of our inept handling of the situation….
The incident also confirmed our worse fears that Coloma and Carandang are not talking to each other. They are not synchronizing the message coming out of the Palace. They may even be trying to upstage each other. What a horrible mess!!!
If the Palace is this dysfunctional in handling a crisis involving one crazy man, how will P-Noy and his boys handle a repeat of an Ondoy situation or heaven forbid… a major earthquake along the Marikina fault line? I shudder at the thought!…
In our column last Friday, we were ready to be more understanding because we thought they (the Manila police) didn’t have enough training and equipment. But that is not the case. There were units that had the right training and equipment except that they were not used by the ground commander. If this isn’t stupidity, I don’t know what is.
If P-Noy had a more direct hand, I am sure he would have the sense to order the use of the more trained Police Special Action Force or the US-trained Light Reaction Company (LRC) which is under the military’s Joint Special Operations Group instead of the jokers in the Manila Police’s so called SWAT group….
What P-Noy ends up doing in the next few weeks will be carefully watched by everyone. What he does or fails to do will impact on how people feel about his competence and credibility as our country’s Chief Executive. Speaking for myself, I want P-Noy to succeed for our sake. But he needs to show leadership or the next six years will be a continuation of the horrible years we seem to be doomed to suffer. Right now, P-Noy seems too laid back for comfort.
enough said. for all our sakes let’s pray that justice secretary leila de lima’s investigation proceeds as professionally and impeccably as possible, and that the chips are allowed to fall where they may, regardless of consequences to whomever.