no laws broken, no heads rolling
heard national anti-poverty commission chief joel rocamora in a bbc interview saying that no laws were broken by top officials in the august 23 bus hostages bloodbath.
eight hong kong chinese died needlessly violently in the hands of a mentally unstable discharged policeman yet no laws were broken?
nato reyes points out that in the end what (not who) gets blamed is the government’s crisis manual:
Malacanang has kept accountability for the August 23 incident at the lower levels of government. It has invoked the vague provisions of a government crisis manual as a convenient excuse for the shortcomings and incompetence of the national leadership. The section of the IIRC report on National or Local Crisis says:
It appeared that at no point was the elevation to the status as a national crisis considered even while practically all the hostages were foreign nationals and even while representatives from foreign embassies or consular offices were already involved.
The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on Crisis Situations does not have clear parameters on when, or under what circumstances, should a crisis be elevated to national status.
Aquino’s repeated reference to the vague provisions of the government manual has served as a firewall for the national leadership. Malacanang insists that since there are no guidelines which will allow them to assume command of a particular crisis, they cannot be blamed for anything. It’s like saying that it is the manual’s fault, not theirs.
as for command responsibility, here’s what malacanang’s review of the iirc report says under III. Applicable laws, rules and regulations, and jurisprudence:
2. A person may be held criminally liable only for his own actions or omissions. However, he may be held administratively or civilly liable for the consequences of the actions or omission of his subordinates or wards when the principle of command responsibility and the rules/laws on subsidiary, solidary and vicarious liability under the Revised Penal Code and the Civil Code are applicable.
3. In Rubrico v. Arroyo (G.R. No. 183871, February 18, 2010), the Supreme Court defines Command Responsibility as “the responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other person subject to their control in international wars or domestic conflict.” While there are several bills on command responsibility, there is still no law that provides for criminal liability under that doctrine.
there we go. no law that provides for criminal liability for command irresponsibility.
so the president is not liable (even if he took responsibility for the fiasco some 10 days later) , nor usec puno, nor then pnp chief versoza. if we took them to court, their lawyers would get them off easily. waste of time and money, ika nga ni presidente.
yesterday the president also again explained why neither he nor his bff dilg usec puno showed up and took charge: the hostage-taker might have escalated his demands if faced with such high officials. i wonder where they got that notion. has it ever happened before? meron bang precedent to justify such a fear? i wonder who he was listening to, who was advising, what was influencing, him that long long afternoon and evening. i wonder what they were all up to after the oathtaking of, among others, gina lopez and conrado de quiros’ brother… to surface only deep in the night when the shooting was over.
also i don’t understand why tulfo and rogas got off scot-free, even if vergel santos of the center for media freedom and responsibility is actually happy about it. i heard an unapologetic maderazo saying again that if they hadn’t done what they did, then we the public would not have known what was going on. heh. if they hadn’t done what they did, then mendoza wouldn’t have snapped they way he did and possibly nothing so bloody terrible would have gone down.
at the very least i hoped to see four heads rolling: puno’s, because he was incompetent and unqualified, versoza’s because he didn’t care enough to stay around and stay on top of things, and rogas’s and tulfo’s for agitating mendoza and driving him off the edge. unfortunately the president loves puno and versoza, and coddles media, to a fault.