Just Say Sorry, FVR Advises PNoy

Manila Bulletin, March 19, 2015 | Go to article overview

Just Say Sorry, FVR Advises PNoy


Former President Fidel V. Ramos yesterday called on President Aquino to apologize over the failed police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, stressing that the Chief Executive is responsible over the incident by virtue of the doctrine of command responsibility as enunciated by Executive Order No. 226 issued in 1995.

Saying sorry could help President Aquino redeem himself after the Jan. 25 Mamasapano tragedy, said Ramos, who turned 87 yesterday.

He also cited Section 2 of EO No. 226 that states, "A government official or supervisor, or PNP commander, is presumed to have knowledge of the commission of irregularities or criminal offenses in any of the following circumstances:

a. When the irregularities or illegal acts are widespread within his area of jurisdiction;

b. When the irregularities or illegal acts have been repeatedly or regularly committed within his area of responsibility; or

c. When members of his immediate staff or office personnel are involved."

"Saying I'm sorry humbly and sincerely would probably do 90 percent of the job. But since the hurt has gone so much deeper than it was originally (thought of) - based on his absence in Villamor Airbase on the 29th of Jan. when the 42 coffins first arrived - since then so much has happened," Ramos said in a press conference in his office in Makati City.

"I'm not talking just about President (Aquino) but also his spokespersons and handlers. Not doing that simple 'excuse me' has led to this situation in the Philippines today. There is so much divisiveness now," he lamented.

Because of the Mamasapano tragedy that left 44 police commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters, and five civilians dead, Aquino has suffered a record-low in his trust and approval ratings.

"Yes. What is so difficult about that? As a previous President said 'I am sorry,' well and so that removed a lot of pressure on that person although eventually other things came up to cause her temporary detention in a hospital for alleged crimes," Ramos said, apparently referring to Aquino's predecessor former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who, during her second term, had to apologize on television aired nationwide at the height of the "Hello Garci" scandal in 2005.

Under EC No. 226, Section 4, "Any violation of this Executive Order by any government official, supervisor, officer of the PNP, and that of any law enforcement agency shall be held administratively accountable for violation of existing laws, rules and regulations."

However, Ramos said Aquino can only be held liable administratively after his term of office expires.

"In the case of the President, however, the matter can be imposed meaning higher than administrative punishment later on. …

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