It’s alright Ma (I’m only dying)

“You get more with a smile and a gun than with a smile alone.” – Al Capone

What you want to do when savages massacre 19 of your valiant soldiers is to allow the AFP Chief or the Secretary of National Defense to have the first word. Strength is what you need to project at a time like this. Furthermore, you want the military’s narrative and not the enemy’s to become the frame for different reactions to the encounter. What you don’t want to do is send out a castrato to sing “Kumbayah” even before the bodies of some of the slain heroes have been recovered. But this administration runs on good intentions and not much else.

And so before a proper heroes’ burial could be accorded the martyred soldiers and an investigation into the massacre could begin, it sent out its boyish-looking soprano-voiced peace negotiator to declare, “We are certain that this is an isolated incident. This armed confrontation was not intended by both government and MILF. We’re looking at the larger picture. We need peace in Mindanao. In the meantime, the government panel in talks with the MILF is preparing for a meeting with its counterparts next month.” With that, he demoralized soldiers in the field; pleased the sub-humans protected by ceasefire zones; and made a public already howling for blood even more bloodthirsty.

The Commander in Chief’s initial statements did not help sort out right from wrong, good guys from bad guys, either. He castigated the military, relieved officers, ordered a stand down, and threw a rotten egg at those who expected him to be on the right side. His response to calls for an all-out war against the MILF was “If there is one rotten egg must we assume the whole basket is rotten?”

Excuse me poh, Señorito, but yes you might as well assume that they are all rotten because you won’t know if an egg is rotten if you don’t crack it first. The trope you want is an apple because you don’t have to cut it open to tell if it’s rotten.

If you had used an apple as your metaphor, you could have sent the message that you will pick and choose your apples, meaning you will selectively suspend the ceasefire and hunt down savages in the areas where they roam freely and that if the MILF will not domesticate them then the you will do it, whether the MILF likes it or not. That would have placed the MILF on notice that you will not be pushed around, reassured the public that you know right from wrong, and boosted your soldiers’ morale, knowing you will be with them through thick and thin. Anyway, that’s what we expected from our president, the commander in chief of our armed forces.

The problem is this administration is treating the MILF in the same way that previous administrations did. When the same gang of sub-humans beheaded 10 Marines four years ago, then Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita dismissed it as an ‘unhappy development’ and reiterated his government’s policy of appeasement, “We are in a very good footing because it’s (peace talks) being moderated by Malaysia and I feel the MILF will not allow this peace process to collapse just because of the action there in Basilan.”

And you wonder why those friends of the MILF go on with their merry ways looting, burning, bombing, raping, eating human flesh, beheading, and whatever else sub-humans do? It’s because they know they can always count on castrati to do nothing but hold hands and sing “Kumbayah”.

Señorito, I am not asking for total war. All I’d like is for you to consider the wise words at the top of the page, “You get more with a smile and a gun than with a smile alone.”

*** As I was finishing this article, the Commander in Chief went on television with a smile, a gun, and a pledge to take down the savages who massacred our soldiers. Better late than never, I guess. The next step is to resettle Metro Manila squatters to Al Barka, Basilan and Payao, Zamboanga-Sibugay and give them money to raise hogs there.

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • J_ag

    When governance simply becomes a matter of messaging.. PNoy’s solution of the Mindanao massacre was seen simply as a problem of messaging. 

    Hence the bright boys simply came out with a catchy slogan.. “All Out Justice”

    Why does this President not come out and have a conversation with his people about the the deep lack of political and social justice that the State has not been able to deliver in the country for so so long. 

    Why is the message from the top simply catchy remarks to fill gaps in the 24/7 news cycle?

    Put out the strategic line in clear and concise language.. During the height of the Last Depression  FDR Jr. came out and compared the crisis akin to being invaded by a foreign enemy. He then proceeded to upend the status quo. 

    Here we continue to muddle through with stifled markets masquerading as free markets and free trade and the richest area of the country in terms of resources is also the poorest. 

    Those prosaic words emanating from the highest reaches of the State is best described here:

  • I’m going to let out more steam else I’ll be suffocating of anger and frustration. 

    They admitted giving the rebels P5M, and then when the rebel criminals went their usual ways of their criminality, as always, asked them to account for the money given, as if the government can force those rebels to submit an accounting when they won’t even allow  our soldiers and police to enter territories granted  to these criminals while they were killing/beheading/mutilating our own soldiers.

    This is a series of major blunders by officials of this administration including President Noynoy, my president whom from the very beginning I have lain my faith, backed and defended him against all sorts of criticisms and which I trusted to carry this great nation where no other president have done. What am I going to do now, I cannot even defend my president now against even the simplest critic and the simplest criticism.

    I know that President Noynoy is only human, he’s not perfect, but he has people around him, advisers who are paid handsomely to advise what’s good for the president, what’s good for the government, and what’s good for the people and for the country. Those advisers are inutile and useless—THEY FAILED THEIR PRESIDENT!

    Kick them out, please, President Noynoy, before they can do more damage to you and to the country.


  • I admire your ability to criticize when criticism is deserved, and praise when praise is deserved. It smacks of an objective mind rather than one that is hung up on defending Ego.

    I agree that the tepid initial response was a major Goof. I also think a great deal of rage ought to be directed at the so-called representatives of Muslim Mindanao, who are obviously even more ineffectual than our President in carving out peace. Indeed, that is why any attempt to negotiate a truce is bound to fail. Because there is no will, and no mechanism, to enforce punishment of transgressions, within the Muslim community. And failure will simply mean more finger pointing, of the murderous variety, by Muslims, aimed at the national foundation.

    Put another way, if they behave like bugs, squash them like bugs. 

    • Anonymous

      A phone-call from PresiNoy to his BFF the big-honcho of the MILF whatever the name of that dude he met special-special in Japan —  Presi Noynoy should have called and then read the riot act to his MILF-BFF  shouting WhaT the M-FFF-CKKING- HELL are YOU DOING???!! You murDERED my TROOPS afTER they had surrendered, you MMAA-fFF-CKK-ING IDIOT!! You MURddERRED MY TROOPS who had surrendeRRED!! SHAPE UP, surrender the murderERS…  BOMBS ARE GOING TO FALL!!!!   PresiNoy is too malambing with his BFF’s.

      Quirino-grandstand was an indication that PresiNoynoy seems to not be able to handle elevated pressure — he seems to easily get confused when several things happen in one event. And now this one — The ambush was bad enough, and then there was execution-murder. Noynoy’s blood should have boiled with the reports that Pilipinas Special Forces were then murdered by MILF AFTER the Special Forces Guys had surrendered. Someone please educate PresiNoy on the GENEVA CONVENTION. The surrenderees were not binugbog, they were murdered … dang, it is so many days already and I can’t understand the lack of anger out of Malakanyang about the murders.

    • J_ag

      Unfortunately bug killer is in very limited supply in a country that essentially cannot afford it… The long running insurgencies are in a strategic stalemate with the weak state. Truly a symptom of the reality in the country that is still trying to organize a state over its territory. 

      • It seems to me that is because Manila is consumed with Manila, in the main. And everyone else is on their own. It is a mirror of the personal engagement with self that drives most activities. No Golden Rule. Lots of Ego. Just my observation from outside. You can’t have a state unless people in area A are willing to take care of the people in Areas B through Z. Southwest Mindanao needs a lot of care taking to make up for the neglect that is driving the animosity.

  • What’s so annoying, it really made my blood boil, was the refusal of the government to conduct pursuit operations right away after the Al Barka massacre insisting on having a peace talk while the enemies were killing and mutilating our soldiers, and then deciding finally to conduct massive pursuit operations when the enemies are already safely out of their camps . 

    So much lose of efforts, ammunition, wasted logistics and money…for nothing. And then the admission that they gave P5M to those critters.

    I am very disappointed.

    • J_ag

      Don’t be as you mistook slogans for governance. PNoy is a good guy and is an adept person when it comes to speaking his mind. However he should realize that he is also the premier spokesman of the country. During challenging events just like massacre in Mindanao he should realize that he is the head of the government and not a critic of the State. He represents the state with all its flaws. 

      Go out and remind the people that the process of organizing and build the State is a long and arduous process that requires patience. The problems we face are multidimensional and not the simplistic view of the “daan matuwid.” 

      He should start by separating his laser like focus on corruption to the art of nation building. This very narrow one dimensional approach is wearing thin. 

      It makes me want to puke when a guy like Purissima who was Trade Minister under GMA say’s that the peace bond deal would never happen under this government. Talagan sira ang ulo niya. PNoy is surrounded by the very same people who masterminded the deal. 

      Another deal is the resurfacing of the Buendia and S. Superhighway project. 
      In spite of all the talk when the time comes palpak pa rin. The DPWH wanted cheap it got cheap and now it complains. In this day and age of information they cannot determine what the reasonable cost would be in resurfacing roads to insure quality and timeliness.  

      In other countries the idea of classlessness is one of equal opportunity where real wealth is generated through hard work. Here we champion the reverse the palakasan system. We worship the short cut artists and influence peddlers. In fact they become our leaders. Yung may connection… 

      PNoy is the symbol of that change but it looks to be only skin deep. It won’t fly… 

      • Anonymous

        PresiNoy’s laser-like focus on sending GMA to jail….

        Many individuals benefit from keeping Noynoy focused on focusing on sending GMA to jail.  If I were a Korean firm that wants to get a Belgian contract, a strategy is to get one of Noynoy’s BFF… to whisper in Noynoy’s ear — to “kill the contract… GMA’s BFF’s will make money from that contract.”  Then I bid on it (… tough — that’s Pilipinas’ problem — if there are penalty fees for early termination)