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Aquino no-show at arrival honors for 42 slain SAF men at Villamor Air Base
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Members of the Philippine National Police carry the body of one of the members of the Special Action Force slain in fighting Mamasapano town, Maguindanao on Monday. More than 30 have been reported killed from the government side following a clash with Muslim rebels. (MNS photo)

Members of the Philippine National Police carry the body of one of the members of the Special Action Force slain in fighting Mamasapano town, Maguindanao on Monday. More than 30 have been reported killed from the government side following a clash with Muslim rebels. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) –The remains of the 42 elite policemen who were killed in what authorities called a “misencounter” in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao, last Sunday arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City Thursday morning.

Present to honor the slain policemen were former President Fidel V. Ramos, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and top officials of the military and the police.

However, there was one man who was conspicuously absent in the event: President Benigno Aquino III.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte clarified that Aquino did not “skip” the arrival honors.

“The President did not skip the arrival honors today, it presupposes he was originally scheduled to attend it, which was not the case,” she said.

Valte added that Aquino will lead the necrological services on Friday morning at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Aquino, whose official schedule for Thursday states that he was in Laguna for the inauguration of a Mitsubishi Motors Corporation Plant, addressed the nation Wednesday evening regarding the clash. He is due to visit the wake of the slain policemen – all members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) – on Friday.

Two other slain SAF members had already been laid to rest in Mindanao in accordance with Islamic rites.

But Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said it was not enough for Aquino to give a speech and visit the wake of the fallen policemen. In a statement, Ridon called Aquino’s absence at Villamor Air Base “despicable.”

Aquino’s absence in the arrival honor ceremony for the fallen SAF men speaks volumes of the president’s lack of basic respect for his servicemen,” Ridon said, adding Aquino’s “cold, unfeeling heart cannot even sympathize briefly to the families of the fallen SAF officers.”

“It is truly despicable, especially for the commander-in-chief,” Ridon said.

Ridon also criticized Aquino’s decision to attend the opening of a car plant instead of the the honor rites in Villamor.

“His choice to instead head to the opening of a car factory in Sta. Rosa shows how little he cares for his uniformed personnel, who died in an encounter that he himself green-lighted,” Ridon said.

“The president’s absence in today’s ceremony only heightens the people’s disgust in a leader who let his own men go to battle for the sake of his own vanity, only to disown the whole plan and deny accountability in the end,” he added.  (MNS)

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Aquino no-show at arrival honors for 42 slain SAF men at Villamor Air Base
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Members of the Philippine National Police carry the body of one of the members of the Special Action Force slain in fighting Mamasapano town, Maguindanao on Monday. More than 30 have been reported killed from the government side following a clash with Muslim rebels. (MNS photo)

Members of the Philippine National Police carry the body of one of the members of the Special Action Force slain in fighting Mamasapano town, Maguindanao on Monday. More than 30 have been reported killed from the government side following a clash with Muslim rebels. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) –The remains of the 42 elite policemen who were killed in what authorities called a “misencounter” in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao, last Sunday arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City Thursday morning.

Present to honor the slain policemen were former President Fidel V. Ramos, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and top officials of the military and the police.

However, there was one man who was conspicuously absent in the event: President Benigno Aquino III.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte clarified that Aquino did not “skip” the arrival honors.

“The President did not skip the arrival honors today, it presupposes he was originally scheduled to attend it, which was not the case,” she said.

Valte added that Aquino will lead the necrological services on Friday morning at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Aquino, whose official schedule for Thursday states that he was in Laguna for the inauguration of a Mitsubishi Motors Corporation Plant, addressed the nation Wednesday evening regarding the clash. He is due to visit the wake of the slain policemen – all members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) – on Friday.

Two other slain SAF members had already been laid to rest in Mindanao in accordance with Islamic rites.

But Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said it was not enough for Aquino to give a speech and visit the wake of the fallen policemen. In a statement, Ridon called Aquino’s absence at Villamor Air Base “despicable.”

Aquino’s absence in the arrival honor ceremony for the fallen SAF men speaks volumes of the president’s lack of basic respect for his servicemen,” Ridon said, adding Aquino’s “cold, unfeeling heart cannot even sympathize briefly to the families of the fallen SAF officers.”

“It is truly despicable, especially for the commander-in-chief,” Ridon said.

Ridon also criticized Aquino’s decision to attend the opening of a car plant instead of the the honor rites in Villamor.

“His choice to instead head to the opening of a car factory in Sta. Rosa shows how little he cares for his uniformed personnel, who died in an encounter that he himself green-lighted,” Ridon said.

“The president’s absence in today’s ceremony only heightens the people’s disgust in a leader who let his own men go to battle for the sake of his own vanity, only to disown the whole plan and deny accountability in the end,” he added.  (MNS)

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Aquino no-show at arrival honors for 42 slain SAF men at Villamor Air Base
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Members of the Philippine National Police carry the body of one of the members of the Special Action Force slain in fighting Mamasapano town, Maguindanao on Monday. More than 30 have been reported killed from the government side following a clash with Muslim rebels. (MNS photo)

Members of the Philippine National Police carry the body of one of the members of the Special Action Force slain in fighting Mamasapano town, Maguindanao on Monday. More than 30 have been reported killed from the government side following a clash with Muslim rebels. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) –The remains of the 42 elite policemen who were killed in what authorities called a “misencounter” in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao, last Sunday arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City Thursday morning.

Present to honor the slain policemen were former President Fidel V. Ramos, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and top officials of the military and the police.

However, there was one man who was conspicuously absent in the event: President Benigno Aquino III.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte clarified that Aquino did not “skip” the arrival honors.

“The President did not skip the arrival honors today, it presupposes he was originally scheduled to attend it, which was not the case,” she said.

Valte added that Aquino will lead the necrological services on Friday morning at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Aquino, whose official schedule for Thursday states that he was in Laguna for the inauguration of a Mitsubishi Motors Corporation Plant, addressed the nation Wednesday evening regarding the clash. He is due to visit the wake of the slain policemen – all members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) – on Friday.

Two other slain SAF members had already been laid to rest in Mindanao in accordance with Islamic rites.

But Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said it was not enough for Aquino to give a speech and visit the wake of the fallen policemen. In a statement, Ridon called Aquino’s absence at Villamor Air Base “despicable.”

Aquino’s absence in the arrival honor ceremony for the fallen SAF men speaks volumes of the president’s lack of basic respect for his servicemen,” Ridon said, adding Aquino’s “cold, unfeeling heart cannot even sympathize briefly to the families of the fallen SAF officers.”

“It is truly despicable, especially for the commander-in-chief,” Ridon said.

Ridon also criticized Aquino’s decision to attend the opening of a car plant instead of the the honor rites in Villamor.

“His choice to instead head to the opening of a car factory in Sta. Rosa shows how little he cares for his uniformed personnel, who died in an encounter that he himself green-lighted,” Ridon said.

“The president’s absence in today’s ceremony only heightens the people’s disgust in a leader who let his own men go to battle for the sake of his own vanity, only to disown the whole plan and deny accountability in the end,” he added.  (MNS)

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Mayor Jun-Jun Binay dragged into Senate session hall then set free
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PIMENTEL TALKS WITH MAYOR BINAY: Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee chair Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III talks to Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, who is currently being detained in the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) at the Senate building, Pasay City on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Binay has been cited in contempt along with five other local officials after failing to heed a Senate subpoena requiring them to attend the subcommittee’s investigation on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building.  (MNS photo)

PIMENTEL TALKS WITH MAYOR BINAY: Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee chair Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III talks to Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, who is currently being detained in the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) at the Senate building, Pasay City on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Binay has been cited in contempt along with five other local officials after failing to heed a Senate subpoena requiring them to attend the subcommittee’s investigation on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun-Jun” Binay was bodily dragged into the Senate session hall Thursday afternoon to attend the hearing on alleged anomalies in Makati City.

However, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III later set Binay free after the mayor insisted on not responding to allegations against him and his family.

“Since the order of arrest has been satisfied, your manifestation (not to answer questions) is noted. You lose your chance to give your side, you are free to go,” said Pimentel during the hearing.

Pimentel said Binay’s belief that the subcommittee didn’t have jurisdiction to compel him to answer questions related to the inquiry was contrary to the panel’s position, and indicated that it was time to elevate the issue “to a referee” that would decide which position was according to law

Earlier, the son of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay was arrested and brought to the chamber by the Senate sergeant-at-arms for contempt after he repeatedly refused to attend the hearings.

At the Senate, the mayor still refused to attend the session and insisted on being detained at the Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms.

At about 1: 30 p.m., Senator Antonio Trillanes IV made a motion to order the sergeant-at-arms to bring him to the session hall.

Minutes later, Senate security officers came in pulling Binay by his arms with one of the mayor’s lawyers tagging behind them.

Binay supporters in the gallery of the session hall booed, shouted, and some even cried when they saw the mayor being dragged into the room.

The subcommittee had to suspend the hearing to calm the situation.

After the break, Binay was made to sit down with the mayor looking at his arms, apparently checking for injuries.

Trillanes asked him if he was hurt and if he needed “special medical attention.”

Binay said he was all right and did not need to see a doctor. However, during a press conference later, the mayor complained that he suffered bruises.

Pimentel asked and allowed Binay to speak and respond to allegations against him and members of his family during the subcommittee’s investigation on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building.

Instead of explaining, the mayor reiterated his objection to the conduct of the hearing, which he and his family claim was just out to tarnish their reputation.

After manifesting hearing that Binay was giving up his right to respond to the charges and allegations, Pimentel set the mayor free. (MNS)

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Mayor Jun-Jun Binay dragged into Senate session hall then set free
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PIMENTEL TALKS WITH MAYOR BINAY: Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee chair Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III talks to Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, who is currently being detained in the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) at the Senate building, Pasay City on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Binay has been cited in contempt along with five other local officials after failing to heed a Senate subpoena requiring them to attend the subcommittee’s investigation on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building.  (MNS photo)

PIMENTEL TALKS WITH MAYOR BINAY: Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee chair Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III talks to Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, who is currently being detained in the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) at the Senate building, Pasay City on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Binay has been cited in contempt along with five other local officials after failing to heed a Senate subpoena requiring them to attend the subcommittee’s investigation on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun-Jun” Binay was bodily dragged into the Senate session hall Thursday afternoon to attend the hearing on alleged anomalies in Makati City.

However, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III later set Binay free after the mayor insisted on not responding to allegations against him and his family.

“Since the order of arrest has been satisfied, your manifestation (not to answer questions) is noted. You lose your chance to give your side, you are free to go,” said Pimentel during the hearing.

Pimentel said Binay’s belief that the subcommittee didn’t have jurisdiction to compel him to answer questions related to the inquiry was contrary to the panel’s position, and indicated that it was time to elevate the issue “to a referee” that would decide which position was according to law

Earlier, the son of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay was arrested and brought to the chamber by the Senate sergeant-at-arms for contempt after he repeatedly refused to attend the hearings.

At the Senate, the mayor still refused to attend the session and insisted on being detained at the Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms.

At about 1: 30 p.m., Senator Antonio Trillanes IV made a motion to order the sergeant-at-arms to bring him to the session hall.

Minutes later, Senate security officers came in pulling Binay by his arms with one of the mayor’s lawyers tagging behind them.

Binay supporters in the gallery of the session hall booed, shouted, and some even cried when they saw the mayor being dragged into the room.

The subcommittee had to suspend the hearing to calm the situation.

After the break, Binay was made to sit down with the mayor looking at his arms, apparently checking for injuries.

Trillanes asked him if he was hurt and if he needed “special medical attention.”

Binay said he was all right and did not need to see a doctor. However, during a press conference later, the mayor complained that he suffered bruises.

Pimentel asked and allowed Binay to speak and respond to allegations against him and members of his family during the subcommittee’s investigation on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building.

Instead of explaining, the mayor reiterated his objection to the conduct of the hearing, which he and his family claim was just out to tarnish their reputation.

After manifesting hearing that Binay was giving up his right to respond to the charges and allegations, Pimentel set the mayor free. (MNS)

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Mayor Jun-Jun Binay dragged into Senate session hall then set free
[No Comment | 7 views]
PIMENTEL TALKS WITH MAYOR BINAY: Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee chair Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III talks to Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, who is currently being detained in the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) at the Senate building, Pasay City on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Binay has been cited in contempt along with five other local officials after failing to heed a Senate subpoena requiring them to attend the subcommittee’s investigation on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building.  (MNS photo)

PIMENTEL TALKS WITH MAYOR BINAY: Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee chair Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III talks to Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, who is currently being detained in the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) at the Senate building, Pasay City on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Binay has been cited in contempt along with five other local officials after failing to heed a Senate subpoena requiring them to attend the subcommittee’s investigation on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun-Jun” Binay was bodily dragged into the Senate session hall Thursday afternoon to attend the hearing on alleged anomalies in Makati City.

However, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III later set Binay free after the mayor insisted on not responding to allegations against him and his family.

“Since the order of arrest has been satisfied, your manifestation (not to answer questions) is noted. You lose your chance to give your side, you are free to go,” said Pimentel during the hearing.

Pimentel said Binay’s belief that the subcommittee didn’t have jurisdiction to compel him to answer questions related to the inquiry was contrary to the panel’s position, and indicated that it was time to elevate the issue “to a referee” that would decide which position was according to law

Earlier, the son of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay was arrested and brought to the chamber by the Senate sergeant-at-arms for contempt after he repeatedly refused to attend the hearings.

At the Senate, the mayor still refused to attend the session and insisted on being detained at the Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms.

At about 1: 30 p.m., Senator Antonio Trillanes IV made a motion to order the sergeant-at-arms to bring him to the session hall.

Minutes later, Senate security officers came in pulling Binay by his arms with one of the mayor’s lawyers tagging behind them.

Binay supporters in the gallery of the session hall booed, shouted, and some even cried when they saw the mayor being dragged into the room.

The subcommittee had to suspend the hearing to calm the situation.

After the break, Binay was made to sit down with the mayor looking at his arms, apparently checking for injuries.

Trillanes asked him if he was hurt and if he needed “special medical attention.”

Binay said he was all right and did not need to see a doctor. However, during a press conference later, the mayor complained that he suffered bruises.

Pimentel asked and allowed Binay to speak and respond to allegations against him and members of his family during the subcommittee’s investigation on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building.

Instead of explaining, the mayor reiterated his objection to the conduct of the hearing, which he and his family claim was just out to tarnish their reputation.

After manifesting hearing that Binay was giving up his right to respond to the charges and allegations, Pimentel set the mayor free. (MNS)

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Erap, FVR at odds over Bangsamoro peace process
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Former President Fidel V. Ramos delivers his message before foreign dignitaries who attended the wreath laying ceremony on Monday (February 24, 2014) at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on the commemoration of the 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution. (MNS photo)

Former President Fidel V. Ramos delivers his message before foreign dignitaries who attended the wreath laying ceremony on Monday (February 24, 2014) at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on the commemoration of the 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Two former presidents have varying opinions on how the Aquino administration should proceed with the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) following Sunday’s encounter in Maguindanao that resulted in the deaths of 44 elite policemen.

While former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is in favor of an all-out war, former President Fidel V. Ramos is appealing for sobriety and cooperation following what authorities described as a “misencounter” between MILF members and operatives from the police’s Special Action Force.

“Wala nang dahilan para ipagpatuloy pa ang peace talks diyan. Ilan pang buhay any ibubuwis natin diyan? Ano pang gagawin natin? Pababayaan na lang ba natin? Ano ‘yun, maghihintay tayo ng 40 taon ulit? Wala nang ibang magagawa kung hindi giyerahin na para magkaroon ng tunay na kapayapaan,” Estrada, who was president from 1998 to 2001, said.

During Estrada’s all-out war campaign against the MILF in 2000, most of the rebel group’s camps, including the sprawling Camp Abubakar, fell into government’s hands. Hundreds of soldiers and rebels, however, were killed while thousands of civilians were displaced.

For his part, Ramos, a former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, said that while the peace process in Mindanao will be affected by the deaths of 44 policemen in the hands of the MILF, the peace talks remain the best solution for a lasting peace in the troubled region.

“The complete and final terms of this peace process may not happen during his [Aquino’s] office, but as good Filipinos, let us all help in making it happen,” he said.

Still, Ramos had strong words for President Benigno Aquino III, who he said failed the men who look to him as their commander in chief.

“There should be no hesitation on the part of the commander in chief. Otherwise, it will be part of your legacy to be always hesitant, flip-flopping,” Ramos said.

“Pardon me for saying this, pero yan po ang damdamin ng mga sundalo. Paakyat ito sa Malacañang. Poor strategic direction of the commander in chief of the PNP and the AFP. It is the soldier, the policeman, the law enforcer, the guardian of security that suffers because of the risks,” he added.

Ramos also said Aquino should have consulted with retired soldiers and police before Sunday’s disastrous operation in Mamasapano town, which was supposed to have resulted in the arrest of Jemaah Islamiyah leader Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Commander Marwan. (MNS)

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