FOR the first time in 29 years, former President Fidel V. Ramos skipped the People Power Revolution anniversary celebration at the Epifanio delos Santos Avenue in Quezon City and instead demanded that the Aquino administration come out with the truth on the January 29 Mamasapano incident.
Clad in a black shirt and violet cap, both with the insignia of the Special Action Force police commandos, Ramos scoffed at the call of administration allies to “move on” even without definitive findings on the incident that caused the death of 44 police commandos on orders of Malacañang.
“Move on ba, kamo? Tuwid na daan ba, kamo? [Did you say ‘move on’? Did you say ‘straight path’?] The road to hell is straight,” the former president said, referring to the call of Senate President Franklin Drilon and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, both leaders of the ruling Liberal Party.
Drilon made the call after the Senate concluded its probe into the incident on Tuesday and said Aquino no longer needed to explain anything because it was clear in the Senate hearings that resigned Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima disobeyed orders.
“I don’t think there is anything more to explain. It is clear that the President gave specific instructions, which if followed, maybe this unfortunate incident would not have happened, and particularly on the coordination,” Drilon told reporters in an ambush interview.
Roxas also urged Filipinos to move on at the conclusion of the Senate probe.
“The Senate has concluded its inquiry into the Mamasapano tragedy. Therefore, let us all move forward,” Roxas said, appealing to the public to stop blaming Aquino and calling for his resignation over the Mamasapano incident.
Ramos, who co-founded the SAF during his tour as chief of the now defunct Philippine Constabulary in 1983, encouraged the public to “fight for the truth” and link arms in cleaning up Philippine society.
“We should clean up society,” Ramos said. “Not only Mamasapano, but also the [Disbursement Acceleration Program] at [Priority Development Assistance Fund],” two of the corruption issues that has hounded the Aquino administration’s “straight path” policy.
“Yung sinasabing daan na matuwid ay baluktot na ngayon [The so-called straight path have become crooked,” Ramos said as he slammed Aquino’s supporters, whom he called “the yellow army” for excluding the Filipino people from the EDSA celebration.
Noting that there were more policemen and soldiers at Wednesday’s EDSA celebration, Ramos said “the people has been left out. It’s only the yellow army that is taking advantage of the situation.”
Ramos also hit several moves of the Aquino administration, particularly the ouster of Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona and the jailing of former President Gloria Arroyo.
“That is not part of nation-building, but war-making,” said the former leader.
But Ramos warned against precipitate calls for Aquino’s resignation because “baka sino naman diyan ang papalit [he may be succeeded by someone worse].”
The 86-year-old Ramos, who was president from 1992 to 1998, was one of the key leaders of the 1986 People Power Revolution, along with then Defense Minister (now Senator) Juan Ponce Enrile and the Aquino’s paternal uncle Agapito “Butz” Aquino.
Both Enrile, who is detained at nearby Camp Crame while under trial over the pork barrel scandal, and Butz Aquino were absent from Wednesday’s commemoration.
On the eve of the of the celebration, Aquino’s maternal uncle and former Tarlac congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. said he regretted supporting his nephew and announced he would support the presidential bid of Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2016.
In an interview with a news program of the ABS-CBN television network, Cojuangco even urged his nephew to resign in order to preserve the gains of the 1986 People Power Revolution.
“I think I did my part in restoring the democracy in the country and I don’t want to lose it,” Conjuangco answered when asked to explain why he has withdrawn support for his own nephew.
“I feel that I owe it to the country. I owe it to the people. I served the people from being a congressman and as a private citizen.
At the same time, Cojuangco denied that he and his, former Tarlac governor Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, started criticizing the Aquino administration because he was not given a position in the government.
“I do not live for politics. I have my own things to do,” said Cojuangco, who is now the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.