Abolish intelligence fundsBy Ramon Tulfo |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Why didn’t the military detect the presence of armed rebels moving into Zamboanga City just before the attack on that western Mindanao city?
That big a number of men and arms couldn’t have escaped detection.
The military leaders in Western Mindanao were obviously sleeping on the job.
They were probably dining, wining and who knows what else they were doing, while their enemy was sneaking up on them.
It’s understandable for soldiers to suffer defeat at the hands of a superior enemy, but it is unforgivable for soldiers to be caught off-guard by the enemy.
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As usual, there was a failure of intelligence before the Zamboanga City attack.
If the money that is supposed to be spent to pay “assets” or civilian spies were spent on their intended beneficiaries, the military would have been alerted on the impending attack.
Intelligence funds, just like the congressional pork barrel, should be abolished because these are not being used for its intended purpose.
They probably go into the pockets of high-ranking military officers.
Intelligence funds should instead be given directly to battalion commanders in the field who should be made to account for every centavo.
A battalion, which is composed of 500 or more men, has its own intelligence unit (S-2).
If soldiers in the battalion got killed in an ambush or firefight because their officers pocketed the intelligence funds, their surviving comrades would probably shoot their commanders.
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The President is walking on a tightrope, but he is handling the Zamboanga City crisis on an even keel.
As AFP and PNP commander-in-chief, he could have ordered an all-out attack on MNLF positions to punish the Moro rebels, but he didn’t because he wanted innocent civilians out of harm’s way.
There were reports that most of the civilians the Moro fighters were holding as shields were “willing hostages” but how could the President know that?
The President’s maturity as a leader showed in the Zamboanga incident.
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Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas are trying to outdo each other in the Zamboanga crisis.
They can’t be blamed, though, for playing to the gallery because the situation is giving them the opportunity to show their worth to the public and, of course, to the Big Boss.
But Vice President Jojo Binay and his son, Makati Mayor Junjun, can’t be forgiven for grandstanding because they had no business being in Zamboanga City.
No matter what the father-and-son tandem say, they were obviously campaigning for the 2016 elections.
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The P10-billion pork barrel scam is very painful to Filipinos.
But the revelation should also be cause for rejoicing because this huge theft of people’s money by men they elected to office will no longer be tolerated or repeated in the future.
As Senate President Frank Drilon said: “We see this as part of the cleansing process. We will exert every effort so we can restore the confidence of our people in this institution of democracy called Congress.”
More from this Column:
- Ernesto Mercado’s mea culpa
- Binays done for if Mercado talks
- Jojo Binay’s former vice mayor would be excellent witness
- Be careful about what you say
- Not too late to do a Robredo