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FULL TEXT President Aquino’s eulogy for slain SAF men

/ 12:52 PM January 30, 2015

Talumpati ng
Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa pagbibigay-pugay at pagluluksa para sa mga nasawing PNP-Special Action Force troopers

[Inihayag sa Camp Bagong Diwa, Lungsod Taguig, noong ika-30 ng Enero 2015]

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Isa po sa pinakamahirap kong tungkulin bilang pangulo ay ang pakikiramay sa mga nawalan ng mahal sa buhay. Sa pagharap ko po sa inyo ngayon, aaminin ko po, hindi ko mapigil tanungin ang aking sarili: Ano nga ba ang masasabi ko, para kahit papaano, ay mapagaan ang kalooban n’yo?

Napakahalaga po ng buhay ninuman. Bagama’t alam nating lahat tayo ay mawawala sa mundo, laging nariyan ang tanong na “Kailangan bang may namatay sa pagkakataong ito?” Ito po ay sa kabila ng lagi nating paghahanap ng mga paraan, sa abot ng ating makakaya, para maiwasan ang anumang hindi kinakailangang kawalan o pagkasawi.

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Gusto ko pong sabihin sa inyo na damang-dama ko ang pakiramdam ninyo.  Nauunawaan ko ang bawat pamilya ng ating kapulisang nasawi sa engkuwentro nitong nakaraang Linggo. Ako man ay nawalan ng mahal sa buhay nang biglaan. Naaalala ko nga po ang sandaling nag-uusap kami ng aking yumaong ama. Nagdesisyon siya noon na dumating na ang panahon para bumalik siya sa ating Inang Bayan mula sa Amerika.

READ: Marwan finger cut off for DNAWhat price peace?

Siya na rin mismo ang nagsabi: palapit na tayo nang palapit sa isang madugong himagsikan. Umuwi nga po siya nang mag-isa. Ang kasama lang, mga taga-media, at klarong-klarong defenseless po siya. Ang sabi niya: baka naman miski papaano, ma-curious si Ginoong Marcos at mabigyan ako ng pagkakataong makadiyalogo siya, at maabot sa kanya ang tunay na sitwasyon ng bansa. Sa ganoong paraan, ay mauumpisahan na ang payapang panunumbalik ng ating demokrasya.

Mag-isa po akong nanonood ng telebisyon sa bahay namin noon sa Boston, naghihintay ng balita tungkol sa nangyari sa aking ama. Narinig ko pong sinabi ng announcer sa telebisyon: “Opposition leader Benigno Aquino was seen lying in a pool of blood; shots were fired.” Sa oras ping iyon, para pong tumigil ang oras sa akin, huminto at halos walang akong napansin sa buong kapaligiran; bumaliktad ang aking mundo. Hindi ko maipaliwanag ang pagkabigla na naramdaman ko. Ni minsan, di namin naisip na may posibilidad man lang na papatayin siya. Pinakamabigat na siguro ay ang ibalik siya sa kulungan. Kaya’t talagang nagulat kami sa nangyari. Sa kanyang pagbalik, hindi na po nagawang makatuntong pa ng aking ama sa lupang sinilangan. Pababa pa lang ng eroplano, walang habas na siyang pinaslang.

Nang makumpirma ang nangyari, hindi ko pinahintulutan ang sarili kong maiyak. Pinigil ko ang luha ko, at inilipat lahat sa galit.

Ang ama po namin ang pinuno ng pamilya; siya ang aming tagapagtanggol, ang gabay at inspirasyon, at ang bukal ng lakas na nagpapatatag sa aming mag-anak noong mga panahon ng Martial Law.

Pakiramdam ko, nawalan na ng puwang sa maayos na pag-uusap; itong hinahanap na kadiyalogo ng tatay ko, at ang kanyang mga kasamahan; sila ay nagmistulan nang mga asong ulul na hindi na kayang makausap nang matino. Ang sabi ko, ibibigay ko sa aking ama ang tamang paggalang; at pagkatapos, gagawin ko sa kanila ang ginawa nila sa aming pamilya.

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READ: Aquino admits lack of coordination in Mamasapano clash

Sa pinakamalungkot at pinakamasakit na sandaling ito, ilang tanong ang bumabalot sa isip ko: Ngayong wala na ang aming ama, paano natin maaabot ang kanyang inaasam para sa bansa? Ibig sabihin ba no’n, tapos na ang laban? Kung namatay na para sa bayan ang aking ama, at wala man lang tayong nakamit na pagbabago, ‘di ba’t sayang naman ang kanyang sakripisyo, at ng libo-libong Pilipino?

Sa mga panahong iyon, di ko maiwasang isipin na ang huling yugto noon ay hahantong sa madugong himagsikan. Ngunit nagsimulang magbago ang pananaw ko nang makita ko ang dami ng taong nanindigan at nakiramay sa labas ng aming bahay sa Times sa Quezon City. Tila ba hindi na sila natatakot sa Batas Militar. Dito ko po nakita ang posibilidad na maitutuloy ang laban kahit wala na ang aming pinuno.

Sa inyo pong mga kaanak ng nasawi nating kapulisan, batid kong nagbago rin ang inyong mundo sa pagpanaw ng inyong mga mahal sa buhay. May nailatag na kayong mga plano; at mga pangarap na nais marating. At sa di-inaasahang pangyayari, ay biglang lumabo at dumilim ang inyong kinabukasan. Napakaraming mga tanong na nag-uumpisa sa katagang “Bakit”: Bakit ito nangyari? Bakit kailangang may masawi? Bakit kailangang magdusa ang pamilya?

Sa totoo lang po, hindi ko masasagot ang lahat ng mga ito. Dito ko naman po naalala ang ipinayo sa akin noong panahong namatay ang tatay ko. Sabi po ng paring aking kinukumpisalan: Bilang Kristiyano, simple lang ang sinasabi ng pananampalataya natin: May Diyos na nilikha tayo sa Kanyang anyo, tanda ng Kanyang pagmamahal. Dahil mahal Niya tayo, mayroon siyang magandang plano sa bawat isa sa atin. Kapag dumadaan tayo sa mga panahong hindi natin makita ang planong ito, marahil, nahihirapan tayo sapagkat ang tinitingnan lang natin ay kapiraso lamang ng Kanyang buong plano. Ngunit kung makikita lang raw natin ang kabuuan ng planong ito, ay liliwanag sa atin ang tunay na kagandahan nito.

READ: #SAF44 memorial page; What really happened according to MILF, AFP, etc.

Nais ko rin pong balikan ang isang sipi mula sa aklat ni Juan, Kapitulo 15, Bersikulo 13. Ang sabi po: “Walang pag-ibig na hihigit pa kaysa pag-ibig ng isang taong nag-alay ng kanyang buhay para sa kanyang kapwa.”

Sa inyo pong mga mahal sa buhay ng mga namayapa nating kapulisan, alam kong batid din ninyo ang puno’t dulo ng kanilang pagsali sa hukbo. Silang 44 na pulis, sa murang edad na 26 hanggang 39 na taong gulang, ay itinulak ang kanilang mga sarili at sinagad ang kanilang kakayahan, para maiambag ang kanilang pinakamalaking maiaambag, hindi lang para sa sarili o sa pamilya, kundi para sa ating Inang bayan. Inialay nila ang kanilang buhay para sa malawakang kapayapaan at kaayusan.

Alam naman po ninyo, dalawa ang target nila sa nangyaring operasyon: sina Abdul Basit Usman, at Zulkipli Bin Hir o Abu Marwan. Nabanggit na rin po natin kung gaano sila kalaking mga terorista. Pumapatay sila nang walang pakundangan at nagpapakadalubhasa kung paano higit na makakapaghasik ng terorismo. Suspek nga po si Marwan sa pambobomba sa Bali, Indonesia. Doon, dalawang magkasunod na pagsabog ang nangyari. Matapos ang unang pagsabog, hinintay nilang dumating ang mga sumaklolo, at saka pinasabog ang pangalawang bomba. 202 katao ang nasawi dito. Sa nangyaring operasyon dito ng SAF, diumano’y napatay ang pangunahing target na si Marwan.

Umasa naman po kayo na ang pangalawang target na hindi natin nahuli noon, ay makukuha din natin. At kilala n’yo naman po ako, kapag nagbitiw ako ng salita, tinutupad natin. Number 1 po sa listahan ng dapat nating gawin ay ang pagdakip kay Basit Usman. Inutos na natin sa kinauukulan ang pagpaplano ng mas mahusay na operasyong hulihin ang taong ito. Kumikilos na po ang inyong gobyerno, hindi lamang sa mga oras na ito, kundi bago pa man ako humarap sa inyo, upang isakatuparan ito. Patutunayan po natin ang pag-iral ng batas sa buong Pilipinas. Tinitiyak ko po sa inyo, mahuhuli natin si Usman.

READ: MILF insists on 64 bodies found including guides, informants, militiamen

Alalahanin po natin na may binuo po tayong board of inquiry na ang trabaho ay alamin ang totoong nangyari at kung sino ang gumawa nito. Ang gusto natin: Hindi na maulit ang pangyayaring tulad nito. Bilang Pangulo, gustuhin ko man pong magalit, ay hindi ako puwedeng magpadala sa emosyon. Hindi ko puwedeng idaan ito sa bara-barang pagdedesisyon. Dahil kapag pinairal ko ang galit, baka imbes na maresolba ay lalo ko pang palalain ang problema. Sisikapin po nating makamit ang katarungan para sa lahat ng pinaslang at kanilang mga naiwang mahal sa buhay.

Makakaasa rin po kayo: Pipilitin nating bawasan ang agam-agam sa inyong kinabukasan. Tutugunan po natin ang inyong mga pangangailangan nang sumusunod sa lahat ng batas at patakaran. Gagawin po natin ang lahat, sa abot ng ating makakaya, upang tulungan ang bawat pamilya ng ating mga bayaning kapulisan. Kinapanayam na po kayo ng ating mga kasamahan sa gobyerno, at nakausap ko na po ang ilan sa inyo at kakausapin ko po kayong lahat.

Naglaan na po ang inyong gobyerno ng karampatang tulong-pinansiyal sa benepisyaryo ng bawat kapulisang nasawi o nasugatan. Lahat ng ayudang maaaring manggaling sa pamahalaan ay isasagad natin. Mula sa pagbibigay-suporta sa pag-aaral ng mga benepisyaryo, hanggang sa pagtulong sa paghahanap ng trabaho’t mapagkakakitaan—ilan lamang po ito sa mga halimbawa ng ayudang ipinagkakaloob ng inyong gobyerno.

Gaya nga po ng nabanggit ko noong Miyerkules ng gabi, diretso na rin akong nakikiusap sa pribadong sektor at sa ating mamamayan: Sabayan po ninyo ang gobyerno upang masigurong maipapakita natin ang pagkilala sa kabayanihang ipinamalas ng mga nasawing kasapi ng PNP-Special Action Force.

READ: SAF Chief: I am responsibleDead SAF’s kin ask why, how

Malinaw po: Bayani ang asawa, kapatid, o anak ninyong dinadakila natin sa araw na ito. Malaki po ang utang-ng-loob ng sambayanan sa kanila. Binuwis nila ang kanilang buhay para mabigyan ng kaayusan at katahimikan ang buhay ng mas nakakarami.

Iyan po ang dahilan kung bakit naka-half mast ang ating watawat sa lahat ng kampo ng ating mga pulis at militar, at sa lahat ng tanggapan ng ating gobyerno. Ngayong iniuwi na natin ang kanilang mga labi, ay dinadantayan din ng bandila ang bawat isa sa kanila. Sagisag ito ng pagtanaw ng estado sa kanilang ipinamalas na tapang, dedikasyon, at kabayanihan. Sagisag ito ng pagluluksa, hindi lang ng kanilang mga pamilya’t kaibigan, kundi ng buong bansa. Sagisag ito na nabuhay at namatay sila, hindi para sa sarili, kung hindi para sa bayan.

Sa ngalan ng sambayanang Pilipino, kinikilala po natin ang kabayanihan ng ating mga nasawing kapulisan. Nagpapasalamat tayo sa kadakilaan ng kanilang sakripisyo. Nakikiramay po tayo sa bawat pamilya ng mga kapulisan nating nawalan ng mahal sa buhay.

Sa simula nga po, nabanggit ko: Kung walang nangyaring pagbabago sa pagkamatay ng aking ama, di po ba’t nasayang lang ang kanyang naging sakripisyo? Kaya naman, hindi natin pababayaan na mauwi sa wala ang pag-aalay ng buhay ng ating mga bayaning pulis. Kung ang kanilang pagkasawi ay maging sanhi ng pagkakamit natin ng kapayapaang ating inaasam, dito po, masasabi nating hindi nabalewala ang kanilang naging sakripisyo. Ang tunay at pangmatagalang pagbabagong ito ang magiging pamana nila sa sambayanang Pilipino.

Magandang tanghali po. Maraming salamat sa inyo sa inyo.

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Benigno Aquino III Eulogy for Mamasapano SAF44

Eulogy of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the necrological service for the fallen PNO-SAF troopers

[This is the English translation of the speech delivered at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City,  on January 30, 2015]

One of my most difficult tasks as President is condoling with the bereaved. As I stand before you today, I cannot help but ask myself: What could I possibly say that would console you?

Every life contains great value. We know that, one day, we will all depart this world, but the question always looms: “Was it really necessary for someone to die in this manner?” This, we ask even as we work constantly to avoid as many unnecessary losses or deaths as possible.

I wish to tell you, the families of our policemen who fell during Sunday’s encounter, that I genuinely understand how you feel. I, too, lost a loved one in a sudden manner. I remember a conversation I had with my father; it was when he had decided it was time to return to our Motherland from the United States.

READ: Wailing, weeping, anger as fallen heroes arriveMILF chief: I’m still committed to peace

He said: We are nearing a bloody war. He ended up going home by himself. His only companions were the media, and he was clearly defenseless. He said: Perhaps somehow, Mr. Marcos’s curiosity would be piqued, and he would give me a chance to dialogue with him and convey to him the country’s true situation. In that manner, we could finally begin our country’s peaceful return to democracy.

I remember watching alone the television in our residence in Boston, waiting for news about what had happened to my father. I heard the announcer on the television say: “Opposition leader, Benigno Aquino, was seen lying in a pool of blood; shots were fired.” Then, it was as if time had come to a halt; my surroundings froze and I lost my awareness of things, and my world was turned upside down. I could not explain the shock I felt. Never did we consider the possibility that he would be killed. The worst-case scenario would have been if he had been sent back to prison. What transpired came as a real shock to us. During his return, my father was unable to even set foot in the land in which he was born. He was mercilessly killed as he descended the airplane.

When we confirmed what had happened, I did not allow myself to weep. I stopped my tears and channeled all my energy to anger.

Our father was the head of our family. He was our protector, our guide, our inspiration, and the wellspring of strength supporting our family during Martial Law.

I felt there was no space left for discourse; the person my father wished to dialogue with, along with that person’s companions, were like rabid dogs who had become impossible to engage in a decent conversation. I resolved to pay my respects to my father, and after that, to do to them what they did to my family.

In that moment of absolute misery and pain, several questions occupied my mind: Now that our father is no longer with us, how can we achieve that which we desire for our country? Does this mean we have reached the end of our fight? If transformation could not be achieved even after my father died, had my father’s sacrifice, and that of thousands of Filipinos, gone to waste?

READ: Espina: PNP unaware of SAF operation, to probe lapsesSAF commander sacked

During those days, I could not help but think that the final chapter would end with a bloody revolution. But my perception started to change after I saw the multitudes that flocked to our home at Times, in Quezon City, to stand in solidarity with us. It was as if they were unafraid of Martial Law. It was then that I saw it was possible to carry on the fight after the death of our leader.

To the families of our fallen troopers, I know full well that your lives have been turned upside down with the sudden death of your loved ones. You had plans laid out for your future; you had set your sight towards achieving certain dreams. Now, with this unexpected outcome, the future for you and your families seems to be clouded with uncertainty. So many questions asked today begin with “Why:” Why did this happen? Why did they have to die? Why do families have to suffer?

I must be honest; I do not have the answers to all these questions. But it is during this moment that I remember what was told to me upon the death of my father. As I confessed, the priest said: As Christians, our faith tells us this simple truth: There is a God who created us in His likeness, as a sign of His love for us. And because He loves us, He has a good plan for all of us. When we go through periods in which we could not see this plan, perhaps, we have difficulty because we are only looking at one detail of His grand plan for us. But if we were to see His whole plan, then we would see in full light the beauty of it.

Thus I remember a passage from the Gospel of John; it is chapter 15, verse 13. It says: “There is no greater love than that of giving one’s life for his fellowman.”

READ: Aquino knew of Mamasapano mission; Purisima called the shots – SAF chief

To the loved ones of our departed policemen, I know you are aware why they joined our police force. Our 44 fallen heroes from our police force, the youngest at 26 and the most senior at 39 years old, pushed themselves and exerted all their effort to do what they could, not only for themselves and their families, but for our beloved country. They gave up their lives for the kind of peace and order that endures.

As you know, they were in pursuit of two targets during that operation:  Abdul Basit Usman and Zulkipli Bin Hir, who is known as Abu Marwan. I have already mentioned how they are notorious terrorists. They murder without remorse, and work to perfect how to inflict the greatest harm through their terrorism. Marwan, in fact, was a suspect in the bombing in Bali, Indonesia. There, two explosions occurred. After the first bomb went off, they waited for the responders to arrive at the blast site, before detonating a second device. This resulted in the death of 202 people. With the operation that SAF undertook, it is reported that the primary target, Marwan, was killed.

Now, be assured that the second target that eluded us will be captured. You know this: I am a man of my word. Capturing Basit Usman is number one on our list of priorities. I have ordered the authorities to formulate a more effective plan to hunt down and apprehend this criminal. Your government is already working towards this end; in fact, even before speaking to you, we were already taking steps to meet this objective. We will prove that the law truly prevails in the Philippines. I assure you, we will get Usman.

Let us also remember that a board of inquiry has been formed, with the responsibility of uncovering the truth behind what happened and of determining those responsible. We do not want a repeat of incidents like this. As President, even if I want to be angry, I cannot allow myself to be carried away by my emotions. Rash decision-making has no place in these situations. If I were to let my anger dictate my actions, then perhaps instead of resolving the problem, I would only exacerbate it. We will do our utmost to gain justice for all those who perished and for the loved ones they left behind.

READ: MILF unit in PNP-SAF killings has violent history

Let me also assure you: We will exert every effort to lessen your worries and doubts about the future. We will provide for your needs, in accordance with all laws and regulations. We will do everything in our power to help each family of our fallen heroes in the police. My colleagues in government have already reached out to you, and I have spoken to some of you about this, and I will talk to everyone else.

Your government has already allocated financial assistance for the beneficiaries of each policeman who died, or has been wounded. Every form of assistance that government can render, we will maximize. From providing support for the education of beneficiaries, to assisting families in seeking out jobs and livelihood—these are only a few examples of the aid that government will give.

To reiterate what I said last Wednesday evening, I make a direct appeal to the private sector and to our countrymen: Join the government in recognizing the heroism displayed by the fallen members of the PNP-Special Action Force.

It is clear: Your husbands, brothers, and sons, whom we honor today, are heroes. Our nation owes them a great debt of gratitude. They sacrificed their lives, to bring peace and order to the lives of the vast majority.

This is why our flag flies at half-mast in all police and military camps, and in all government offices. Now that we have brought home their bodies, our flag embraces each and every one of them. This is a sign of the state’s recognition of the courage, dedication, and heroism that they displayed. This is a sign of our grief, a grief not only from their families and friends, but the grief of an entire nation. This is a sign that they live and they died, not for themselves, but for their country.

READ: MILF, BIFF ties complicating law enforcement – military

In the name of the Filipino people, we recognize the valor of our fallen policemen. We thank them for the courage of their sacrifice. We condole and grieve with each family who has lost a loved one.

Earlier, I said: If the death of my father had failed to bring about change, then is it not true that all his sacrifices would have been for nothing? This is why we will not allow the ultimate sacrifice paid by our heroes in the police to go to waste. Should their deaths lead to realizing the peace we all desire, then we would be able to say that their sacrifice was not left in vain. This true, lasting change would become their legacy for the entire Filipino nation.

Thank you.

READ: MILF urged to explain role in bloody clash

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, Marwan, PNP‎, SAF
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