Monday, February 2, 2015

SAF Fallen 44: Wisdom and Discernment

Pope Francis just visited the Philippines and on the Guest Book at the Presidential Palace he wrote, “On the President and people of this beloved land of the Philippines, I ask Almighty God abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace,”


Indeed, it was WISE for the SAF Fallen 44 to:

1.              Execute a Court Order;
2.              Obey an Executive/Superior’s Order;
3.              Enforce a Warrant of Arrest;
4.              Fulfill a Secret Police Mission;
5.              Render Justice – for the murder, frustrated and attempted murders committed against several human beings;
6.              Stop the training of terrorists in bomb-making;
7.              Prevent the killing of hundreds if not thousands of Filipinos and other nationalities worldwide; and
8.              Participate in the global war against terrorism with Presidential blessing.

For these moves, the SAF Fallen 44 met their untimely deaths but not until after they had served the warrant of arrest and killed Marwan who obviously resisted. The latter is listed as one of the most wanted terrorists worldwide. In fact, the US State Department put up a Cash Reward of $6 million for his capture – dead or alive!  The other terrorist named Usman escaped. The Cash Reward for him is $2 million.

Reactions to the deaths were varied. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno was quick and on point. She ordered flags to fly at half-mast in courthouses across the country as the judiciary mourned the massacre of elite police forces in Mindanao. After all, the SAF 44 died enforcing a Court Order!

PNoy issued a Presidential Proclamation honoring the new heroes and scheduled a National Day of Mourning. He spent about 10 hours condoling with the surviving families. Everybody was unanimous in declaring the Fallen 44 as heroes - they “did not die in vain”.  Medals of Bravery were awarded to them. A Congressman even proposed that they be buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani (National Pantheon for Heroes).

“The package of benefits for families of slain Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troopers includes: lifetime pension, gratuity equivalent to one year salary, additional pension for the next five years, Pag-Ibig Fund death benefits, insurance benefits, and commutation of leaves,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.  There was also a proposal to distribute the Cash Reward of $6 million to each of the surviving families.

As expected, PNoy haters and perennial naysayers found something to criticize the President with. Freely exercising their right to free speech, they considered PNoy’s absence during the arrival of the dead bodies inappropriate. Unfortunately, even some known supporters of PNoy echoed the criticism.

On issues relating to taste, and on questions of values and priorities, we usually do not argue.    Falling into it would be endless and practically useless.

Pope Francis prayed for PNoy and the Filipinos to have “abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity, and peace.”


Discernment has been defined online as ”nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically.”
To those who are blessed with discernment as prayed for by Pope Francis, 
the above-mentioned moves are not only wise but evidently true as well. They were definitely right, not wrong. I cannot see any facet of the policemen’s mission that can be described as false.

There are questions re “misencounter”, failure to coordinate with military and the MILF, secrecy and the like. A Truth panel to investigate is suggested. Perhaps the findings of the panel could result in a better discernment.

Of course, the implied goal of getting out of there alive and standing did not happen. PNoy would have preferred them to be strong and indestructible. But their fate should not diminish their heroism, patriotism, and display of valor.

Ironically, there is an attempt to declare their mission to be a botched-up job by critics and naysayers.  Trying to blame it on the superiors of the SAF Fallen 44 like PNoy and others in the chain of command would actually run counter to what was already proclaimed as a mission partially accomplished with the supreme sacrifices of 44 policemen.

Discernment also relies on quantitative analysis to arrive at truthful, wise and right judgments. The SAF Fallen 44 joined with 8 mission objectives. Except for a partial performance on one, all were accomplished. They arrested and killed Marwan but missed Usman who escaped. In the world of terrorism and in the eyes of the U.S. State Department, Marwan is worth $6 million in Cash Reward while Usman is worth $2 million.  This means the SAF Fallen 44 accomplished 75% of this mission objective.

It is true that 44 of our elite and courageous policemen gave up their lives. But they rendered justice for those murdered and victims of frustrated and attempted murders committed by Marwan. By killing him, they stopped more bombings and the training of terrorists in bomb making, hence – preventing the murder of hundreds if not thousands more innocent civilians. Most of humanity is indebted to their dying day.

Presidents and Heads of States have great and broad responsibilities. Their obligation is not limited to meeting the dead bodies of soldiers who were victims of the cruelties of war. Churchill and Roosevelt would have spent valuable time doing it during World War II. So did Nixon, Kennedy, and Johnson during the Vietnam War; and Bush I, Bush II and Obama during the Afghan and Iraq Wars. Did they?

The criticisms against PNoy were mostly based on WHAT IFs. The truth is, they are answerable more convincingly also by WHAT IFs because they are based on actual facts and indisputably defensible behind the power of logic.

WHAT IF PNoy is not President? Would the following among others have occurred?

1.     Detention of President GMA;
2.     Impeachment of Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Corona;
3.     Detention of former Senate President and Marcos’ Martial Law Administrator Enrile;
4.     Detention of Actor/Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla;
5.     Detention of Napoles and other Pork Barrel Scammers;
6.     Investigation of VP Binay and the overpricing of building construction in Makati.


Pope Francis also prayed for the Philippines to have abundant blessings of Peace. Jesus Christ was crucified and He died in order to bring Joy and Peace to Earth. So were many of his Apostles and followers who became Saints.

The SAF Fallen 44 died for Peace. Those who wish to derail the efforts of PNoy and the peace-loving Muslims to finally experience real peace in Mindanao should not be allowed to succeed.  

WHAT IF the PNoy haters and naysayers suddenly receive “abundant blessings of wisdom and discernment" for the sake of achieving temporal and eternal peace and prosperity as Pope Francis prayed for?

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