Command Responsibility

Command Responsibility

Part 1  The Drama Starts

 

  The Mamasapano encounter opened up a can of worms within the makeup of the Philippine Government, particularly in the configuration by which the Armed Forces work. More so because all the nuances, politics,  personal ambitions, pride, jealousy and other factors affecting the stability of Southern Mindanao converge on this little place called Mamasapano. Indeed the fate of the region is embroiled in this place as if the stage play started and will be finished here.

And as the stage opened, we see a situation wherein the rebels of Southern Mindanao seek to end the revolution by asking the Philippine Government the status of autonomous government for themselves amid the region that they presently occupy. The rebels have always been up in arms ever since. To provide urgency for their purpose, they kill and kidnap, and burn, and pillage, promptly calling these  acts as necessary to foster the revolution.

Thus was the situation that led to the Bangsamoro Basic Law, or BBL, as the requirement to form the autonomous Bangsamoro Region. This is now submitted to the Philippine Congress as a bill for debate. If and when approved, the Philippine Government hopes to attain peace in the region.

It should be noticed that the region in question would be in close proximity to the Federated Malaysia borders which, in due time, would be a good prospect for the Bangsamoro autonomous region to join it as its parliament may approve. This condition of autonomous region qualifies them to secede very much like Crimea did, and which Quebec tried to do. Curiously enough, Malaysian involvement in this BBL has been  notably instrumental, so far.

As the BBL play progresses, the following factors get into the act:

1. There is an existing truce between the armed elements of the Bangsamoro called the MILF and the Philippine Armed Forces while the BBL is being pursued. It appears that while the Bangsamoro negotiators know who they are dealing with, they have little idea of who they are dealing for. The territory in question is plastered with armed elements, some of whom have built a kind of fort complete with a Mosque and concrete defenses. This fact invalidates the mandate of the MILF negotiators. They are not in command of the territory and therefore they are not responsible for it.

2.  To the PNP, or Philippine national Police, is entrusted the mission to take down primary target Marwan and secondary target Usman, since it will be a police action and the undertaking will not break the truce. Formerly called the Philippine Constabulary, the unit has outgrown the equipment it is supplied with. The rule is that police units are not provided with heavy weapons as befitting a regular army unit. The SAF, or Special Action Force, is therefore formed that would perform as a pseudo regular army unit. The SAF, alas, still has not been provided with armaments such as grenade launchers, mortars, rpg’s and such. The SAF force that was involved in the Mamasapano encounter is actually more like an urban swat team, helpless in field skirmishes. The mission, therefore, had not that many chances of coming out with no casualties. Theirs is but to do and die.

3.   The greatest priority is given secrecy. There has been a rash of ambushes at each and every mission undertaken by military forces. The targets have almost always been forewarned. Curiously enough, the missions have been compromised by civilians sympathetic to the MILF, jealous military units, spies within the camp, and mostly by the amount of preparations that the missions are required to have. This particular mission, therefore, has been kept secret from almost everybody. This meticulousness has made the mission to get Marwan a success.  

 

 (next : The Skirmish)

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