FVR fumes over Noy’s no-show at Villamor

Marichu A. Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - January 31, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Aside from netizens, an angry former President Fidel Ramos lambasted President Aquino yesterday for not showing up at the arrival honors for 42 of 44 slain Special Action Force (SAF) members at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City last Thursday.

Ramos deplored the absence of the President who went instead to the inaugural of the car plant of Japanese automotive giant Mitsubishi in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Social media was filled with denunciations of  the no-show of Aquino at the arrival rites for the slain SAF troopers. Trending even gained worldwide hash tags in both English and Tagalog versions: #NasaanAngPangulo and #Where’s the President? 

Wearing his war veteran’s cap and black vest, Ramos joined the Villamor rites and consoled the bereaved relatives of the 42 SAF men.

Palace spokespersons explained the President had official appointments previously scheduled but that he would instead attend the necrological rites at Camp Bagong Diwa yesterday in Taguig.

This Palace explanation did not sit well with Ramos. Attending yesterday’s necrological rites, Ramos was interviewed by dzRH radio and rebuked Aquino.

The ex-president did not mince words in castigating the incumbent commander-in-chief for not sparing time for troopers killed in action while running after lawless elements in Mamasapano last Jan. 25.

“What is more important – to be with your fallen troopers at this time when their respective families are wailing and crying out for justice, or trying to please investors who are already here expanding their business because we have good economic prospects?” Ramos told dzRH.

While acknowledging that the President has a busy schedule, Ramos said a leader must know how “to plan, to organize and to prioritize” the nation’s agenda. 

Ramos said he was able to go to the event at Mitsubishi upon invitation of the Japanese car company but he was able to proceed afterwards to Villamor to attend the arrival honors for the 42 slain SAF personnel.

“I went there at 8 o’clock in the morning per invitation, took breakfast although I already had eaten earlier, and stayed there waiting for the President who, I was told would arrive around 10 o’clock,” Ramos said.

“I’ve been a president and my appointments secretary along with my PSG (Presidential Security Group) would always have back-up plans in case we need to be somewhere else if there are unscheduled events that come up,” Ramos pointed out.

Saying he was not giving any “unsolicited advice,” Ramos noted that the PSG always kept a helicopter on standby for any transport contingency.           

The former president is acknowledged as one of the founders of the PNP-SAF and former chief of the defunct PC-Integrated National Police, the PNP’s forerunner.

Also present at the Villamor arrival rites were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas II, Sen. Bongbong Marcos and his mother, Leyte Rep. Imelda Marcos.

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