EDITORIAL – Never mind the cost of truth in Mamasapano

The Freeman

Whoever says any reopening of the Mamasapano Massacre investigation is a waste of anything should tell that to the still-grieving families the SAF 44 heroes left behind. The truth is still out in the worst betrayal of men in uniform by their very own leaders and any chance, however small, for that truth to be pinned down should be taken, at whatever cost and however painful.

Almost everyone who has been summoned to appear in the probe had not been forthright in his testimony. Almost nobody dared to go all the way with the truth. It is as if someone or something was always being protected. Never mind that in so doing, justice continues to be deprived those who made the supreme sacrifice with their lives for what they believed was their country.

Much has been made about President Aquino so belatedly acknowledging that the buck stopped with him. Actually, his secret was out even before he owned it. Only a child would believe he had nothing to do with it from the beginning. Every demand for him to own up was never a desperate plea for enlightenment but rather a test on his willingness to step up to the plate.

And so, as a leader would act, so would his men. When Aquino did not show up to receive the bodies of his men, preferring instead to be somewhere more joyful, such as the opening of a foreign car manufacturing plant, the signal it sent was that there are far more important things than this pesky but temporary distraction. So his subordinate officials, who did not rise through the ranks on stupidity, were quick to see where the president wanted the darn thing to go.

And so the subordinate officials, both uniformed and not and acting on presidential inspiration, hemmed and hawed and said actually nothing. If a few answers were found during the investigation hearings, it was more on the sordid details of death and mayhem, the physical details that merit no primacy other than in the post mortem. The thing that really mattered, the how it happened the way it did, remain as buried as ever.

Can a reopening of the Mamasapano investigation be used for political purposes in a presidential election year? It can and it will be. But so what. There is always a price to pay for everything. And if it has to end in the pump-priming of someone's moribund political campaign, that is actually a very small price to pay for the truth that lies desperately buried under the weight of one man's criminal apathy.

Truth can never be tainted by any and all efforts, clean or dirty, to obtain it. Truth will never lose the luster of its own timeless value. Anybody willing to abandon the search for truth for fear others may profit politically from the effort does not appreciate the truth no matter how he beats his own breast in its name or screams the word from the highest of mountains.

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