Thursday, March 12, 2015

SAF Platoon Head Promoted Ahead of his Upper Classmen


In a huddle lately at the office of Chief Inspector Edison Revita, Pilgrim town Manaoag’s police chief, I bumped into several chiefs of police of the 4th District led by Superintendent Benjie Ariola, operation chief of the provincial police office (PPO) and a Special Action Force's trained commando whose balding haircut has a remaining hair that formed "44".
British- Inspired Police Commandos in the Philippines
They were there to oversee the security blanket the police would provide on the monstrous twin events the proclamation of the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag as minor basilica and the Region 1 Athletic Association (R1AA) .
Senior Inspector Rommel Bagsic (PNPA 2004), chief of police of San Jacinto town, told me that most of the young commando  SAF’s captains who died in that surgical operation at Mamasapano, Maguindanao, were his bunk mates at the Philippine National Police Academy   when they were still cadets
Revita told me that Superintendent Raymond Train, who led the platoon in Maguindanao where some of the Gallant SAF -44 was part, was his underclass.
“Oh, bakit mabilis promotion niya, Lt. Colonel na siya kayo Major?”I posed to Edison, PNPA Class 2001, who is waiting, just like Bagsic, his next higher rank promotion.
He told me that Train had participated in many  high stake operations the last one before Mamasapano carnage was the horrendous Zamboanga Siege in Zamboanga City where the SAF and the Army traded fire with the battle scarred members of the Moro National Liberation Front.
I told them that when my bilas Police Colonel Mariel Magaway a member Philippine Military Academy Class of 1986, then a major, was wedded at the Manila Cathedral in  late 1990s, one of the godfathers was then PNP chief Panfilo Lacson. Lacson, however, could not attend but sent his aides Senior Superintendents Cesar Mangcao, my bilas’ mistah or classmate at PMA and Michael Ray Aquino (PMA 1988) arrived at the already crowded Cathedral. I told them the wide eyed PMA cadets’ honor guards, clad on their full dress, could not hide their awe seeing the dress white uniform clad Mangcao and Aquino stepped out from the two white Pajeros of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force– one of the rare SUVs (sports utility vehicles) during that time.

“Bok, bok iyan si Mancao!” one of the cadets was overheard telling excitedly his first class (4th year) classmates about the hunk Mancao, who was a media sensation during that time because of his exploits and film, who wore a snappy immaculate white dress punctuated with medals and commendations pinned on the upper part of his uniform just like the groom and fellow PMYers inside the church
“Why is it that Aquino and Mancao are full colonel and Mariel still a major?” I posed to a police there.
I was told that it was not really for their feats and commendations but being part of the sanctum sanctorum of the power –that- be  in Lacson and then president Joseph Estrada – who became their nemesis later.
“Geez man, that’s reminiscent of Army full Colonels Irwin and Rex Lor Ver (sons of then Marcos’ AFP chief of Staff General Fabian Ver)  and those lucky officers in the military and police. That resulted to the birth of the Reform the Armed Forces Movements (RAM) who protested for favouritism and patronage as basis for promotion during the Marcos Administration where younger officers rank shoots like firework over their senior officers,” I told myself.
Salamabit, now once in a while we see Mancao, then a dead ringer a lean dashing boxing's poster boy Oscar dela Hoya,  who now looked like flick's villain Max Alvarado (after he was beaten black and blue and palu-in ng pala sa mukha ni  Fernando Poe) on TV remorseful to what he did to Lacson and Former President Estrada. Mangcao keeps telling the media how life was hard as a fugitive (he was imprisoned, like Aquino, in the U.S) and asks forgiveness to the former police chief and former president of the Republic.
“How times fly. Weather-weather lang iyan. Sometimes you’re below, sometimes you’re above of the cycle,” a military friend told me.
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