- Office of Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman
- 0918-9120137 / 0916-6406737
- 26 August 2010
Minority Leader and Albay Representative Edcel C. Lagman scored as “evasive, trivial and unresponsive” President Benigno Aquino’s standard answer that the opposition is “expected” to criticize his administration and its officials.
Lagman said that his call for the resignation of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and Presidential Communications Group Secretaries Ricky Carandang and Herminio Coloma cannot be dismissed by President Aquino as mere ranting or politicking of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives.
Lagman explained that the accusation of “palpable incompetence” and “culpable indifference” of these Cabinet members resulting to the hostage-taking fiasco is a serious indictment based on admitted and irrefutable facts.
The Bicol solon observed that the entire nation and the whole world were horrified witnesses to the tragic bungling of the Aquino administration’s response to the first major crisis to confront it.
President Aquino’s explanation of his absence during the 11-hour siege that he “purposely tried not to interfere” makes it even worse according to Lagman because the President failed to make a decisive and immediate presidential action as demanded by the crisis situation.
Lagman underscored that the statement of Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda that the resignation call was premature and should wait for the result of the investigation failed to consider that responsible police officials and Sec. Robredo himself have admitted major lapses and serious inadequacies in the authorities’ negotiations and rescue operations.
Lagman said that Robredo’s defense that the incident was purely a “police matter” is shortsighted and faulty because it overlooked that the tragedy has direct repercussions on the country’s international standing and economy.
Even granting that Robredo’s assessment is correct that it was only a police concern, he cannot escape responsibility because he has jurisdiction, control and supervision over the Philippine National Police (PNP), Lagman added.
Carandang and Coloma are equally liable for failing to enforce existing international protocol for media covering hostage-taking incidents to ensure the safety of the hostages and prevent the leak of official planning and execution of rescue operations.