WHAT is in a smile that it could evoke anger and controversy? President Noynoy should be spared the flagellation over the bloody ending of the hostage crisis.
I am in accord with him that he cannot micromanage everything that takes place every tick of the second hand. He had put in place people in every agency of the government he was confident can handle every issue and situation. I believe that he is not wanting of managing the government bureaucracy by objective and therefore place his trust and confidence everyone of these men can micromanage problems and opportunities in their respective departments.
Unfortunately for President Noynoy, some of these men failed him miserably.
For their ineptitude President Noynoy Aquino is now being crucified. I will not join the mob that nails him on the cross. For certain, the president must have been excruciating in pain.
If I were in his shoes, I would have suffered the same dilemma.
I knew I have a mayor who is the crisis manager, I have the chief of the Philippine National Police who could field other superior and well trained operatives in a crisis situation of that nature, a local government secretary who can wake the PNP chief from slumber and maybe paralysis and whip him into action and two press secretaries to reach out to media not to intrude into a hostage situation where the lives of the victims are in imminent danger.
It is unfair to assail President Noynoy for, what critics say was, smiling as if to say that he was amused by the deathly event in Luneta. It was in this venue where not too long ago he was hailed by an effusive crowd who voted him to office. Even Sec. Jesus Dureza of the Mindanao Development Authority came in defense of the President (I say 'even' because Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa had earlier announced that P.Noy has accepted the courtesy resignation of Dureza).
According to Jess, a smile in a hostage or crisis situation is something involuntary. It sort of gives a relief from a psychological stress.
Dureza was both the crisis manager and negotiator for the siege in Dapecol, the hostage taking of Secretary Santos and Marine Commander Dolorfino in Jolo, the capitulation of the Ampatuans and the release of Nuraldin Yusoph, son of a Comelec Commissioner, to name a few. He recalled that when he was negotiating with the Andal Ampatuan to turn over his son, the principal suspect in the Maguindanao massacre, the strongman would laugh at some reports from his subordinates.
The situation was tense and Jess admitted that the surrounding was quite hostile and scary. He manages to emote a facial expression, which to the outsider looked like a smile. That split second facial expression was splashed on TV. The President GMA sort of gave him a scolding and his wife Beth also gave him a brow-beating for not informing him earlier where he was headed to -- the hideout and garrison of the Ampatuans.
In retrospect, Jess recalled, the unintended smile may come out from a dissonance of disgust, frustration, anger and anxiety combined. And this can happen in and out of an actual crisis situation.
As an aside I asked Jess about his present predicament as Chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority.
Dureza said that early on he offered to relinquish his post if President Aquino desires to appoint somebody else of his confidence. He said that MinDA chairmanship is a cabinet position. He was waiting for any advice from the palace but this did not come. Instead the President issued Executive Order No. 2 which defined that only midnight appointees will have to be replaced.
MinDA chairmanship has a six year-security of tenure.
Having issued EO 2, Dureza said that he assumed or resumed responsibility for the agency to move on. It looks like until the President formally says otherwise, any news and speculations that are being floated around will not make Jess abandon MinDA. It is too important for Mindanao according to Jess and we are in full accord with him on that score. We both smiled at that.