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Chain of Command

Chain of Command
Ronald Roy — March 19, 2015

In any public or private corporation, the military concept of “chain of command” is nonexistent. Rather, it is the idea of “proper channels” that is recognized to convey more or less the same sense. To illustrate, it would be wrong for a corporate janitor or manager to directly address to the president any official matter without first bringing the same to the attention of his immediate supervisor; then, this being unavailing, to the next higher supervisor, and so on up the ladder of position.
Ignoring one’s immediate supervisor is an infraction that may merit disciplinary action, like a reprimand or suspension, depending on the gravity of the infraction. This “upward channels” rule is predicated on the necessity to not squander corporate time since the immediate supervisor is anyway presumed to have a more competent grasp of the matter than any other officer.
On the other hand, the same president is privileged to issue an order to the janitor or manager without passing through “downward channels”. His very rank and position empower him to bypass downward channels, although he would be taking a risk by doing so. Should his exercise of this prerogative result in a harm to the corporation, he can be held accountable by those people who elected him president: the stockholders.
Downward channels are a source of collective wisdom. A superior who causes corporate damage, after failing or refusing to tap the collective wisdom of available subordinates, should be ready to account for such failure or refusal. But then again, since he is privileged to not involve them in, say, tackling a critical problem, preferring to act on his own such as when time is of the essence, he may in fact be credited for outstanding performance if the problem is solved to the benefit of the institution.
Within the larger setting of the executive department of the government, the foregoing treatise finds application with the modification that: the constitution defines the president as a chief executive clothed not only with a civilian personality, but also with a military one. He is, in the words of the Constitution, “the Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces of the Philippines.”
Note the generic sense denoted by the basic charter’s mention of “armed forces” in small letters. It’s clear the Constitution places the Philippine National Police (PNP), along with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), under the Commander-in-Chief’s mantel of authority.
This critical comment is made to refute the Palace’s specious argument that Commander-in-Chief Aquino isn’t accountable for the botched operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, because he no longer had military authority over the PNP at the time of the incident, the latter having long assumed a civilian character when its precursor, the Philippine Constabulary, was abolished to become the national police.
The argument is a ridiculous and desperate attempt to exculpate Pres. Benigno B.S. Aquino lll from blame for the deaths of 44 gallant PNP-SAF commandos. They most probably would be alive today had all the military officials in the chain of command been coordinated by the self-proclaimed “hands-on president” as their Commander-in-Chief.
Considering the major nature of the military mission, it was irresponsible of him to delegate this authority to a buddy-subordinate, PNP Director General Alan Purisima (now resigned); worse, the latter had already been suspended by the Ombudsman for corruption charges when he was told by P-Noy to “take charge of implementing Oplan Exodus”. And Purisima, totally devoid of authority, carried on.
Parenthetically, Aquino’s wrongful act — ordering a suspended subordinate to handle such a delicate military mission that culminated in tragedy — equates with a “high crime”, one of the bases for his impeachment under the Constitution. This is where the Yellows seek to clear their benefactor with the tenuous claim that the PNP, being of civilian character, is not under his military authority but under the civilian supervision of DILG Sec. Mar Roxas.
This theory is a ridiculous and desperate attempt since, even assuming arguendo that Aquino no longer then enjoyed any military command over the PNP, he had civilian authority over it because, as Chief Executive, he has overall constitutional supervision over the Executive Department which includes the DILG. He should a fortiori have involved Roxas and the PNP in the planning stages of Oplan Exodus.
If he had only orchestrated the military mission from start to finish both as military and civilian bossman, he wouldn’t be in trouble now. For his fatal gaffes, he stands accountable to the people who elected him president: the citizens. On the other hand, if per chance the mission had been a total success despite P-Noy’s errors, he would be hailed as a hero.

09186449517 ronald8roy@yahoo.com

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