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Poe: PNoy 'ultimately responsible' for Mamasapano mission

Sen. Grace Poe said that as chief executive and commander-in-chief, President Benigno Aquino III is "ultimately responsible" for the Mamasapano operation which left 44 police commandos dead under the hands of Moro rebels last January 25. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Benhur Arcayan

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate committee report on the Mamasapano incident concluded that President Benigno Aquino III is responsible for the mission as chief executive and commander-in-chief.

"As to the president, he is ultimately responsible for the Mamasapano mission," Sen. Grace Poe said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Poe, who heads the Senate Committee on Public Order and Safety, presented the summary of the report.

The senator stressed that the president assented to resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima's unlawful exercise of authority while he was on preventive suspension.

"The president relied on and directly coordinated with the suspended PNP chief as it was shown that he continued to communicate with the latter on Oplan Exodus based on testimonies and evidence presented in the public hearing," Poe reported.

READ: TRANSCRIPT: Text messages of Aquino, Purisima on Oplan Exodus

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The Senate investigation found that Purisima committed usurpation of authority, adding that an administrative complaint might be filed with the Ombudsman against him for grave misconduct.

On the other hand, former PNP Special Action Force Getulio Napeñas committed grave misconduct, inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties, according to the Senate report.

Poe noted that Aquino could have used his authority to lessen the number of casualties during the Mamasapano incident.

"The president and other high-ranking government officials could have done more under the circumstances to prevent or minimize the number of deaths that jolted the nation," Poe said.

The senator explained that less lives could have been lost if Aquino, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gregorio Catapang discussed the progress of the Mamasapano operation while they were together in Zamboanga.

Poe said the president could have given out orders in if only he was given accurate information regarding the operation.

READ: 'PNoy given false information on Mamasapano'

"Since he was familiar with the plan, the president might have stepped in and displayed stronger positioning or leadership regarding the rescue operations if he was given the proper information," the senator said.

The senator added that Aquino as commander-in-chief of the military could have given out orders to assist the police commandos.

"As commander-in -chief of the Armed Forces, the president wields great power and has vast resources at his disposal. The decision of the president and his men not to use these resources immediately to prevent the carnage must be explained," Poe said.

Aquino's approval rating dropped from 59 percent last November to 38 percent this March after the Mamasapano incident. His trust rating sank from 56 percent to 36 percent during the same period.

RELATED: Aquino's ratings sink to lowest after Mamasapano fiasco

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