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8 of 10 Pinoys: Aquino's Mamasapano explanation not enough

Louis Bacani - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - About eight in every 10 Filipinos are not satisfied with President Benigno Aquino III's explanation regarding the deadly Mamasapano operation, according to a new Pulse Asia released on Thursday.

Results of the latest poll showed that for 79 percent of Filipinos, the explanation about the Mamasapano operation given by Aquino and the national administration in general is insufficient.

Pulse Asia said this view is shared by big majorities in every geographic area and socio-economic grouping (73 percent to 82 percent and 73 percent to 82 percent, respectively).

On the other hand, basically the same percentages of Filipinos either said the administration's explanation is sufficient (10 percent) or expressed indecision on the matter (11 percent).

According to the survey, 99 percent of Filipinos are aware of the January 25 counter-terrorism mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that cost the lives of over 60 people.

The bungled operation, which was aimed at neutralizing terrorists Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman, led to an encounter between Special Action Force (SAF) troopers and combatants from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

A total of 44 SAF troopers, 17 MILF members, six civilians and Marwan died in the operation.

The latest Pulse Asia survey polled 1,200 respondents from March 1 to 7 or ahead of Aquino's most detailed account of the Mamasapano operation.

It was only last week or more than a month after the tragedy that Aquino spoke at length for the first time about the events that led to the deaths of the SAF commandos.

During a special prayer gathering for him in Malacañang, Aquino claimed that he was deceived by relieved SAF commander Director Getulio Napeñas and then suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima about the Mamasapano operation.

Aquino said he was made to believe that the operation would be carried out efficiently based on the details presented to him earlier.

Hitting Napeñas for his "lack of professionalism" and "wishful thinking about the operation, Aquino said the sacked commander turned the ordeal into a "mission impossible" which he should have aborted.

Recognizing the flak he has received for the operation, Aquino said if he were the one at fault, he would take all blame.

AQUINO

BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS

DIRECTOR GENERAL ALAN PURISIMA

DIRECTOR GETULIO NAPE

HITTING NAPE

MAMASAPANO

MARWAN AND ABDUL BASIT USMAN

OPERATION

PULSE ASIA

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