DOJ chief urged to prioritize SAF 44 case
(The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Acting Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas must give priority to the filing of cases in court against the killers of the 44 Special Action Force commandos massacred in Mamasapano, Maguindanao exactly a year ago today, vice presidential aspirant Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said yesterday.

“I hope the resolution of the preliminary investigation of the Mamasapano massacre case would not be sidelined as a result of this sort of ‘musical chairs’ we saw at the DOJ,” he said.

“It has been a year since that bloody incident but not a single case in court has been filed to prosecute the suspects.” 

Marcos is concerned that the recent changes in the DOJ may further delay completion of the preliminary investigation.

“I don’t know why it’s taking the DOJ so long,” he said.

“There were eyewitness accounts, there were videos and other kinds of evidence so it’s really puzzling why until now we have not heard of any positive development in the Mamasapano case.” 

Marcos has asked the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs to invite former justice secretary Leila de Lima and National Bureau of Investigation Director Virgilio Mendez to testify about the status of the case when the Mamasapano investigation reopens on Wednesday.

He has been urging the DOJ to speed up its preliminary investigation since the families of the slain commandos have not asked for anything except justice.

Marcos said President Aquino as commander-in-chief is accountable for the murder of the commandos.

Aquino clearly broke the chain of command when he gave instructions to subordinates at the time of the massacre, he added.

Marcos spoke on Sunday at the Araneta clan reunion in Zamboanga City.

The situation was aggravated when then suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima was   giving the orders, he said.

Non-coordination between the police and military resulted in the massacre of 44 commandos, he added.

Marcos said police and military officials bypassed the command structure and coordination.

“And the decision that they were not talking, coordinating with each other was made by the President himself,” he said.

Marcos said only Aquino can bypass the command structure.

“No one else could have ordered that line of the Mamasapano mission would ignore the command structure, only the President,” he said.

“And because of him doing that the 44 SAF were murdered. And so I agree with Senator (Juan Ponce) Enrile,” he said, referring to the minority leader.  

Marcos said the government has not done anything to give justice to the families of the slain commandos.

That is one thing that he would be asking when the Senate reopens the Mamasapano investigation today, he added.

Return of death penalty

At the House of Representatives, Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support Rep. Samuel Pagdilao called for the return of the death penalty for those found guilty of murdering law enforcers.

“We call on the return of the death penalty for those who murder our law enforcers for killing them is the most blatant disregard and disrespect for the laws of the land,” he said.

“We are angered knowing that there are criminals like drug addicts, thieves, and rapists roaming in our streets and preparing to victimize our family and community members.

 “We are angrier towards criminals who murder our law enforcers, thinking they can escape from their crimes against our people and our nation.” 

Pagdilao said he wants the killers of the 44 SAF commandos captured and executed if found guilty.

The reimposition of the death penalty is the first step in establishing the needed peace and order in the country, he added.

SAF firearms

SAF commander Moro Virgilio Lazo does not know whether additional firearms of the slain commandos were turned over to the PNP  or the Armed Forces.

SAF officials reported last year that 63 firearms were lost during the Mamasapano operation.

Only 16 firearms were turned over to the government on Feb. 18, or almost a month after the massacre.

Last May, then PNP officer-in charge Leonardo Espina said he was still coordinating with the Armed Forces for the recovery of firearms and other equipment taken from the commandos. – Perseus Echeminada, Roel Pareño, Paolo Romero, Cecille Suerte Felipe



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