Palace hopes healing process on Mamasapano incident to continue

Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - January 30, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang yesterday expressed hope that the healing process could now continue after all the questions on the Mamasapano incident were answered during the Senate hearing last Wednesday.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III also fended off rumors that Malacañang managed to pacify Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile so he no longer came out with new evidence against President Aquino in the reopening of the Mamasapano investigation.

Quezon welcomed the pronouncement of Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public order that conducted the probe, that there was no need to change her report after Wednesday’s hearing. 

“We thank the Senate for reiterating what we have been saying all along – that the plan was presented (to Aquino) was apparently a plan that those who presented it were not meant to or had no intention to follow; that the President was being given the wrong information by people who were supposed to give him a full and complete information,” Quezon said.

The Palace official was referring to then Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and sacked Special Action Force (SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas, who led “Oplan Exodus,” the operation to arrest two terrorists hiding in a remote village in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25 last year.

“Perhaps there is only one regret that we might have, that we didn’t expect that the field grade officer would not obey a lawful and logical order from the President, and that he made the whole thing even more difficult by reducing the number of troops involved. We believe that there are no questions left and that we are glad that the healing process can continue without politics getting in the way,” Quezon said.

He added talks about a possible deal with Enrile were baseless.

“I’ll answer that by pointing out that it would be difficult to base what Senator Enrile is going to do on what Senator Enrile has said, if only because Senator Enrile has often done something different from what he has said,” Quezon pointed out.

“We can go back to the changing stories about martial law. It is a bit surprising that over the past 40 years, the stories (about martial law) were quite different every decade,” he said, referring to Enrile who served as defense minister of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Quezon said “the reality spoke for itself” during the hearing, since all concerned officials responded to the questions of the senators and the information, data and conclusion that came out before were the same.

Aquino had sought understanding over the botched operation and vowed to serve justice and provide assistance to the families of the 44 SAF members who were killed during the carnage.

Reward not yet released

The PNP, meanwhile, clarified it has yet to release the P7-million reward money to the informant that provided the intelligence packet to the SAF for the capture of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said an informant has surfaced but he has to undergo a process for the claim.

“There was a claimant but the claim is under process,” he said.

Mayor declined to give additional details, saying the PNP has guaranteed the tipster’s safety. – Mike Frialde                 


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