The Iglesia Filipina Independiente or Aglipayan Church (IFI) and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines on Thursday have jointly asked for a full and transparent inquiry into the killing of 44 members of the Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF).
The call was issued by IFI Reverend Father Elmerick Azucena and The Most Reverend Ephraim Fajutagana, chairperson of the NCCP, during the holy mass celebrated in Mo-rong, Bataan for the repose of the soul of fallen PNP-SAF member PO3 John Lloyd Sumbilla on Thursday.
“We join the many voices that have already been raised for a full and transparent inquiry into the events that unfolded in this awful armed engagement,” the two statements read.
Both the IFI and NCCP asked President Benigno Aquino Third to “act with sincerity and transparency and to fully investigate and account for what has occurred.”
“The President should not allow what happened to undermine the confidence of the ordinary people of Mindanao whose desperate cries for peace need to be responded to with integrity,” the statements also read.
Fajutagana said the government should not be contented with the claim that the Mamasapano carnage was a simple misencounter.
“We want to know why the ceasefire arrangements with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were not respected and why those with command responsibilities were not able to insure the security of so many PNP members who lost their lives,” he added.
He noted that that there has been a failure of the government and the MILF to ensure broad participation from all Moro groups and also from Indigenous Lumad communities who have largely been marginalized in the peace process.
In Tuguegarao City, the Cagayan Valley Police office urged the State Universities and Colleges (SUC) in the region to grant scholarship assistance to all the children of the PNP personnel who were killed in the line of duty.
Provincial Police Director Baltazar Israel said the recently concluded Regional Advisory Council (RAC) meeting in the city focused on the support that will be given to the young children of the fallen PNP men, especially those who are left orphaned by the fallen SAF44.
“We want that all surviving children of any PNP personnel killed or becomes totally and permanently incapacitated while in the line of duty be entitled to scholarship assistance by the state colleges and universities in the region,” Israel said, adding that the current guidelines only allow one child of a deceased PNP member to a full scholarship program up to college.