UNLESS President Benigno Aquino 3rd comes clean about his role in the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindano that killed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and apologize for it, there will be no end to the people’s unrest, a political analyst said on Sunday.
Professor Ramon Casiple said a lot of questions remain unanswered because the unsatisfactory answers recently provided by police, military and Cabinet officials only strengthened public suspicion of a cover-up.
“He (Aquino) should admit his role in the Mamasapano operation and apologize to the people. The unrest will not stop unless he does that,” Casiple stressed.
The president has been bitterly criticized for his involvement in Oplan Exodus, especially after suspended SAF commander Getulio Napeñas admitted that he and resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima met with the President twice to inform him about the plan to capture Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Basit Usman.
When he testified before the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs last week, Napeñas said they last briefed Aquino about the operation on Jan 9, after which the President and Purisima had a closed-door meeting. It was after this meeting that Purisima told the SAF chief not to inform acting PNP chief Leonardo Espina and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd about the operation.
The public also questioned Aquino’s action upon learning that the SAF team had been trapped by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels. There were reports that the President, who was in Zamboanga with government security officials on Jan 25, prevented the Army from mounting a rescue operation.
Last week, Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio accused Aquino of ordering a half-hearted rescue mission upon learning that scores of SAF commandos have been killed by the MILF.
When he appeared at the Senate last week, Western Mindanao Command Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero said he had sent text messages to 6th Infantry Division Commander Gen. Eduardo Pangilinan asking how the Armed Forces could carry out a rescue mission.
Tinio said that instead of instructing the military to rescue the policemen without endangering the reinforcing troops, he should have directed the military to rescue the SAF commandos “at all cost.”
“The instruction was clear: Best without endangering our reinforcing troops per guidance of the President. How do you understand this? I would say the President is saying, rescue them, but actually, he tied their hands because the instruction was best effort and don’t endanger the rescuers,” Tinio said.
The killing of the SAF men has stoked public anger and triggered calls for the President to resign.