PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has clearly lost the trust of majority of Filipinos because of the Mamasapano incident that claimed the lives of 44 police commandos and, unless the President apologized, the distrust could be permanent, a lawmaker said on Sunday.
According to Sen. Sergio Osmeña 3rd, while he does not support calls for the President to resign, the Administration should take the matter seriously because it indicates that the people are already fed up with Aquino’s leadership.
Osmeña said he believes that the President needs to apologize to the people on the bloody incident just like what then-President Gloria Arroyo did when she was being criticized for calling an election official during the 2004 national elections.
Arroyo, on June 27, 2005, said sorry to the nation in connection with the “Hello Garci” scandal, which involved an alleged wiretapped phone conversation she had with then-Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Virgilio”Garci” Garcillano.
But despite her “I am sorry” speech delivered on national television, she still drew flak and the people still continued with their demands for her resignation.
Osmeña said apologizing to Filipinos will be a good move on the part of Aquino and he also believes that the apology will be accepted.
“Yes, the Filipinos are very forgiving,” he noted in a radio interview, when asked if apologizing for the Mamasapano incident will be good for Aquino.
But Osmeña said he will not support calls for the President to resign because the law provides that the President of the Philippines has a six-year term and the only way to remove him before his term ends is through impeachment.
Those who are calling for Aquino’s resignation, according to the senator, should instead file an impeachment case because it is the only legal means to replace the incumbent leader at this point.
Osmeña clarified that he was only stating the available process provided by the Constitution, not pushing for the impeachment of the President.
He was among those who supported the candidacy of Aquino during the 2010 polls and he admitted that he is regretting his decision because of the now-President’s hard-headedness.
According to the senator, running a government is a give-and-take of ideas and it involves a consultative process between the executive and the legislative and sometimes with the judiciary but that this is not happening.
“This President has been super hard-headed and only listens to his friends, so that is not good,” Osmeña said.
The Mamasapano (Maguindanao) incident, he added, should have made Aquino reflect on what is happening and convince him to make adjustments, but that the President is really stubborn and is not willing to concede anything.
“That is not the way democracy really works and that is why there will be backlash like people asking for his [Aquino] resignation, which is a very serious matter,” Osmena said.
The senator added that he considers the Mamasapano incident, a result of Oplan Exodus launched by the Philippine National Police to capture Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, as the worst security crisis the Aquino administration has faced because of the number of police officers killed.
He said he will not allow Senate investigation of the incident to end in a whitewash because the people already know who should be held liable.
The Senate committees on public order and dangerous drugs; peace, unification and reconciliation; and finance have finished their inquiry into the Mamasapano incident and started drafting a joint committee report.
“We will see, because they [Aquino allies] control the Senate, so there might be a whitewash but we will look out for that and we will surely know about it,” Osmena said.
The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, headed by Sen. Grace Poe, will draft the report.