President Benigno Aquino 3rd is responsible, but not liable, for the killing of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, according to Dasmariñas Rep. Elpidio Barzaga.
The vice chairman of the House Good Government and Public Accountability panel argued that responsibility is different from liability.
In his speech at the graduation rites at the Philippine National Police Academy last week, the President appealed for understanding and said that is carrying the full weight of the responsibility.
“The President is responsible, as Chief Executive, for the workings of government but he cannot be held liable for every error committed in the bureaucracy—from a simple typo error in a memo to the mistakes of those directly serving under him,” Barzaga said in a statement.
Aquino has addressed the nation thrice on the Mamasapano incident, but these speeches failed to stop the public’s hostile sentiments against him since he has adamantly defended the involvement of former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima despite his suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman.
“The speech was very sincere, direct to the point and sensible. The president, once more, took responsibility. The president said he would bring this tragedy with him until his final day,” Barzaga said.
“He spoke the truth: the sadness brought about by the deaths of the 44 SAF can never be remedied by any speech or report,” he added.
But Rep. Terry Ridon of Kabataan party-list said Aquino’s stance only shows that he has no remorse.
“Note how the president didn’t even ask for the public’s forgiveness. Mr. President, the public understands – we the people understand that it is you at fault in this botched operation,” Ridon said.
But for Barzaga, Ridon and the rest of the critics are beating a dead horse.
“The issue has already been stretched too far and this is as far as they can go because the people know that they have an honest and trustworthy leader in President Aquino,” the lawmaker said.