President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday dismissed as “baseless” the supposed “alternative version” of the Mamasapano incident and has insisted that it was police who killed Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
In a televised news conference, the President presented pictures that were said to indicate that police Special Action Force (SAF) troops were the ones who fatally shot Marwan contrary to an “alternate” version that he was killed by his own aide who then allegedly cut off his finger that was sent to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation for validation.
Aquino said the photograph released to the public was a portion of the “whole picture.” He then showed another photograph of a SAF commando leaning on Marwan who still had all fingers on his left hand.
The successive photos show the same policeman cutting off Marwan’s finger.
“Let us recall: What does the alternative narrative say? It was posited that one of Marwan’s companions killed him, the same one who cut off his finger and gave it to the SAF. But it is clear from the presentation today [that]the SAF [troops]were there, we can no longer doubt that it was the SAF who took Marwan’s finger,” Aquino said.
“This also means: All the other accounts about the alternative narrative are baseless, and consequently have no relevance,” he added.
According to Aquino, the authenticity of the photos were verified by digital forensic experts of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who checked the SD (secure digital) cards where the pictures were stored.
“Our forensic examiners concluded that the pictures are authentic and unaltered,” the President said.
In response to expected questions on why these photos were only shown to the public now, Aquino explained that during formal investigations of the incident, none of the probers asked if there were other photos taken.
He said he asked SAF commander, Chief Supt. Moro Virgilio Lazo, if there were other photos related to the incident. He submitted them to the President after he ascertained the existence of the photos.
The President noted some “information peddlers” may be floating other narratives in hopes of getting the reward money. Marwan had a $5-million bounty on his head.
“We must also remember: The bounty imposed on Marwan, whether in or outside our country, was enormous. It should not come as a surprise that there are many who hope to obtain the reward, and are trying to muddle the discussions about the matter. Our investigation has allowed us to gain clarity on the matter,” he said.
Aquino dismissed reports of Caucasian-looking soldiers participating in the SAF mission, branding these as “kuwentong kutsero [a tall tale].”