Kris Aquino has appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte not to arrest her brother, former President Benigno Aquino 3rd, who has been blamed for the death of 44 police commandos in an anti-terror operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.
“Kris texted, ‘Don’t arrest Noynoy,” the President said in a speech during the launch on Monday of BIR’s tax campaign for 2017 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
The President said he told the TV host and actress that the reopening of the Mamasapano probe was not intended to pin down her brother.
“I said, ‘No, Kris, I am not out to find fault. I just want to know the truth,'” Duterte said.
“I am not into the habit of sending to prison the guys from the other side of the political fence or whatever. I just want to give the Filipino people the truth,” he added.
On the second anniversary of the Mamasapano tragedy last month, Duterte challenged Aquino to explain his role in the operation, which the President insisted was led by the US Central Intelligence Agency.
In response to Duterte, Aquino said his only mistake was to trust former Special Action Force (SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas.
Duterte previously ordered the creation of an independent commission that will look into the Mamasapano debacle.
But in his speech on Monday, Duterte announced that he will no longer create the Mamasapano fact-finding commission since the Office of the Ombudsman is currently looking into the incident.
The President said he does not want to create “multiple incongruity.”
“I am not going ahead with the creation of the commission because apparently, the Ombudsman has said that it’s still pending before them,” Duterte said.
The Office of the Ombudsman has filed charges against Napeñas and former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima for bypassing the chain of command in carrying out the botched police operation.
Three criminal complaints have been filed against Aquino by relatives of the slain commandos.
The former president had dismissed the complaints as “frivolous” and “absurd.” CATHERINE S. VALENTE