SENATE Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile on Sunday said he is willing to engage President Benigno Aquino 3rd or any of his “henchmen” in a public debate on the Mamasapano incident to show the mistakes they made in a government operation that led to the death of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) police commandos.
At the same time, Enrile disclosed that he has the original copy of the audit operation report containing crucial information about the mission that was altered to hide some crucial information on Oplan Exodus.
“I will bring this issue [Mamasapano] to the people [in the coming elections]and I will make them [accountable to the people],” he said in a radio interview aired over dzBB.
Enrile added that Aquino can face him in public debate about issues surrounding the Mamasapano incident so that he (Enrile) can show to the people what kind of a leader the sitting President is.
During reopening of the Senate investigation of the Mamasapano incident on Wednesday, the senator said Aquino “compartmented” the operation to himself and then-suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima.
Enrile claimed, during the hearing, that the President “actively and directly participated” in the planning and preparation of Oplan Exodus; that President Aquino was the approving authority of Oplan Exodus; that during its execution, President Aquino was fully aware of what was going on; and that the President wantonly disregarded the command systems of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
He said the President was actually intentionally and directly dealing with the person who before and at the time of the Mamasapano massacre was not an active part of the command system of either the AFP or the PNP; that he did not make any effective decision or issue any effective order or do any effective action as President of the Republic of the Philippines to prevent the barbaric slaying and slaughter of the 44 PNP-SAF troops; and that the President deliberately hid or was hiding behind Purisima.
But some senators said Enrile was not able to present new evidence on the issue and the only new matter introduced during the reopening of the investigation was the term “compartmented.”
The military even turned the tables on former SAF chief Getulio Napanes during the hearing and virtually blamed the police officer for the death of his men.
But Enrile said they are only using Napenas as a “scapegoat” to shield the President from any liability.
“Kung tanga si Napenas na pinili niyang operator niya, ano kayang kalidad nung hari, e di tanga din [If Napenas, whom he [Aquino] chose to lead the operation, is an idiot, then it is likely that he is also an idiot king],” he added.
Enrile said besides text messages exchanged between the President and Purisima and other officials of the government on January 25 or the date when Oplan Exodus was executed, he was able to obtain a copy of the audit operation report of the PNP that contains crucial information regarding the operation.
He said his copy is the unaltered version of the report but he declined to provide additional details, noting that it can be used as evidence against the President when the right time comes.
Enrile said he is just waiting for the right time for the unraveling of the drama and when that time comes, everyone will be enlightened about the Mamasapano incident.
He admitted that he doe not expect anything that to happen during the Aquino administration because it is using money to silence those who may have information to confuse everyone on what really happened in that operation.
“But they will not be able to do it in the coming days and at that point I’m not a senator anymore, so there will be no politics involved,” Enrile said, adding that he can serve as private prosecutor against the President.
Senate President Franklin Drilon in an interview on Saturday said the United States government violated no treaty over its involvement in the January 25 Mamasapano operation that aimed to capture suspected terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.
It was Enrile who insisted during last week’s hearing that the government should explain the participation of US forces in the operation that was carried out by the national police.
But Drilon said the US need not explain its role in Oplan Exodus that was part of counter-terrorism efforts of the Philippine government.
Enrile, however, said it was the Philippine government that requested US support to the operation and it was confirmed to him by the ambassador of the United States.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel 3rd called on the PNP leadership to release an official statement regarding the participation of the US in Oplan Exodus if it really has nothing to hide.
He said the PNP should explain the legal basis as well as the extent of assistance it sought from the US in the execution of the Mamasapano operation.