YOU can get it from the horse himself (not just from his mouth) if you log into the website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer( www.inquirer.net). There you will hear on video President Aquino telling an Inquirer audience of journalists and staff, that there is an alternative version of what took place on January 25, 2015, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao – different presumably from the popular version of the incident/encounter/ massacre that is generally believed by the public.
The president spoke at a forum at the Inquirer’s headquarters in Makati City. His key message, as reported by the paper, is that there is still no conclusion on the incident because the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other groups are still investigating.
Aquino declared there: “I still have quite a number of questions, and there are various agencies of government tasked to ferret out the truth of exactly what happened in its entirety. There is an alternative version of events that happened there, which is undergoing very intense scrutiny. We are looking for witnesses that will prove or disprove certain observations.”
“Certain quarters raised certain points that led to the alternate version. There is no conclusion at this point,” he added.
This presidential line has stunned many people who heard the video and read the Inquirer banner story, including, it appears, some of the paper’s journalists themselves.
With no wish to rain on the Inquirer parade and its cozy relations with Malacañang, we will say here that Aquino’s statements are extremely disturbing and enraging.
It is now eight months since the tragedy happened, and the victims’ families and the nation are still vainly looking for closure in this affair, and here we have the president of our country saying that the matter is still up in the air, still being investigated, and with no end in sight.
It would have been different had the President said that there can be no conclusion because he himself has not yet told the full story of how he authorized and even helped organize the operation. For that would be the truth. He has never admitted his role in green lighting the operation.
It would have been different also had Aquino declared that there can be no conclusion because he has not yet told the story of what really happened on January 25, and why, after being apprised of the encounter, he as commander-in-chief did not order rescue operations to be immediately mounted and launched by military forces, so that the lives of the commandos could be saved. He has not yet confirmed that he did not order rescue operations. The nation has only seen generals squirming under questioning by the Senate on why inexplicably no rescue was attempted.
And yet, and yet, it got even worse at the Inquirer love-in. Aquino raised some tantalizing and speculative questions.
He of all people cited the question whether the SAF 44 were actually the ones who killed the terrorist Marwan. He seemed by this to be impugning the heroism of the commandos.
He broadly hinted that there are other intriguing questions to resolve, before closure can be achieved.
All these are serious matters for clarification and confirmation, because the President’s line of questioning is certain to rouse a lot of anger and gnashing of teeth.
Distorting the facts is never a good way of lifting the weight on one’s conscience.
Our people are literally in anguish because up to now our national leadership and our government cannot come to terms with this national tragedy. They cannot seem to find the words and the ideas that will enable the widowed, the orphaned, the comrades-in-arms, and the public to surmount this tragedy.
The President and Congress have yet to render proper honors and recognition to the fallen. Aquino has stubbornly refused every opportunity that came his way.
For the President to now rewrite the Mamasapano story in this way is ignoble and reprehensible. He deserves the full condemnation of our people and the nation.