Malacañang is not keen on creating a Truth Commission to look into the January 25 Mamasapano incident as the public would probably just question its impartiality and perceive it as a biased investigating body.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte in a radio interview on Saturday also said there are already several bodies doing their respective inquiries and everyone should wait for the results of the ongoing probes. She told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan that there are eight institutions that are doing their own investigations on the Mamasapano encounter and their findings could answer questions lingering in the minds of the public.
Valte made the statement in reaction to the insistence of some lawmakers to create a Truth Commission, saying that the PNP-Board of Inquiry (PNP-BOI) report which was made public on Friday is incomplete.
“Siguro po hintayin natin ang paglabas din ‘nung mga findings ng ibang report. Baka naman sa sinasabi ‘nung kongresistang ito ay makita pa doon sa mga ibang report na lalabas,” (Let’s just wait for the report and findings of the other probe bodies. The congressmen who were clamoring for this might find what they’re looking for in the other reports.)
A total of 44 PNP Special Action Force commandos died in the Mamasapano encounter last January 25 after a fierce firefight with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other armed groups
Among those doing the probe include the Senate, the International Monitoring Team, the Department of Justice, and the Commission on Human Rights. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said it is also conducting its own inquiry over the incident.
Valte also argued that if a truth commission is organized, which is usually done by the President, it will not satisfy everyone because a body created by the President could be viewed as impartial.
“Kung matatandaan po natin even in the past commissions that have been constituted, ang Pangulo ang nag-a-appoint,” Valte said.
“At kung sasabihin naman sa ilalim ng batas na Pangulo pa rin ang mag-a-appoint, hindi ba baka sabihin naman nila biased, hindi independent?”
With regards to criminal liability of former PNP chief Alan Purisima, who is being implicated in the incident, especially after the PNP released its report on the clash, Valte said it is up to the DOJ to determine the liability of anyone involved.
The DOJ is already doing its investigation into the criminal liability of the officials, as well as other individuals, and the public should just wait for the result of the probe. Earlier, 92 congressmen signed a letter addressed to Speaker Sonny Belmonte calling for the resumption of the Mamasapano hearings in the House of Representatives . An online petition is also asking the House to resume its hearings.
Valte, in the same radio interview, said President Benigno Aquino 3rd should not be faulted for the lack of coordination between the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in executing Oplan Exodus.
“The PNP-BOI report said that it is the President’s prerogative who, to talk to among his subordinates. Secondly, the PNP-BOI has been clear that the President gave orders to coordinate but then [Special Action Force] Chief [Getulio] Napeñas violated his orders. The President said ‘but then you coordinate with the one who can make the movement happen,” Valte told Radyo ng Bayan.
Valte further argued that the testimony of General Carlito Galvez of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities before the Senate stating the the SAF deaths would not have happened if there was coordination will also bear the President out.
The SAF commandos were killed by heavy assault from the rebels and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after the SAF gunned down top terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
“One of the effects of this PNP-BOI report should be to make everyone in the civilian, military and security establishment aware of the consequences of lack of coordination when it comes to sensitive operations like the one that happened in January 25 and the importance of following our superiors,” Valte added.
But for Akbayan party-list group, the President should take action against resigned PNP chief, Director General Alan Purisima as soon as possible.
“The President should remove Purisima completely from the PNP and hold him accountable by charging him before the appropriate bodies such as the Ombudsman for violating the terms of his suspension and gross negligence of duty,” Akbayan said in a statement.
“He should appoint a new PNP chief whose moral standing is suitable to lead the police force through this difficult period and restore the confidence of the public to the institution,” Akbayan added.
But for opposition lawmaker Terry Ridon, the PNP-BOI report just shows that the President is guilty of deriliction of duty amd lying.
The third chapter of the BOI report showed that the President issued contradicting statements as regards Purisima’s involvement since he initally said that he was on top of the hunt for Marwan and company for several months aside from denying Purisima’s involvement in the operation.
Purisima, however, burnt him when he told the Senate that he was accountable for Mamasapano tragedy.
“The BOI itself noted the discrepancies in the President’s public statements. Essentially, even the BOI cannot hide the fact that Aquino is lying,” Ridon said.