PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd did not send any statement regarding his role in the Mamasapano incident but his allies in the Senate were there to defend him during the reopening of the investigation of the massacre.
The President was heavily criticized for his decision to allow his friend, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima, to be involved in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus despite his suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Senate President Franklin Drilon shifted the blame to former Special Action Force (SAF) chief Getulio Napeñas, saying the police official disregarded instructions given to him by the President.
Drilon pointed out that despite the instructions of Aquino, Napeñas still followed the principle of time-on-target wherein coordination with other agencies was made at the time of the operation.
“Therefore when Napeñas insisted on time-on-target, he disregard the instructionsof the President for coordination with the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines],” the Senate chief said.
On claims that the President compartmentalized the operation, Drilon pointed out that it was Napeñas who kept the operation to himself when he decided that Oplan Exodus be done time-on-target.
“Since it was Napeñas who said the AFP was compromised and concluded that the operation is limited, then he is the one who compartmentalized it,” the senator said.
On an allegation that the President was monitoring the entire incident in Zamboanga but did nothing to save the SAF troops, Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th asked the officials who were with the President in Zamboanga if they received live feeds from drones that were deployed during the operation and they all said no.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said he was with the President in Zamboanga and there was no such feed.
Resource persons were also asked if they received any order from the President or request from the government peace panel to stand down but they also said no.
Former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd said the President, when informed that the SAF commandos suffered many casualties, immediately ordered the military to do everything to assist the police troops.