President Benigno Aquino 3rd is not trying to suppress the truth about the bloody Mamasapano clash that killed 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) men last month, Malacanang said on Friday.
In a news conference, Palace deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino has always been forthright about the Mamasapano mission aimed at arresting two high-profile terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Abdul Basit Usman.
“I would not say that the President is managing the flow of information because that will imply that there are things that do not get out because the President wishes it so,” Valte told reporters.
She was reacting to Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello’s statements accusing Aquino of “attempting to avoid responsibility” for the incident by supposedly orchestrating an effort to manage the release of details.
Bello said Aquino’s supposed news management effort was evident with his meeting with House leaders on Monday.
Some lawmakers who were present during the meeting said Aquino told them how he felt lied to by resigned PNP chief Alan Purisima and sacked SAF head Director Getulio Napeñas about the Mamasapano mission.
Valte, however, said Aquino met with the House leaders to make a fresh push for the draft
Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which will embody the peace deal signed by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last year.
The MILF and its breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, were involved in the Mamasapano encounter despite the peace deal.
“The President’s meeting with them was to stress the importance of making sure that the draft BBL receives our proper attention, discussion and deliberation owing to the fact that the subject matter is quite important,” Valte said.