Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th on Wednesday questioned the non-inclusion of the statements in the executive sessions that could have given clear answer as to why the Oplan Exodus ended up in a bloody encounter that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers dead.
Trillanes, a former Navy officer, did not give the specific statements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officials but he said “that would have given light to this incident.”
”It could have been the best opportunities for the Senate committee to shed light on the incident because we found the complete story during the executive sessions,” Trillanes said.
Trillanes, however, said Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chairperson Grace Poe did not include “at least significant portions that would have altered the perception of the public.”
He said the PNP and the military officials explained to the executive sessions what happened to the other SAF companies when the 55th and the 84th Special Action Companies encountered the combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
”What they (other SAF companies) did? Everybody is pointing to the army. That’s one. The second one, what are the reasons why no artillery has been fired,” Trillanes said.
Trillanes also said had Senate panel included the significant portions of the five executive session, the blame would not have been centered on President Benigno Aquino III.
”Let’s put it this way. Had it been revealed, we will understand what really happened on the ground because everybody is blaming President Aquino because the impression was he did nothing when the SAF troopers were cornered,” he said.
Trillanes, however, agreed with Poe’s report that ‘ultimate responsibility’ should be on the President.
”Well, I believe, he has already accepted the full responsibility. So there’s no point of debating and that’s right, he should accept it. But the question is did the President made a mistake why the 44 were killed? That will spell the difference between the responsibility and liability,” he said.
Trillanes said there was no need for him to sign the committee report since it had already been signed by 20 of the 24 senators.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano signed the committee report with reservation, saying “the investigation should still continue because the reports contain only one chapter of the 10 chapters of the incident.”
The four senators who have not yet signed the 129-page committee report on the Mamasapano incident inquiry are Senate President Franklin Drilon and senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Lito Lapid and Trillanes.