MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III was a “victim,” too, in the Mamasapano debacle, according to his allies at the House of Representatives.
Liberal Party (LP) lawmakers on Friday sought to paint a picture of a suffering Aquino, whose approval and trust ratings had plunged to their lowest levels in the aftermath of the Jan. 25 bloodshed in Maguindanao province, the worst crisis to hit his administration.
Aquino “is also a victim in the bloody Mamasapano raid and should not be treated like he is one of culprits” in the clash that killed more than 60, including 44 police commandos, said Western Samar Representative Mel Senen Sarmiento, secretary general of the ruling LP.
“Why would [his critics] want to crucify him on something that he had no control of? I think that the President has had enough of this Mamasapano issue,” he said in a statement.
Sarmiento said Aquino had done everything humanly possible not just to help the families of the victims but also to explain the “very little role that he had” in the Mamasapano operation.
“He doesn’t need to explain himself anymore,” he said.
On Thursday, Aquino asked for the public’s understanding for his actions in the Mamasapano debacle in what is believed to be his last statement on the issue, which has dominated headlines and threatened to undermine his administration in its last 500 days.
“Some people are demanding accountability and some are even demanding for his resignation allegedly because of command responsibility but even the [Board of Inquiry] and the Senate report cannot dispute the fact that the only involvement of the President on this Mamasapano incident was to give the order to execute the operation against Marwan and Usman,” Sarmiento said.
“The President’s speech was very sincere and direct to the point. It made a lot of sense. At the same time, it showed a very human side of the President. The President, once more, took responsibility despite the fact that he never had any control of the actual situation on the ground,” Sarmiento said.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said the President’s speech before graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy should be the last, adding “it is time for the nation to move on instead of
trying to further squeeze blood from stone.”
“I think that this should be end of it. The President has spoken far too much about what he knows and about his limited involvement in the encounter in Mamasapano. He has opened himself up to the Filipino people, and in the spirit of transparency and honesty has said all there is that he can really say about it. All his statements appear to be consistent,” Nograles said.
Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas said he felt the “intense sadness and sense of frustration” of President Aquino in talking about his failure to reverse the situation in Mamasapano.
“Even more difficult is that fact that you feel betrayed by the very same people whom you really trusted to lift him up. Getting over the pains of the Mamasapano is also hardest for the President,” he said.
“I can hardly imagine how bad the President feels about this whole affair. This is not easy to bear especially when some are accusing you that you are directly responsible for the death of 44 people. This is completely unfair for the President,” Treñas said.(MNS)