Allegations of a cover-up on the Mamasapano bloodbath have surfaced following the abrupt decision of the House of Representatives to suspend its hearings until completion of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) report. Suspension of the hearing is part of a damage control being orchestrated by Malacañang officials in an effort to obscure the involvement of President B. S. Aquino in the planning and operation of the failed police raid in Maguindanao last month which resulted in the slaying of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) by Muslim rebels.
The Senate hearing is still going on, albeit behind closed doors. Media representatives were barred from attending the closed door sessions. Senator Grace Poe, however, made assurances that there will be no cover-up in the Senate hearing. I hope she will stand by her word.
The lower house decision to suspend hearing on the Mamasapano clash is doing more harm than good to President Noynoy’s now tarnished reputation. His badly-damaged credibility is also beyond repair. Even though President Aquino has already assumed responsibility for the brutal slaying of 44 police officers, there will always be suspicion of a “whitewash” as long as the President remains silent as to the extent of his involvement in the Mamasapano incident. As commander-in-chief, President Aquino should be man enough to admit his responsibility. He should stop blaming others for the debacle our police forces suffered under the combined forces of MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
During the recent hearing Senate hearing, government officials, led by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin as well as AFP Chief of Staff Genereal Catapang, issued conflicting statements to Senators regarding the President’s knowledge about the firefight. Lies after lies are being peddled by the President’s allies, including his friend and former bodyguard, suspended and disgraced (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima.I hope this lying and corrupt police officer be demoted to colonel and all his alleged ill-gotten assets confiscated and forfeited favor of the government.
Even relieved SAF Commander Chief Inspector Getulio Napeñas, the apparent Malacañang palace sacrificial lamb, denied that President Aquino had any significant role in the planning or execution of the failed police raid. Napeñas, however said Aquino was present in one of the several meetings he attended where they discussed several plans on how to bag Malaysian terrorist and bomb expert Zulkifli Bin Hir alias “Marwan.”
It is almost a month now since the Mamasapano incident. But the anger and public indignation about the brutal slaying of the officers and President Noynoy’s perceived lying about his role in the botched police operation has not dissipated.
More people in the academe, church leaders, lawyers and students as well as labor union leaders are demanding his resignation. Even his own uncle – former Congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, brother of the late President Cory Aquino, President Noynoy’s mother, has also called for his resignation.
Lawmakers meanwhile are looking into reports that most of the firearms used by the SAF police commandos that engaged the Muslim rebels in the bloody gunbattle were defective. Survivors told lawmakers their rifles as well as their bullets were “defective,” making it hard for them to defend their position when the Muslim rebels started attacking them in large numbers.
If this proves to be true, the suppliers that delivered all the firearms and ammunitions to the PNP should be penalized and jailed. The Department of National Defense has a huge budget every year. The amount of money that they get from Congress should pose no problems purchasing the best and reliable firearms and ammunitions for the police force to ensure that they will be able to protect the people all the time.