By Julliane Love De Jesus | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — Two weeks after the death of 44 elite policemen in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos lamented what he described as “deafening silence” from the government as to who really gave the final order for the operation.
Marcos said among the questions that need to be answered yet by authorities were the following:
*Who gave the go signal for the mission?
*Why was suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Alan Purisima even involved in the mission, which he said was a clear violation of the protocol on his suspension?
*Why was the plan to extricate the soldiers from the site not even carried out?
*And why was the operation kept secret from the officer in charge of the PNP?
Marcos said he was hopeful that the Senate investigation into the Mamamsapano incident set on Monday and Tuesday would satisfactorily clarify certain facts that could pave the way for the resumption of hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“We hope to get documents on Monday when the public order committee of Senator Grace Poe begins hearings on the Mamasapano. I also hope that the hearings would only be on Monday and Tuesday and no more 3rd hearing,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel on Friday.
He said some resource persons might want to ask for an executive session for security concerns, and “we are willing to give them that just to ferret out the truth.”
Marcos was emphatic in saying that the mission to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman, a local terrorist who carries a $2-million bounty, was simply not a “suicide mission and definitely not worth the lives of 44 Special Action Forces, who were all well- trained and well- armed.”
“I don’t think that 44 dead (even mutilated) SAF policemen is a good mission at all. I don’t know if the arrest or killing of Marwan is even worth 44 lives of our best-trained policemen,” said the senator.
Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, had to suspend hearings on the proposed BBL following the Mamasapano incident, which allegedly involved some elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
But despite the suspension, the committee on constitutional amendments being chaired by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago proceeded with its own deliberations on the BBL.
Marcos said Santiago’s hearings on the BBL “are continuing because the events in Mamasapano does not change anything about the constitutionality, or not, of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”
But he stood pat in his decision because of what he said were “clear flaws” in the basic agreement between the government and MILF, which was the basis of the proposed BBL.
The point of the exercise, he said, was not the BBL “but to institute a system that would bring about true and lasting peace.”
“If BBL is crucial to that peace, then by all means we pass it but let us make sure to avoid bloody encounters or armed warfare in Muslim Mindanao by involving all groups and sectors together for that peace,” he further said.