By Bernadette E. Tamayo | Journal Online
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is worried that President Benigno Aquino might be trying to “cover up” for the alleged lapses of some individuals that led to the massacre of 44 police commandos last January 25 in the hands of Muslim rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
He said that it “pains” him to hear the President cast doubt on the heroism of the 44 police commandos who were killed last January 25 by Muslim rebels after they neutralized a Malaysian terrorist hiding in a Muslim rebel camp in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Marcos made the remark in reaction to the President’s recent statement that there is an “alternative truth” to the death of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan who was killed in an alleged encounter with Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who were out to arrest him together with Filipino bombmaker Basit Usman.
The police commandos were ambushed by rebels from the MILF and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) while negotiating their way out resulting in the death of 44 SAF troopers. Usman was killed in a separate police operation a month later.
The President, in a recent broadsheet interview, hinted that the “alternative truth” to the death of Marwan is the claim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that the Malaysian was killed by his own bodyguards.
Asked to comment on the intention of the President to question, although quite late, the result of the Mamasapano encounter, Marcos said: ”Hindi ko alam. It’s very, very strange.”
“I cannot come to any other conclusion para nga to try and paper over the mistakes that were made and caused the death of 44 policemen. Terrible. Palusot lang ‘yan, you can quote me on that,” Marcos told reporters in a chance interview.
“It seems na parang nagsisimulang mag-cover up. Nakakapagtaka naman na ‘yung MILF na gini-gyera ‘yung government, mas naniniwala ang Pangulo sa MILF kesa sa sarili n’yang pulis. Hindi ko naman maintindihan,” said Marcos.
He continued: ”How do you think the policemen feel? Kung ganyan ng ganyan ang trato sa kanila eh nag-sakripisyo na nga sila tapos gagawan pa ng kwento para hindi pa sila ang bayani, kung hindi ang MILF pa? Pambihira naman.”
“Who actually fired the shot that killed Marwan is a non-issue. What is important is that he has been neutralized and we have one less terrorist to worry about,” stressed Marcos in an earlier statement.
“However, it pains me to hear that the Commander-in-Chief, who gave the green light to the SAF operation, has now put a cloud of doubt on the heroism and the ultimate sacrifice of the Fallen 44 who accomplished their mission against overwhelming odds,” he said.
Marcos maintained that the “facts” of the encounter had been “established.” He said that the SAF “went there on a mission (Oplan Exodus) sanctioned by the highest authorities to neutralize Marwan and his cohort Usman.”
“The initial stage of the operation accomplished the first objective, and that is to neutralize Marwan. That means the SAF mission is a success, no matter how you look at it,” he said.
“What is more important now is to give justice to the Fallen 44 and their families. This, for me, deserves to be the top priority of the government rather than seek an ‘alternative truth,’” said Marcos.
He added: ”From the start, I have urged the government to hear the cries of the family of the Fallen 44 for justice, which is the only thing they have been asking for. I will not stop until they get the justice they truly deserve.”