By Bernadette E. Tamayo | Journal Online
THE assertion of President Benigno Aquino III that former Special Action Force (SAF) chief Gen. Getulio Napeñas is to blame for the death of 44 police commandos tends to muddle the Senate investigation into the Mamasapano encounter last January 25 between SAF troopers and Muslim rebels.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. stressed this point when sought for comment on the President’s explanation last Monday why the 44 SAF men died in the hands of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
During a meeting with a group of pastors Monday afternoon in Malacañang, the President said: “All the evidence will show – cellphone records, witnesses, et cetera – Napeñas made the decision, and he had so many decisions. It seems there were times he did not decide while there were times his decisions were a failure. But when he left me on Jan. 9, or thereabouts, what is coming out is that he did not have any intention to follow my order to coordinate.”
Asked to comment on the President’s blaming Napeñas for the failure to rescue the trapped SAF troopers, Marcos said: “We already have (resigned National Police chief Director General) Alan Purisima lying to the President. Sabi n’ya Purisima lied to me. Ngayon Gen. Napeñas lied to me also? So, ano ‘yung lie na kanilang sinabi at bakit bago na namang istorya ito?”
“How does this fit in with all the rest of the testimonies that we have received in the public hearing and in the executive session? Kaya’t imbes na naging mas maliwanag ang sitwasyon naging mas malabo,” he said.
“Kaya’t itong panibagong assertion ng Pangulo is just confusing the issue. Imbes na natulungang liwanagin ang issue. Ngayon (kailangan namin) balikan ulit natin kung ano ba talagang tinutukoy n’ya, kung ano ‘yung ibig sabihin n’ya that he was lied to, o binola s’ya ni Gen. Napeñas. So, in what sense? Ano ‘yung ginawang pambobola o pagsinungaling ni Gen. Napeñas?” Marcos asked.
Marcos is uncertain whether the President’s statement Monday was meant to “preempt” the report of the PNP’s Board of Inquiry (BoI) into the Mamasapano clash. Incidentally, the BoI on Monday had asked for a three-day extension within which to submit its report on the ground that it had to complete reviewing the documents submitted to them concerning the incident.
He said that the delay in the submission of the BoI report on the Mamasapano clash “is another point of discussion.” He added: “Dahil bakit ngayon na-delay ulit yung report ng BoI dahil ipinadala sa Palasyo and now this is the new statement from the Palace and from the President.”
“I have to admit that this has sown confusion into what we thought, ‘yung inaakala namin na alam na namin ang mga pangyayari, dahil nga sa mga testimonies. Iyung mga documentation ng mga text message ay nakuha na namin, medyo sabi namin pakiramdam namin alam na namin kung anong nangyari,” he said.