Journal Online - SAF 44 families still waiting for gov’t’s promise

News & Interviews
6 January 2016

Journal Online

Featured-Image-Journal-Online.jpgSenator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. deplored that the government has yet to fulfill its promise to the families of the 44 slain members of the Special Action Forces (SAF) to provide them justice for the death of their loved ones in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year in the hands of Muslim rebels.

He intends to dig deeper into the alleged failure of the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Phil. National Police (PNP) to assist the families of the 44 police commandoes to achieve justice when the Senate reopens its investigation into the Mamasapano massacre on January 25, 2016.

The slain SAF troopers were ambushed by alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) after they executed Oplan Exodus aimed at arresting a Malaysian terrorist, Zulkifli bin Hir, and Filipino bombmaker, Basit Usman.

Asked what does he want to know from the new hearing scheduled on January 25, Marcos said:”Of course ano ang nangyari mula nuong hearing. Bakit hindi pa kumpleto ang mga benepisyo na ipinangako? Bakit walang kaso? Bakit wala pang katarungan ang mga pamilya ng mga napatay na SAF 44? Eh, kailangan natin maipaliwanag sa tao ’yun.”

“For example, hindi nila binabanggit ang tungkol sa benepisyo, financial aid or the likes. And sinasabi nila ay bigyan n’yo kami ng katarungan, eh siguro naman kaya natin maibigay ’yun,” he said in a chance interview in Quezon City.

Pressed whether the Senate should invite former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to the public hearing, Marcos said:”Ako eh pipilitin ko na maimbita siya para mapaliwanag n’ya ang issue. Wala pang paliwanag kung ano nangyari. Wala pa tayong nakikitang hustisya para sa pamilya.”

“Nangako siya (De Lima). Sabi n’ya hanggang 90 ang kakasuhan ng murder eh kelan pa ba n’ya sinasabi ’yun. Ang Mamasapano nangyari January 25 last year, eh nasa January 6 (2016) na tayo wala pang nangyayari,” said Marcos.

He said that the families of the SAF 44 have been seeking justice for their loved ones. “Iyun ang hinahanap ng mga pamilya ng SAF 44. Iyun lang naman ang gusto nila, hustisya. Mula pa noong simula nung sinalubong ko ’yung mga bangkay sa Villamor kinakausap ko ang mga pamilya palaging ganun ang kanilang sinasabi na huwag kalimutan bigyan n’yo kami ng katarungan, wala silang binabanggit tungkol sa benefits, sa scholarship kahit na ano pa ’yun lang ang kanilang hinihiling pero hind pa rin maibigay sa kanila ito,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chairperson of the government panel talking peace with the MILF, welcomed the reopening of the probe on the Mamasapano incident which also affected the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) creating a Bangsamoro entity in Southern Philippines.

“We see this as an opportunity to further clarify our long-standing protocols on the conduct of law enforcement operations. As a matter of fact, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP), together with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) have renewed the Joint AFP-PNP Memorandum Clarifying the AHJAG Protocol on Prior Coordination in May 2015 as a measure to avoid lapses in coordination of law enforcement operations,” she said.