Tempo – Marcos prods Aquino to address questions

By Hannah Torregoza | Tempo

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President Aquino should face the public once again and address the questions being raised against him regarding his involvement in the covert operation that killed Malaysian terrorist bomb expert Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” on January 25, a senator said yesterday.

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., chairperson of the Senate Committee on Local Government, made the call following reports that the President personally went to see the families of the slain 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force commandos.

“He should make a statement addressed before the country. We are in crisis and the President must demonstrate leadership,” Marcos said. “Disappearing from public view is the opposite of leadership,” the senator stressed.

Aquino delivered a televised speech a few days after the bloody encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao admitting he was aware of the operation against Marwan dubbed “Oplan: Exodus.”

The 44 elite policemen were killed in a deadly clash with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

But since then, he has made himself scarce from public view. On February 18, Aquino made an unexpected visit to Camp Crame in Quezon City to hold dialogues with the families of the SAF commandos again.

In that visit, Aquino allegedly personally admitted to the families that he was informed by relieved SAF commander Director Getulio Napenas of the operation as early as 7 a.m. on January 25.

Marcos said he specifically wants to see the exchange of text messages between Aquino and Napenas who informed the President of the operation.
“It would be nice to see those text messages and to check if he indeed ordered for reinforcements. If he did, why is it that nobody came? What happened? Why was the President’s order not followed?” he said.

“If the President was already aware of there were casualties from the SAF, why did he not call the MILF for a ceasefire so that our policemen would have been saved?” Marcos said.

Though the President’s text messages are covered by executive privilege, Marcos said he hopes the President would waive this right.

“Yes, that is covered, but the President can waive executive privilege in the interest of honesty and to answer the demand of the people for the truth,” he pointed out.

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