Aquino puts an end to ‘baseless’ Mamasapano speculation
President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday showed photos of slain international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, to put an end to rumors that the Special Action Force (SAF) did not kill him.
The President said speculations that it was not the SAF that killed Marwan were “baseless.”
“Maliwanag naman po sa presentasyon natin ngayon: SAF ang nandoon; imposibleng pagdudahan pa na SAF ang kumuha ng daliri ni Marwan,” Aquino said during his five-minute speech in Malacañang.
(It is clear from the presentation today: the SAF were there; we can no longer doubt that it was the SAF who took Marwan’s finger.)
He showed photos of a bloodied Marwan and another one with a SAF trooper holding the terrorist’s left hand, in the act of cutting a finger off.
“Ibig sabihin din po: Lahat ng iba pang salaysay ukol sa sinasabing alternatibong naratibo ay wala nang basehan, at wala na ring saysay,” he said.
(This also means: All the other accounts about the alternative narrative are baseless, and consequently have no relevance.)
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One photo shows Marwan’s right hand covered in black cloth. Aquino said this led many to speculate that the finger submitted for DNA analysis was from the right hand. The same photo showed the left hand with five fingers.
But he then showed another photo of a SAF trooper holding the left hand, about to cut off a finger. The next photo showed Marwan’s left hand missing a finger.
Aquino explained that he had long been looking for other photos of Marwan’s body but at that time the group’s director was a new appointee and could not readily give him information. Aquino said he followed up again and that’s when he saw the other photographs taken inside Marwan’s hut in Maguindanao.
“Our forensic examiners (from the National Bureau of Investigation) concluded that the pictures are authentic and unaltered,” Aquino said of the images he presented.
He said many sought to muddle the narrative in order to get a reward.
Aquino said that now that the issue has been resolved, the government may focus on finding justice for the 44 SAF troopers who died during the encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups.
He said 90 individuals will face charges for the killing of the 35 members of the SAF’s 55th Special Action Company (SAC).
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who was present at the press conference, said that they have yet to find witnesses for the killing of the nine other policemen that were part of the SAF’s 84th SAC.
De Lima said Aquino has given clearance for the National Bureau of Investigation-National Prosecution Service (NPS) team to file charges against the 90, 26 of which are from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), 12 from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and 52 from private armed groups, some connected to the infamous Maguindanao massacre.
The complaint, complex crime of assault with murder, will be filed before the NPS. A separate complaint of theft will also be filed. De Lima cited reports that weapons, equipment and personal belongings of the SAF were taken by the perpetrators. Kristine Angeli Sabillo/IDL