Alluding to Poe, Aquino cites ‘politics,’ ‘ill feelings’ amid Mamasapano probe reopening
President Benigno Aquino III on Friday said politics played a major role in the reopening of the Senate investigation on the Mamasapano debacle.
Aquino said the decision to reopen the inquiry on the the bloody clash between police commandos and Moro fighters on Jan. 25 was related to the upcoming national elections.
“Well, alam naman natin malapit na ‘yung campaign period. Sa ating mga katunggali nakita nila na ito ‘yung parang pinakamabigat na dagok sa akin simula nang ako’y namahala. Siguro sinusubukan nilang samantalahin na naman ‘yung pagkakataon,” Aquino told reporters after the inauguration of the 300-megawatt Davao Baseload Power Plant.
“Siyempre, ‘yung bilang Pangulo, bilang ama ng bayan, hindi naman ako puwedeng magpadami ng emosyonal dito, ‘yung… Alam niyo January 25 kasi birthday ng nanay ko, first year anniversary ‘nung Mamasapano, para bang dinidiin nilang kailangan pahirapan ka dito. Ngayon, may kasabihan nga, nakita natin sa pagtuturo ng aking simbahang kinabibilangan, sa Bibliya, ‘the truth shall set us all free,’” he said.
(Well, we are aware that the campaign period is coming soon. Among our opponents, they see that this has been the greatest burden I have had since I took office. Perhaps they are trying to take this opportunity.
Of course, as President, as the father of the nation, I can’t let emotions take over here…You know, January 25 is my mother’s birthday, the first anniversary of the Mamasapano incident, it’s like they are insisting that you must suffer here. Now, there is a saying, we can see it in the teachings of the church that I belong to, in the Bible, ‘the truth shall set us all free’.)
Sen. Grace Poe, rival of administration bet former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and chair of the public order committee that led the Senate probe, ruled that an additional hearing on the Mamasapano clash would be held on Jan. 25 on the request of minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile on the basis of “possibly new evidence.”
The hearing will take place exactly a year after the botched operation, which led to the deaths of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifi bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” 44 elite commandos from the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force, 17 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and three civilians.
Citing his experience in the Senate and alluding to Poe, Aquino said it was an insult for a committee chair and members if a report would be brought back to those who crafted it.
“Noong senador ako—at saka sa Congress—ang turo sa akin, isa sa pinakamalaking insulto sa isang committee head at doon sa mga miyembro ng committee, tinatawag na i-recommit ‘yung committee report, parang ibinalik doon sa mga gumawa. Dahil ang paliwanag sa akin ng nakakatanda sa akin doon sa Senado, para bang hindi tama ang ginawa niyo kaya ibinabalik sa inyo,” the President said.
“So natanong ko kung nagbago na sa Senado, ang sagot sa akin ni Senate President, hindi raw tumanggi ‘yung committee chair kaya naibalik doon sa committee. Kung tumanggi ang committee chair, pagbobotohan ng plenaryo kung ibabalik sa kanila o hindi ibabalik,” he added.
(When I was still a senator–and in the Congress–I was taught, one of the biggest insults to a committee chair and the members of the committee is when a committee report is recommitted, to return it to the one who made it. Because my elders then in the Senate explained to me that it would appear as if what you did was wrong which is why it was returned to you.
So I asked whether things have changed in the Senate, the Senate President answered me that the committee chair did not refuse so that it was returned to the committee. If the committee chair had refused, the plenary would have voted whether the report would be returned to them or not.)
Aquino said the “mastermind” behind the reopening of the inquiry might have ill feelings toward his administration.
“So palagay ko sa lahat ng mga pangyayari, nakikita natin malaking bagay ‘yung pulitika. Baka huwag nating kalimutan ‘yung pasimuno nito, siguro maiintindihan natin, malamang may sama ng loob sa aking administrasyon,” he said.
(So what I think about what is happening, we can see that politics is a big factor. Perhaps we should not forget who initiated this, maybe we can understand, maybe [they have] ill feelings toward my administration.)
Aquino, however, also said the reopening of the inquiry was a “good opportunity” to “complete the picture” of what really happened during the bloody clash. CDG
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.