Militant solons: Aquino should take responsibility
MANILA, Philippines—The Aquino administration must be held accountable for the botched operation in Maguindanao that killed 44 elite cops, militant party-list representatives said on Wednesday following a newspaper report that President Benigno Aquino III authorized the covert mission.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio cited the report of Manila Standard Today that Aquino gave the go-signal to suspended Philippine National Police Chief General Alan Purisima to run the operation to arrest Jemaah Islamiyah-linked bomb experts.
“May news report na nangyari lamang ito dahil sa pahintulot ni Aquino mismo… Mamaya haharap sa publiko ang Presidente. Ang unang tanong, inutos mo ba ang operasyong ito? Kung ikaw ang nag-utos, you must take responsibility,” Tinio said in a press conference.
The President is expected to deliver a nationally televised speech 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, a solon from Mindanao, said Aquino should take responsibility because it happened under his watch.
“Kung mapatunayan na si Aquino ang nag-utos, siya mismo ang nagsabotahe ng peace process,” Zarate said.
Tinio said, “Kung mapapatunayan na direktang kamay ng pangulo, malinaw na at the very least, this is an impeachable offense.”
The carnage, deemed by the government a “misencounter” with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, posed a stumbling block to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress that was a result of a peace deal between the government and the MILF.
The incident happened Sunday in Mamapasano, Maguindanao, where the members of the police Special Action Force entered an MILF area to serve arrest warrants on Malaysian Zulkipli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino Basit Usman.
The elite cops were fired at by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and armed elements of the MILF 105th Base Command.
Authorities had called the attack by the MILF a misencounter and a result of lack of coordination. MILF lead peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal meanwhile said the attack by the MILF was only an act of self-defense as the police commandos were in an MILF territory.
Quoting a police general privy to the investigation on the incident, the Manila Standard Today said Aquino authorized Purisima to run the “covert operation” because he has the intelligence on Marwan.
The SAF reported to Purisima as the operation was said to be carried out without the knowledge of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina.
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