Aquino declares National Day of Mourning for slain elite cops | Inquirer News
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Aquino declares National Day of Mourning for slain elite cops

/ 06:41 PM January 28, 2015
Police crime investigators are seen outside a morgue Tuesday, January 27, 2015, in 6th Division camp as they conduct autopsy to bodies of policemen killed in intense fighting with Moro rebels coddling a Malaysian terror bomb expert in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. JEOFFREY MAITEM / INQUIRER MINDANAO

Police crime investigators are seen outside a morgue Tuesday, January 27, 2015, in 6th Division camp as they conduct autopsy to bodies of policemen killed in intense fighting with Moro rebels coddling a Malaysian terror bomb expert in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. JEOFFREY MAITEM / INQUIRER MINDANAO

MANILA, Philippines–President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday declared a National Day of Mourning for the 44 elite cops killed in an encounter in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao province, last Sunday.

The policemen were part of the 392 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) tasked to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir (also known as Marwan) and Filipino bombmaking expert Basit Usman who are both connected with Jemaah Islamiyah.

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“Bilang paggalang sa mga ng mga nasawi, magdedeklara tayo ng isang National Day of Mourning bilang sagisag ng pagdadalamhati at pakikiramay ng ating buong bansa (As a sign of respect to those who died, we will declare a National Day of Mourning as a symbol of our nation’s grief and sympathy),” Aquino said in a speech before media and his Cabinet members in Malacanang.

He said the National Day of Mourning will be on Friday, January 30.

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The encounter allegedly happened near the base of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which has been in peace negotiations with the Philippine government.

The MILF denied that it coordinated with the breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters during the “misencounter.” Aquino also said they are still waiting for the report of the board on inquiry. He said the government has yet to establish that the MILF was indeed responsible for the deaths of the policemen.

After the President’s 16-minute speech, Malacañang released Proclamation no. 953, which asks all public institutions and installations to lower the Philippine flag to half mast on Friday.

“These deaths are a great loss to our people and during this time of grief, a most solemn commemoration and respect is called for,” it said.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said there was no announcement if work or classes will be suspended.

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TAGS: BIFF, Mamasapano, MILF, Philippine National Police, Special Action Force
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