Aquino meets lawmakers, defends own performance in Mamasapano clash
MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino met with a group of lawmakers on Monday to explain the extent of what he knew and what he had been told about the Jan. 25 Mamasapano fiasco, which left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troops dead.
“My impression is that he did not fail [to perform his mandate]. But he was not aware of what was happening on the ground,” said Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, who was at the meeting.
“The President was not defending [former Philippine National Police chief Alan] Purisima, but he said he was getting limited information [from Purisima],” he said.
He said Aquino called the three-hour meeting at Malacañang to specifically discuss the Mamasapano debacle, which has triggered wide outrage.
There were 20-30 lawmakers in the room, including House leaders.
“It was not tense, but it was serious. There were no raised voices. We had an open forum, and we told him our concerns,” said Alejano, a member of a bloc of former police or military officers in the House, dubbed the Saturday group.
He said among the concerns they raised were perceptions of “weak leadership” and the rift between the military and police organizations. He said Aquino “listened” and was receptive to their concerns.
“I believe that at the right time, he will tell everything to the public,” said Alejano.
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.