BOI chair: Meeting with Aquino didn’t affect Mamasapano report
MANILA, Philippines – “I stand by our word that we will not change the findings of the board of inquiry. Our meeting with the President did not affect at all our report on the Mamasapano incident,” BOI chair Director Benjamin Magalong said Thursday.
Dispelling reports claiming that he cleared the President of any liability over the bloody operation, Magalong maintained that President Benigno Aquino III did not violate the PNP chain of command.
“If you would read the 2013 fundamental doctrine of the PNP, it’s very clear that the chain of command starts with the PNP chief. The President isn’t part of that so what’s his liability there, nothing,” he told reporters in Camp Crame.
But Magalong pointed out that still, Aquino “bypassed” the established chain of command when he “exercised his prerogative” in coordinating directly with former Special Action Force commander Police Director Getulio Napeñas Jr.
BACKSTORY: Magalong: President exercised his prerogative on Mamasapano operation
“Now, based on the established standard, tama ba ‘yan? Kayo na ang maghusga,” (Is that right? Judge for yourelf) he said, adding, “We just stated a fact.”
Aquino bypassed PNP officer in charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina and instead, dealt with resigned PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, a close friend of the President.
The BOI also included in its findings that Aquino allowed the participation of Purisima in the planning and execution of “Oplan Exodus” despite the latter serving his preventive suspension over corruption allegations.
In a chance interview on Wednesday, Magalong revealed that Aquino summoned the BOI on Tuesday to clarify issues in the report.
READ: BOI official report submitted to Espina
Admitting that he was hurt by the “malicious and irresponsible” reports alleging the BOI of whitewashing the report after the Malacañang meeting, Magalong stressed that the BOI cannot afford to “sacrifice its credibility, integrity and dignity.”
“Kung iisipin niyo na papalitan ko ‘yung result ng investigation dahil nagkaroon kami ng meeting (If you think that I altered the result of the investigation because of our meeting), I did not. In fact, we already sacrificed our personal ambition here,” he lamented.
He added, “It doesn’t give justice to the people who helped us to come up with the report. In just one sitting babaguhin ko yan? Ano na lang ako, walang prinsipyo? Walang kaluluwa ako?” (In just one siting I altered it? What do I become, (a man) without principles? Without a soul?)
He maintained that the BOI owed the truth to the 44 Special Action Force commandos, their families, the public and the SAF organization he formerly led.
“It’s unfair to my guys sa SAF. Para akong nagtraydor sa kanila (It’s as if I betrayed them). I cannot afford that. I have been with SAF, I worked with them, I led them ‘di ko lang ma-take na ganon,” he added.
Forty-four elite policemen died in what the Senate called “a massacre” in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, after an encounter with armed Moro groups on January 25.
Eighteen Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and five civilians also died in the mission that targeted terrorists and bomb-making experts Zulkifli Bin Hir, Abdul Basit Usman and Amin Baco.
“I think we’ve accomplished our mandate to tell the truth. Nilabas namin ang katotohanan. Wala po kaming babaguhin dyan,” (We’ve come out with the truth. We will not change any of that) Magalong stressed.
He added, “Hindi namin tatanggalin at sisirain ang aming prinsipyo maski ano pa ang ma-encounter naming pressure or ano pang iharap sa amin, hindi namin babaguhin ang aming report,” (We will not give up or destroy our principles, no matter what pressure or challenge we face. We will not change our report.)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
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.