Aquino continues to skirt Purisima issue, say critics
MANILA, Philippines—Groups critical of President Benigno Aquino III said his “final speech” on the Mamasapano debacle still did not answer “many outstanding questions.”
A week after a Pulse Asia survey revealed that 79 percent of Filipinos were dissatisfied with his explanation of the botched operation, which left at least 68 people dead, Aquino gave his final say on the Mamasapano operation.
During the commencement exercises of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) in Camp General Mariano Castañeda in Silang, Cavite, the President asked the public for understanding.
The move, however, disappointed those who were hoping for his apology and his explanation on the involvement of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima.
“He deliberately and obstinately continues to skirt the issue of why he dealt with people who are not supposed to be in the loop and excluded people who are supposed to be,” National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers secretary general Edre Olalia told media in a text message.
Olalia said other issues that Aquino had failed to tackle was the decision to enter the territory of a “peace partner”—the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is pursuing a peace process with the Philippine government—and the involvement of the United States.
Purisima, who was suspended on graft charges at the time of the operation, knew about the plan while Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and PNP officer in charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina were kept in the dark.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes called Aquino’s appeal for understanding “hollow.”
“Aquino sought understanding for his actions due to incomplete or inaccurate information given him. He however did not explain why in the world he allowed a suspended PNP chief to run the operation to begin with,” Reyes said.
“Two months and four speeches on, the President continues to withhold the truth and deflect accountability. He is trapped in a quagmire of lies that is his own making,” he said.
Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo also belied Aquino’s claim that he wouldn’t send his men on a suicide mission.
“Aquino’s speech was same old cover-up of the US’ and his criminal role in the offensive,” Crisostomo said.
Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chairperson Elmer Bong, on the other hand, said the President “is bound to get more flak” as public outrage over the debacle continued to grow. RC
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