Aquino issued ‘stand down order’ to military – Colmenares
A MILITANT lawmaker said on Wednesday that it was President Benigno Aquino III who issued a “stand down” order to the military which barred them from sending much needed help to the beleaguered elite police officers in an operation to neutralize terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25.
At the resumption of the lower chamber’s inquiry on the bungled operation which resulted in the deaths of at least 67 people, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said that the findings of the investigation of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) are filled with “tell-tale signs” that the President has deliberately slowed down the military’s response to the troops who were under siege.
Before making the pronouncement, 1st mechanized brigade commanding officer Col. Gener Del Rosario and PNP-Special Action Force Supt. Michael John Mangahis had a heated exchange on the issue on the possibility of the military’s inadequate knowledge on the exact location of the troops on the ground.
Another issue which was highlighted was the finding of the BOI that 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan did not immediately send artillery support to the troopers as he allegedly placed more primacy on the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“The BOI report is littered with tell-tale signs of a stand down: artillery delayed, the protocol did not work, and the military has known the grid coordinates since 11 p.m. but did not send out artillery,” Colmenares said.
The lawmaker said that they are exacting accountability from Aquino on the bloody clash because he allegedly has a hand in the operation.
“There is only one reason for the President should be made to account for this is precisely because he has control of the operation,” Colmenares said.
“The SAF troopers were condemned to die as early as 7 a.m. because there was no support that was coming,” he added. AC
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