Enrile: Aquino’s presence in Senate not needed, but he must explain
President Benigno Aquino III does not need to attend the reopening of the Senate probe on the Mamasapano incident, however, he must explain, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile said on Wednesday.
Enrile said the presence of the President is not necessary to prove that there was a “failure of leadership” during the Mamasapano operation last January 25, 2015 that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) men and several other civilians dead.
“Nasa kanya yun, hindi ko sya pipilitin pero huwag syang magsasabi na meron akong hinanakit sa kanya o kaya pulitika ito,” the senator said when told in an interview over Radyo Inquirer that Aquino might not appear in the hearing.
(It’s up to him, I won’t insist that he must attend but he must not say that I have any grudge against him or this is just politics.)
“Hindi pulitika ito, Mr. President. Ito ay trabaho para sa bayan. Walang exceptions sa akin dito e, kahit ikaw presidente o janitor o kagaya ko senador, e mananagot ka at ako sasagutin ko ang paratang nya. E ako rin mayroon akong paratang sa kanya, e di sasagutin din nya kung masagot nya.”
(This is not politics, Mr. President. This is a job for the nation. There are no exceptions for me here, whether you are the president or janitor or senator like myself, you will be accountable and I will answer his accusations. I also have accusations against him, he has to answer that if he can.)
“Hindi ko kailangan si Presidente doon. Sya ay kailangan nyang magpaliwanag pero hindi ko sya kailangan e para mapalitaw ko itong mga pangyayaring ito e. Manood na lang sya, makinig na lang sya,” Enrile added.
(I don’t need the President there. He must explain but I don’t need his presence to bring up what happened. I suggest that he just watch and listen.)
In seeking the reopening of the Mamasapano probe, Enrile wanted to know the President’s role during the deadly operation, and in particular, what he did to rescue the government forces.
Told that the President, as a commander in chief, had reportedly admitted responsibility over the death of the SAF 44, the senator said: “Madaling salita yun pero mananagot sya pamilya, sa mga tao, mananagot sya sa bansa, mananagot sya sa sarili nya. Bayan ang pinag uusapan natin dun.”
(That is too easy to say but he has to be accountable to the victims’ families, to the people, to the country and to himself. We are talking about the nation here.)
“E kung sinalakay tayo ng China at ganyan ang kanyang karakter at ginawa, tama ba yun?”
(If China attacks us and his character and actions are like that, is that appropriate?)
Asked if Aquino could be charged for the Mamasapano incident after his term, Enrile said he would just leave it up to other leaders to do what they want to do.
On January 25, 2016 or exactly a year after the incident, the three committees—public order, peace unification, and reconciliation, and finance—will reopen its investigation on Enrile’s request.
Senator Grace Poe, the lead investigator on the incident as chair of the committee on public order, had earlier released a report that found the President “ultimately responsible” for the incident.
Asked if the reopening of the Mamasapano probe would affect Poe’s credibility, Enrile answered in the negative.
“Wala naman, buti nga si Grace ang humawak dyan at very fair yung kanyang paghawak ng kaso,” he said. “Pero sinasabi ko yung mga tinanong na mga questions, itong mga tatanungin ko e hindi natanong e.”
(I don’t think so, it is fortunate that Grace (Poe) handled it and the handling of the probe is very fair. But I’m saying the questions asked, my questions were not asked.) RAM
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