Aquino’s stand-down order, cover-up in Mamasapano ‘unspoken but apparent’ – House minority
MANILA — An executive report by the Independent Minority Bloc (IMB) of the House of Representatives claimed that by his actuations, President Aquino issued a stand-down order in the Mamasasapano encounter in the hours leading to the slaughter of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers on January 25, 2015.
Senatorial bet and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, head of the IMB, said that while it was “unspoken,” it was clear from the actuations of the President, his Cabinet members (including Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and then Interior Secretary Mar Roxas), police and military officials who were with him in Zamboanga City “that there was a stand down order at the height of the fire fight and eventually an elaborate effort to cover up the monumental offenses committed.”
In the latest Senate probe on Mamasapano, Cabinet officials and police and military officers claimed that President Aquino did not issue a stand-down order which would have stopped the military from sending reinforcements to the hapless SAF troopers who were surrounded by Moro rebels and bandits on a cornfield in Mamasapano after retreating from their mission to arrest a terrorist.
“Maybe you can visit the phrase or the words ‘plausible deniability’ which, you know, if you get pinned down in a corner and you can always say you never gave an order. That’s what is commonly used in these kinds of dicey situations,” said Romualdez.
Abakada Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz said that as early as 7 a.m., the President and his men already knew there was a firefight while on their way to a meeting in Zamboanga City and that there were efforts to tap the ceasefire mechanism.
“While they were in Zamboanga, there was not even an effort on the part of anybody to ask for a fly-over for the members of the 55th SAF company who were even texting their relatives. Nobody came and then they were telling us they were just waiting for orders. There was even a helicopter on standby. If you take all of these things together, there was really a stand-down order as far as we are concerned,” said Dela Cruz.
Dela Cruz said that the President was “ultimately responsible” for the deaths of the SAF 44 because he could have made an urgent appeal to Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Murad Ibrahim to stop the slaughter of the troopers.
Dela Cruz said that the MILF also had blood on its hands in the Mamasapano massacre because it coddled high value targets despite sitting on the negotiating table with government peace negotiators.
What made matters worse, according to the Dela Cruz, was the effort of Roxas, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, and government peace panel negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer to cover up the botched mission to shield President Aquino, his men and the MILF from any culpability. SFM
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