PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with the widows of the slain 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in the 2015 Mamasapano massacre ahead of its third anniversary on Jan. 25.
“That’s why I would not want to bring this up but there are still disturbing issues surrounding Mamasapano. I only have one question for all,” Duterte said in a speech before newly promoted PNP officers in Malacañang.
Duterte said that he would like to meet the widows of the SAF commandos and other officials.
“I’ll meet the widows and I’d like to talk to them, to the officials. I’m not trying to scare anybody. I’m not trying to go into politics again,” the President said.
There was however no mention of the date and venue for the meeting with the SAF widows.
Former President Benigno Aquino drew flak for allowing then Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima to plan and execute Oplan Exodus despite his suspension on graft charges. Forty-four SAF troopers were massacred during the operation to neutralize a foreign terrorist bomber.
There was also a lack of coordination with the PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina and the AFP.
The President had previously said that he wants Filipinos to know the truth about the incident
“I am not trying to revive or revisit the issue but what’s bugging me is mayor kasi ako eh. So may pulis ako. So I feel for the police. And again, just one question: Why you were seated there was a war the whole day? At hindi pinapasok ‘yung—sa Awang, sa Davao City, GenSan, bakit hindi tinawag ‘yung air assets? Iyon lang,” Duterte said.
Duterte said that he was no longer interested to find out who received the $5 million reward when wanted terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan was killed during the raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015.
“Huwag na ‘yung, sino ang nagkapera doon? Sinong kumana ‘non? O partida o pang-ano mo, pang-retire mo. Huwag na ‘yan. O sino ang nagplano doon na bright? Maniwala kayo bright ang nagplano noon?” Duterte said.
“Akin lang is bakit hindi ninyo tinawag ang CSAFP, ang TOG? Karaming helicopter diyan, walang gamit. Trapo nang trapo ‘yung mga sundalo araw-araw,” he added, referring to then AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. and the Tactical Operations Group of the Philippine Air Force.
The commandos were able to kill the terrorist Marwan but ran into members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and private armed groups as they pulled out of the area.
Purisima and former SAF commander Chief Supt. Getulio Napeñas were charged with graft, grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Separate investigations by the Senate and the PNP’s Board of Inquiry (BOI) also found Aquino responsible for the incident.
The National Bureau of Investigation and National Prosecution Service recommended the filing of murder and theft charges against 90 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other private armed groups for killing the police commandos.
In July this year, relatives of the slain policemen filed charges against Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas at the Office of the Ombudsman.