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New impeach bid looms

‘Aquino has to be held accountable’

MEMBERS of the Makabayan Bloc on Wednesday warned that President Aquino III would likely face an impeachment complaint over the Mamasapano massacre if investigations proved he had a direct hand in the operation that resulted in the killing of 44 members of the PNP-Special Action Force on Sunday.

ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said the government was again telling different versions of what transpired during the encounter between the policemen and the Muslim rebels in Maguindanao.

Remembering the 44. Philippine flags are shown flying at half-staff
at the Mamasapano Municipal Hall in Maguindanao, where 44 policemen
were killed in an encounter with Muslim rebels on Sunday.
Omar Mangorsi
“Right now,  Secretary Mar Roxas and acting PNP chief Espina they look like fools,” Tinio told reporters. 

“Sinasabi nila wala silang kaalam alam sa mayor na operasyon ng isang batalion ng elite commandos. Lalabas dito either rogue operation ng SAF na walang pahintulot, which is highly improbable, or the authorization nanggaling sa mas mataas pa kay acting PNP chief or Sec Roxas si Pangulong Aquino,” Tinio told reporters at a news conference.

Tinio made his statement even as House leaders on Wednesday rallied behind Aquino as they belittled the impeachment threat against him.         

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Aquino committed no impeachable offense.

“The President was doing what he in his view was in the best interest of the country,” Belmonte said.

Majority Leader Neptali Gonzalez II also scoffed at the impeachment angle.

“I fail to see what can be attributed as an impeachable offense against the President,” Gonzalez said.

Deputy Majority Leader Bolet Banal and Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone also expressed support to the President.

Tinio said command responsibility dictated that President Aquino be held accountable on the issue.

“Si Pangulong Aquino [ay] kumilos in a highly irregular and questionable operation, which did not involve the PNP chief and the DILG,” Tinio said.

He asked if the President had knowledge of the operation or if the order came from the United States, “an order which endangered the lives of our troops.”

“Kung mapapatunayan ang direktang kamay ni Pangulong Aquino sa operasyong ito, malinaw na it’s an impeachable offense. Why the US role?” Tinio said.  

“Andiyan na culpable violation of the Constitution. Maraming mabibigat na kasalanan na kailangang panagutan si Pangulong Aquino.”

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said the police operation would not have happened if there was an absence of an order from the very top, meaning the President.

“Di mangyayari [ito] kung walang basbas ng nakatataas,” Zarate said, adding “this operation goes higher than them,” referring to Roxas and Espina who both denied having knowledge of the police operation.

Zarate also slammed the President over the reports he delegated the operation to suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima.

If proven true, Zarate said, the President would be in bigger trouble.

“Mas lalong madidiin si Presidente Aquino.  Di lang si Presidente Aquino ang may pananagutan.  May pananaguyan din si Purisima sa isang operasyon kung saan ‘di lang isang tao ang namatay,” Zarate said.

Tinio added:  “wala siya [Purisima] otoridad dahil nga suspended.  Lahat ng otorirdad ay galing kay Presidente. Di makakapagtago si Presidente.”

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III said the President had a lot of explaining to do.

Tinio insisted on the “issue of  accountability” against the President, and that the peace process was another issue.

The House committee on justice had earlier dumped the three impeachment complaints filed against President Aquino last year over the Disbursement Acceleration Program and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

 

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