A WIDOW of one of the police commandos slain in the Mamasapano incident detailed on Friday what transpired in their meeting with President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday and said she was insulted by Aquino’s remarks and demeanor during the encounter.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the reaction of the families and their questions to the President were understandable “owing to the fact that their loss is very, very fresh and that they lost their loved ones in such a manner.”
“The President did not shy away from their questions, and understandably, emotions are still running high. It has not been a month since the loss of their loved ones, and suffice to say that the President was there, and that he was able to answer their questions personally,” Valte said.
“There are also other families who have chosen not to speak of their private conversations but also did say that they have no ill feelings towards the President. So, at this point, we respect the differentiation of how he was received,” Valte said.
But Philippine National Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. denied that the families of the slain commandos demanded answers from Aquino and that they were hurt by his answers.
“In my observation, there was nothing,” Cerbo said in a news briefing on Friday. “To say that some took offense, that cannot happen.”
But according to the widow, whose identity was withheld in consideration of the benefits she has not yet received from the government, Aquino did not seem serious about his answers to the questions the families asked him.
“One of the families asked why no airstrike was sent. PNoy said ‘Do you play computers?’ Naturally, we were offended because we were hoping he would answer with his opinion or the plain truth,” the widow said.
One family asked: “We would just like to ask why the fighting lasted for more than 10 hours? Why was there no reinforcement?”
Aquino answered: “10 a.m. I was in Zamboanga. [Special Action Force director Getulio] Napenas started texting me around 7:15 the troops were fighting. I said, send reinforcement so I thought it was already ok.”
“I did not know that that was not true. And I did not know that the 84th was also dragged into the fight in the early afternoon. If we suppose you text your friend so that you’d meet at the [Mall of Asia], is it that easy for you to go there immediately?” Aquino said.
Another family said: “We hope sir we can get justice. We hope we can show them that the government is more powerful than them.”
Aquino answered: “Why, what is justice for you? Aren’t we doing it already? What do you want me to do, get the fingerprints of the enemy? They are so many. Just so we can find out who killed your relatives?”
“My father was also killed so I know how you feel kaya patas na rin tayo ngayon [so we are all square now],” Aquino said.
The widow said Aquino would even laugh at the questions of the families, repeatedly blaming relieved Special Action Force director Getulio Napenas for the incident.
“We had a lot of questions, but at one point he said: ‘Look, is my face red?’ What does that mean? He was even grinning. It was really insulting because he could not give answers to our questions. He was laughing while answering our questions,” the widow said.
The widow said she had the impression that Aquino was washing his hands of any responsibility.
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