“SAY ‘I am sorry’,” Senator Sergio Osmeña III urged President Benigno Aquino III over DZBB radio on Sunday.
He said Aquino should apologize to the Filipino people for the death of 44 police commandos in an encounter with Muslim rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on Jan. 25.
Osmeña, a close Aquino ally who served as Aquino’s campaign manager in the 2010 presidential elections, said it would be much better for the President to say “I am sorry,” just as former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had said on national television at the height of the “Hello Garci” controversy.
Osmeña described Aquino as a “super-hard-headed” person who listens only to his friends.
“The President does not want to say sorry,” he said. But he believes apologizing is the best thing the President can do. He said apologizing could help the President.
Osmeña made his statement even as the Philippine National Police Academy Alumni Association Inc. on Sunday said it will hold a nationwide “Marches for Justice for the SAF 44” on Sunday, March 8, to mark the culmination of the 44-day period of mourning for the SAF heroes.
The marches, dubbed as “Walk with the Widows, Run for our Heroes,” will simultaneously be conducted at the regional, provincial, city and municipal levels.
Asked if the Filipino people could forgive Aquino, Osmena shot back: “Filipinos are forgiving. They are very forgiving.”
Still, Osmeña said he could not tell if the Senate would find Aquino responsible for the botched Mamasapano incident in which 44 SAF troopers were “massacred” by Moro rebels.
“They control the Senate right now, said Osmeña as he hinted there might be a whitewash.
“So we will look on that and tell you if we feel there’s a whitewash,” Osmeña said.
Senator Grace Poe, head of the Senate Public Order committee that led the senate inquiry into the Mamasapano incident, wrapped up the probe Tuesday last week after five hearings and five executive sessions in which resource persons gave their testimonies.
Poe assured the people of a transparent and partial report and brushed aside speculations of a cover-up.
But Osmeña said the public would not believe in the results of the Senate probe since the people had already decided who was to blame.
“Unfortunately, you have to prove you’re innocent because you are already guilty as far as the Filipino people is concerned,” said Osmeña, referring to the President.
“You will have the feelings, the beliefs and certainties that there was a whitewash. You will see it in the recitation of facts when there are several loopholes and gaps in the recitations of facts, there are things forgotten or deliberately plotted out, canceled out or not mentioned...It was sort of engineered.
Osmeña warned that the people would be angry if the Senate and the PNP Board of Inquiry absolved the President.
“In the Senate, we should be fair. There were many faults committed. Whether it amounts to a hanging or just a simple spanking, we will know,” Osmeña said.
He said he regretted supporting the candidacy of President who, he said, had lost the people’s support, and especially as a result of the Mamasapano fiasco.
He said the President was “hard-headed.”
He said Aquino was stubborn, and that if he said one thing it should be done and there would be no room for adjustments.
“I think he should be patient and let democracy work,” Osmeña said, adding the people were fed up with Aquino.
He said the surveys showed that Aquino lost much approval from the Filipino people especially after the Mamasapano debacle. With Francisco Tuyay
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