PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III was “disingenuous” in his palusot [excuse] during his explanation on Monday regarding his involvement in the deadly secret Mamasapano operation and it has turned out to be a cycle of “never-ending” lies, the party-list group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said on Tuesday.
“The problem with starting out with a lie is that you end up spinning more lies. The lies have become never-ending,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. after Aquino explained for the third time in Malacañang his role in the mission that resulted in the death of 44 police commandos.
“The gist of the President’s speech was that it was all Napenas’ fault,” Reyes said, referring to Aquino’s remarks to religious leaders where he blamed relieved Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas .
“It was Napenas who misled the President. It was Napenas who failed to coordinate. It is very likely that the [Philippine National Police board of inquiry] report will not veer away from the pronouncements of the President,” Reyes said.
Reyes said the timing of Aquino remarks last Monday was meant to “preempt whatever results that would be borne out of the Board of Inquiry investigation.”
Opposition leader and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco echoed the sentiment and said Aquino’s remarks pre-empted the findings of the BOI and only cleared himself and his “best friend” Purisima.
“Can we expect the BOI members to say otherwise when the President absolved himself of any blame, barely mentioned his BFF Purisima, and dumped the blame on Napenas?” Tiangco said.
Aquino made the remark on the same day the PNP BOI announced that they would have to postpone the release of the investigation because of the voluminous documents regarding the case.
“[But] the President hardly even mentioned [relieved PNP chief] Purisima,” Reyes said, noting that a Senate investigation showed that Purisima was directly reporting to the President and “advising” Napeñas who claimed he was following orders from Purisima who had already been suspended.
Aquino also “failed to explain why he himself did not inform his other officials of the sensitive operation” when he, “as commander-in-chief, was in a position to inform the AFP and the PNP leadership as well as the government peace panel.”
“Mr. President, the people are not satisfied with your latest, self-serving statements,” Reyes said.
At the same time, Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon also assailed Aquino for claiming he was deceived by Napeñas when “at the end of the day, we have to return the question: who greenlighted the mission? Who authorized the offensive?”
“Mr. President, how many versions of the story will you put out?... If there’s a mambobola [deceiver] around, it’s President Aquino,” Ridon said, calling Aquino a “compulsive liar.”
“Stop fooling the Filipino people Mr. President. You’ve fooled the Filipino people many times over and triple shame on you. Instead of continuing with your compulsive lying, why don’t you resign instead?” Ridon added.
At the Senate, Senator JV Ejercito said Aquino’s explanation is “unbelieveable” because the President has the luxury of confirming all the information being given to him by Napenas when he is surrounded by security experts.
“If you are the commander in chief, why would you rely on one person if you have the luxury getting access to info from all top officials with you the whole day. It’s hard to believe because everybody was there. They were with him the whole day,” Ejercito said.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. agreed that the President’s own admission that he was deceived by Napenas showed weak leadership.
“It was inevitable that this was the outcome of his using an alternative or informal chain of command,” Marcos said.
Had Aquino employed the correct command structure, even if one or two lied, “still this would not be the result, this kind of massacre would not happen and the deaths of the 44 would not have occurred,” Marcos said.
“I feel sorry for the families of the slain SAF, MILF and civilians, who are the ones that would be really disappointed with this development,” Marcos said, noting that the delay in the release of the BOI report only prolongs the agony of the bereaved families.
Senator Grace Poe said the delay triggered some doubts as to what happened for their failure to come out with the report last Monday.
“They have given their words that they will be prepared so others are asking what happened last Saturday and Sunday that they suddenly asked for additional time,” said Poe, whose committee on public order led the investigation on the Mamasapano incident.
Meanwhile, reacting to the refusal of Purisima to be interviewed by the BOI, Senate President Franklin Drilon replied, “Maybe, he has something to hide... I do not really know,” Drilon said.
The reactions to Aquino’s remarks on Monday spurred Palace officials to again explain the President’s explanation and disputed the claim of BOI chairman Benjamin Magalong that Aquino did not reply to invitations for an interview with the probers.
“Hindi totoo yan,” Coloma said during the daily Palace briefing. “According to PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo, who was present during the press briefing of the PNP-BOI and Camp Crame yesterday, and I quote, he was quoting, in turn, director Magalong: He did not say that the BOI need to interview the President,” Coloma said.
But Coloma admitted that he was not aware if there was indeed an invitation for the President to speak with the BOI.
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