VICE presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos twitted attempts by the ruling Liberal Party and Malacañang Palace to discredit the reopening of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano incident and asked what the Aquino administration is hiding.
“It is unfortunate that instead of awaiting the outcome of the investigation, Malacañang insinuates bad faith in the re-opening of the Mamasapano probe,” Marcos said after President Benigno Aquino III said on Friday that politics was behind the reopening of the probe.
“If Malacañang really has nothing to hide it should welcome the reopening of the investigation,” Marcos said, noting that Aquino himself admitted that the probe could be an opportunity to find answers to still unanswered questions.
“I believe majority of the Filipino people sincerely want answers and would be discerning enough to recognize any attempt at grandstanding merely to score political points,” Marcos said.
Marcos said he wants to find out why almost a year after the incident no criminal charges have been filed against those responsible despite the government’s promise that justice will be served.
“The families of the policemen slain in the Mamasapano massacre do not ask for anything from the government save for justice,” said Marcos, who backed the call of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile to reopen the probe.
Enrile was in detention on plunder charges at the time the hearings were conducted last year and he moved for the reopening of the probe because of new personal information.
Independent presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe agreed to reopen the probe and scheduled the hearing on Jan. 25, the first anniversary of the tragic police operation that resulted in the death of 44 police commandos and at least 17 fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
But Aquino said at the launching of a power plant in Davao City on Friday that politics played a major role in the reopening of the probe.
“I think with all these occurrences, I can see the big role of politics,” Aquino said. “Perhaps, we should not forget who pushed for it, maybe we can understand, most likely ill feelings towards my administration.”
“We all know that the campaign period is coming soon. Among our opponents, they see that this has been the greatest burden I have had since I took office. Perhaps, they are trying to take this opportunity,” he said.
“Of course, as President and father of the nation, I can’t let emotions take over… You know, Jan. 25 is my mother’s birthday, the first anniversary of the Mamasapano incident. It’s like they are insisting that you must suffer here,” Aquino added.
“There is a saying, we can see it in the teachings of the church that I belong to, in the Bible, ‘the truth shall set us all free’,” he said.
Even LP standard bearer Manuel Roxas II, who was interior secretary at the time of incident, said he is ready to face another probe although it was already ascertained in earlier hearings that he was kept out of the loop by former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima.
“I won’t back off from any investigation and I am open to any view in all things,” Roxas said in Romblon on Saturday.
“This issue already had a lot of hearings, in the lower House, the PNP themselves, the DoJ and in the Senate. So if there are other questions left unanswered, we are much willing if we would be called to answer all of their questions,” he said.
But Poe allayed fears that the reopening of the Senate probe will be used by the senators and possible resource speakers to advance their political agenda in this year’s elections.
Poe, who will preside over the inquiry as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order, assured the public that the committee will not allow grandstanding and will immediately examine the supposed new information on the incident.
“I will not allow this to be used for politics,” Poe said. “The questions should be constructive and we will not allow them to argue and take things personally.”
“I don’t want the [Philippine National Police] and [Armed Forces of the Philippines] to quarrel because of this,” she said.
“Questions just need to be answered to bring out the truth and what benefits were really given to the survivors of the heroic SAF 44,” she added.