Senator Imee Marcos on Monday called on President Duterte to assure Filipinos that Medal of Valor benefits due the families of the 44 Special Action Force commandos killed in the 2015 Mamasapano tragedy are being delivered after he conferred the highest military honors to them almost three years ago.
“Today marks the sixth year since their deaths in a “reckless police operation” to capture terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan in Maguindanao province’s remote municipality, “Marcos recalled.
Meanwhile, for Philippine National Police Chief Debold Sinas, justice had been served for the 44 commandos who were killed in the 2015 Mamasapano clash in Maguindanao.
The slain members of the elite police force were remembered and honored during a ceremony in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City on Monday.
When it came to giving assistance to the families they left, Sinas said, the PNP leadership would ensure that they continued to receive aid such as the scholarships, given by the national government.
Marcos said the bitterness continues for the families of the brave men of SAF 44 that are still waiting for justice and delayed financial aid for their livelihood and the education of the orphaned children.
“The issue is very personal to me because many of the SAF 44 are from the North and belong to indigenous communities.”
Philippine National Police spokesman Ildebrandi Usana assured the senator’s office on Monday that police officials would follow up on the Medal of Valor benefits due the SAF 44 families.
The benefits include a monthly gratuity that has been raised from P20,000 to P75,000, free education and medical services for dependents, priority in various government programs and discounts from various establishments and on travel.
The Mamasapano tragedy became a highly emotional issue when the media revealed that former president Benigno Aquino III had not only authorized a suspended national police chief to plan the capture of terrorists in rebel territory but also did nothing to extricate the SAF 44 even hours after they made repeated calls for help.
“The SAF 44 were left to die like mere characters in a video game,” Marcos said.
The issue escalated further after video footage spread on social media showing the mutilated bodies of SAF commandos, all of whom were decimated by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and private armed groups that were protecting the terrorist target.
”We will never know the last wish of each one who died in Mamasapano. But we should not bury the bereaved families’ hope of gaining justice,” she said.
Marcos urged Ombudsman Samuel Martires to take up a pending petition to reinvestigate the incident, and government agencies to ensure that the promised financial assistance was completed
Former President Aquino was cleared in 2017 of the charge of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, but without prejudice to the filing of new charges.
Charges of graft and usurpation of official functions were filed against former PNP chief Alan Purisima and former SAF chief Getulio Napeñas Jr., but were dismissed by the Sandiganbayan last year.