MANILA — Senators have turned down calls for the resignation of President Benigno Aquino III over the death of the 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) members in an encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) elements on January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
”I will not even dignify that with an answer,” Senate President Franklin Drilon replied when asked by media for comment to calls from some some sectors for President Aquino to step down.
Senator Teofisto Guingona III strongly opposed the resignation calls, expressing confidence that the President can handle the situation.
”No. I’m not for that (resignation). I still believe in the President and I believe he will do the right thing in this matter,” Guingona said.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said he is not also supportive of the call but advised the President to “be more transparent in handling the situation.”
Opposition Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito also rejected the calls, saying resignation would only worsen the divisiveness and create political instability.
”Even if I come from the opposition, I do not think President Aquino resigning or even removing him from office right now will not be good for the nation,” Ejercito said in a text message to the media.
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero also opposed to the resign calls, saying “in fact, we don’t even know yet what really happened.”
For her part, Senator Grace Poe believed that the President will listen to the sentiments of the people.
Poe, however, proposed that the President should appoint a new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
”For me, I would definitely want that the President appoint somebody because there’s also been a confusion as to who is the leader,” she said.
PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima is currently serving a six-month preventive suspension slapped on him last December by the Office of the Ombudsman over an alleged questionable contract.
Despite the suspension, Purisima was reportedly involved in the operation to arrest international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
”I feel that the PNP doesn’t have a shortage of capable men who would be able to take his place. So I still maintain that I think we would be in a better position to give a chance to another individual who might be able to command more confidence and respect among the PNP,” Poe said.