MANILA – Two more senators have joined Senate President Franklin Drilon asking the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) top brass to refrain from fighting in public over the Mamasapano encounter that killed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos last January 25.
“You are not at war with each other, so shut up and stop fighting in public. Don’t let the Mamasapano incident divide you,” Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero said in a press statement.
Instead of bickering in public, the leadership of the AFP and the PNP should take their cases to the Board of Inquiry (BOI) and other probe panels that will investigate the Mamasapano carnage, Escudero said.
“If they have so much to say, they can do so within the walls of the Board of Inquiry and before the probing panels. If they want to fight, go lock themselves in a room and do not drag the public into it,” Escudero reminded the AFP and the PNP.
The senator said the ongoing word war between the police and the military over responsibility and liability in the PNP Special Action Force operation “is not only unhealthy but unprofessional, as well. It goes to the path of using the incident to turn against each other when they are brothers in uniform.”
He added: “If they want respect, they better start by deserving it.”
According to Escudero, President Benigno Aquino III should intervene as commander-in-chief to order both the AFP and the PNP to refrain from further issuing statements that would only stoke the fire.
“Our military and police forces should rally as one in support of law enforcement, justice and peace, and not be at war with each other,” Escudero said.
Senator Joseph Victory Ejercito suggested that the sacked PNP SAF commander Gen. Getulio Napenas and AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang should instead issue apology for the bloody operation aimed at arresting international terrorist Zulfikli bir Hir alias Marwan.
”Please refrain from rubbing salt into the wounded hearts of the families of 44 SAFs men. Instead of explaining things right now, apologies for what happened in Mamasapano are the best things to do,” Ejercito said.
Last Wednesday, Drilon appealed to the PNP and AFP officials to shut up and instead talk in the proper venue, including the PNP Board of Inquiry and on the scheduled Senate probe on Monday.