MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Friday assured that there will be no cover-up in ferreting out the truth behind the Mamaspano incident that killed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos on January 25.
”There will be no cover-up and no concealment. It is important to ferret out the whole truth,” Coloma said in a press briefing in Malacanang.
Coloma made this assurance amid reports and observations that some generals involved in the ‘Oplan Exodus’ were reportedly trying to protect the President Benigno Aquino III.
He said just like millions of Filipinos, President Aquino is also wanted to find the whole truth in the ‘Oplan Exodus’ aimed at arresting two high-profile terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Basit Usman.
Marwan, a notorious bomb expert and prime suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 civilians, was killed in the operation but Usman escaped.
”The position of the President is he is determined to put closure or complete picture on what really happened because it is part of our efforts to give justice for our SAF 44 heroes,” Coloma said.
He said that instead of making observation based on the ‘anecdotal citation’, “it would be better to see the complete picture based on the statements of the witnesses.”
”It may be inappropriate at this time to make commentaries on specific comments or testimonies of individual resource persons, inasmuch as the inquiry is still ongoing, it would be premature to draw certain conclusions based on incomplete information,” Coloma said.
The Palace official added it would be premature also to comment on the statement of one Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) official that he informed President Aquino about the Mamasapano incident in the afternoon of January 25 when it fact the President knew it already in the morning of the same day.
”It might be better for us to understand first the whole context on what really happened,” he said.
During the Senate inquiry on Thursday, Lt. General Rustico Guerrero, chief of the AFP Western Mindanao Command, said he briefed the President about the Mamasapano incident at 5pm already of January 25.
Coloma, however, said he has no information on who informed the President about the Mamasapano incident in the morning of January 25.
”We are not opposing on what have been said, witnessed and heard by our people. What we have been talking here is about making conclusion based on what we have heard in the testimonies. It might be premature to make such conclusion,” Coloma said.
On the proposal of MILF peace panel chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal to create independent fact-finding body preferably from the United Nations to investigate the Mamasapano incident, Coloma said: “We have to study first that proposal.”
The bloody Mamasapano incident is already being investigated by at least eight groups including the PNP Board of Inquiry and the Senate and the House of Representatives.