MANILA – Senator Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino IV on Tuesday said any extra constitutional act to oust President Benigno Aquino IV is not good for country and to the growing economy.
”Let’s think about it. Ouster? That’s serious. That’s an extra constitutional act. I think an ouster which means a coup will bring us back so many years. Our economy has accelerated already,” Aquino, the President’s cousin, said in a media interview.
The senator urged the public to trust the processes, including the ongoing inquiries inside and outside the Senate and the House of Representatives.
”I understand that emotions are very high but at the end of the day, what we are looking for is what is good for our country,” Aquino said.
”I’m hoping that we can resolve all of our issues through the proper government process or judicial process. We need not use extra constitutional means,” he added.
Aquino assured the Senate is doing its best in search for justice for the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos killed in an operation to capture two high-profile terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan and Basit Usman.
Marwan, the prime suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 innocent civilians and wounded 209 others, was killed but 44 of 392 SAF men have been killed after they encountered with combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25.
”I think right now, let’s look for justice, bring out the truth. Let’s assure that their families will be taken care of and of course, the perpetrators and combatants should be arrested,” Aquino said.
Aquino said the President has already owned up the responsibility for the death of the 44 SAF men.
”I’m not sure what else has to say aside from that he owned the responsibility already. With regard to taking the accountability and responsibility, I think, he already admitted that in his public address few days ago,” the senator said.
He believed that the SAF troopers have accomplished their mission when they killed Marwan who has USD 5 million bounty on his head. Usman was able to escape during heavy firefight.
”I know some senators said what happened was a failure but personally, I commend them (SAF men). In fact, I have Senate resolution commending not only those who died but also those who survived because they accomplished their mission and they risk their lives for the country,” Aquino said.
”We must remember that Marwan was responsible for the Bali bombings and death of hundreds of people also here in country. So they accomplished their mission and they did a good job but unfortunately, there were also killed from the SAF,” he added.
Aquino also believed the peace process should be pursued “whether through the amended Bangsamoro Basic Law or other measure.”
However, he said the Senate hearings on the BBL should be set aside for the meantime until the justice will be given to the victims and the punished the perpetrators.
”They have to be brought to justice. It would be difficult to tackle the BBL if this issue will be left hanging or unresolved,” Aquino emphasized.