MANILA, Philippines –President Benigno Aquino III allegedly got displeased and told some hurtful remarks during his second visit to the families and relatives of the slain Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) commandos at Camp Crame on Wednesday night.
According to a newspaper report, the bereaved families asked similar questions to President Aquino in the six-hour meeting and the President got irked in the latter part as he repeatedly explained to them.
The families cried for justice and questioned the slow pace of the House probe on the Mamasapano clash between the PNP-SAF and Moro rebels last month and President Aquino’s answers only offended them. At one point, the President even blurted out, “Anong gusto niyo, kunan namin ng fingerprints lahat ng MILF?” (What do you want, should we get the fingerprints of all the MILF [fighters]?)
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that it was understandable that the emotions were still high as the Mamasapano clash was still recent.
“It was another face-to-face with them. He [Aquino] did not shy away from their questions. Understandably, emotions are still running high. It has not been a month since the loss of their loved ones,” Valte said in a press briefing.
PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr., however, disclosed that no heated exchange occurred during the conversation with the PNP-SAF troopers’ families.
“Naging malaya ‘yung tanungan at ‘yung pagbibigay ng sagot pero wala pong masasabi na dumating sa punto na maka-categorize natin na confrontation,” Cerbo said.
(Questions and answers were frankly given but we cannot say it came to the point that we can categorize it as a confrontation.)
Cerbo maintained that President Aquino wanted to have a ‘heart-to-heart’ talk with the families. He also denied instances of raised voices from both parties.
“Ibig sabihin, handa siyang makiharap at malaman first-hand from the families ano ba ‘yung problema ng bawat isa. To say na may napikon o may nagalit, mukhang hindi. Hindi pwedeng mangyari ‘yon,” he added.
(It only goes to show that he is willing to face and know first-hand the problems of each family. To say that someone got irritated or angry is unlikely. That could not happen.)
Aside from hearing the concerns of the PNP-SAF commandos’ families, President Aquino also checked the status of the government’s financial assistance package promised to them.
As President Aquino wanted a personal and private meeting with the families, the media was not allowed to cover the event.
“Ang gusto lang natin na atmosphere ‘yung pribadong moments na walang interruptions. Ganun ka-personal ‘yung kwentuhan with the families,” Cerbo said.
(The atmosphere that we want is private moments with no interruptions. The meeting with the families was that personal.)
With report from Cyra Moraleda