MANILA – Senator Grace Poe on Sunday said the Senate might compel resigned Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima to disclose his conversation with President Benigno Aquino III and other officials regarding ‘Oplan Exodus’ when he appears in the Senate hearing on Monday.
”I think, we need to compel him to read his conversation with President,” Poe said in an interview with radio dzBB.
Poe said she finds no reason why the conversation through text between Purisima and the President should not be made public.
”We will really ask him to read (the transcript of the text messages) because Malacanang or the President himself have not requested to invoke executive privilege,” Poe explained.
Last Thursday, Poe said the disclosures of Purisima during last week’s executive session may actually favor the President on the bloody Mamasapano encounter that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos dead.
Poe said she is also hoping that the conversation of the President with other officials particularly relieved SAF chief Director Getulio Napenas will be revealed at the resumption of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano incident on Monday.
She said the conversation of the President with other officials, particularly, to Purisima is very important in ferreting out the truth.
”I’m not favoring anyone here, I think everybody committed mistake,” Poe said.
Poe said Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa has also been invited on Monday ‘as alter ego of the President” along with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials who will be questioned on the alleged role of the United States (US) in the operation.
”I know many people said the President was really responsible. We will clarify that on Monday because everybody has been invited unless they invoke executive privilege. If everybody will tell the truth, we will be able to clarify everything,” Poe said.
”Everybody has responsibility even the President because he is the commander in chief. We have to do something so that it will not be repeated,” she added.
Poe, however, clarified that the Senate committee on public service and dangerous drugs, will not compel President Aquino to attend the Senate hearing.
”We have courtesy as co-equal branches of government. We cannot force the President to come to the Senate. We can perform our job even without the presence of the President in the Senate,” Poe explained.
The ‘Oplan Exodus’ aimed at capturing two high profile terrorists Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan and Basit Usan was marred with deadly encounter between the SAF troops and the combined combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Although Marwan, a Malaysian bomb expert who has USD5-million bounty on his head, was killed, the encounter also resulted in the killing of the 44 SAF men, 18 MILF forces and at least three civilians.
Usman, the BIFF commander, was able to escape and now the subject of manhunt operation of the government troops in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
In the two previous Senate hearings, Napenas said he provided the President and Purisima, who was then suspended, with mission update.
Napenas, however, did not inform acting PNP chief Leonardo Espina and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas as per advice by Purisima.