MANILA — A Malacanang official refrained from giving comments on Friday on particular details of the newly-released Board of Inquiry (BOI) Report on the Mamasapano incident, saying the Palace has yet to receive a copy of the report.
In a briefing, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said they want to answer the public’s question on why President Benigno S. Aquino III entrusted the operation to arrest wanted terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” to then suspended Police Director General Alan Purisima.
However, she stressed that “I would rather answer it after we’ve had the benefit of seeing the report.”
”I would rather say it after the President has seen the particular report. And as I mentioned last week, we would not be able to make any sufficient comment on any matter raised in the BOI report without the President having undergone — having been able to go through the report himself,” she said.
Valte said there is a plan to make public a copy of the result of the BOI investigation so that people can see it themselves and make their own perception.
Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II, citing the BOI report, earlier said Purisima is liable for the lapses in the Special Action Force (SAF) operation to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, and Filipino Ahmad Akmad Batabol Usman, a.k.a. Basit Usman, last January.
Asked on why Roxas’ statement was different from that of the President, Valte said Roxas’s statement was based on the BOI report.
”Well, you know, I cannot comment one way or the other in the sense that Secretary Roxas has had the benefit of actually going through the BOI report. And, very clearly, he stated the reasons why the President is not liable — does not have any liability in that entire affair. And the President has also said as much in the past few times that he has been able to make his thoughts known on this particular matter,” she said.
President Aquino, during his meeting with Christian leaders last Monday, only mentioned former SAF Chief Getulio Napeñas Jr. as among the persons liable for the operational lapses in the Mamasapano incident.
He said there were three instances that Napeñas could have aborted the operation but failed to do so.
”Maipapakita po sa lahat ng ebidensya — cellphone records, witnesses, etcetera — sinolo ni (SAF chief Director Getulio) Napeñas (Jr.), siya ang nag-desisyon, at ang dami niyang mga desisyon… Parang may times hindi yata nag-desisyon, may times ho ‘yung desisyon niya palpak,” he said.
(All the pieces of evidence — cellphone records, witnesses, etc — show that Napeñas made the decisions. He made lots of decisions. It seems that there are times that he didn’t make the decision, there are times that his decisions failed.)
Asked whether the President’s decision not to mention Purisima’s participation in the operation has something to do with his closeness to the Aquino family, Valte said “no” since these are based on evidence.
”It really should be based on evidence, which is why, in the first place, the BOI was called or convened,” she stressed.
Relatively, Valte said the BOI report confirmed United States’ participation in the Mamasapano operation but reiterated that this is on intelligence sharing and the medical evacuation.
”No, they were not involved in the actual operation. They were there for intelligence sharing,” she added.