MANILA — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima said on Wednesday President Benigno S. Aquino III should not be held responsible in every aspect of the bloody encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25 that resulted in the death of 67 Filipinos, including 44 police commandos.
This was the reaction of De Lima on the report of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs about the incident where President Aquino was even mentioned as ultimately responsible in the aftermath of the “Oplan Exodus.”
De Lima said she would like to know the basis used by the senators in their conclusion, although in the previous speeches of the President he claimed responsibility for the incident.
The DOJ secretary did not agree with the position of the Senate Joint Committees on some issues regarding the Mamasapano incident as well as in the conclusion of the Philippine National Police-Board of Inquiry (PNP-BOI) that the President has “bypassed” the “Chain of Command” of the PNP.
De Lima clarified that they can still use both reports in the investigation by the DOJ-National Bureau of Investigation (DOJ-NBI) pertaining to the criminal aspect of the bloody incident.
She pointed out that the findings of the PNP-BOI and the Senate about the Mamasapano incident should be supported by pieces of evidence because the case would not stand trial in court if the allegation has no basis.