MANILA — Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte has confirmed that President Benigno Aquino III had a meeting with police and Cabinet officials Tuesday.
”Yes, we can confirm that the President met with PNP (Philippine National Police) OIC Deputy Director (General Leonardo) Espina, (Police) Director (Benjamin B.) Magalong, and (Directorate for Integrated Police Operations executive officer for Eastern Mindanao) Chief Supt. (John) Sosito yesterday afternoon, along with other Cabinet officials,” she said in a statement.
”The President met them to thank them for their efforts and to give them the opportunity to clarify any matters,” she said.
Magalong is the chief of the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and was the head of the police-established Board of Inquiry (BOI) that assessed what happened on the Special Action Force (SAF) operation, dubbed Oplan Exodus, which was formed to arrest wanted terrorists Malaysian Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Filipino Ahmad Akmad Batabol Usman, alias Basit Usman, in Mamasapano, Maguindano on Jan. 25, 2015 that left 44 SAF troopers dead.
He and Sosito are members of the BOI.
Reports said the Cabinet members who were present on the said meeting were Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
The BOI released its report on the Mamasapano incident Friday last week and the Palace questioned a contradicting statement on the report’s summary.
Part of the report said the President broke the chain of command rule but accepted the fact that the President has the prerogative who to directly communicate with.
A day after the BOI report was made public, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in a statement, said the report “was thorough in scope and independent in nature” and that “the narration of facts was exhaustive and provides a sober basis for understanding what transpired.”
”In gathering the facts, the BOI should have allowed the facts to speak for themselves,” he said stressing the Palace stance regarding the issue on the chain of command.