MANILA — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima said on Thursday it is unfair to judge President Benigno S. Aquino III’s actions on the bloody Mamasapano encounter that led to the death of 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos last Jan. 25.
This was the reaction of De Lima on criticisms against President Aquino in the wake of the official findings of the PNP Board of Inquiry (BOI) and Senate Joint Committee that conducted separate investigations into the incident.
The PNP-BOI report concluded that President Aquino allowed the then suspended and now resigned PNP chief Director General Alan V. Purisima to be involved in the Mamasapano mission, and bypassed the PNP’s chain of command.
However, the PNP-BOI report emphasized that the matter is within the President’s prerogative.
On the other hand, the Senate report, which was already signed by 20 senators as of Wednesday, said that President Aquino is “ultimately responsible for the outcome of the Mamasapano mission.”
De Lima pointed out that President Aquino should not be judged based on the two reports because his side was never heard.
“Our President is a very responsible person and he has the interest of our country at heart,” she said.
As to observations by some quarters that President Aquino should apologize for the botched mission, De Lima said that judgment should be left with the President alone.
The DOJ secretary emphasized that she continues to have faith on the President’s good intentions.