MANILA—President Benigno Aquino on Friday said politics played a major role in the reopening of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano incident that killed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers almost a year ago.
“I think with all these occurrences, I can see the big role of politics,” President Aquino said in a media interview after the inauguration of 300-megawatt Davao Baseload Power Plant in Toril, Davao City.
“Perhaps, we should not forget who pushed for it, maybe we can understand, most likely ill feelings towards my administration,” he added.
The President did not name names but it was Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile who requested for the reopening of the Mamasapano probe.
Enrile was in detention when the Senate conducted five hearings on the brutal killing of the 44 SAF troopers in an encounter with Moro rebels belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private armed groups on January 25 last year in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
The 91-year-old Enrile, a close ally of opposition presidential aspirant Vice President Jejomar Binay, is one of the three incumbent senators facing plunder charges for allegedly misusing hundreds of millions of their priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
Enrile got temporary freedom last August after the Supreme Court (SC) granted his request for bail while fellow opposition Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. remain in detention at Camp Crame.
Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drug and an independent presidential candidate, agreed to the request of Enrile.
”Well, we all know that the campaign period is coming soon. Among our opponents, they see that this has been the greatest burden I have had since I took office. Perhaps, they are trying to take this opportunity,” the President said.
”Of course, as President and father of the nation, I can’t let emotions take over here. …You know, January 25 is my mother’s birthday, the first anniversary of the Mamasapano incident, it’s like they are insisting that you must suffer here. Now, there is a saying, we can see it in the teachings of the church that I belong to, in the Bible, ‘the truth shall set us all free’,” he added.
President Aquino, however, believes that the reopening of the Mamasapano incident would be a good opportunity to come up with a complete picture of what really happened in the Mamasapano encounter.
Poe set the reinvestigation of the Mamasapano incident on January 25, one year after the bloody encounter that took place while the SAF team was serving warrant of arrest against international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias ‘Marwan’ who was killed in the operation. (PNA)