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March 17, 2015

Aquino Responsible for Mamasapano Massacre — SENATE

The Senate has spoken: President Benigno Aquino III is responsible for the Mamasapano incident that led to the deaths of the Fallen 44.

Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, presented the findings of the committee report to the media this afternoon. The Senate probe on the Mamasapano incident began on Feb. 9.

Aquino was found to have assented to the participation of then-suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director-General Alan Purisima in overseeing Oplan Exodus on January 25.

Aquino-Responsible-for-Mamasapano-MassacrePoe: PNoy Ultimately Responsible

Poe said that Purisima committed usurpation of authority and official function for which he may be charged with an administrative complaint of indirect contempt before the Ombudsman  for “disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process or order” of the anti-graft body. However, Poe said that Aquinio is “ultimately responsible for the Mamasapano mission”.Poe quoted the president himself as she held him accountable: “Siya na po mismo ang nagsabi noon, bilang  Pangulo at Commander-in-Chief, ‘Pasan  ko naman po ang responsibilidad para  sa anumang resulta, sa anumang tagumpay, pasakit o trahedya na maari nating matamasa sa paghahangad ng pangmatagalang seguridad at kapayapaan’,” Poe explained.“It is beyond doubt that the President was fully aware that Purisima was preventively suspended by the Ombudsman on 4 December 2014, and that Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina was designated Officer-in-Charge of the PNP,” Poe explained.She stressed that the President himself admitted that all communications regarding Oplan Exodus from him to then Special Action Force Getulio Napeñas Jr, and vice-versa, were coursed through Purisima.

“The President assented to Purisima’s unlawful exercise of official functions, and continued to communicate with Purisima in regard the Oplan Exodus,” the senator added.

Massacre, Not Mere Encounter
Poe stressed that the incident was not just an encounter but a massacre.

Poe said that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and its breakaway group the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters “murdered and robbed” the SAF troops. Poe said that she hopes that the president would accept his accountability. “The buck stops with him (Aquino). If he can own up  to it I’m sure the people would be less confused,” Poe said.

Impeachment for PNoy?

Poe, however, said that the only way that PNoy can be made accountable is through impeachment.

A police operation, Oplan Exodus took place on a Sunday, January 25, 2015, at Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao, between the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

It was originally a mission to serve arrest warrants for high-ranking terrorists but led to the tragic deaths of 44 members of the SAF, 18 members of the MILF and 5 members of the the BIFF, as well as several civilians. More than 60 people died.
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