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ROXAS ON SSS VETO: NOY DID RIGHT IN ESCHEWING ‘POGI’ POINTS


JANUARY 19 -MAR ROXAS
LIBERAL Party standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II yesterday said President Aquino did the right thing in vetoing the proposed P2,000 pension hike even if it meant less political points for the administration ticket. “Every decision has its pros and cons. The important thing here is the reason and I will not support something which is not right, crooked. And certainly, that is not part of ‘Daang Matuwid’ to gain political points just because there is an election, we will destroy the future of the 31 million who contribute to the SSS,” Roxas said in a chance interview in San Juan City. Roxas said the Liberal Party would surely look good “in one or two years” if the President approved the hike for two million Social Security Systems (SSS) members but the benefits of future pensioners would be affected. He said there are alternatives, like giving out a “one-time relief” for pensioners, letting government shoulder expenses for medicine, and free registration for pensioners in PhilHealth. Roxas got some political boost yesterday when San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez announced her support for Roxas in the May elections even if her city is the bailiwick of the Estradas. Gomez greeted Roxas “Halong Ka,” which in Ilonggo means “Take care, God bless, or “God speed.” She admitted to having sleepless nights about her decision, knowing it could affect her family and San Juan. “It came to my mind, that maybe it is now my turn to cross party lines for the betterment of San Juanenos. I have, come to a decision that to express my personal gratitude for all of these, you (Mar Roxas) will have my support this coming May elections. You will have the support of San Juanenos,” she said. Gomez is a member of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino, which is allied with the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) that is supporting Vice President Jejomar Binay. She said the Estrada family knows her decision and “we came to respect ones choices whomever they would choose.” Gomez said Roxas showed genuine concern by supporting the city government’s housing projects when he was interior secretary. She credited Roxas for the construction of St. Josephville Condominium Complex that benefitted fire victims in San Juan in 2012, and the relocation of thousands of families who were living along flood-prone areas in the city. READ MORE...

ALSO: Roxas confident of victory in May polls


JANUARY 20 -Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II waves to his supporters during a meeting of local officials at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City yesterday. KRIZJOHN ROSALES
Despite lagging in surveys, Liberal Party presidential aspirant Manuel Roxas II is confident that the administration’s daang matuwid (straight path) would emerge victorious in the end.
Speaking at a meeting of local officials in Pasay City, Roxas yesterday vowed to sustain the gains of the administration to bring a better future for the country. “This is our fight – the fight against hunger, against fear, against hopelessness,” he said. Roxas told Pasay City officials that he was happy that on the LP’s 70th founding anniversary, they were together renewing their commitment to that fight. “These are what we are pushing – jobs, stability and hope,” he said. “I know that in the end, what is right, what is honest and our good relationship will prevail.” Roxas cited the government’s P64-billion conditional cash transfer program, which provides financial aid to families to send their children to school and to avail themselves of health services. “You can be assured that we will defend the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program),” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO Duterte: Is Roxas on drugs?


JANUARY 21 -No debate. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, a presidential candidate, faces students of De La Salle University in Manila on Wednesday during a scheduled presidential debate that only he attended. Danny PataDAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday taunted Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II for failing to show up at a presidential forum in Manila on Wednesday, saying he was apparently “on drugs.”  “Let me ask him: Is he on drugs?” Duterte told reporters at the De La Salle University.
“They want a debate but they aren’t here.”  The ruling Liberal Party had criticized Duterte for saying Tuesday night that Roxas was “desperate to win” but yet was “so incompetent”. “I have never seen a Filipino in quest for the presidency [who is so incompetent],” Duterte told Chinese-Filipino businessmen in Binondo, Manila, Tuesday night. He said Roxas had accomplished nothing throughout his political career and government service under the different administrations he worked for. Roxas’ spokesman Rep. Barry Gutierrez defended him from Duterte’s attacks on Wednesday morning. “Mayor Duterte excels at throwing insults. But when Mar challenged him to a debate on substantial issues, he was quick to retreat and make excuses,” Gutierrez said. “We’ll reiterate our call: Face Mar [Roxas] in a debate no matter if the mayor is only number 4 in the surveys. We won’t take it against him.” Duterte’s running mate, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, also blasted Gutierrez. “Barry Gutierrez asked a debate for his principal but his principal isn’t here,” he said. “[Duterte] showed up but his principal [Roxas] didn’t show up.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: MAMASAPANO ISSUE - Palace denies JPE claims


JANUARY 20 -Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile. Philstar.com/File 
Malacañang denied yesterday the claim of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile that President Aquino was directly involved in the Mamasapano operation last year and did not do anything to prevent the killing of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members.
Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said Aquino already told the people that he “did what must be done” as President and commander-in-chief to ensure that the lives of the “Oplan Exodus” operatives would not be put at risk. Coloma added that the President’s actions have been the subject of a number of investigations. “There have been many speeches, public statements where he (Aquino) discussed what he knew about the incident in Mamasapano and, in all instances, the government has been open and will continue to be open in providing statements and explanations, because our objective is to let the people know the whole truth about what happened in Mamasapano,” Coloma said in a press briefing. Enrile earlier claimed to have evidence that would back his allegations, saying he would present this when the investigation is reopened. “The government is ready to answer and explain once the investigation is conducted,” Coloma said. Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said the President could send a videotaped testimony if he does not want to directly answer questions by personally appearing before the Senate. He believes that if Enrile meant what he said about new evidence on Aquino’s involvement in the Mamasapano incident, then that “bombshell is going to hurt the President.” Coloma said Aquino himself admitted to not having a sense of closure on the incident as the latter looked for an alternative truth or version of the events. The alternative version was that the SAF operatives were not the ones who killed international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan – a version that was later proven to be wrong – prompting Aquino to vow for justice for the slain policemen. “That is why we are saying that in all instances, the government has been open and forthright in its position and is ready to explain at the right forum and at the right time,” Coloma said. READ MORE...

ALSO: What happened to 90 people charged in Mamasapano? - Marcos


JANUARY 21 -MARCOS, INQUIRER FILE Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wants an update on the 90 people criminally charged over the death of members of the Special Action Force in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year. “I want to find out the status of those who murdered the SAF 44. We were all very encouraged that the National Bureau of Investigation will charge up to 90 people with murder….Isang taon na eh wala pa ginagawa ang Department of Justice to bring these people to justice. It’s very disturbing,” he told reporters at a Senate forum on Thursday. He said he will ask Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate committee on public order, to invite then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who was not on the list of those who were asked to appear in the reopening of the Mamasapano investigation next week. The NBI has previously filed charges against members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and private armed groups who were involved in the deadly police operation last year. READ MORE...

ALSO: Senators seek ‘inconvenient’ truth in new SAF 44 hearing


JANUARY 22 -BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF KILLING FIELD The flat cornfields of Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province, where 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force were pinned down and killed on Jan. 25 in clashes with Moro rebels, as seen from a hovering drone. REM ZAMORA/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
Senators expect the truth, no matter how inconvenient, to come out at the reopening next week of the Senate inquiry, with President Aquino’s top security officials in attendance, into the massacre of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos on Jan. 25, 2015.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. Thursday said Malacañang would “heed the invitation and reply to all pertinent questions that may be asked at the hearing in the interest of transparency and public accountability.” Invited to the Jan. 27 hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Philippine National Police Director General Ricardo Marquez. Ochoa, chair of the presidential anticrime task force, had skipped inquiries in the Senate and House of Representatives into the tragic SAF raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, that took out international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and ended in the slaughter of the elite SAF troopers. “The full cooperation by the executive is a welcome development to afford the committee, the public and bereaved families the opportunity to be well-informed on the new matters that Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile promised to raise at the hearing,” said Sen. Grace Poe, the committee chair, in a text message Thursday. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

ROXAS ON VETO: NOY DID RIGHT IN ESCHEWING ‘POGI’ POINTS


MAR ROXAS

MANILA, JANUARY 25, 2016 (MALAYA) January 19, 2016 BY RAYMOND AFRICA AND CHRISTIAN OINEZA

LIBERAL Party standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II yesterday said President Aquino did the right thing in vetoing the proposed P2,000 pension hike even if it meant less political points for the administration ticket.

“Every decision has its pros and cons. The important thing here is the reason and I will not support something which is not right, crooked. And certainly, that is not part of ‘Daang Matuwid’ to gain political points just because there is an election, we will destroy the future of the 31 million who contribute to the SSS,” Roxas said in a chance interview in San Juan City.

Roxas said the Liberal Party would surely look good “in one or two years” if the President approved the hike for two million Social Security Systems (SSS) members but the benefits of future pensioners would be affected.

He said there are alternatives, like giving out a “one-time relief” for pensioners, letting government shoulder expenses for medicine, and free registration for pensioners in PhilHealth.

Roxas got some political boost yesterday when San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez announced her support for Roxas in the May elections even if her city is the bailiwick of the Estradas.

Gomez greeted Roxas “Halong Ka,” which in Ilonggo means “Take care, God bless, or “God speed.”

She admitted to having sleepless nights about her decision, knowing it could affect her family and San Juan.

“It came to my mind, that maybe it is now my turn to cross party lines for the betterment of San Juanenos. I have, come to a decision that to express my personal gratitude for all of these, you (Mar Roxas) will have my support this coming May elections. You will have the support of San Juanenos,” she said.

Gomez is a member of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino, which is allied with the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) that is supporting Vice President Jejomar Binay.

She said the Estrada family knows her decision and “we came to respect ones choices whomever they would choose.”

Gomez said Roxas showed genuine concern by supporting the city government’s housing projects when he was interior secretary.

She credited Roxas for the construction of St. Josephville Condominium Complex that benefitted fire victims in San Juan in 2012, and the relocation of thousands of families who were living along flood-prone areas in the city.


According to former movie producer Nathalie Palanca who contributed this item, Guia (third from left) was with her family on her special day when she turned 'diamond' (from left): Daughter-in-law Cindy, wife of San Juan Rep./Senatoriable JV Ejercito (second from right), and grand-children Emilio Julio and Emilio Jose. FROM PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

Gomez also admitted that her son, Sen. JV Ejercito, and Manila mayor Joseph Estrada were initially cold about her decision but they eventually respected it.

Asked if she would also convince Estrada to support Roxas, she said: “Subukan lang (I will try), pero (but) I cannot say anything. Sabi ko nga (As i have said), they have their own minds. Eh mas matanda po siya kaysa sa akin (He is much older than me).

Gomez also brushed aside speculations that she supported Roxas in exchange for the dropping of the cases filed against Ejercito before the Sandiganbayan.

The Ombudsman filed cases before the Sandiganbayan against JV Ejercito and 19 other city officials for the anomalous purchase of P2.1 million worth of high-powered firearms for the San Juan police when he was still mayor in 2008. The money allegedly came from the city’s calamity funds.

For his part, Roxas said he was thankful for Gomez’ support, which was not an easy decision to make.


PHILSTAR

Roxas confident of victory in May polls By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 20, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II waves to his supporters during a meeting of local officials at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City yesterday. KRIZJOHN ROSALES

MANILA, Philippines – Despite lagging in surveys, Liberal Party presidential aspirant Manuel Roxas II is confident that the administration’s daang matuwid (straight path) would emerge victorious in the end.

Speaking at a meeting of local officials in Pasay City, Roxas yesterday vowed to sustain the gains of the administration to bring a better future for the country.

“This is our fight – the fight against hunger, against fear, against hopelessness,” he said.

Roxas told Pasay City officials that he was happy that on the LP’s 70th founding anniversary, they were together renewing their commitment to that fight.

“These are what we are pushing – jobs, stability and hope,” he said. “I know that in the end, what is right, what is honest and our good relationship will prevail.”

Roxas cited the government’s P64-billion conditional cash transfer program, which provides financial aid to families to send their children to school and to avail themselves of health services.

“You can be assured that we will defend the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program),” he said.

READ MORE...

“We won’t allow it to be scrapped. We will expand it. We will increase the number of families that will benefit from it.”

Roxas also cited the government’s efforts to relocate residents in hazard-prone areas and the bottom up budgeting, which institutionalized people’s participation in the budget process.

Roxas ranked third in the latest Social Weather Stations survey on presidential aspirants behind Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe.

Roxas was preferred by 21 percent of the respondents, while Binay and Poe were chosen by 31 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ranked fourth in the survey with 20 percent, while Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago had three percent.

Officials present during the meeting included Pasay City Mayor Antonio Calixto and Rep. Emi Calixto-Rubiano.


MANILA STANDARD

Duterte: Is Roxas on drugs? posted January 21, 2016 at 12:01 am by John Paolo Bencito



DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday taunted Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II for failing to show up at a presidential forum in Manila on Wednesday, saying he was apparently “on drugs.”

No debate. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, a presidential candidate, faces students of De La Salle University in Manila on Wednesday during a scheduled presidential debate that only he attended. Danny Pata
“Let me ask him: Is he on drugs?” Duterte told reporters at the De La Salle University.

“They want a debate but they aren’t here.”

The ruling Liberal Party had criticized Duterte for saying Tuesday night that Roxas was “desperate to win” but yet was “so incompetent”.

“I have never seen a Filipino in quest for the presidency [who is so incompetent],” Duterte told Chinese-Filipino businessmen in Binondo, Manila, Tuesday night.

He said Roxas had accomplished nothing throughout his political career and government service under the different administrations he worked for.

Roxas’ spokesman Rep. Barry Gutierrez defended him from Duterte’s attacks on Wednesday morning.

“Mayor Duterte excels at throwing insults. But when Mar challenged him to a debate on substantial issues, he was quick to retreat and make excuses,” Gutierrez said.

“We’ll reiterate our call: Face Mar [Roxas] in a debate no matter if the mayor is only number 4 in the surveys. We won’t take it against him.”

Duterte’s running mate, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, also blasted Gutierrez.

“Barry Gutierrez asked a debate for his principal but his principal isn’t here,” he said.

“[Duterte] showed up but his principal [Roxas] didn’t show up.”

READ MORE...

The organizers of the presidential forum said that while two presidential tandems had earlier declined their invitation to speak due to other commitments, another presidential candidate “declined on Tuesday at 7 p.m.”

Roxas’ camp made an announcement to reporters at 12 midnight that he could not make it to his set political sortie on Nueva Ecija yesterday due to “high fever.”

The criticisms thrown by the presidential candidates against each other started when Roxas questioned Duterte’s stance against hoodlums. John Paolo Bencito

“Being a toughie has gotten to be old. Are there no criminals and illegal drugs in Davao City?” Roxas said at a media forum in Pasay City Tuesday morning.

Roxas had previously said that the supposed peaceful image of Davao City was a “myth,” and that sparked a word war between him and Duterte.

RELATED: IF DELISTED DUTERTE WILL BACK BINAY

Topics:
Mayor Duterte ,
Mar Roxas ,


PHILSTAR

Palace denies JPE claims By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 20, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang denied yesterday the claim of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile that President Aquino was directly involved in the Mamasapano operation last year and did not do anything to prevent the killing of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members.

Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said Aquino already told the people that he “did what must be done” as President and commander-in-chief to ensure that the lives of the “Oplan Exodus” operatives would not be put at risk.

Coloma added that the President’s actions have been the subject of a number of investigations.

“There have been many speeches, public statements where he (Aquino) discussed what he knew about the incident in Mamasapano and, in all instances, the government has been open and will continue to be open in providing statements and explanations, because our objective is to let the people know the whole truth about what happened in Mamasapano,” Coloma said in a press briefing.

Enrile earlier claimed to have evidence that would back his allegations, saying he would present this when the investigation is reopened.

“The government is ready to answer and explain once the investigation is conducted,” Coloma said.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said the President could send a videotaped testimony if he does not want to directly answer questions by personally appearing before the Senate.

He believes that if Enrile meant what he said about new evidence on Aquino’s involvement in the Mamasapano incident, then that “bombshell is going to hurt the President.”

Coloma said Aquino himself admitted to not having a sense of closure on the incident as the latter looked for an alternative truth or version of the events.

The alternative version was that the SAF operatives were not the ones who killed international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan – a version that was later proven to be wrong – prompting Aquino to vow for justice for the slain policemen.

“That is why we are saying that in all instances, the government has been open and forthright in its position and is ready to explain at the right forum and at the right time,” Coloma said.

READ MORE...

Aquino maintained he was fed the wrong information by those in charge of the operation, particularly by then suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and relieved SAF commander Getulio Napeñas.

He claimed the two officers disobeyed his orders on coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and lied to him about the developments on the ground.

Aquino said he would never allow those in the uniformed services to embark on a suicide mission, but the version of the plan presented to him convinced him that adequate preparations were made and that it would be executed correctly.

Almost a year after the incident, the government is still looking for witnesses who could help identify the people who killed the nine members of the 84th Special Action Company (SAC).

A source said no one from Barangay Pidsandawan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao wants to give any testimony to government investigators due to fear of retaliation.

He explained that prosecutors could not file any charges against other members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups who might have been involved in the killing of the nine SAF members.

The Department of Justice earlier declared it was set to resolve the complex charges of direct assault with murder against 90 commanders and members of the MILF, BIFF and private armed groups tagged in the killing of 35 members of the 55th SAC in Barangay Tukanalipao.

Assistance released

Amid reports of complaints by some relatives of the 44 slain SAF commandos that they have not received benefits, the Philippine National Police (PNP) urged the families to coordinate with police officials to process their claims.

As of Jan. 16, the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management said more than P70.58 million has been released to the beneficiaries.


PHOTO: Families and relatives mourn during the necrological rites for the 44 SAF victims of the Mamasapano massacre. JOAN BONDOC/INQUIRER The families of the men killed in the Mamasapano clash with Moro rebels in Maguindanao province have so far received at least P24.5 million in total benefits from the government, but they got varying amounts, depending on the slain policemen’s seniority, years in service, and contribution to the Public Safety Mutual Benefits Fund Inc. (PSMBFI). Lifetime pension The biggest amount went to the family of Senior Insp. Ryan Pabalinas, at P764,824.07, followed by Senior Insp. John Garry Erana, whose family received P753,525.90. The commissioned officers’ benefits totaled more than P700,000, while 13 of the 44 SAF troopers each got at least P541,770. From the PNP, the families will receive the monetary equivalent of the policemen’s accumulated leave on Feb. 25, and their lifetime monthly pension starting March 16. Again, depending on the SAF troopers’ ranks, the pension from the PNP ranges from P15,000 to P25,000 a month. “These benefits will be given as due to the families (of the slain SAF men), aside from the help that other government agencies have promised,” PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. said, adding that the benefits were released almost a month after the Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash. Meanwhile, the 15 SAF commandos wounded in action have received a total of P1.19 million in assistance so far from the President’s Social Fund and the PSMBFI. INQUIRER NEWS 03:40 AM February 22nd, 2015 (Benefits pouring in for SAF heroes’ families)

Its head, Sr. Supt. Emmanuel Abu, said P7.68 million was released in the form of Special Financial Assistance, P9.62 million in commutation of accumulated leave, P1.14 million for back earned pension and P526,801 monthly pension.

The National Police Commission (Napolcom) also released P14,467,155 for burial and gratuity; P490,193 for monthly pension to married SAF commandos and P1,108,448 in back earned pension.

At least P11 million was released by the Office of the President, aside from the additional P250,000 it gave to the family of each slain commando and the P24.5 million donated by the Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund Inc. (PSMBFI).

Aside from the monetary award, the slain Sr. Insp. Gednat Tabdi and Police Officer 2 Romeo Cempron were recommended for the Medal of Valor (Medalya ng Kagitingan).

Tabdi was leader of the assault team of the 84th SAC during Oplan Exodus in Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano. He was also the one who cut Marwan’s index finger to prove mission accomplishment.

Cempron, on the other hand, serve as lead gunner of the blocking force of the 55th SAC that assisted the assault team. Before his death, he helped to save PO2 Christopher Lalan, the lone survivor of the 36-member SAC team.

Abu said a Medal of Valor awardee is entitled to a lifetime monthly gratuity of P20,000 separate from any other benefits or pension.

He said all the SAF 44 members were posthumously promoted, with 42 of them given Medalya ng Kabayanihan (PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal).

For the 30 survivors, Abu said 29 were granted special promotion and given the Medalya ng Kabayanihan. However, only 25 availed themselves of the promotion as the four opted for regular promotion.

Supt. Raymund Train was granted the Medalya ng Kabayanihan while 15 wounded commandos were conferred the Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting (PNP Wounded Personnel Medal).

On educational assistance, Abu said 46 dependent children were given scholarship grants for kindergarten with P10,000 for this school year and for college with P30,000 per semester.

Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez urged Malacañang to fulfill the promise of assistance to the families of the SAF 44 after two widows complained of not yet receiving benefits from government.

Reports said Merlyn Gamutan, wife of Insp. Joey Gamutan, and Virgie Viernes, wife of PO1 Oliebeth Viernes, were among those who have yet to receive assistance from the government.

“The Aquino administration should answer the complaints on the undelivered aid by accounting for the supposed P80-million cash extended to the victims’ loved ones, scholarship program and other things,” Romualdez said. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Paolo Romero, Christina Mendez, Ghio Ong


INQUIRER

Marcos: What happened to 90 people charged in Mamasapano? By: Frances Mangosing
@FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net  07:20 PM January 21st, 2016


MARCOS, INQUIRER FILE

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wants an update on the 90 people criminally charged over the death of members of the Special Action Force in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year.

“I want to find out the status of those who murdered the SAF 44. We were all very encouraged that the National Bureau of Investigation will charge up to 90 people with murder….Isang taon na eh wala pa ginagawa ang Department of Justice to bring these people to justice. It’s very disturbing,” he told reporters at a Senate forum on Thursday.

He said he will ask Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate committee on public order, to invite then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who was not on the list of those who were asked to appear in the reopening of the Mamasapano investigation next week.

The NBI has previously filed charges against members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and private armed groups who were involved in the deadly police operation last year.

READ MORE...

The new probe was requested by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who was then detained at the time of the investigation.

“I think he has questions dahil sa pagbabasa ng transcript ng investigation report. Nakita niya na may mga dapat itanong…Para sa kanya may blanks pa and he wants to fill in those blanks ganung impression. An additional info is always a good thing,” Marcos said.

Enrile earlier warned that he has evidence that would prove Aquino’s direct involvement in the high-risk Mamasapano operation, which killed 44 police commandos.

Asked if Marcos thinks Enrile is politicking, he said he is just doing his job.

“I really think he just wants to perform his function as a senator and ask questions that he feels the need to be asked, why we ended up with 44 dead policemen? What were the circumstances that allowed that to happen?” he said.


INQUIRER

Senators seek ‘inconvenient’ truth in new SAF 44 hearing By: Christine O. Avendaño
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:29 AM January 22nd, 2016


BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF KILLING FIELD The flat cornfields of Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province, where 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force were pinned down and killed on Jan. 25 in clashes with Moro rebels, as seen from a hovering drone. REM ZAMORA/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Senators expect the truth, no matter how inconvenient, to come out at the reopening next week of the Senate inquiry, with President Aquino’s top security officials in attendance, into the massacre of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos on Jan. 25, 2015.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. Thursday said Malacañang would “heed the invitation and reply to all pertinent questions that may be asked at the hearing in the interest of transparency and public accountability.”

Invited to the Jan. 27 hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Philippine National Police Director General Ricardo Marquez.

Ochoa, chair of the presidential anticrime task force, had skipped inquiries in the Senate and House of Representatives into the tragic SAF raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, that took out international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and ended in the slaughter of the elite SAF troopers.

“The full cooperation by the executive is a welcome development to afford the committee, the public and bereaved families the opportunity to be well-informed on the new matters that Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile promised to raise at the hearing,” said Sen. Grace Poe, the committee chair, in a text message Thursday.

READ MORE...

Poe said she hopes that with the attendance of the administration officials “there will be a full discussion by all concerned and the committee would be able to completely cover said new matters on the 27th.”

“We all want the same thing, the truth, however painful or inconvenient it may be,” said Sen. Francis Escudero.

Following hearings into the massacre, Poe announced in March last year that her committee had completed its report, which had been signed by 20 senators. The report said that Mr. Aquino was politically responsible for the operation, according to Poe. However, the panel report had not been released to the public or discussed in the plenary. Only a summary of the report was released to reporters.

In calling for the reopening of the inquiry, Enrile said he had evidence to show that President Aquino knew about the Mamasapano operation.

Enrile said Mr. Aquino was on an unannounced visit at nearby Zamboanga City and was monitoring the raid in the area controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). He said the President did nothing to stop the slaughter of the commandos at the hands of guerrillas of the MILF and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

In a TV interview Thursday, Sen. Serge Osmeña III said he agreed with the reopening of the Mamasapano inquiry, “otherwise people will say we have something to hide.”

Enrile “is not so irresponsible to ask for a reopening and nothing happens,” Osmeña said. “He said he has evidence and he will present it.”

For Sen. Vicente Sotto III, the Palace cooperation on the new inquiry was a “good sign.”

“It sends a good message of cooperation from the executive department that they are willing to help to finally complete the inquiry,” Sotto said in a text message.

On calls for Poe, a presidential aspirant, to inhibit herself from the hearing for political reasons, Sotto said Poe should participate since she was the committee chair and he believed in her fairness. With a report from Jerry E. Esplanada


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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