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LACIERDA, COLOMA REJECT ENRILE's MAMASAPANO DEBATE CHALLENGE
[Malacañang, however, has argued that President Aquino did everything to save the policemen and instead blamed former SAF chief Getulio Napeñas for the blunders in the operation. Palace officials said the recent reopening of the Mamasapano inquiry also showed Napeñas’ lack of situational awareness as well as failure to coordinate with the military that only placed the lives of the troopers at risk.]


FEBRUARY 1 -A healthy-looking Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile ask questions during the reopening of the Mamasapano Incident Investigation. MB PHOTO / KEVIN DELA CRUZ (File) Malacañang has turned down the challenge of Senator Juan Pone Enrile to debate President Aquino about the bungled Mamasapano operation, saying all questions raised by senators have been addressed in past hearings. Instead, the Palace has preferred the public to move on and focus on efforts to continue the country’s resurgence. “All that were needed to be asked by the senators have been asked. All that were needed to be answered by the resource persons have been responded to,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. “Perhaps, the results of the Senate reopening of the Mamasapano should speak for itself,” he added. Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. also believes there was no need for a public debate between Aquino and Enrile over the Mamasapano incident, insisting that senator had his chance to present his arguments at the reopening of the Senate probe last week. “Senator Enrile has had the opportunity to present his case,” Coloma said. “It is best that our people focus their energies instead on how to sustain the momentum of our reform and transformation efforts that have gained the respect and admiration of the global community,” Coloma added. READ MORE...RELATED, Enrile dares Noy to debate on Mamasapano...

ALSO: SPEAKING OVER DzBB radio - Sinong Tanda? Enrile challenges PNoy, allies to Mamasapano public debate
["Dito sa bagay na ito, walang kaibigan, walang kalaban, bayan ang nasasangkot, hindi kapakanan ko, hindi kapakanan mo, hindi kung sinu-sino dyan, ang Bayan ang natataya dito. Kung tanga ang mga namumuno sa atin, sino ang magdudusa? Hindi sila, ang taumbayan,” Enrile said. Enrile said he is ready to defend Napenas and sought justice for the slain 44 SAF commandos after his term ends on June 30. “Antayin nyo na lang, pagdating ng panahon; ginagamit nila ang pera ng bayan upang patahimikin ang dapat tumahimik,” he said.]


FEBRUARY 1 -POSTED Politiko juan ponce enrile -Photo courtesy of GMA news network
Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile challenged President Aquino and his allies on Sunday to a public debate on the details of the Mamasapano encounter that left 44 police commandos “slaughtered” by rebels during a covert police operations against foreign terrorists in Maguindanao on Jan. 25 last year. Speaking over DzBB radio, Enrile parried reports that he was unable to prove anything against Aquino during the re-opening of the hearing at the Senate last Jan. 27. On the contrary, the 91-year old senator said he was able to establish that Mr. Aquino “compartmented” Operation Plan: Exodus, which was formulated to neutralize Indonesian terrorist, Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, Basit Usman and a third target. Only Marwan was neutralized during the controversial Jan. 25, 2015 operations. Usman was later killed in a military operations. The third target remained unaccounted for by authorities. “Again, I say to all of you listening now, whoever you may be, even if you’re the President of the Philippines, down to the lowest strata of society, all of you, if you wish to debate the Mamasapano case, just tell me when, and I’ll debate with you – especially if you’re the President,” Enrile said in Filipino. “Lalampasuhin nya ako, o lalamapasuhin ko siya,” said Enrile, who was dubbed as “Tanda” at the height of the pork barrel controversy.Enrile also shielded former Special Action Force (SAF) commander Gen. Getulio Napenas from allegations that it was his “inefficiency” that led to the bloody encounter.Enrile also called President Aquino “tanga” or stupid for refusing to own up to accountability and even continuously defending his good friend, ex-PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima over the botched operations.“Dito sa bagay na ito, walang kaibigan, walang kalaban bayan ang nasasangkot, hindi kapakanan ko, hindi kapakanan mo, hindi kung sinu-sino dyan, ang Bayan ang natataya dito. Kung tanga ang mga namumuno sa atin, sino ang magdudusa? Hindi sila, ang taumbayan,” Enrile said. Enrile said he is ready to defend Napenas and sought justice for the slain 44 SAF commandos after his term ends on June 30. “Antayin nyo na lang, pagdating ng panahon; ginagamit nila ang pera ng bayan upang patahimikin ang dapat tumahimik,” he said.FULL REPORT FROM POLITICS.COM.PH, RELATED
Palace: No Noy only Cabinet men in probe...AND Mamasapano Massacre probe: Purisima moves to exculpate Aquino but Enrile unconvinced...

ALSO: House minority report on Mamasapano finds Aquino liable for SAF men massacre


FEBRUARY 2 -THE three-member independent bloc in the House of Representatives found President Benigno Aquino III liable for issuing a stand down order in the Mamasapano operation. INQUIRER FILE
This was the finding of the independent minority report on the Jan. 25, 2015 botched anti-terror raid that resulted in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) police officers after a firefight with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other armed groups. In a press conference, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez led the disclosure of the report, with the House majority yet to release its report on the congressional investigation last year.
Romualdez said because Aquino did not issue any order to help the beleaguered elite police officers when they were being pinned down by Moro rebels in the cornfields of Mamasapano, Maguindanao, Aquino effectively handed a stand-down order.The bloc based its report on the findings of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry as well as the Senate report that found Aquino ultimately responsible for violating the police chain of command.According to the report, Aquino’s actions showed that he issued a stand-down order in the deployment of artillery support to the SAF commandos.“Although unspoken, it is clear from the actuations of the President, the members of the Cabinet security cluster, the senior AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP officials including officers on the ground and the OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) and the government peace panel, among others, that there was a ‘stand-down’ order at the height of the firefight and eventually an elaborate effort to cover up the monumental blunders committed,” the report said.The report cited the testimony of Major Gen. Edmund Pangilinan, who supposedly ordered to withhold the artillery fire because of the peace process with the MILF, even though 1st Mechanized Brigade Commanding Officer Colonel Gener Del Rosario had earlier sought for artillery support.“(The) move… was totally out of line and inexplicable at that juncture. That was indeed unforgivable and even more so given the belated finding that a ‘stand-down’ order was actually handed down presumably through the OPAPP…” the report said.The report said Aquino was in Zamboanga city at the time of the Mamasapano incident, but he did not call a meeting with his top commanders and security officials to help the elite cops. READ MORE...

ALSO: CRIMINAL RAPS FILED, Purisima insists Mamasapano operation not his idea


FEBRUARY 7 -Resigned Philippine National Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima attends the Upper House probe on the incident on Jan. 25, 2015 wherein 44 elite police commandos known as SAF (Special Action Force) were killed in a clash with Muslim guerrillas. Senate PRIB/Romy Bugante/Released
Former Philippine National Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima insisted he did not formulate the plan behind Oplan Exodus, the Special Action Force operation that led to the killing of the police troopers in January last year. In a position paper sent Saturday to Philstar.com, Marius Corpus, Purisima's legal counsel, said there was no basis for the criminal charges filed on Friday with the Office of the Ombudsman against the police chief. Purisima was accused by an anti-corruption advocacy group of being involved in the planning and execution of the operation after he was preventively suspended from office. Purisima's camp said, however, that it was SAF commander Getulio Napeñas who "controlled and supervised" the operation on Jan. 25, 2015. It also insisted that the mission was conceptualized and planned by the SAF on Dec. 18, 2014 in a meeting which Purisima did not attend. "Since he had already delegated his authority as PNP Chief to P/Dir. Napeñas, and because he was then under preventive suspension, PDG Purisima never substituted his judgment for that of P/Dir. Napenas, and he never amended or modified any aspect of Oplan Exodus," Purisima's camp said. Oplan Exodus, led by then SAF commander Napeñas, aimed to serve warrants of arrest to terrorist suspects Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Even as Marwan was shot dead in the operation, 44 elite police commandos fell in an encounter with rebels belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other armed groups. READ MORE...

ALSO: SENATE SUBPANEL REPORT - 'Strong indications' of graft for Abaya, DOTC officials over MRT woes


FEBRUARY 3 -The Senate subcommittee on public services found "strong indications" of graft among Department of Transportation and Communications officials led by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who are directly involved in the operation of the Metro Rail Transit.
In its 45-page report, the subcommittee led by Senator Grace Poe cited several provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which the DOTC officials could be held liable for. It mentioned causing undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference through partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. "In the course of the inquiry with regard to malfunction problem of the MRT 3, the subcommittee observed the badges of negligence and inactions of the DOTC officials led by Abaya indicating insensitiveness, callous indifference, and acts disadvantageous to commuters, the Filipino public, and the government," it said. It said the subcommittee report should be submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Justice, and the Civil Service Commission for appropriate actions and must be considered as initial leads "as there are strong indications of violations of Republic Act 3019." READ MORE...

ALSO: FROM Pilipino Star: Abaya magbigti ka na! - Osmeña


FEBRUARY 6 -Ayon kay Sen. Serge Osmeña, chairman ng Senate Committee on Public Services, mala­king kahihiyan sa panig ni Abaya ang mga na­ging kapabayaan at kapalpa­kan nito sa pagtugon sa mga problema sa MRT. Senate PRIB/File photo
Dapat umanong magbigti na lamang o ibitin ni Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Jun Abaya ang kanyang sarili dahil sa kahihiyan.
Ayon kay Sen. Serge Osmeña, chairman ng Senate Committee on Public Services, mala­king kahihiyan sa panig ni Abaya ang mga naging kapabayaan at kapalpakan nito sa pagtugon sa mga problema sa MRT. Kasabay nito, ipinagtanggol ni Osmeña ang draft report ng public services subcommittee na nagrerekomendang kasuhan ng graft si Abaya at iba pang opisyal ng DOTC. Pinanindigan ni Osmena na makatotohanan ang detalye na nakaloob sa subcommittee report lalo na ang mga paghihirap at miserableng kondisyon ng mga sumasakay sa MRT. Wala din aniyang kwestiyon pagdating sa gross mismanagement ng DOTC at sa ulat na nakapanlulumo ang kondisyon ng MRT sa ating bansa. Sinabi naman ni Sen. Grace Poe na dapat ma­nagot si Abaya si kanyang mga naging kapabayaan at kabiguang hawakan ng maayos ang mga isyu ng MRT. Una rito sinabi ni Abaya na hindi siya natitinag sa rekomendasyong kasuhan siya ng graft pero nababahala daw siya dahil mas pinagtiwalaan umano ni Poe si MRT Holdings Inc. Chairman Robert Sobrepeña na maraming mga di natupad na mga obligasyon sa mga pinasok nitong negosyo.FULL REPORT FROM PILIPINO STAR NGAYON.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Palace turns down JPE’s debate challenge


A healthy-looking Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile ask questions during the reopening of the Mamasapano Incident Investigation. MB PHOTO / KEVIN DELA CRUZ (File)

MANILA, FEBRUARY 8, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Genalyn Kabiling February 1, 2016 - Malacañang has turned down the challenge of Senator Juan Pone Enrile to debate President Aquino about the bungled Mamasapano operation, saying all questions raised by senators have been addressed in past hearings.

Instead, the Palace has preferred the public to move on and focus on efforts to continue the country’s resurgence.

“All that were needed to be asked by the senators have been asked. All that were needed to be answered by the resource persons have been responded to,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

“Perhaps, the results of the Senate reopening of the Mamasapano should speak for itself,” he added.


 

Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. also believes there was no need for a public debate between Aquino and Enrile over the Mamasapano incident, insisting that senator had his chance to present his arguments at the reopening of the Senate probe last week.

“Senator Enrile has had the opportunity to present his case,” Coloma said.

“It is best that our people focus their energies instead on how to sustain the momentum of our reform and transformation efforts that have gained the respect and admiration of the global community,” Coloma added.

READ MORE...

Last weekend, Enrile challenged the President to a public debate on the Mamasapano operation that left 44 Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troopers dead. The senator said he intends to bring the Mamasapano issue to the people and make Aquino accountable for the tragedy.

In the reopening of the Senate probe on the Mamasapano incident, Enrile accused Aquino for failing to do any decisive action that could have save the policemen from danger. He claimed that Aquino compartmented the operations that make him liable for the lapses in the anti-terror raid.

Malacañang, however, has argued that President Aquino did everything to save the policemen and instead blamed former SAF chief Getulio Napeñas for the blunders in the operation.

Palace officials said the recent reopening of the Mamasapano inquiry also showed Napeñas’ lack of situational awareness as well as failure to coordinate with the military that only placed the lives of the troopers at risk.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Enrile dares Noy to debate on Mamasapano By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 1, 2016 - 12:00am 2 282 googleplus0 0


If the President won’t man up to the challenge, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile said his alter-egos, like presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Undersecretary Abigail Valte and Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III, can substitute for him. File photo/Robert Vinas/Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile challenged President Aquino and his allies yesterday to a public debate on the Mamasapano incident as he accused the Chief Executive of consenting to Operation Plan: Exodus that led to the deaths of 44 police Special Action Force commandos in Maguindanao on Jan. 25 last year.

“Again, I say to all of you listening now, whoever you may be, even if you’re the president of the Philippines, down to the lowest strata of society, all of you, if you wish to debate the Mamasapano case, just tell me when, and I’ll debate with you – especially if you’re the President,” Enrile said in Filipino.

If the President won’t man up to the challenge, Enrile said his alter-egos, like presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Undersecretary Abigail Valte and Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III, can substitute for him.

Enrile made the challenge as Aquino and his men belittled his grilling last Jan. 27, where every Cabinet official, police and military general present disputed his claims.

“All of what they’re saying are blind excuses. People understand what really happened, they can no longer fool the people, period,” Enrile said.

Disputing criticisms that he merely retold the incidents during the reopening of inquiry, Enrile maintained he has laid down the predicate in possible criminal charges that might be filed against the President when he steps down in June.

He also refuted the findings of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Sen. Grace Poe that Aquino was “ultimately responsible” for the incident.

“Those are conclusions. Why do you say that, what is the basis? Please ask Grace Poe, what was your basis when you made the President responsible? What are the facts? My God, in criminal law, you deal with facts not conclusions. If they don’t know that, I am sorry for her and for this country,” Enrile stressed.


Enrile said the presence of the President is not necessary to prove that there was a “failure of leadership” during the Mamasapano operation last January 25, 2015 that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) men and several other civilians dead. “Nasa kanya yun, hindi ko sya pipilitin pero huwag syang magsasabi na meron akong hinanakit sa kanya o kaya pulitika ito,” the senator said when told in an interview over Radyo Inquirer that Aquino might not appear in the hearing. (It’s up to him, I won’t insist that he must attend but he must not say that I have any grudge against him or this is just politics.) HEADLINE --Enrile refutes Aquino claim: ‘I have no grudge against him’ INQUIRER.net 09:08 AM January 12th, 2016

He reiterated that Aquino “compartmented” the covert operations, thus making him accountable for his “inactions” that led to the “slaughter” of the so-called SAF 44.

“He is the sole approving authority. He is at the top, his orders go down to (then police chief Alan) Purisima and Purisima throws these to the field. Those at the field will throw it back to Purisima and back to Aquino,” Enrile explained in Filipino.

As the “supreme commander of the nation,” Aquino should have ordered his men to rescue the SAF troopers, the senator said.

“My God, what kind of commander is that? If this is a war, the country will be in trouble because of that man,” he said, describing the President as “tanga” (stupid) for “compartmenting” the covert operations.

All the blame, he added, should be put on the President and Purisima for allowing an “inefficient” (ground commander Getulio) Napeñas to lead the implementation of Oplan Exodus, which was hatched to neutralize international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, Basit Usman and a third target.

Only Marwan was neutralized during the controversial operation, while Usman was later killed in another encounter.

Enrile said he is ready to help Napeñas, who is being used as a “sacrificial lamb for the inefficiencies of President Aquino and former police chief Director General Alan Purisima,” who was forced to resign because of the controversy amid corruption charges.


POLITICS.COM.PH

Sinong Tanda? Enrile challenges PNoy, allies to public debate over Mamasapano debacle


POSTED Politiko juan ponce enrile -Photo courtesy of GMA news network

Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile challenged President Aquino and his allies on Sunday to a public debate on the details of the Mamasapano encounter that left 44 police commandos “slaughtered” by rebels during a covert police operations against foreign terrorists in Maguindanao on Jan. 25 last year.

Speaking over DzBB radio, Enrile parried reports that he was unable to prove anything against Aquino during the re-opening of the hearing at the Senate last Jan. 27.

On the contrary, the 91-year old senator said he was able to establish that Mr. Aquino “compartmented” Operation Plan: Exodus, which was formulated to neutralize Indonesian terrorist, Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, Basit Usman and a third target.

Only Marwan was neutralized during the controversial Jan. 25, 2015 operations. Usman was later killed in a military operations. The third target remained unaccounted for by authorities.

“Again, I say to all of you listening now, whoever you may be, even if you’re the President of the Philippines, down to the lowest strata of society, all of you, if you wish to debate the Mamasapano case, just tell me when, and I’ll debate with you – especially if you’re the President,” Enrile said in Filipino.

“Lalampasuhin nya ako, o lalamapasuhin ko siya,” said Enrile, who was dubbed as “Tanda” at the height of the pork barrel controversy.

Enrile also shielded former Special Action Force (SAF) commander Gen. Getulio Napenas from allegations that it was his “inefficiency” that led to the bloody encounter.

Enrile also called President Aquino “tanga” or stupid for refusing to own up to accountability and even continuously defending his good friend, ex-PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima over the botched operations.

“Dito sa bagay na ito, walang kaibigan, walang kalaban bayan ang nasasangkot, hindi kapakanan ko, hindi kapakanan mo, hindi kung sinu-sino dyan, ang Bayan ang natataya dito. Kung tanga ang mga namumuno sa atin, sino ang magdudusa? Hindi sila, ang taumbayan,” Enrile said.

Enrile said he is ready to defend Napenas and sought justice for the slain 44 SAF commandos after his term ends on June 30. “Antayin nyo na lang, pagdating ng panahon; ginagamit nila ang pera ng bayan upang patahimikin ang dapat tumahimik,” he said.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE (Jan 13, 2016)

Palace: No Noy only Cabinet men in probe Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 13 January 2016 00:00 By Joshua L. Labonera and Angie M. Rosales



The Palace ruled out the presence of President Aquino during the Senate’s restart of the Mamasapano probe but indicated that it would not bar members of the Cabinet from the Jan. 25 proceedings sought by Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr cited Aquino’s earlier statements explaining his side on the issue as an excuse for him not to be present at the resumption of the inquiry despite Enrile saying that a key subject in the reopened probe will be the President’s role and how his administration functioned during the crucial period of the incident that resulted in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

Malacañang, however, would not bar any members of the Cabinet from attending the Mamasapano probe, although there was an indication of the Palace’s use of the executive privilege and executive sessions.

Coloma insisted that investigations conducted on the Mamasapano incident, including that from the PNP Board of Inquiry, House of Representatives, Senate, Ombudsman, Commission on Human Rights, Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI), already obtained information on Aquino’s role in the botched police operations although none of the reports mentioned a direct testimony from Aquino.

The extent of Aquino’s role will be the subject of most of the new questions that Enrile wanted to pursue in the probe.
“I want to know what his participation in the whole project was. Whose project was this? Was it solely a Philippine project or was it a project induced by other interest. I want to know all of these,” Enrile said.

He dismissed the Palace’s allegation that the move to revisit the incident has a political undertone.

“I’ve been telling you, I’m no longer a politician. I’m only serving the country. I am not an errand boy of anybody,” Enrile told reporters through phone-patch.

The senator refused to provide any hints on the issues he will raise in the hearing, including those concerning then interior secretary and now presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas.

”When the lives of 44 men, soldiers of the Republic die in battle, how come there is no news coming from the Palace or any segment of government when in fact even the travel of the President to Baguio in a sports car becomes a news,” he added.


Grudge vs administration “I think in all of these, we can see that politics is a major thing. Let us not forget the proponent of this [new investigation]. Perhaps, we will understand, most likely he has a grudge against my administration,”  Mr. Aquino told reporters. READ: Aquino wants SC ruling on Enrile bail studied The President did not name Enrile, but it was the Senate minority leader who proposed a new probe, which was approved earlier this week. Enrile, one of the founders of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), whose presidential candidate in May’s general elections is Vice President Jejomar Binay, is under trial for graft and plunder for his alleged role in the P10-billion pork barrel scam. INQUIRER 04:09 AM January 9th, 2016.

Enrile, a national defense minister during the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos, was in detention for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam when the Senate held hearings on the Mamasapano incident early last year.

In August last year, the Supreme Court granted Enrile’s request for bail.

Enrile has asked Senator Grace Poe’s committee on public order to invite the following government officials: Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, former Interior Secretary and now presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, resigned Police Chief Alan Purisima, former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang, and former Special Action Force (SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas.

“I hope you understand my position. I’m not trying anybody in public. I’m going to ask them questions. It doesn’t matter if he is a candidate. I’m not going to deal with his candidacy. I’m going to ask about performance of duty while you are in office. I have no interest on politics nor if he will win, (which to me will be) well and good. I will not delve into that,” he said.

Enrile sought to clarify his reported statements in having the President appear in the hearing or future hearings, saying that he does not intend to move for the issuance of an invitation to the Chief Executive even if the issues would revolve against his role in the Mamasapano operation.

“I’m going to ask pointed questions. He is the head of state, head of government, the Chief Executive, the Commander in Chief and top policeman of the country. He has five powers that he could use for any contingency,” Enrile said.

“It is up to him. I will not dictate on the President. I am ready to dance according to what the President would want to dance in this hearing. I have no political motive. I am not a candidate. I’m not campaigning for anybody,” he stressed.

“If they are not hiding anything, why should they hesitate on the investigation?

I’m not going to be personal about it,” Enrile added.

Enrile also rebuked Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano for demanding the inhibition of the chair of the committee on public order, Sen. Grace Poe in presiding the hearing to free the proceedings from any partisan politics. Poe is running for president.

Cayetano urged other senators who are in the running for 2016 polls to also inhibit as he intends to do, being a vice presidential candidate himself.

“That’s insane. There would be no grandstanding nor will we have have any foul motives. If they find any then show it. I will challenge them to answer the questions,” he said.

“Why should anybody inhibit? It is the job of the senators. Are they saying that because they are running for public office that they cannot be trusted anymore? They cannot perform their work impartially? You are not worthy of the trust of the people if you are like that,” Enrile said.

The senator, in reiterating the need for a new round of hearings, said “I’m going to search for answers to questions that I will present and I expect, if they know the answers, then they can answer it easily. Now if they do know the answers then why?”

Palace insists questions answered

“We would like to remind everyone that the President and the government have made several pronouncements regarding the issue and have been open and transparent and never covered up any information,” Coloma said.

“The President has repeatedly discussed this issue in many of his public appearances last year... What we are saying is that there are formal processes mandated by law… the President has initiated a response to any question or clarification,” he added.


COLOMA

Coloma was reacting also on a statement by Enrile which noted that the Senate, this time, would delve into Aquino’s participation in the operations, as some critics believe that the President’s role was sidestepped in the initial probes on the Mamasapano probe despite pointing to Aquino as “ultimately responsible” for the carnage.

The Palace wants advance information on the questions that may be posed for Cabinet members once the hearings on the case resume.

“If they have prepared questions, the executive is ready to answer them even before the resumption of the Senate hearing on January 25,” Coloma said. “We just hope that the time of our lawmakers and government officials would be spent justly instead of wasting it in politics.”

Earlier, Aquino alleged that Enrile was politically motivated in pushing for the resumption of the probe, swinging against other 2016 bets, who are likewise senators, for backing the senior lawmaker’s stance that he noted as driven by the campaign season.

A member of the House of Representatives, however, dared Aquino to attend the Senate probe saying the president’s presence and testimony could hold the key to resolving lingering questions on the controversial bloodbath.

“Senator Enrile has already announced that President Aquino will be invited in the January 25 hearing. We believe that Aquino should attend. It’s time for the president to face the music,” Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon said.


RIDON

“The president should no longer rely on his subordinates to answer questions concerning his actual role in the whole operation. If Aquino is sincere in his call for the truth, he should attend the Senate hearing,” he added.

The lawmaker noted that while certain details of the botched operation have been disclosed in separate investigations, including that of the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry (PNP-BI) and inquiries called by both chambers of Congress, the extent of Aquino’s role in the Mamasapano operation has yet to be fully revealed.

“No one should be spared from the investigation – not even the president. Aquino should testify in the Senate, once and for all.”
Ridon also noted that despite the release of reports from both the BOI and the Department of Justice, not a single charge has been filed against high government officials involved in the bloodbath.

“Aquino and his cohorts should be held accountable for the deaths in Mamasapano. The Senate should do everything in its power to ensure that,” Ridon added.
Charlie V. Manalo

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RELATED FROM THE BUSINESS MIRROR

Mamasapano Massacre probe: Purisima moves to exculpate Aquino but Enrile unconvinced FeaturesSpecial ReportNewsTop Newsby Butch Fernandez - January 27, 2016 0 146


In Photo: Former Philippine Police Officer in Charge PDDG. Leonardo A. Espina (Ret.) (right) answers questions from Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile (not in photo) during the continuation of the investigation on the Mamasapano encounter on January 25, 2015. On the left is Philippine National Police Chief PDG. Ricardo Marquez.By Butch Fernandez

DISMISSED National Police chief Alan Purisima, under grilling by senators, on Wednesday sought to exculpate President Aquino from any liability for the slaughter of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos by Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last year, even as Aquino already assumed “ultimate responsibility” for the massacre of SAF troopers by Moro rebels last year.

Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile pointed out that Purisima himself admitted before senators that he cleared the police personnel deployment for Oplan Exodus, which bagged international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias
Marwan, at his hideout in Maguindanao, only to be ambushed by Moro rebels and other gunmen as they were extricating from the area after completing their mission.

“If the President was not involved here, why did you ask his approval?” Enrile asked Purisima, noting that he even included the date of the mission for Aquino’s “consideration and approval.”


Dismissed PNP chief Alan Purisima (left) and former acting PNP chief Leonardo Espina arrive at the Senate's reopening of the Mamasapano probe. INQUIRER PHOTO FILE

Purisima, in response, claimed he merely “forwarded that [SAF’s Oplan Exodus] for his information,” referring to Aquino. Pro-administration senators also asserted there was no point for Aquino, who flew to Zamboanga as the fighting was ongoing, to be alarmed at that time because of the information being fed to him by his men in touch with the SAF commandos on the ground in Mamasapano.

But Enrile, who moved to reopen the Mamasapano Massacre inquiry of the Committee on Public Order chaired by Sen. Grace Poe, confronted Purisima on testimonies indicating that the President “compartmented” information on SAF operation, in effect limiting certain details to certain people.

Even as the President had earlier assumed “ultimate responsibility” for the fatal mission, Purisima insisted that his and Aquino’s role in the fatal execution of Oplan Exodus was “limited to advisory” capacity. Purisima even recalled that when he went to brief the President at his residence in Bahay Pangarap about the mission, Aquino “was telling me about a new music system that he has [just acquired].”

Under questioning by Sen. Juan E. Angara, former Armed Forces chief of staff Gregorio Pio Catapang also sought to clear Aquino, saying the President did not prevent the Armed Forces from rescuing the SAF troopers ambushed by Moro rebels and gunmen.


ACEOFF: Senator Juan Ponce Enrile (right) questions the priority of retired AFP chief Gregorio Pio Catapang during the reopening of the Senate’s Mamasapano probe.  Senator Juan Ponce Enrile called out retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang for failing to order his men to send reinforcement to the “poor and beleaguered” Special Action Force (SAF) troopers being pinned down in a cornfield during the deadly Mamasapano clash a year ago. INQUIRER FILE JANUARY 27, 2016 PHOTO YOUTUBE SCREENGRAB

Asked by Angara if Aquino gave an order for the military to stand down because of ongoing peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Catapang replied: “I did not receive an order to stand down.”

Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin and then-Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who were present at the hearing, also testified they were not aware of any stand-down order from the Commander in Chief.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, likewise, came to Aquino’s defense, saying that it was SAF commander Getulio Napeñas, not Aquino, who should be held liable for compartmentalizing information about the SAF mission. Drilon also sought to elicit confirmation from Purisima that it was Napeñas who compartmented information, in a bid to pin the blame on Napeñas to spare Aquino.

For his part, Enrile said he got the “sense of frustration” of Aquino, as Oplan Exodus began to unravel early morning of January 25, 2015, as the SAF commandos exfiltrating from the area after completing their mission were pinned down by MILF, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other gunmen in Barangay Tucanalipao, Mamasapano.

Asked by Enrile why he did not send air assets to support the SAF commandos encircled by Moro rebels, Catapang said he ordered immediate assistance to the SAF commandos, even if they were unaware of actual situation on the ground.

“We did not really know the situation; it took some time for our men to react to the situation”, he said, recalling that “two to three helicopters were prepositioned in Cotabato” as the firefight was going on. “Unfortunately, it was not requested by the National Police.”

Catapang added: “We follow the chain of command; we do not micromanage, our commanders know what to do.” But Enrile maintained that “the command system was paralyzed” on that fateful day, resulting in the massacre of the 44 SAF commandos.

Delay in filing raps

NOTHING prevents the Department of Justice (DOJ) from submitting a report to the Senate to explain the apparent delay in filing charges in court against those responsible for the death of the 44 SAF commandos in Mamasapano, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. said.

“The DOJ owes it to the family of the victims, and to the public, in general, to explain why a year after that tragic incident no formal charges have been filed in court against those responsible,” Marcos said.

“Even if they are not formally invited to testify in the Senate hearing they can simply submit to us a report on the status of the case so we can all know why it’s taking them so long to file appropriate charges in court,” he added.

Newly-appointed Acting Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas earlier denied that the department is sitting on the case and promised that a resolution will be out soon. Reports said the DOJ has concluded the preliminary investigation on the case on January 14.

Marcos said former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) should do the same to help the Senate identify possible snags that continue to hamper the progress of the case.


DE LIMA

De Lima was the sitting justice secretary at the time of the Mamasapano Massacre and the start of the investigation on the case.

She later announced that charges will be filed in court against 90 of the gunmen who slaughtered the police commandos.

It could be recalled that in a letter dated January 20, 2016, addressed to Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, Marcos requested the panel to invite de Lima and Director Virgilio Mendez of the NBI to testify at the reopening of the Senate investigation into the massacre.

However, Poe explained that since it was Minority Leader Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile who sought the reopening of the investigation, the panel accorded him the prerogative of identifying the resource persons for the hearing.

Marcos vowed that no matter what happens in the Senate hearing he will continue to press the effort to give justice to the families of the SAF 44. “Awarding medals posthumously to the SAF 44 may assuage the pain of their families but only justice will give them peace of mind and allow them to move on with their lives,” he added. (With Recto Mercene) Image Credits: Alysa Salen


INQUIRER

House minority report on Mamasapano finds Aquino liable for SAF men massacre SHARES: 4583 VIEW COMMENTS By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab @MJcayabyabINQ INQUIRER.net 06:20 PM February 2nd, 2016


THE three-member independent bloc in the House of Representatives found President Benigno Aquino III liable for issuing a stand down order in the Mamasapano operation. INQUIRER FILE

This was the finding of the independent minority report on the Jan. 25, 2015 botched anti-terror raid that resulted in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) police officers after a firefight with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other armed groups.

In a press conference, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez led the disclosure of the report, with the House majority yet to release its report on the congressional investigation last year.

Romualdez said because Aquino did not issue any order to help the beleaguered elite police officers when they were being pinned down by Moro rebels in the cornfields of Mamasapano, Maguindanao, Aquino effectively handed a stand-down order.

The bloc based its report on the findings of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry as well as the Senate report that found Aquino ultimately responsible for violating the police chain of command.

According to the report, Aquino’s actions showed that he issued a stand-down order in the deployment of artillery support to the SAF commandos.


Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez INQUIRER FILE PHOTO.

“Although unspoken, it is clear from the actuations of the President, the members of the Cabinet security cluster, the senior AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP officials including officers on the ground and the OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) and the government peace panel, among others, that there was a ‘stand-down’ order at the height of the firefight and eventually an elaborate effort to cover up the monumental blunders committed,” the report said.

The report cited the testimony of Major Gen. Edmund Pangilinan, who supposedly ordered to withhold the artillery fire because of the peace process with the MILF, even though 1st Mechanized Brigade Commanding Officer Colonel Gener Del Rosario had earlier sought for artillery support.

“(The) move… was totally out of line and inexplicable at that juncture. That was indeed unforgivable and even more so given the belated finding that a ‘stand-down’ order was actually handed down presumably through the OPAPP…” the report said.

The report said Aquino was in Zamboanga city at the time of the Mamasapano incident, but he did not call a meeting with his top commanders and security officials to help the elite cops.

READ MORE...

Aquino also texted then Western Mindanao Command General Rustico Guerrero to send help to the elite cops only at 4 p.m. or 12 hours after.

The bloc in the report also accused then Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles and peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of a “cover-up” on the Mamasapano to shield Aquino from any liability.

The report said Roxas and Deles echoed the claim of the MILF that the incident was merely a “misencounter” between government and MILF troops due to lack of coordination.

“Instead of exerting extra efforts to clear the air and pinpoint the flaws in the manner by which Oplan Exodus was conducted, Secretaries Roxas and Deles and peace panel chair Ferrer engaged in an elaborate cover-up meant to shield the President and the administration and, sadly, even the MILF from assuming responsibility for the Mamasapano tragedy,” the report said.

The bloc also said the MILF should share the responsibility over the botched operation.

“Taken in totality, the onus of responsibility for the Mamasapano massacre falls squarely in the hands of President Aquino. We concur with the findings of both the Senate … and the PNP Board of Inquiry… that the President was and is ‘ultimately responsible for the outcome of the mission,” the report said.

Aquino was accused of “compartmentalizing” the operations when he coordinated with sacked SAF Director General Getulio Napeñas and authorized a personal friend, then suspended police chief Alan Purisima, to oversee the operation.

The bloc also said Purisima and Napeñas committed criminal offenses for their blunders in the execution of the antiterror raid called Oplan Exodus, which took down international terrorist Marwan.


PHILSTAR

CRIMINAL RAPS FILED - Purisima insists Mamasapano operation not his idea By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated February 7, 2016 - 11:12am 13 138 googleplus0 1


Resigned Philippine National Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima attends the Upper House probe on the incident on Jan. 25, 2015 wherein 44 elite police commandos known as SAF (Special Action Force) were killed in a clash with Muslim guerrillas. Senate PRIB/Romy Bugante/Released

MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine National Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima insisted he did not formulate the plan behind Oplan Exodus, the Special Action Force operation that led to the killing of the police troopers in January last year.

In a position paper sent Saturday to Philstar.com, Marius Corpus, Purisima's legal counsel, said there was no basis for the criminal charges filed on Friday with the Office of the Ombudsman against the police chief. Purisima was accused by an anti-corruption advocacy group of being involved in the planning and execution of the operation after he was preventively suspended from office.

Purisima's camp said, however, that it was SAF commander Getulio Napeñas who "controlled and supervised" the operation on Jan. 25, 2015. It also insisted that the mission was conceptualized and planned by the SAF on Dec. 18, 2014 in a meeting which Purisima did not attend.

"Since he had already delegated his authority as PNP Chief to P/Dir. Napeñas, and because he was then under preventive suspension, PDG Purisima never substituted his judgment for that of P/Dir. Napenas, and he never amended or modified any aspect of Oplan Exodus," Purisima's camp said.

Oplan Exodus, led by then SAF commander Napeñas, aimed to serve warrants of arrest to terrorist suspects Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Even as Marwan was shot dead in the operation, 44 elite police commandos fell in an encounter with rebels belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other armed groups.

READ MORE...

Corpus said the briefing on Jan. 9, 2015 Oplan Exodus that Purisima gave to President Benigno Aquino III prior to the operation was "merely to inform and update" him on the progress and was not meant to get the chief executive's approval.

"The President and PDG Purisima never participated in the planning, and never attended any of the planning sessions of the SAF," Corpus said in the paper.

"Oplan Exodus was already a complete package when the President was briefed about it on January 9, 2015," he added.

Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on Friday filed criminal charges against Purisima, saying the suspended police chief dictated Oplan Exodus.

"The respondent is guilty of usurping official functions. He could not have legally participated in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus while under preventive suspension," the group said.

READ: Criminal raps filed vs Purisima over Mamasapano


GMA NEWS NETWORK

SENATE SUBPANEL REPORT 'Strong indications' of graft for Abaya, DOTC officials over MRT woes Published February 3, 2016 8:19pm Updated February 4, 2016 2:04am By AMITA LEGASPI, GMA News

The Senate subcommittee on public services found "strong indications" of graft among Department of Transportation and Communications officials led by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who are directly involved in the operation of the Metro Rail Transit.

In its 45-page report, the subcommittee led by Senator Grace Poe cited several provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which the DOTC officials could be held liable for.

It mentioned causing undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference through partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.

"In the course of the inquiry with regard to malfunction problem of the MRT 3, the subcommittee observed the badges of negligence and inactions of the DOTC officials led by Abaya indicating insensitiveness, callous indifference, and acts disadvantageous to commuters, the Filipino public, and the government," it said.

It said the subcommittee report should be submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Justice, and the Civil Service Commission for appropriate actions and must be considered as initial leads "as there are strong indications of violations of Republic Act 3019."

READ MORE...


PHOTO FROM MRT.COM

Poe’s committee conducted several hearings on the problems besetting the railway system including maintenance, lack of trains, long lines of passengers, among others.

The senator had called for Abaya's resignation during the hearings.

‘Draft report without signatures’

Sought for comment, Abaya said he has yet to read the subcommittee report, which he said has yet to be signed by its members .

He reiterated the DOTC was doing its best to solve the problems of the MRT.

"Well at the very least we showed up in the Senate three or four or five times, answered everything they threw at us and we didn't evade anything," Abaya said.

Abaya said the DOTC even cooperated with the Ombudsman by submitting all requested documents.

"Allow us to read the report first so we can logically react. Again we are quietly and continuously solving the problems of MRT most especially getting the new LRVs operating for our people. I'm sure the public would appreciate that most," Abaya said.

"Is it proper to respond to draft reports without signatures?" he added.

Subcommittee findings

In the course of the hearings, the subpanel found that there was a problem in the maintenance of trains and its system and that there was an insufficiency of trains vis-a-vis increasing ridership.

“Even the independent audit of MTR Hong Kong found that the MRT’s physical structure and its financial system need to be rehabilitated. The rehabilitation of physical structures such as the trains or rolling stock, track work, and the station facilities must be done immediately and must be pursued with much transparency and cooperation of stakeholders and relevant groups,” it said.

The MRT3’s average daily ridership is already at over 560,000 and its highest single-day passenger count is 620,000.

Procurement services

The report blamed the MRT's maintenance problem to the DOTC’s alleged repeated awarding of contracts to inefficient maintenance providers and the shift of responsibility to procure maintenance provider from MRT Corporation to DOTC.

It said that the DOTC apparently made moves to secure the responsibility to procure the maintenance provider for the MRT3.

“The DOTC, together with the MRTC, could have easily resorted to a full public bidding in the award of the new long-term maintenance contract,” the report said.

“The DOTC, however, awarded an ‘interim’ maintenance contract to PH Trams-CB&T Joint Venture in October 2012 via a negotiated bid through a forced emergency procurement as only 12 days were left prior to the expiration of the then existing last six-month extended contract of Sumitomo,” it said.

'Violations of RA 3019'

The report said the various circumstances surrounding the unnecessary shift of responsibility of procuring maintenance provider from MRTC to DOTC, the award of the maintenance contract to PH Trams despite vigorous objections by MRTC, the alleged lack of the necessary inventory of spare parts by post-Sumitomo maintenance providers, the apparent creation of emergencies to justify emergency procurement, and the alleged financial incapacity or lack of necessary capitalization of PH Trams “point to possible violations of the sections 3 (e), (f), and (g) of Republic Act No. 3019 (the anti-graft law) that must be looked into.”

“The injury incurred by the riding public and the government are apparent. Unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference might have been accorded to PH Trams and APT Global,” the report said.

“Accordingly, DOTC might have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith in relation with MRTC or, simply, gross inexcusable negligence in allowing the MRT 3 to deteriorate by not immediately hiring a competent and able maintenance provider with a long-term contract including general overhauling,” it added.

'Fare hike in bad faith'

The report said that the MRT fare hike was an act in bad faith.

“It should be noted that several hearings were conducted by the subcommittee and this information of fare hike was never mentioned at all. There were opportunities to present it but the increase in fare hike was timed during the holidays of 2014. It was an indicia of bad faith on the part of the DOTC,” the report said.

It also said that the DOTC’s award to Dalian of the contract for new light rail vehicles was “too late and delayed as the need to acquire new LRVs to respond to the exponential increase of MRT3’s ridership has already arisen as early as 2004.

“It is as if the DOTC has been waiting all along for a ‘friendly’ bidder that could ‘cooperate’ with the DOTC, especially due to reports of a prior bribery attempt in relation to Inekon,” it said.

“That being said, there is a need for further investigation as to possible violations of Sections 3 (e), (f), and (g) of RA 3019 by the leadership and officials of the DOTC,” it added.

Ombudsman charges


MORALES

Poe earlier expressed disappointment when the Office of the Ombudsman spared Abaya from graft charges over alleged irregularities in the MRT's interim maintenance contract.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales had ordered the filing of graft charges against former Metro Rail Transit 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol III and five incorporators of Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation over the deal worth $1.15 million a month.

The subcommittee report was submitted to Senator Sergio Osmena III, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, in the form of a memorandum as he assigned Poe to handle the MRT3 malfunction issue.

Copies of the report were given to the vice-chairman and members of the committee, and the Senate as a whole. —with Jon Viktor Cabuenas and Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/JST/NB, GMA News


PILIPINO STAR NGAYON (PHILSTAR)

Abaya magbigti ka na! - Osmeña Ni Malou Escudero (Pilipino Star Ngayon) | Updated February 6, 2016 - 12:00am 1 17 googleplus0 1


Ayon kay Sen. Serge Osmeña, chairman ng Senate Committee on Public Services, mala­king kahihiyan sa panig ni Abaya ang mga na­ging kapabayaan at kapalpa­kan nito sa pagtugon sa mga problema sa MRT. Senate PRIB/File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Dapat umanong magbigti na lamang o ibitin ni Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Jun Abaya ang kanyang sarili dahil sa kahihiyan.

Ayon kay Sen. Serge Osmeña, chairman ng Senate Committee on Public Services, mala­king kahihiyan sa panig ni Abaya ang mga na­ging kapabayaan at kapalpa­kan nito sa pagtugon sa mga problema sa MRT.

Kasabay nito, ipinagtanggol ni Osmeña ang draft report ng public services subcommittee na nagrerekomendang kasuhan ng graft si Abaya at iba pang opisyal ng DOTC.

Pinanindigan ni Osmena na makatotohanan ang detalye na nakaloob sa subcommittee report lalo na ang mga paghihirap at miserableng kondisyon ng mga sumasakay sa MRT.

Wala din aniyang kwestiyon pagdating sa gross mismanagement ng DOTC at sa ulat na nakapanlulumo ang kondisyon ng MRT sa ating bansa.

Sinabi naman ni Sen. Grace Poe na dapat ma­nagot si Abaya si kanyang mga naging kapabayaan at kabiguang hawakan ng maayos ang mga isyu ng MRT.

Una rito sinabi ni Abaya na hindi siya natitinag sa rekomendasyong kasuhan siya ng graft pero nababahala daw siya dahil mas pinagtiwalaan umano ni Poe si MRT Holdings Inc. Chairman Robert Sobrepeña na maraming mga di natupad na mga obligasyon sa mga pinasok nitong negosyo.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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