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Palace will let Poe reopen Mamasapano probe

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Malacañang is giving Senator Grace Poe liberty to reopen Senate investigation on the ill-fated Mamasapano operation that claimed the lives of police commandos, civilians and Moro rebels.

“We defer to the senator as to how she intends to proceed with the Mamasapano investigation in the Senate,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a text message Friday, September 11.

Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public order, earlier expressed plan of reopening the probe following pronouncement of President Benigno Aquino III that there was an “alternative version” of what transpired during the infamous encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) and members of Muslim rebel groups and private armed groups on January 25.

The President questioned the photograph published in newspapers of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who was the principal target during the operation.

He said the photo posed many questions including why Marwan was half-naked and how the SAF troopers were able to take a good photo while there was an ongoing firefight.

The Senate inquiry led by Poe last March said Aquino was “ultimately responsible” for the failed Mamasapano mission.

Poe, who is rumored eyeing the presidential seat, said the incident was “clearly a massacre” and not just a mere “misencounter”.

Aside from the 44 members of the PNP-SAF, three civilians and 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were killed during the covert police operation intended to neutralize bomb expert Marwan and his Filipino counterpart Basit Usman, who fled but was killed in a chance encounter in Maguindanao last May.