Sorry, no apology: PNoy seeks understanding from ‘bosses’
President Benigno Aquino III has rebuffed anew mounting appeals for him to issue a public apology over the bungled Mamasapano operation.
In his speech during the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Thursday, March 26, President Aquino did not apologize but instead asked for “deepest understanding” from the public.
“To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation: It is with the abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” Aquino said in Filipino.
He maintained that he was ultimately responsible for the death of the elite troopers but insisted that nobody wanted such unfortunate incident to happen.
He lamented that commentaries and news reports about the Mamasapano debacle have caused confusion and anger among people.
He added that he was saddened by the reports prepared by the board of inquiry and the Senate saying that they “chose to speculate” instead of asking him about his role on the tragedy.
“This leads us to ask: How can guesswork, instead of facts, help clarify this issue?,” he said.
To give his side on the issue, Aquino discussed the Mamasapano tragedy in his speech before the PNPA.
He said he ordered the mission believing that “adequate preparations” were made by the PNP’s elite force.
“Let me emphasize: I would not have allowed those in our uniformed services to embark on a suicide mission. If an operation poses serious danger, I will always be the very first to call for its cancellation,” he said.
He also pointed out that he was deceived about the magnitude of the damage to SAF troopers during the operation.
“On the morning of January 25, there was no urgency in the text messages that were sent to me. From what was texted, it appeared to me as if the operation in Mamasapano had ended, or was coming to an end, because mechanized units and artillery were already providing assistance,” he added.
He said it was close to evening of January 25 when he was advised of what happened to the 84th Seaborne Company but not of the 55th Special Action Company, who were massacred by the combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, its breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other private armed groups.
“With God as my witness, I tell you the truth. But I am aware there are those who are close-minded, who will not listen regardless of what I say,” he said.
“Regardless of my anger for the disregard for the orders I gave, regardless of my regret for trusting people who concealed the truth from me, I can never erase the fact: 44 members of our police force are dead. And this happened under my term. Let me stress it: I will bear this basic truth with me to my grave,” he added.
He assured that those responsible for the tragedy would be held accountable.