Malacañang has refuted the claim of some of the families grieving from the loss of their relatives in the Mamasapano clash that President Benigno Aquino III said they’re both equal (tabla-tabla na tayo) now because he had also lost a loved one several years ago.
In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman recalled to him that Aquino never uttered the words “tabla-tabla na tayo” during his meeting last week with the bereaved families of the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.
Some of the families left behind by the slain SAF troopers who were present at the Camp Crame meeting had told reporters they felt hurt and offended by Aquino’s supposed “tabla-tabla” statement.
Quoting Soliman, Lacierda said what the President told the families during their dialogue was “pareho tayong nawalan (we’ve both lost someone).”
The President’s father, Benigno Aquino Jr., was shot at the tarmac of the then-Manila International Airport in 1983.
Asked what he thought of the grieving families’ recollection of Aquino’s words during their most recent meeting at Camp Crame, Lacierda said: “This has come to a situation where certain words were being put into the President’s mouth,” he said. “And interpretations can vary from one family to another.”
Lacierda said Aquino’s statement that he also lost someone does not mean he considers himself equal with the bereaved families of the SAF troopers, but rather, he was “expressing solidarity with them [by recalling] the heinousness of the murder of his father.”