PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III assured leaders of the House of Representatives (HOR) that he’d go after the killers of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members once government gets hold of ample evidence.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez recounted getting such promise from the Chief Executive, who on Monday revealed everything he knew about the doomed Mamasapano, Maguindanao mission to chosen congressmen.
“I asked the President, ‘What if once the DOJ (Department of Justice) is able to identify the commanders of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and the men who killed our policemen, and there is evidence, are you going to pursue this against the MILF?'” Rodriguez said in an interview over at DZBB.
“He said, ‘Yes. We are going to pursue. Once the DOJ is able to file charges, we will pursue and get those responsible for the (SAF) deaths,'” he quoted President Aquino as saying.
“The President was very clear on that,” added Rodriguez, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee in the Lower Chamber.
Also present during the four-hour Palace briefing were House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora, the “Saturday Group” (composed of former police officials and military members) and some Committee heads.
The 44 SAF troops figured in an encounter with MILF rebels last January 25 as the government forces tried to catch two notorious terrorists in Mamasapano.
During the Senate panel investigation on Monday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima admitted that the government has yet to make an official demand for the MILF to turn in the individuals who killed the SAF commandos.
She said the DOJ must conclude its investigation first before “appropriate legal processes” like the filing of charges can take over. (Randy K. Ortega)