No closure without justice for Mamasapano victims
MANILA, Philippines – A year after the bloody clash in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao, Filipinos are still waiting for the victims to get justice.
With the probe set to reopen on January 27, many hoped justice will be meted out. The families of the victims and survivors deserved closure, according to them.
Forty-four of those killed were members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF), part of “Oplan Exodus,” an operation targeting international terrorists that took a wrong turn and led to clashes with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and private armed groups (PAGs).
Aside from the elite cops, 18 members of the MILF and 3 civilians were also killed in the clash.
On Instagram, elvin_por said: "We hope not to keep hoping. Give them justice by prosecuting the head of that operation." This was echoed by others who answered katarungan or justice when MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm asked what they expect from the probe.
For them, resolving the Mamasapano case is the best way to honor those who died in the violent encounter. "Let's hope justice will be served. The fallen 44 and their families deserve this," said syracuse93.
@moveph We hope justice be served at the soonest.— MJTB (@UtteringMute) January 25, 2016
Wounds still fresh
Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public order, Juan Ponce Enrile, and other senators running in 2016 have called for the reopening of the investigation. They hope to answer several of the unresolved issues.
First, Poe, who headed the first probe and will again lead the new investigations, claimed she has information that someone had lied during the initial hearings. Meanwhile, Enrile claimed he has new evidence. (READ: Enrile: I'll prove Aquino did nothing to save SAF)
The Senate's first findings said the buck stopped with President Aquino, but he has since said the responsibility belonged to former Special Action Forces (SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas, which angered netizens. (READ: Mamasapano: Aquino hits commanders who 'failed in duty')
"Sisihan at failed leadership," said Champ Camba, commenting on Aquino's move. Others said this was another part of Aquino's "blame game," and accused him of making the SAF and police leaders scapegoats.
The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was also a thorny issue during the Senate investigations. With the Mamasapano clash, it has only made netizens wary of passing it.
For Francisco Jr Santos, passing the BBL after Mamasapano would only "add salt to injury."
While many are still demanding justice, others hope to end the conflict in Mindanao.