Aquino stands by Ochoa in Atimonan killings issue
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III stood by his close friend, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, whose role as an ant-crime czar was brought up as authorities investigate the recent Atimonan shooting incident.
Speaking to reporters in Davos, Switzerland on January 26, the last day of the World Economic Forum gathering that he attended, Aquino stressed that it is clear to him that the shooting incident did not have the approval of Ochoa who heads the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC).
The role (or non-role) of the PAOCC and Ochoa over the shooting incident came into question amid ongoing investigation into the January 6 killing by the police of 13 alleged gang members at a checkpoint in the town of Atimonan in Quezon province.
"The PAOCC is not the operating arm, but only funds operations, say, for instance, for intelligence purposes," Aquino stressed.
Criticisms against Ochoa are not new and Aquino said he has long chosen to turn a deaf ear on Ochoa's foes since he remains satisfied with the work of his friend.
"Since I was a new Congressman, whatever I learned from lawmaking and the law, I learned from him…Perhaps if I have to eat every time someone claims I am not happy with the work of Secretary Ochoa, I will gain weight by about 10 kilos," he said.
"I'm a straight-forward person, right? If I am not happy with the performance of someone, I would have said it already," he added.
Aquino has assigned the NBI as be the sole agency to investigate the incident. - Rappler.com