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Palace: Aquino open to disclosing his role in Mamasapano

MANILA, Philippines – With questions brewing about his role in the Mamasapano operation that killed 44 elite cops, President Benigno Aquino III is not closed to the idea of speaking to the public about what he knows, Malacañang said.

On Wednesday, February 18, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said Aquino wants the “complete narrative on what happened in Mamasapano,” adding that the findings of the Board of Inquiry and the Senate will help achieve this.

He added the President is not opposed to sharing his knowledge or explaining his participation in the operation.

“There has been no statement that he does not want to speak or that this is a closed book already. He still believes in the principle of knowing the whole truth,” Coloma said.

He added, “He will think about [speaking] at the appropriate time.” (READ: 3 questions on Aquino's Jan 25 Zamboanga trip)

On January 25, some 392 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos entered Mamasapano town, a known bailiwick of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and its breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, to serve arrest warrants to top terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir, or Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.

The operation resulted in a bloody clash between SAF troopers and rebel forces that claimed at least 65 lives, including 44 SAF troopers. The MILF blames this on the SAF team's failure to coordinate with them, as provided in its agreement with the government on operations in known MILF territories.

Aquino has denied giving the go signal for the January 25 operation, while relieved SAF chief Getulio Napeñas and former PNP chief Alan Purisima have admitted accountability. Senators probing the incident doubt that there was no higher-up involved.

Napeñas tagged Purisima as the “focal person” in the operations even if he was suspended at the time. Aquino too has said he only spoke to Purisima about “jargon,” denying that the former PNP chief, a close friend, was behind the operations.

Asked whether he reported to the President on what has happening in Mamasapano, Purisima, however, reserved comment and said he would first like “to seek clearance with the President to answer” the question.

Aquino's last statement on the incident was nearly two weeks after the clash wherein he accepted Purisima's resignation and questioned Napeñas' actions. – Rappler.com