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Duterte riding on Mamasapano massacre for own gain-Trillanes, de Lima.

Two senators on Wednesday accused President Rodrigo Duterte of using the Mamasapano debacle not only to 'demonize' the past administration but also to divert attention from the 'crisis' of his own leadership.

'Panglihis lang 'yan sa mga kapalpakan ng administrasyon n'ya (That's just a diversionary tactic to mask the failures of his administration),' Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Duterte's known critics, said in a text message on Wednesday.

Another known critic, Senator Leila de Lima, echoed Trillanes' statement.

'The second anniversary of the Mamasapano incident is again being used by Duterte to divert attention from the crisis his current leadership is facing, rather than to actually give justice to the SAF (special Action Force) and Muslim civilian victims of that armed encounter,' De Lima said in a separate statement.

'This appears to be the primary motivation of the President in continuously harping on the Mamasapano incident. It is to continuously demonize the past administration in order to cover up for his own lack of accomplishments and direction after six months into his term,' she added.

Trillanes and De Lima were reacting to Duterte's recent tirade against former President Benigno Aquino III for what he depicted as the ex-president's failure to sufficiently explain to the public why the police operation in Mamasapano last January 25, 2015 had resulted in the deaths of 44 SAF members.

Aside from demanding an explanation from Aquino, Duterte also ordered the creation of an independent commission that would look into the incident.

But De Lima said any further probe on the Mamasapano incident 'is best conducted shorn of politics.'

'Duterte is the least qualified in directing such a probe given his propensity for prejudgement and to preempt the results of any investigation, as he himself has already declared the Mamasapano police action as a CIA operation,' she said.

'The Ombudsman as an independent constitutional office is in the best position to conduct any further probe on the Mamasapano incident. Any other investigation initiated by the President would be a mere surplusage the results of which will always be doubted for his obvious bias against the past administration,' she further said.

Senator Panfilo 'Ping' Lacson, meanwhile, welcomed the creation of the commission, saying it was the President's prerogative.

'If the President feels na kulang 'yung ginawang investigation ng BOI (If the President feels that the investigation conducted by the Board of Inquiry is wanting) including the investigation conducted by the Senate, that is always his prerogative. If he feels na hindi kumpleto 'yung pag-render ng justice doon sa mga naiwan ng SAF 44 (If he feels that the justice rendered to the kin of the SAF 44 is not complete), that's his prerogative to create a commission and to conduct further investigation,' Lacson said in an interview.

A separate inquiry by an independent body, he said, could also pave the way for the filing of additional charges against those people responsible for the Mamasapano debacle and could be used to correct the mistakes and avoid committing the same mistakes in the future.

Lacson reiterated his previous statement that even he was not satisfied by Aquino's explanation about the actions that the past administration had taken on the Mamasapano incident.

'Maski noon sinasabi ko hindi ako satisfied doon sa ginawa nyang n'yang explanation even 'yung actions taken, maski noon sinabi ko parang kulang,' he said.

(Even before, I already said that I was not satisfied with his explanation, even the actions he took I felt were not enough.)

'I've been vocal on this 'di ba? Sinasabi ko naman 'yung mga pagkukulang even ng commander-in chief and hindi lang naman ako 'yung hindi satisfied, marami sa atin ang hindi rin satisfied kung ano 'yung actions taken after the Mamasapano massacre,' Lacson added.

(I've been vocal on this. I have been vocal on the shortcomings of the commander-in-chief and I was not the only one who was not satisfied, there were many others who were not satisfied with the actions taken after the Mamasapano massacre.)
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jan 25, 2017
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