Mamasapano Clash

Excerpt from Bam’s Mornings@ANC Interview

Question: Last topic of discussion will be the Mamasapano incident, Sir. You were already quoted that the President, your cousin, is ultimately responsible for the Mamasapano incident.

Sen. Bam: As early as February, he was already admitting this. He had a public address, in fact, iyong statement nga niya was, hanggang mamatay siya, dala-dala niya ito.

The next day, people kept on asking why isn’t the President taking responsibility. But he has already stated as much.

At this point, the reports come out already, I don’t think there was really anything new with regard to P-Noy, Purisima and Napenas because napag-usapan na naman ang nagawa nila at iyong accountabilities at responsibilities.

One thing I probably try to amend is regarding the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Because there were some lines in the report or some conclusions made regarding the BBL.

For example, nakalagay doon na masyadong optimistic iyong peace panel. Or nakalagay doon na one of the casualties ng Mamasapano ay ang Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Very categorical statements, concluding on the Bangsamoro Basic Law and I think it’s beyond the scope of the report.

To conclude on what happened in Mamasapano, that’s really the job of the committee. But the BBL was not presented, it was not talked about in length, it can raise questions.

It can raise doubts but to be categorical about it I think should be left to the committee handling the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Question: So you weren’t very comfortable that the conclusion about the government peace panel?

Sen. Bam: Definitely because they weren’t given a chance to also explain. They can explain regarding the ceasefire that they tried to do.

The BBL is not just a ceasefire. It’s a whole other process.

I’m trying to get clarification now if that was a line that is categorical or if it’s one of those lines na, baka style lang iyon – it was just a matter of (writing) style.

We’re getting clarifications now and I probably will try to amend the report on those aspects.

Going back to ultimate responsibility.

Q: He’s responsible, you say, but is he liable? Apparently these are two different things.

Sen. Bam: I think Sen. Poe said it best that the responsibility is political in nature and not legal in nature. It’s really interesting that the President admits this already, and yet, the next day and the next following weeks.

Even just this weekend noong nasa Isabela ako, iyon pa rin ang tanong ng tao.  Oh, is the President accepting responsibility on this. I always say, sinabi na niya iyan.

He already said it and he submitted as much already. I think the effort to bring out the truth and be as transparent as possible is there. Nandiyan na iyan.

I think the three things that we really need to focus on, number one, iyong paghuli sa mga pumatay. I think that’s something that everybody wants to see and even the report said we should not let that go.

In fairness to Secretary de Lima, mukhang tinutuloy naman niya iyan. She will probably file charges quite soon, probably in April.

Second is to make sure that the families are taken cared of.  I think is something that the President has committed to and even the Senate, nakabantay kami kung talagang mapupunta sa kanila ang mga benepisyong dapat sa kanila.

And I think third, is really our true ultimate responsibility which is to make sure that this doesn’t happen again by pushing for peace in Mindanao.

Iyon ang totoong ultimate responsibility natin at the end of the day, to make sure more Filipinos don’t die anymore because of armed conflict.

Q:  Many people keep asking you sir, kung umamin na ba ang Presidente because it was never really, I guess, categorical, him admitting that I am responsible.

Sen. Bam: I’ll challenge that. I think it was categorical but I don’t think it wasn’t picked up enough. That’s really my assessment.

Q: So there’s nothing new?

Sen. Bam: Its nothing new. Magtataka ka. Sabi nga nila, if a lie is said often enough, it becomes truth. Baka if a question is asked often enough, it becomes an answer.

Kumbaga, tinatanong ng tinatanong kaya mukhang di sinagot pero sinagot naman.

Q: Para malinaw. He’s responsible pero he’s not liable for you?

Sen. Bam: No, I don’t think so. I think the report is quite clear that the responsibility is political in nature and not legal in that sense.

Q: But were you uncomfortable even signing that committee report, I mean of course, with reservations?

Sen. Bam: I put with reservations, in fact most of the senators put reservations and amendments.

There were some parts na I’m going to ask na isama, like si Sen. Trillanes wanted some parts na isama sa executive session.   Of course, sinabi na niya sa media ‘di ba but I will ask the committee first if they can include some other parts.

Q: What he said was he asked the committee kung puwede masama ang executive session and I think he won that through a vote. What he did, he spoke to the resource persons, got their permission and told us.

Sen. Bam: Anyway may proseso iyan.

Q: Do you think that it should be included?

Sen. Bam: I think a lot of senators want to put in more facts into the report, including myself, and don’t forget that in May, that will be finalized through a vote and before that, Senator Poe, will need to get the inputs of other senators.

So the report that we saw, might be different from the report that will finally come out because of the amendments.

Primarily, my concerns were really regarding the peace process kasi as you read it kasi, parang tapos, and again, this really pains me because at the end of the day, it’s really our true responsibility to make sure that the peace process continues now.

Q: Does that mean that you’re still supporting the BBL?

Sen. Bam: I’ll put in my amendments and hopefully the BBL, after amended, can actually resolve some of these issues now.

The BBL, as is, I don’t think has a chance of getting passed, as is.

A lot of amendments need to be put in, parts about the constitutionality needs to be corrected on that aspect.

Even before Mamasapano, marami nang may gustong mag-amend niyan. In fact, indigenous peoples came to my office and said senator paki-klaro naman sa BBL ang karapatan ng indigenous peoples, kasi hindi malinaw na kung pagkatapos gawin ang BBL, kung ang mga lupa namin in the area, kung ano ang treatment noon.

I committed to them. I said we will clarify that all of your rights under the IPRA will not be affected by the BBL.  So even before Mamasapano, may mga amendments na talaga iyan to really improve it.

That’s our job, to deliberate, debate and come up with the best version of the law.

Definitely, may mga issues na iyan. Because of Mamasapano, I think some issues need to be clarified with regard to security measures, with regards to the budget. It has to go through the process.

Ang mahalaga sa akin is that we don’t let go of the peace process. Some people have suggested mag-charter change na lang tayo para federalism. That’s Mayor Duterte’s suggestion actually.

Puwede ring pag-usapan iyon, puwedeng pag-usapan ang BBL, ang mahalaga we don’t just let it go.

We’re quite close already, admittedly maraming pagbabago kailangang mangyari, maraming reforms kailangang ipasok but I hope people won’t let go of that peace process because that’s our responsibility at the end of the day.

Q: Do you think it’s still possible for the BBL to be passed before the end of the term of the President?

Sen. Bam: I think it’s possible with significant amendments and significant changes but if it doesn’t pass. Si Speaker has already said to look for Plan B.

Nabasa ko iyon noong isang araw. Then what’s that Plan B, what’s plan C, what plan D and let’s make sure that one of those plans does come to pass.

Q: What could be a Plan B for you?

Sen. Bam: A charter change. Maybe not now, maybe the next president.

Q: You’re open to that?

Sen. Bam: That’s the plan B that they’re talking about.

Q: No, you. Is that something that you would be open to? Would you support something like that?

Sen. Bam: For the next president probably. In fact, hindi lang naman iyan tungkol sa Bangsamoro.

Economic provisions, sa Bangsamoro, a lot of term limits, a lot of these things need to be changed. For the next president na siguro iyon.

Q:  Do you support federalism?

Sen. Bam: Maybe categorically, hindi support, but maybe we can take a second look at it.

Q: So you’re open? Why?

Sen. Bam: The idea that your locality has enough power to determine what’s going to happen in a small area, I think mahalaga iyon.

Malinaw rin ang responsibilities ng local at kung ano ang responsibilities ng national. That’s something I think we can look at definitely.

I’m sure a few senators will be willing to look at that too. My point lang is, let’s just make sure we don’t let go of the peace process.

I hope we can continue reminding everyone that come May, June, July iyong usapin diyan about BBL and maybe other alternatives.

We just make sure that it does push through. Huwag tayong ningas kugon na papakawalan na lang natin. Sayang naman, we’re close to it already, we just make sure that we go the distance.

Q: Last question sir, should the President apologize for the Mamasapano incident?

Sen. Bam: I think  by saying he was responsible for it, categorically, saying he will bring this to his death, malaking bagay na iyon. That’s really up to him.

We don’t live in a vacuum. Right now a lot of the moves are really towards 2016 already.

You’re almost that it’s a trap. You’re almost sure na soon na mag-sorry siya, someone’s gonna say, bakit naka-smile, bakit di sincere ang mukha, o bakit ganoon ang tono ng boses niya.

I’m almost sure that those who are asking him to say sorry are already ready with their statement after he does.

The best way to move forward are the three things I mentioned.

Let’s ensure that peace happens, let’s take care of the families and iyong mga pumatay, let’s bring them to justice.



Bam on the Committee Report regarding the Mamasapano Hearings

I have signed the committee report with reservations and with an intention to propose amendments.

As much as we agree with majority of observations found in the committee report on the Mamasapano incident including the President’s responsibility which he himself stated in a public address last month, we feel that there were conclusions made on matters that were beyond the scope of the hearing.

Primarily, these include conclusions made regarding the peace process, the actions of the Government Peace Panel and regarding the Bangsamoro Basic Law in general.

We have sent a letter to the committee seeking clarification on these matters. And if need be, we will propose amendments to the committee report when it is tackled on the floor.

Sen. Bam Eyes Medal of Valor for Mamasapano Survivors As Well

Aside from the Fallen 44, a senator recommends  to bestow the Medal of Valor to the Special Action Force (SAF) officers and other personnel who survived the Mamasapano encounter as well.


In his Senate Resolution No. 1180, Senator Bam Aquino said 31 SAF officers were wounded in the January 25 encounter against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).


In addition, one member of the 55th SAF Company and 30 members of the Seaborne United of the 84th SAF company sustained injuries as they held off elements of the MILF and the BIFF.


“The death of the PNP-SAF officers and all those wounded in the police operations should serve as a continuing reminder that the ultimate purpose of the government is to protect their citizens,” Sen. Bam said.


However, the SAF suffered heavy casualty, losing 44 men in a daring operation that led to the killing of international terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan.


Sen. Bam said the sacrifice of these uniformed men as they carried out their duties to protect the citizenry and maintain peace and order in the country deserves no less than the Medal of Valor and the benefits and entitlement that goes with it, under Republic Act No. 9049.


“The outstanding act of bravery of these soldiers in the most dangerous combat circumstances only shows the quality of the country’s uniformed men in the service of the Filipino people,” Sen. Bam said.


Earlier, Sen. Bam filed a resolution seeking to posthumously award the Medal of Valor to the 44 SAF officers for their exemplary courage and heroism.


“Their mission was accomplished and that the country became a safer place because of them,” Sen. Bam emphasized.


The Medal of Valor entitles the widower and/or dependents of the awardee to a lifetime monthly gratuity and precedence in employment in National Government Agencies (NGAs) or Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) among other benefits.


“Through this recognition, it is our hope that the nation will never forget what they’ve sacrificed for and be an inspiration for our fellow Filipinos to continue serving our country,” Sen. Bam stressed.

Sen. Bam’s statement on the selling of DVDs of carnage of Fallen 44

Some people capitalizing and financially gaining on the misery inflicted on the Fallen 44 is unacceptable.

This move only relives the gruesome massacre that saddened millions of Filipinos and adds to the already burdened families of the victims.

I call on authorities to pursue and punish those behind the distribution and sale of these DVD and VCD.

Transcript: Sen. Bam’s Questions during the Mamasapano Hearing Day 3

Sen. Bam: Chairman Iqbal, na kahit may violation, ipagpapatuloy pa rin ninyo ang peace talks?

Mr. Iqbal: On the part of the MILF, we are committed to peace. For us, there is no other option except the option of peace.

Sen. Bam: Sabi po ninyo, there is no other option but peace, I would like to ask regarding justice, ito rin po ang tanong noong isang araw, at masaya ako na nandito kayo para sagutin ang mga tanong nang diretsahan.

Kahapon po si Gen. Espina gave a very impassioned and emotional plea and the question regarding why his men were treated that way, I think that went to the heart of many Filipinos.

I’m sure nakita ninyo na rin po ang mga video, may reports na rin kayo on the grounds.

Handa rin ba ang MILF na tumulong sa ating government officials na arestuhin, mag-serve ng warrant kapag panahon nang mag-serve ng warrant of arrest at i-turnover ang mga gumawa po ng heinous crimes sa ating mga SAF 44. Handa po ba kayong tumulong?

Mr. Iqbal: Mahirap na tanong yan pero kayang ang usapin dito iyong justice. Kailangang mag-apply iyan sa two sides. Ibig sabihin, ang hustisya hindi lang para sa malakas. Ang pinaka-importanteng hustisya ay iyong para sa mahina.

However, regarding your question, I think we have a mechanism to address that question. It’s in the mechanism of the ceasefire agreement and the ADJA. The MILF, in the beginning, in 1997 up to today, we consider all signed documents as sacred. Even that agreement is signed between Muslims and non-Muslim.

Because it is the same whether you sign an agreement with a Muslim or with a non-Muslim, the sacredness of that agreement is there.

Sen. Bam: First of all, Mr. Iqbal, ang malakas at mahina in this case. Maybe traditionally malakas ang gobyerno at mahina ang kasama natin sa MILF, pero in this case, klarong-klaro po, mas marami po ang ibang forces.

Kung makikita po ninyo, mas maliit ang puwersa ang pumasok sa Mamasapano compared to the forces who were there.

Iyong nakita po natin kahapon, iyong nag-surface na videos at medico-legal, na may pinatay na harap-harapan, iyon po labag din po iyon sa karapatan ng MILF, di po ba?

Mr. Iqbal: Your honor, would you allow me to read a portion of the code of conduct of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces?

Sen. Bam: Please.

Mr. Iqbal: Its Article 1, Items 4,5,6 and 7. Number four, wounded enemy combatants. Never betray or be treacherous or vindictive.

Do not mutilate, don’t cut or burn palm trees or fruitful trees or home dwellings. Don’t slay sheep, a cow, camel or other animals except for food.

Number five, surrender enemy combatants. Maintain and observe justice at all times and avoid light retaliation. Protect and treat them humanly. That’s in the Quran.

Number six, prisoners of war or captives. Be kind at all times of captives or prisoners of war. Collect and care for wounded combatants. It’s still in the Quran.

Number seven, medical or distinctive signs. Respect personnel and facilities or persons bearing an object mark with signs as Red Cross or Red Crescent, including religious persons, military or civilians bearing white flag used for negotiation, truce or surrender.

You know, your honor, I am tasked by this one.

Sen. Bam: So sinasabi ninyo na iyong nakita ng taumbayan na pagtrato sa SAF 44, iyong pagpatay sa kanila nang harap-harapan at kung paano po sila pinatay, iyong nakita po natin.

Mr. Iqbal: Masakit sa amin iyon ang pagkamatay ng SAF.

Kaya nga ho kailangan ng independent investigation para makita natin.

Sen. Bam: Madam Chairman, I would like to give the last word to Gen. Espina. Yesterday po, mayroon kayong hinaing, brought Gen. Napenas to tears.

Many of us were moved by that statement. At this point, ano pa rin po ang hustisya na hinahanap ng ating kapulisan dito sa nangyari?

Gen. Espina: Katulad po ng nasabi ko noon pa, matagal ko na pong nilagay ang sarili ko doon sa paano humahanap po ng hustisya. Doon ho malalaman ninyo na. 

Katulad noong pamilya, ano ho ba ang gusto nilang mahanap so we’ll have a good perspective  of what really justice are we seeking. Kaya nga ho iyan, malaman ho ang katotohanan.

Kung malaman po ang katotohanan through investigation, dapat po maparusahan ang sinumang may pagkakamali at pumatay. Iyan na ho lahat iyan.

Hindi na ho kasi natin maibabalik ang  nagawan po ng injustice. Buti na lang at nandito si Chairman Iqbal, at least naiparating po natin sa kanila kung ano po ang nangyari sa mga pulis namin.

Maraming salamat po. I hope sama-sama po sana tayo. Apatnapu’t apat po ang ating namatay, sabi niyo sa inyo disiotso. 

We have to be both together here in seeking justice for our people. Iyong sa inyo naman po, sana maging ganoon din.

Bam Aquino’s Statement on the Video Showing the Death of SAF 44

We strongly condemn the gruesome killing and barbaric atrocities done to our Special Action Force members in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

In the strongest possible terms, we call on the MILF to surrender the combatants and submit them to the appropriate processes of our justice system.

Their leadership should also attend the ongoing Senate hearings and answer the difficult questions that plague our nation.

The road to peace must not set aside justice and accountability.

Excerpts from Sen. Bam Aquino’s Questions during the Senate Mamasapano Hearing

Sen. Bam kay Gen. Lapenas: Lumalabas na mayroon kayong judgment call na ginawa na umabot po sa kung saan tayo ngayon. So General Lapenas, first I would like to clarify na ang ating SAF forces ay best of the best?

Gen. Napenas: It is not 100 percent conclusion, your honor.

Sen. Bam: But you are the elite in the PNP?

Gen. Napenas: As far as the PNP is concerned, that is true your honor.

Sen. Bam: Kasi po may report na nailabas na ang pinadala natin ay mga baguhan, di po totoo iyon?

Gen. Napenas: That is not true your honor, the troops that we sent to Mamasapano, they’re the best of SAF.

Sen. Bam: And they accomplished their mission? Tama po?

Gen. Napenas: Yes your honor.

Sen. Bam: Iyon ating pong misyon, after everything that has happened, ang tingin ninyo po ba it’s a valid mission and a planned out mission?

Gen. Napenas: It’s valid and a very legitimate mission, not only for us but for the Filipino people.

Sen. Bam: Do you still feel that it was a well planned out mission considering na hindi nakapag-coordinate sa ibang ahensiya and what happened?

Gen. Napenas: Yes, your honor.

Sen. Bam: Kayo po ay nagbigay ng isang judgment call na huwag sabihan ang AFP, tama po ba?

Gen. Napenas: Hindi po ako ang nagbigay ng judgment call na ganoon, your honor. Nagbigay sa akin ng statement si Gen. Purisima. Nakalagay doon sa aming operation plan, mayroon po tayo doong coordination table na TOT o time on target.

Sen. Bam: Ito’y po’y nakasulat. Hindi lang po ito verbal?

Gen. Napenas: Yes your honor, nakalagay sa operation plan, nakasulat.

Sen. Bam: Na-submit ninyo na po ba ito sa committee?

Gen. Napenas: We will submit it already. I suppose it was received by the office of Senator Grace Poe.

Sen. Bam: Nakasulat po na iyong AFP, TOT, doon po sa plano. At ibinigay ito sa inyo ni General Purisima?

Gen. Napenas: Siya po ang nag-approve ng plano, noong April pa at noong  November your honor.

Sen. Bam: Throughout all of the operation na ginawa ninyo, TOT ba lahat ang operation niyo o eto lang ang TOT.

Gen. Napenas: Nagsimula lang ito noong November your honor because of what happened noong April na operations na na-compromise ang operation natin dahil ang coordination sa 61B at mechanized brigade ay mayroon po iyon na April 25 na operation.

They were supposed to provide us iyong mechanized. However, nagmo-move on the way iyong tropa namin, suddenly iyong 61B commander tumawag through P/Chief Supt. De Los Reyes who was then in front of him, tumawag sa akin na hindi magbibigay ng mechanized assets, nasa iyo kung i-go mo o hindi.

Nagdecide ako na i-abort iyong mission dahil walang iyong mechanized assets.

Sen. Bam: Kumbaga, nasabi ninyo rin ito kahapon. Noong nakikipag-coordinate kayo sa AFP, hindi natutuloy ang oplan. Noong hindi kayo nag-coordinate, doon ninyo nakuha si Marwan.

Gen. Napenas: That’s true your honor.

Sen. Bam: Ngayon pong nangyari na ang nangyari, do you still stand by that lack of coordination na tama lang po na TOT iyong ating AFP?

Do you still stand by that or ngayon po na nag-uusap na tayo ngayon, may 44 tayong kapatid na namatay, do you feel na dapat nakipag-coordinate na lang kayo sa AFP?

Gen. Napenas: I stand with that your honor because that has been deliberated accordingly during the preparations of the plan and during time that we’re doing mission planning because of so many reasons that if we do coordination prior to the AFP, we will be compromised in the operations again.

Sen. Bam: Iyon po iyong masabi nating first judgment na ngayon po ay pinag-uusapan natin.

Ang pangalawa po ay iyong pagtulong ng AFP. I would like to ask General Pangilinan. Ayun po, pinag-uusapan po natin. P

akiramdam po ng ibang resource speakers natin, hindi po naging sapat ang tulong ng AFP. Pagdating po sa boots on the ground, nakatulong naman po kayo? Tama po?

Gen. Pangilinan: Yes your honor.

Sen. Bam: Ito iyong sinabi niyong I approved 1 and 2 but not No. 3.

Gen. Pangilinan: Actually I did not say I did not approve but rather hold.

Sen. Bam: Pero hindi rin po natuloy ang No. 3?

Gen. Pangilinan: Because there was no request after that.

Sen. Bam: So iyong 1 and 2, definitely po, iyong mga kapatid natin sa Army, tumulong naman sila sa PNP?

Gen. Pangilinan: Yes your honor.

Sen. Bam: In fact, may na-save kayo na 17 from the 84th Seaborne.

Gen. Pangilinan: 17 unharmed and 11 wounded in action, your honor.

Sen. Bam: So iyong tanong na lang, bakit hindi kayo nagpaputok? Bakit hindi po kayo nag-artillery?

Gen. Pangilinan: Nag-artillery po kami noong bandang hapon when we already have a clear picture of what was going on.

Iyong sinasabi po natin na bakit hindi kami nagpaputok ng umaga, its because we did not have a clear picture, enough information that were necessary in order for us to provide artillery fire support.

Sen. Bam: General, that’s your judgment?

Gen. Pangilinan: Doctrinal po iyan, your honor.

Sen. Bam: You’re telling us now, hindi lang iyan isang judgment, sumunod po kayo sa patakaran?

Gen. Pangilinan: Yes your honor, isa pong doktrina na sinusunod namin when we were firing artillery fire support.


Sen. Bam: Gen. Guerrero, hiningan po ba kayo ng advice o ng order ni Gen. Pangilinan pagdating sa artillery fire?

Gen. Guerrero: The guidance I gave when I was informed by the OIC of the PNP about the encounter of the PNP-SAF is for Gen. Pangilinan being the division commander on the ground to provide support.

Sen. Bam: Sinabi ninyo provide support, and then Gen. Pangilinan, nag-decide ka na ito ang support na ibibigay ko pero itong isa, dahil wala pang impormasyon, hindi ko muna ibibigay.

Gen. Pangilinan: Yes, your honor.

Sen. Bam: That judgment or decision on your part, hindi po kayo nagsisisi na hindi niyo naibigay ang pangatlong hiling ng SAF forces?

Gen. Pangilinan: I have not, your honor.

Sen. Bam: Gen. Napenas, alam po ba ng SAF forces na walang coordination sa AFP?

Gen. Napenas: Alam po ng mga tao natin, kasama doon sa mission planning iyong mga commanders, kaya alam na alam nila ang coordination sa AFP.

Sen. Bam: Hindi ninyo po ba naisip na pag walang koordinasyon, that the risk will be so high na mahirap tayong ma-extract doon sa lugar? O you considered that doon sa pagpaplano.

Gen. Napenas: Na-consider po your honor but we bank on the statement of P/Dir. Gen. Purisima that he will take care of the coordination kay Gen. Catapang.

Sen. Bam: Did you expect na mayroong coordination through Gen. Purisima o ang expectation po ninyo ay alam lang nila ng TOT?

Gen. Napenas: I cannot answer iyong coordination ni Gen. Purisima kay Gen. Catapang.

Sen. Bam: Gen. Purisima, anong klaseng koordinasyon po ang nagawa niyo kay Gen.Catapang?

Gen. Purisima: Your honor, on Dec. 19, 2014, I facilitated a meeting of Director Napenas, Gen. Guerrero, Gen. Pangilinan for a coordination meeting in Camp Aguinaldo. This is to thresh out the possible operation.

Sen. Bam: Let me ask Gen. Catapang. Iyon koordinasyon po sa Dec. 19, hindi po iyon sapat para sa isang full coordination ng isang operation?

Gen. Catapang: Yes your honor, but there was another meeting on Dec. 23 wherein Gen. Guerrero, Gen. Pangilinan, Gen. Napenas, Gen. Magnaye, 3rd Air Division in Zamboanga to thresh out the tactical coordination needed.

Sen. Bam: Kumbaga po General, in general alam ho natin ang nangyayari, iyong specific di natin alam, for the record.

Gen. Catapang: For the record, yes your honor.

Sen. Bam: So palagay ko po, iyong dalawang judgment ng ating dalawang general dito is really put into question.

I would like to ask Secretary Roxas, at this point po ang taumbayan nakikita nila kung ano talaga ang nangyari. The two judgment, ngayon po magja-judgment naman ang taumbayan.

With regard to the judgment done by our leaders in this operation, kadalasan po pinag-uusapan ang hustisya. Sometimes, pakiramdam ko po, kapag humihingi ng hustisya, ang hinihingi vengeance, paghihiganti.

Kayo, nakausap niyo po iyong mga pamilya, ano ho sa tingin niyo ang magbibigay ng hustisya para mga namatayan nating Fallen 44?

Sec. Roxas: Nagsisimula iyong hustisya, iyong katarungan, sa katotohanan. Nadinig ko iyan mula sa mga biyuda, sa mga naulila, iyong walang silang closure.

Sen. Bam: Ano po ang magbibigay ng closure sa families ng Fallen 44?

Sen. Roxas: Ang malaman po nila ang nangyari dito. Natural sa isang pamilya na hindi nila alam ang detalye ng operasyon. Inaasahan nila na pag na-trouble ang kanilang mister o anak, na ang puwersa ng pamahalaan ay nandiyan na sasagip sa kanila. 

So itong mga katanungan kung bakit hindi natulungan ng artillery, o late na, o kulang. Totoo nga bang hindi nagkaroon ng full coordination.

Bam: Medal of Valor for Fallen 44

A senator has filed a resolution seeking to posthumously award the Medal of Valor to the 44 Special Action Force officers who sacrificed their lives in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, saying they should be commended for their exemplary courage and heroism.

“The 44 officers of the PNP-SAF fought valiantly and sacrificed their lives in the performance of their duty,” Senator Bam Aquino said in his Senate Resolution No. 1156.

Sen. Bam said the bravery of the 44 SAF members led to the killing of international terrorist Zulkipli Bin Hir, alias Abu Marwan, during an operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

“Their lives were in the service to the Filipino people and our nation’s quest for peace,” added Sen. Bam.

However, the SAF team came under intense rebel fire from members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), resulting in the death of 44 of its members.

According to the senator, Republic Act No. 9049 honors military heroes and affiliates for their supreme self-sacrifice and distinctive acts of heroism and gallantry by awarding the Medal of Valor.

“Their mission was accomplished and that the country became a safer place because of them,” Sen. Bam emphasized.

The Medal of Valor entitles the widower and/or dependents of the awardee to a lifetime monthly gratuity and precedence in employment in National Government Agencies (NGAs) or Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) among other benefits

“Through this recognition, it is our hope that the nation will never forget what they’ve died for and be an inspiration for our fellow Filipinos to continue serving our country,” Sen. Bam stressed.

Senate Bill No. 2603: Mamasapano Truth Commission

On January 25, 2015, while on a mission to serve arrest warrants to two suspected terrorists – Malaysian Jemaah Islamiyah leader, Zulkifli bin tilr also known as “Marwan” and Filipino bomb maker, Abdulbasit Usman, forty-four (44) members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF) died, With twelve (12) getting injured in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, during an armed conflicct with other armed elements, which allegedly included the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).”

The facts and Circumstances remain unclear as to how this unfortunate event occurred.

This bill creates a fact-finding commission, to be called the “Mamasapano Truth Commission,” that will have plenary powers to investigate and report upon this tragedy. This tragedy has far-reaching consequences and implications, which strike at the very heart of the Nation, and may impede the ongoing peace process between the National Government and the MILF. An Independent and Impartial Commission is therefore necessary to enable us to get to the bottom of this tragedy.

Forty-four of our bravest elite police force perished in the grisly encounter, and twelve (12) remain suffering because of their injuries. The creation of this Commission shall be our humble way of honoring our fallen heroes, who served the country with excellence, valor and patriotism. We should not allow their deaths or injuries be in vain.

In view of the foregoing, early passage of this measure is urgently sought.





Statement of Sen. Bam Aquino on the Encounter of the PNP-SAF with MILF

We deeply condole with the families of the Philippine National Police (PNP) officers who perished in Sunday’s clash with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Maguindanao.

The PNP leadership must ensure that the benefits of these fallen police officers will be provided to their families the soonest possible time.

At the same time, the PNP must launch a thorough investigation into the incident and find ways to avoid similar encounters in the future.

The lives of our police officers must not be compromised. Both parties must account for the lives lost.

We must not allow this tragedy to be an obstacle to our efforts for lasting peace in Mindanao.

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