Militant lawmakers to ask Aquino 20 questions over Mamasapano clash

Militant lawmakers to ask Aquino 20 questions over Mamasapano clash
President Benigno Aquino III.

Militant lawmakers will send President Aquino 20 questions in lieu of his appearance in the House investigation of the Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash, according to Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.

In an interview on dzBB radio on Sunday, Zarate said he was saddened that the President had been barred by his House allies led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. from attending the House hearing on Mamasapano on April 6 and 7.

"This is his chance to finally say what he has to say after claiming he was not given the chance by the [Philippine National Police board of inquiry] and by the Senate," Zarate said.

President Aquino has spoken publicly about Mamasapano four times, the last one during graduation ceremonies at the PNP Academy (PNPA) in Silang, Cavite province, on Thursday.

Mr. Aquino said his speech at the PNPA was his last statement on Mamasapano, unless the congressional investigators would need "further clarification" from him.

Zarate said his group had questions for Mr. Aquino and the President should answer the questions under oath, as he had been flip-flopping on his statements about his role and the instructions he gave as Special Action Force (SAF) commandos were fighting for their lives in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, on Jan. 25.

"When he first spoke on the issue, he claimed that it was (sacked SAF Director Getulio) Napeñas who was at fault and that (resigned PNP Director General Alan) Purisima was just an adviser. Later, he claimed Purisima lied to him. Lately, he said both Napeñas and Purisima were to blame. We want to hear the answers from the President himself," Zarate said.

Gaps in P-Noy story

After four nationally broadcast speeches on Mamasapano, Zarate said, there remained plenty of gaps in the President's story that needed to be filled.

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