Students and teachers slam Mamasapano investigation ‘cover-up’, hold PNoy and US gov’t accountable

by Demie Dangla


Around 800 students and teachers participated in a series of candle-lighting activities held at universities along Taft Avenue in Manila on Wednesday, February 18, to demand truth and accountability in the Mamasapano encounter. Both houses of Congress suspended on Tuesday their hearings on the bloodshed.

Students and teachers from Manila Science High School, Sta. Isabel College, Adamson University and Manila Public School Teachers Association sought justice for all the victims of the Mamasapano bloodshed that claimed more than 70 lives.

Youth for Accountability and Truth Now (Youth Act Now!) network pointed that President Benigno Aquino III is ‘nowhere to be found during pressing issues’, prompting them to again popularize the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (Where is the President?). The hashtag became a trending topic on social media platform Twitter after the Chief Executive failed to attend the arrival honors of the Fallen 44 commandos of Special Action Forces (SAF) and instead attended a Mitsubishi factory launch.

Students from Sta. Isabel College | Photo by Kathy Yamzon
Students from Sta. Isabel College | Photo by Kathy Yamzon

“We haven’t heard or seen him lately after the last televised speech on Purisima’s resignation,” said Youth Act Now Metro Manila Spokesperson Christian Llyod Magsoy.

According to Magsoy, the symbolic protest sought to give light to what seems to be a “cover up” that is happening in the Congress.

The suspended hearings on February 17 and 18 were supposed to reveal the involvement of the United States of America (US) in the incident.

A SAF source revealed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the operation, also known as the “Oplan Exodus,” to get the Malaysian bomb terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and his Filipino counterpart Basit Usman was instigated and directed by the US from start to finish. An American named Allan Konz was also identified as the one in command and US drones were also spotted in the area of the incident.

The operation was pursued by top-level Filipino officials including President Aquino and suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima, while other officials in the chain-of-command including Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina were left in the dark.

Teachers from Manila Science High School |photo courtesy of Tudla Productions

“Aquino and US accountability and participation in the Mamasapano bloodshed are the only facts left to establish in the Senate or Congress hearings, but they suspended the hearings,” Magsoy said.

[quote_center]“Is this what this nation’s so-called leaders are trying to cover up? Are they [Congress] covering up PNoy’s blood-soaked hands?” Christian Lloyd Magsoy of Youth Act Now!-Metro Manila[/quote_center]

The House of Representatives said the Mamasapano hearings would only proceed after the Board of Inquiry formed by the Philippine National Police submits it full report of the Mamasapano encounter.

“Is this what this nation’s so-called leaders are trying to cover up? Are they [Congress] covering up PNoy’s blood-soaked hands?” Magsoy asked.

Instead of further hearings on Mamasapano, a Senate inquiry was held on Wednesday, February 18, on corruption allegations against VP Binay while he was mayor of Makati City. The Senate has only held two hearings and one executive session on the Mamasapano incident since February 9. The Binay hearings in Senate have been going on for more than five months since last year.

Magsoy saw this as an act of “cover up” and saving President Aquino’s face on the issues over the Mamasapano incident.

“They are luring Filipinos’ attention to the endless Binay hearings so that we forget about Mamasapano and still serve their purpose of destroying the administration party’s biggest rivals in the 2016 elections. PNoy, the highest leader of the land, was involved in corruption with the DAP using the whole nation’s money and yet both houses of Congress, no one in government investigated that.” Magsoy said.

The Disbursement Acceleration Program that the Supreme Court again decided as unconstitutional on February 3 is authored by Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and all disbursements of P 237 billion were signed by President Aquino.

“The youth, schools should conduct candle-lighting activities and other forms of protests to continue demanding for truth and accountability,” Magsoy said.


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