Mar 232015

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima did not ascribe criminal liability to President Benigno Aquino III over the botched January 25 Mamasapano operation, Malacañang claimed on Monday.

In a television interview, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. belied a newspaper report saying that de Lima did not clear Aquino of liability for the including, which left over 60 people dead.

“Liability po ang ginamit na salita, pero walang quotation marks. Ibig sabihin, ang nagsulat lang niyan, ‘yung reporter o pinahintulutan lang yan ng editor…. Wala naman pong sinabi si Secretary de Lima na liability,” Coloma said.

He added that de Lima only discussed the President’s accountability for the Mamasapano mission, which is different from criminal liablity.

“Ang sinabi lang naman po ni Secretary de Lima, ayon sa una niyang pahayag hinggil sa command responsibility, may accountability. Malayo naman yung accountability sa liability,” the Palace official said.

In a speech last Friday, de Lima said maintained that Aquino did not violate the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s chain of command during the Mamasapano mission.

De Lima however said that “that does not mean that the President is not accountable.” She added that the President committed “an error in judgment that one can only know from hindsight.”

In a separate statement, Coloma said De Lima’s remarks supported Aquino’s earlier statements on the Mamasapano debacle.

“Sinabi  ni DOJ Secretary de Lima na walang criminal liability si Pangulong Aquino hinggil sa operasyon sa Mamasapano. Kung meron mang naging pagkakamali ito ay batay sa natanggap na maling impormasyon. Ang mga pahayag ni Secretary De Lima ay pagpapatunay sa mga nauna nang pahayag ni Pangulong Aquino,” Coloma said.

Mamasapano operation

The Mamasapano operation left 44 police commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and at least five civilians dead.

They were killed when a clash erupted between government forces, the MILF and its breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), after a police operation to arrest high-profile terrorists.

The incident happened despite a peace deal between the Philippine government and the MILF.

Days after the bloody incident, President Aquino delivered a nationwide address, where admitted that he knew and he was being updated about the Mamasapano mission. 
The police’s Board of Inquiry earlier concluded that Aquino bypassed the chain of command during the planning and implementation of the Mamasapano mission.
A separate Senate committee report on the Mamasapano incident released last week concluded that Aquino was “ultimately responsible for the outcome” of the deadly mission.
Malacanang has earlier countered findings of both the BOI and the Senate committee on the Mamasapano incident. —NB, GMA News

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