Bishop: Truth behind Mamasapano massacre now

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ILIGAN City, Feb. 21, 2015—Iligan Bishop Elenito R. Galido has urged that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth behind the killings at Mamasapano, Maguindanao be uncovered for the sake of all Filipinos, but most especially the widows, children, siblings, and parents of the 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Special Action Force (SAF) who died needlessly in what is seen by many as a cold-blooded massacre.

44 PNP-SAF members were killed in a bloody clash with MILF and BIFF elements on Jan. 25, 2015 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao (Photo: Ianessa Ramirez)

Justice more than compensation

More than due compensation to the families bereaved by the Mamasapano tragedy, the prelate called on President Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy) to do everything in his power to ensure that justice is served immediately.

“I am all for a competent investigative body so that justice may come out and things will get clearer. The Filipino people, more so the families of the ‘Fallen 44,’ deserve to know the truth,” he said in a recent interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas.

Galido, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Culture (ECC), added the Church shares the desire of most Filipinos, expecting that the government will run after people or groups of people responsible for the atrocities, as well as give all the support it can give to the families of the 44 PNP-SAF commandos.

Full, satisfactory accounting

Meanwhile, the head of CBCP had earlier appealed for a “full and satisfactory accounting” of the events that led to the carnage at Mamasapano on Jan. 25.

In a statement, CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas suggests the country’s chief executive, along with his advisers, must give a “full and satisfactory accounting of their actions in respect to this tragic loss.”

Unequivocal, truthful answers

According to him, questions call for “unequivocal and truthful answers”, especially that lives were unnecessarily lost due to the covert nature of the operation.

“Why, for one, were the highest-ranking official of the Philippine National Police [PNP] and his civilian superior, the Secretary of Interior and Local Government [DILG], left out of the loop of information, consultation and command?” Villegas asks, noting how a suspended police officer, Allan Purisima, could have played more than an advisory role.

“Why should he have been giving orders? And if he was in fact issuing orders and commands, should it not be clear that his authority to do so, precisely because he was laboring under a legitimate order of suspension, emanated from higher levels?” he adds.

Moral duty

The prelate points out the concealment of truth or the foisting of deliberate falsehood even to shield one’s superiors from embarrassment or to spare them indictment is always a moral wrong, especially in the context of legal processes and being under oath.

Villegas further reminds the faithful that when one swears to tell the truth and invokes the help of God, he has the moral duty to speak the truth.

“We therefore urge all witnesses and all those in possession of information material to the resolution of facts in issue to speak the truth at all times,” he says. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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