Stop ‘foolishness’ on Mamasapano controversy, Aquino told

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Seminarians join protesters demanding for President Benigno Aquino III’s resignation over the Mamasapano debacle as the country marks the 29th anniversary of the People Power revolution, 25 February 2015.

MANILA, Feb. 26, 2015– A Church-based group called on President Benigno Aquino and said it is time he stop ‘foolishness’ on the controversial Mamasapano operation.

The Religious Discernment Group (RDG) lamented that a month after the bloody incident, Filipinos only heard “very little wisdom but lots of foolishness” from Aquino.

“We the Religious Discernment Group call on President Aquino to speak the truth and take responsibility. Only then will the trust of the people in the government is restored and peace based on justice is achieved,” the RDG said in a statement signed by convenors Fr. Quirico Pedregosa Jr., OP and Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS.

“We join with our Filipino brothers and sisters in the pursuit of a government which is committed to resolving the basic roots of poverty and respects the rights of all Filipinos, regardless of religion or culture. Let us hear wisdom and no more foolishness,” they said.

The RDG also called on lawmakers in both houses of Congress to stop squabbling, saying that they should rather be speaking the truth, “we have heard much buck passing”.

“Now even the Congressional Inquiry has been stopped and the Senate has gone into executive hearings closed to the public,” they said.

The group added that Aquino has made few statements but what he has said “has been contradictory at best”.

The RDG demanded that Aquino shed light on the following:

· Why were the chains of command ignored and the suspended General Alan Purisima involved in the operation?

· If the government is serious about peace talks with the MILF, why were the MILF not informed of the operation as required under the protocols of the GPH –MILF Peace Agreement?

· Why were Secretary Mar Roxas and General Leonardo Espina not informed of the action?

· Why was there no prior coordination with the AFP that would have helped prevent many casualties including civilians?

· What was the role of the US government including the FBI?

They also said that Aquino, as head of the nation and commander in chief, has the sole power to authorize a dangerous operation such as “Oplan Exodus”.

While it is a help to the families of the fallen members of the Special Action Force (SAF) to receive financial support, the RDG said this does not answer the question why their loved ones were put in such a situation.

“It is not enough to claim ‘success’ of the mission because Marwan may be dead. Instead, the rhetoric being presented has only fuelled anti-Moro sentiment and put in jeopardy the process of the Bangsa Moro Basic Law,’ they said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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