MANILA - A year after the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident, a retired police official has surfaced, claiming he has "critical evidence" of an attempt to cover up the events surrounding the encounter.
Retired Chief Superintendent Diosdado Valeroso described the evidence as a digital audio recording of a conversation between a high-ranking government official and a legislator that occurred a day or two after the clash that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers dead.
Valeroso, former district regional director for administration of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), refused to disclose what the conversation was about.
But he told reporters that during the conversation, one of them was telling the other not to mind what happened in Mamasapano as it may delay the ongoing peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
"Sa buod nung conversation, nag-usap yung dalawa at sinasabing huwag muna nating pansinin yan dahil nalalagay sa alanganin yung usaping pang-kapayapaan o yung peace talks," said Valeroso.
The passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which aims to establish an autonomous Bangsamoro region that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), was delayed following the encounter, which raised questions on the sincerity of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the peace process.
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Valeroso also refused to give the identities of the two officials. He did say, however, that he heard only two types of voices in the audio clip which lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes.
He claimed the source of the recording is credible. He also said he received the audio clip through e-mail.
"Digital to digital, at kilala natin yung source," he said.
Valeroso said he will submit the recording to the Senate and Congress on January 27, as the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs reopens its investigation into the Mamasapano encounter.
In its partial report released in March 2015, the Senate panel has said President Benigno Aquino III was ''ultimately responsible'' for the botched mission to neutralize Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and his Filipino cohort Basit Usman. -- With a report from Dennis Datu, dzMM
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