MANILA - A retired police official on Monday denied that politics motivated his claim of having "critical evidence" of an attempt to cover up the events surrounding the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano encounter.
Retired Chief Superintendent Diosdado Valeroso described the evidence on Saturday 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.
In the taped conversation, one party 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).
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 that raised questions on the sincerity of the MILF in the peace process.
Valeroso, a senatorial candidate in May's polls, told radio dzMM that achieving justice for the "SAF 44" was his sole goal in revealing the audio clip sent by a group of civilians.
"Wala pong kinalaman ang politika rito kundi ang hustisya. Nagkataon lang po na nang ipagkatiwala ng grupong iyan sa aming grupo ay minabuti natin na ipahayag na we have under our care a piece of information that can be evaluated at kung gusto nla ay i-accept nila as piece of evidence," said Valeroso, former district regional director for administration of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
He said justice for the Mamasapano casualties can only be achieved by establishing the truth and the accountability of parties involved in the clash
"Unang-una ma-establish natin ang katotohanan at base sa katotohanan ay ma-establish natin ang accountability, bago pa lang natin masabi na magkakaroon tayo ng katarungan. Ito po ay magkakadugtong na values na mahal sa ating mga Pilipino," he said.
Valeroso refused to give the identities of the two officials. He said that while their voices were recognizable, a thorough technical evaluation is needed before the file can be admitted as evidence.
QUESTION ON TIMING
Valeroso also addressed questions on the timing of his announcement, saying that he only received the 15-minute audio clip through e-mail last January 19.
He said the file transfer, which came a few days short of the first anniversary of the Mamasapano clash, was "providential."
"Iyun nga rin ang siguro sabihin nating providential sa haba na rin ng panahon at paghahanap ng katarungan ng mga pamilya ay magkakaroon na sila ng pagkakataon," he said.
Valeroso is set to submit the recording to the Senate and Congress on Wednesday, as the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs reopens its investigation into the bloodbath.
The retired NCRPO official is confident that file will establish the accountability of the parties behind supposed attempt to cover up events in the botched mission to neutralize Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and his Filipino cohort Basit Usman.
"Naniniwala po kami na iyun ang magiging diresyon ng audio recording na ito dahil ma-e-establish clearly ang accountability ng mga tao na nasa likod ng mga pangyayaring ito," he said.