Bongbong meets with SAF 44 kin

Ivan Abille, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Vice-presidential aspirant and Senator Ferdinand '' Bongbong'' Marcos, Jr. on Friday met with some families of the 44 policemen who died in the Mamasapano operation on January 25, 2015.

Families of the slain commandos of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) refused to be interviewed on camera after their closed door meeting with Marcos in Baguio, but confirmed that the senator has vowed to help them.

Marcos, meanwhile, said that over a year after the bloody clash with Moro fighters, the policemen's kin have yet to receive the full aid promised to them by government.

"Hindi masyadong maganda ang kanilang nasasabi. Sabi nga nila eh nagtataka sila sa mga announcement na naririnig nila sa diyaryo, nababalitaan nila sa telebisyon na lahat ng benepisyo binigay sa kanila eh hindi naman totoo," said Marcos, the current frontrunner of vice presidential surveys.

"Marami pa sa ipinangako sa kanila eh hanggang ngayon wala pa sa kanila."

But he said that more than the assistance, what the families of the SAF 44 truly yearn for is the elusive justice for their loved ones.

"Ang sinabi ko tutulungan ko sila at ang puno't dulo nitong lahat, yung pag-uusap namin, ang talagang habol nila, ang talagang hinihingi nila ay katarungan, hindi benepisyo," he said.

"Basta't mabigyan ng katarungan ang kanilang mga anak, ang kanilang mga ama, ang kanilang mga anak na kung sino yung mga pumaslang sa kanila ay maparusahan."

Injustice, lacking aid: Anguish hounds SAF 44's kin

The January 25, 2015 Mamasapano operation involved a clandestine operation by SAF troopers to neutralize bomb expert Marwan and his Filipino cohort Basit Usman.

The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file charges against former PNP chief Alan Purisima and ex-SAF director Getulio NapeƱas for operation which resulted to the biggest loss of the police in recent history.

The Ombudsman said the two face charges of usurpation of authority or official functions (Article 177, Revised Penal Code) and violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).

A joint Senate committee report on the Mamasapan, meanwhile, earlier said that President Benigno Aquino III was ''ultimately responsible'' for the botched mission, but it was armed Moro rebels and other armed groups who "murdered and robbed" PNP-SAF troopers.

For more stories on the "Fallen 44", visit ABS-CBN's page Mga Bayani ng Bayan.