MANILA - Why was President Aquino a no-show at the arrival honors ceremony for the fallen Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) men in Villamor Airbase?
According to Malacanang, President Aquino was in Sta. Rosa, Laguna Thursday morning to attend the inauguration of the new manufacturing plant of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines.
The Palace addressed criticisms about the absence of President Aquino in the arrival honors held at Villamor Airbase for the fallen members of the Special Action Force.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President was not originally scheduled to attend it but that the President will be leading the necrological services to be held in Camp Bagong Diwa tomorrow morning.
In Laguna, the President thanked Mitsubishi Motors for its investment and expansion, helping generate jobs.
The new plant, located in a 21-hectare facility, has a capacity of producing 50,000 units annually.
A known car enthusiast, Aquino also viewed locally-assembled classic models of Mitsubishi vehicles displayed in the plant
Also in attendance were Mitsubishi chairman and CEO Osamu Masuko and Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa.
Meanwhile, an activist lawmaker slammed the President for his insensitivity in skipping the arrival honors ceremony.
Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said Aquino's absence in the arrival honor ceremony for the fallen SAF men "speaks volumes of the president's lack of basic respect for his servicemen."
"Aquino's cold, unfeeling heart cannot even sympathize briefly to the families of the fallen SAF officers. It is truly despicable, especially for the commander-in-chief,” he added.
The President received flak on Wednesday when he said he was not informed of the Mamasapano operations.
Instead, Aquino cited lapses of the chief of the PNP-SAF in the deadly operation that was originally meant to arrest Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
In a televised speech on Wednesday night, Aquino said the operation against Marwan and another terrorist, Bassit Usman, was an “actionable intelligence” signifying that security authorities needed to act immediately.
He said he was not informed of the specific operation that began on Saturday night, but that the SAF members had a job to serve the arrest warrants issued by the courts.
“’Sir, can I proceed with the mission?’ I don’t think I was asked that question… but if they will have to wait for me for their every action, then they will have to contend with other things occupying my attention,” he said.
Aquino said, however, he had consistently reminded authorities of the need for timely and adequate coordination in order to ensure that operations against any lawless elements will become successful. With a report by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News