MANILA - Former police chief and senator Panfilo Lacson and some officials of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) yesterday assailed President Aquino’s disclosure of an alleged ''alternative truth'' to the operation that resulted in the death of 44 policemen in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25.
“The new twist is just that – twisting the truth,” Lacson said, because the alternative truth or new version of the story was lifted from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) report.
“That is the reason why the President has referred to it as the ‘alternative truth,’ which is beyond our comprehension, coming as it did from no less than the Commander-in-Chief,” Lacson said.
Lacson said he would vouch for the SAF version and the PNP official report on the Mamasapano against the report prepared by the MILF.
The 44 members of the SAF were killed in the Mamasapano encounter after the raiding team killed Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.
Basit Usman, the local cohort of Marwan, escaped but was killed by government forces in May.
“It is unfortunate because it doesn’t do justice to the to the SAF troopers – whether they belonged to the fallen, wounded or unscathed – whose valor and heroism must not be diminished by Mr. (Mohaguer) Iqbal’s assertions, which should be regarded as nothing but polluted,” Lacson said.
Iqbal, the MILF’s chief peace negotiator, said there was no “alternative truth” and that “only one truth” could be found in the MILF’s report about the incident, which indicated that Marwan was shot at the back of his head, probably lying face down on the floor.
Other reports claimed that Marwan was killed by his aides and no shootout transpired, and that the SAF’s entry inside his hut was “just a drama” because he was already dead when the soldiers entered it.
Lacson said Sen. Grace Poe’s committee could resume and not re-open the investigation in Mamasapano debacle.
Some police officials said they were saddened by the President’s “alternative truth” announcement, which is believed to be “cooked” by some quarters from the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines and supported by Iqbal. – With Christina Mendez
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