MANILA - Malacañang on Friday urged the Office of the Ombudsman to fast-track the handling of cases involving the massacre of 44 elite police officers in a botched anti-terror mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao exactly on January 25, 2015.
In a statement released on the commemoration of the fourth year since the bloody incident, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo put the Ombudsman to task to bring justice to the officers' deaths.
“Even as we continue to pray for the eternal repose of the souls of these gallant heroes who were recipients posthumously of the PNP Medal of Valor (Medalya ng Kagitingan) and as we share in the grief of their bereaved families, we urge the Office of the Ombudsman to resolve with dispatch the case filed against those who recklessly placed them in mortal peril,” Panelo said.
“The nation demands justice for them as well as the prosecution of those responsible for the botched police operation.”
Among former government and police officials facing charges over the botched police operation is former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.
Aquino has pinned the blame on former Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force Director Getulio Napeñas for errors in coordination during the mission to neutralize Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan. The terror suspect was killed in the operation.
The former president had said Napeñas should have sought reinforcement from the military in the firefight between state troops and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels that ensued in the operation.
Aquino stressed that Napeñas had assured him that the Armed Forces of the Philippines would surround the area of operation at the time of the raid.
But, he said, military units had several other operations on the same day of "Oplan Exodus."
The Ombudsman had indicted Aquino for allowing the then suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima to oversee Oplan Exodus.
Purisima and Napeñas are facing similar charges at the Sandiganbayan.