“You fed the policemen to the lion’s den.”
A fuming President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday slammed former president Benigno Aquino III over the death of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in the Mamasapano clash two years ago.
“Sabihin mo sa Pilipino, sabihin mo sa akin kung paano ka nagkasala. At anong ginawa ninyo bakit you fed the soldiers to the lion’s den, to be eaten by death?” Duterte said in a speech before families of the slain police commandos in Malacanang.
The President had a dialogue with the families of the slain elite police officers on the eve of the second anniversary of the Mamasapano massacre.
Despite several investigations, Duterte said there were many “unanswered questions” left by the Aquino administration on the botched Mamasapano operation.
“I do not want to pick a fight at this time in my life but I want you to give a message that it happened during your time and there were a lot of investigation[s] at the lower house [of] the Congress, the Senate, and at your office… You could have completed the investigation,” he said.
“You left many unanswered questions during the investigation. We [must] address the issues and find the reasons why [that happened], then, the family will get the justice. Otherwise, they will bring to their grave the hurt and agony that they have to endure losing a husband, a father or a brother,” he added.
Duterte also questioned the decision to dispatch policemen and not soldiers to Mamasapano to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.
“I do not want to insult you but something really, really bad happened,” Duterte said. “You have to answer to the nation, why did you send the police? What’s so special about the police?” he said.
“Why the police? Why not the Army with artillery? If you want to arrest the criminal not urban-related, you have the military instead,” he added.
He said the operation was actually a United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operation.
“Why was it under wraps? At bakit ninyo itinago na actually it was an operation of the CIA?” he said.
“Let it brought out in the open. It was an American adventure with the cooperation of some and apparently with your blessing,” he added, referring to former president Aquino.
Duterte also claimed it was former presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita “Ging” Quintos Deles who asked Aquino not to send military support for the SAF troopers as it might violate peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).