MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Francis Escudero sees no point in releasing the testimonies of military officials who claimed that some 120 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers did not help their comrades who were caught in a firefight with Muslim rebels after killing a terrorist in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
The testimonies, reportedly given to the Senate in an executive session, were made public by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV last week after speaking to sources from the Philippine Army.
For Escudero, the matter is not an issue and only tends to sow conflict between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“Magkakampi ang AFP at PNP. Huwag nating bigyan ng hidwaan ng dalawa (The AFP and PNP are supposed to be partners. Let’s not create conflict between them),” he told reporters on Monday.
“Ano’ng obheto? Para pag-awayin pa ang dalawa? Para ipakitang mas magaling, mas malakas ang kabila, at mas mahina ang kabila? Hindi ko maunawaan kung para saan at para que pa ‘yon (What was the objective of releasing the testimonies? To make the two sides fight? To show which one is stronger or weaker than the other? I do not understand what it was for).”
Escudero refused to confirm, however, if the testimonies that Trillanes made public were indeed given in an executive session, citing strict rules of confidentiality.
Arguing that the Senate’s report on the Mamasapano incident was incomplete, Trillanes claimed that SAF troopers belonging to the 42nd and 45th companies sat idly by even while hearing cries for help from their comrades who were engaging rebel forces.
He said that detail should have been included in the Senate report, and called on the police leadership to investigate the matter. (MNS)