MANILA, Feb 24 (Mabuhay) — Sen. Nancy Binay on Tuesday told Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II that he tell the truth in the ongoing Senate inquiry on the Mamasapano incident, something that the official apparently didn’t appreciate.
Binay was following up on her questioning from a previous hearing when security officials including Roxas appeared unsure of who was updating President Benigno Aquino III when police commandos neutralized terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and then encountered Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels.
“Kay Secretary Mar naman po, last hearing I ask you if you inform the President parang hindi nakasagot. Then, yesterday, sabi niyo you texted the president at 8 am. Please tell the truth,” she said.
Roxas, who used to be a senator, pointedly said that he had been telling the truth.
“I have been and always will, tell the truth, I did not commit anytime what you are implying in your statement. Last week I said I could not recall and I will get back on the text messages, yesterday I answered it, it answered your question,” Roxas said.
He was referring to his text message to the President around 8 am informing the latter about the Mamasapano clash.
Roxas said that Aquino only replied, “Thank you” to his message. He added that there was no mention of the Mamasapano incident when they were en route to Zamboanga City, where a car was bombed a few days before.
The President was in Zamboanga City while the Mamasapano clash was ongoing. He arrived at the area to check its security after a deadly car blast that killed two people and injured 52 others.
Roxas recalled that it was already 3 pm on January 25, when he received information that about 20 policemen were killed in the operations. Subsequently, he told Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and the President about the information he received.
“When I asked you last time you did not tell me. Ikaw pala ang kausap ni Presidente,” Binay said.
“I did not lie. I am telling you what I know,” Roxas said, with his voice slightly raised.
Binay asked: “Sino ba talaga ang may responsibilidad para sabihin sa pangulo ang nangyayari sa Mamasapano”
Roxas reiterated that he was not informed about the Mamasapano incident prior to the operations.
“Hindi ko masasagot ang tanong ninyo, Ang masasagot lang namin ay yung mga alam namin. Hindi namin alam ang nangyayari sa Mamasapano…. So ang bawat isa naman sa amin ay may sentido common para sabihin na hindi ito pangkaraniwan at sinabi agad sa Pangulo,” he said.
Roxas added that the President did not disclose that he knew about the Mamasapano operations.
Binay initially asked why Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresity Deles did not inform the President of the Mamasapano incident.
“Hindi niyo nakita ang kahalagahan na sabihan ang Presidente dahil mukhang magkakaroon ng problema ang peace process?” the senator asked
To which, the secretary replied: “Hapon na ho nang nalaman ko, mga 5:00 na ho, ang alam ko alam na ng presidente.”
Binay turned to peace panel chairman Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. The senator questioned why the peace Ferrer opted not to inform Deles even if she had received information early Sunday that a firefight was ongoing.
“Because the information was only emerging at 7:30 am…. hindi pa rin nabubuo ang crisis committee… It’s a Sunday and the Secretary rests on a Sunday,” Ferrer said.
“Pinagpahinga niyo si Secretary Deles kahit alam niyo na nagpapatayan na ‘yung mga tao. You know that Secretary Deles has access to the President,” the senator said. (MNS)