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CBCP chief on Mamasapano op: Full accounting needed

Filed under: Top Story |

DAGUPAN City, Pangasinan, Feb. 16, 2015—For the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), all those responsible for the Mamasapano operation need to give a “full and satisfactory accounting” of the incident to enlighten the public about the events that transpired in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas (Photo: CBCPNews)

In a recent social media post, CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas suggests the country’s chief executive as well as his advisers must give a “full and satisfactory accounting of their actions in respect to this tragic loss”.

Police ordered

Given that targets of the SAF operation were characterized as ‘“high-value targets”, the prelate believes that if the police went after them, it could only be because they were ordered to do so.

“Policemen do not order themselves, not even members of the Special Action Force [SAF],” explains Villegas, adding this is what corroborated statements now clearly establish.

“The decision was made on the highest levels to go after these ‘high-value targets’. The only thing that was awaited was ‘the window of opportunity’, a judgment that is made by people on the ground,” he says.

‘Unequivocal and truthful answers’

According to him, questions call for “unequivocal and truthful answers”, especially that lives were needlessly lost due to the covert nature of the operation.

“Why, for one, were the highest-ranking official of the Philippine National Police [PNP] and his civilian superior, the Secretary of Interior and Local Government [DILG], left out of the loop of information, consultation and command?” Villegas asks, noting how a suspended police officer, Allan Purisima, could have played more than an advisory role.

“Why should he have been giving orders? And if he was in fact issuing orders and commands, should it not be clear that his authority to do so, precisely because he was laboring under a legitimate order of suspension, emanated from higher levels?” he adds.

‘Cover-up’ immoral

The prelate points out the concealment of truth or the foisting of deliberate falsehood even to shield one’s superiors from embarrassment or to spare them indictment is always a moral wrong, especially in the context of legal processes and being under oath.

He further reminds the faithful that when one swears to tell the truth and invokes the help of God, he is duty-bound morally to speak the truth.

“We therefore urge all witnesses and all those in possession of information material to the resolution of facts in issue to speak the truth at all times,” he says. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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