Statement of SOJ Vitaliano N. Aguirre II on the anniversary of the Mamasapano incident: Too many questions left unanswered. Like most Filipinos, a lot of questions linger in my mind about it. -Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II

25 January 2017

"There would be no closure for the families left behind by this tragic incident. Even if Congress conducted several hearings on this, so many questions remain unanswered," Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II stated as the nation remembers the SAF Fallen 44 who died in the Mamasapano encounter.    

"Why were the artillery support for our SAF forces withheld? Why did Gen. Pangilinan not give the order to use artillery when the conditions warranting their use have persisted early in the encounter? Was it because then Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) Secretary Teresita Deles intervened with President Aquino because the MILF will construe the use of artillery as an act of all out war that will derail the peace process?", Secretary Aguirre asked. 

“Did President Aquino give an order to stand down and not to reinforce the pinned down SAF troopers? Why was it that our artillery’s phosphorous rounds were fired only after most if not all of our SAF troopers have died?”, Secretary Aguirre added.

“Last but most important of all, why were the mobile phones of all those involved in the planning and the directing of Oplan Exodus from President Aquino down to the officers not submitted for forensic examination? As far as I know, only General Napenas immediately submitted his mobile unit to the CIDG for forensic examination,” Secretary Aguirre further stated.

“As for the DOJ, we have decided that, for the protection of the witnesses and so that the presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Cotabato, where the case is pending, will not be threatened and pressured, we have moved for a transfer of venue to Manila. This move was made more imperative due to the failure of the RTC-Cotabato to resolve the motion to judicially determine the existence of probable cause. Consequently, this delayed the issuance of the warrant of arrest,” Secretary Aguirre added further.

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