IT has been a year since the bloodbath between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), and elements of the  Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. That fateful Sunday on Jan. 25, 2015 left 44 elite policemen and 19 Moro rebels dead.
The government’s failure to successfully resolve the Mamasapano encounter has become emblematic of persistent dangers that affect everyone. Criminal charges have been filed against 90 commander and members from different Moro entities, but justice has yet to be delivered for the victims’ kin.
Justice department spokesman and Undersecretary Emmanuel Caparas said the agency is aware of the cry for justice for the families of the slain policemen and vowed to have a resolution soon.
“The DOJ continues to do what it needs to do so that it can deliver justice to all parties involved. Let’s just say the authorities are moving as quickly as they can, as responsibly as they can, as judiciously as they can so that justice may be delivered,” Caparas said.
Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile initiated the resumption of the Senate investigation into the Mamasapano encounter and vowed to implicate Pres. Benigno Aquino III for his active and direct involvement in the planning and preparation of the botched “Oplan Exodus.”
For Sen. Bongbong Marcos, the reopening of the Senate investigation will address the government’s unfulfilled promises and the continuing cries for justice of families of the 44 slain SAF commandos.
“No case has been filed in court to prosecute those responsible. We owe it to the families of the SAF heroes to resolve these issues and the Senate investigation will allow us the opportunity to do that,” Marcos said.
Earlier, Aquino admitted that he believes that the resumption of the Senate investigation is fueled by politics and an attempt to put blood on his hands.
“We all know that the campaign period is coming soon. Among our opponents, they see that this has been the greatest burden I have had since I took office. Perhaps, they are trying to take this opportunity,” Aquino said, alluding to his administration’s rivals.
Meanwhile, on the first anniversary of the Mamasapano encounter on Monday, Jan. 25 Aquino awarded the fallen SAF troopers with medals to honor their their gallantry during the operation that resulted in the death of Zulkifli Abdhir (also known as Marwan), who was one of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted terrorists.
“On this day, we are gathered to honor the valiant efforts of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force. Together with the whole nation, we whole-heartedly recognize them for their service. To our valiant SAF: Thank you so much for your heroism to promote peace,” Aquino said in Filipino after  presenting the posthumous awards to the fallen SAF troopers’ families. The President also assured them of the government’s assistance and vowed justice over the killings.
Another victim of the Mamasapano encounter is the fate of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The peace pact made between the national government and Muslim rebels in the country—meant allow comprehensive growth and development in the southern region—has been gaining headway, and an expected passage in the legislature was already underway, until the Mamasapano tragedy occurred.
Depending on the outcome of the Senate investigation, the future of the peace and stability in Mindanao will remain in a precarious balance. (AJPress)

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