(From the Philippine Daily Inquirer)
They only look Caucasian
President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday dismissed as kuwentong kutsero, or hearsay, the report that two Caucasians were killed in a clash between police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, in January, as he affirmed that it was the SAF that took down Malaysian terrorist Marwan.
“That claim is like, if not exactly, kuwentong kutsero at this point,” Mr. Aquino said in a press conference in Malacañang, following his announcement of the results of a discreet investigation he had ordered into the “alternative versions” of what really happened in Mamasapano on Jan. 25 during the SAF operation to get Marwan, whose real name was Zulkifli bin Hir.
He was informed of the alternative versions by various sources, he told the Inquirer two weeks ago.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters that with the final report on who killed Marwan, President Aquino and the government had found closure.
“In so far as the President is concerned, in so far as the government is concerned, this is the closure,” de Lima said.
During his national address, President Aquino showed three pictures that he said convinced him that indeed it was the SAF that killed Marwan.
The NBI cybercrime division authenticated the photos.
Asked if there were other leads pursued aside from the pictures, De Lima told reporters that she was “not at liberty” to discuss them.
The President warned that those who were after the $5-million bounty on Marwan’s head offered by the US government could be the ones behind the alternative versions of the events.
He also said that 90 people from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and from the private armed groups would be charged for the deaths of 35 members of the 55th SAF Special Action Company (SAC).
Nine other SAF commandos from the 84th SAC, the strike force, were killed in the operation.
Mr. Aquino himself disclosed the investigation of the “alternative” versions of how Marwan died during the Meet the Inquirer Multimedia forum last week.
They only look Caucasian
At the same press conference, the President insisted that there were no foreigners in the combat operation, whether they were “Caucasian looking,” Americans, or British.
“The SAF did not have foreigners with them. Our Constitution prohibits foreign troops to operate on our soil,” Mr. Aquino said. Read more