Peace in the southern Philippines may be in serious jeopardy. Two weeks ago, dozens of police commandos died in clashes with Muslim rebels while pursuing two of Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorists. CCTV’s Barnaby Lo reported this story from Manila, Phillipines.
Phillipine president faces criticism over raid that killed 44 policemenPeace in the southern Philippines may be in serious jeopardy. Two weeks ago, dozens of police commandos died in clashes with Muslim rebels while pursuing two of Southeast Asia's most wanted terrorists. CCTV's Barnaby Lo reported this story from Manila.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino’s efforts to calm public outrage has only generated more anger and raised more questions about how members of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police ended up in a clash with Muslim rebels in a battle that lasted for hours, resulting in the death of 44 police commandos and an undetermined number of rebel fighters.
Up until now, Aquino has had the confidence and trust of the Filipino public but this deadly clash is becoming the worst political crisis of his presidency.
On the streets, and on social media, support for a landmark legislation that will create a new autonomous region in the Southern Philippines is waning. There is an overwhelming cry for truth and justice.
Some are even demanding that Aquino step down.
“The acting chief of the PNP was not informed, the secretary of the interior and local government was not informed, so it was an operation that involved directly the president, his friend – the suspended police chief, and the command on the ground. So there’s no other way but to hold the president himself accountable for this slaughter,” Teddy Casino, former opposition lawmaker said.
At a Senate inquiry on Monday, the mission’s ground commander revealed that Aquino had more direct knowledge than he had publicly acknowledged. A meeting at the presidential palace apparently took place, where the president was briefed on what they dubbed as “Oplan Exodus.”
“At the least, the question of a lame duck president for the next 17 months is already there. Meaning nobody would listen to him, everybody makes his own decision. It would also be a legacy problem, first of all because the peace process is in jeopardy,” political analyst Ramon Casiple said.