I guess the buzz word(s) these days is/are “alternative facts,” the term used by US President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway to describe the size (or alleged lack thereof) of the crowd that witnessed Trump’s inauguration. Edwin Lacierda, spokesperson of former President Benigno Aquino, took the term and used it on President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposed independent commission to conduct a new investigation on the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident.
Here’s what Lacierda tweeted:
President forms Mamasapano commission, claimed Deles advised PNoy to order standdown. Not true. Alternative commission, alternative facts.
— Edwin Lacierda (@dawende) January 24, 2017
What Duterte had proposed to do is create a commission to reinvestigate the incident that killed not just 44 Special Action Force (SAF) men but also 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and five civilians (not to mention the Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir). It could be described as an “alternative” because two groups had already investigated the matter: the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry and the Senate. But what Lacierda failed to mention is that the two bodies both found his former boss ultimately responsible for the SAF operation. If anything, we can foresee that the commission won’t arrive at an alternative conclusion but will actually find the same thing: Aquino’s culpability.
As for “alternative facts,” Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo yesterday said there is “no such animal.”
Ang hinahanap natin dito ay iyong katotohanan. Kung matatandaan po ninyo, mayroong imbestigasyon ang Senado, mayroong imbestigasyon ang PNP, at both investigations point to the ultimate accountability and responsibility of the former President. So, ibig nating malaman kung totoo ba iyan. At kung totoo iyan, kung sino pa iyong mga involved sa trahedya ay kailangan eh… iyong katarungan na hinihingi ng mga biktima ay tugunan natin. Iyon lang naman ang why, the wherefore of the creation of the independent commission.
After all, who was giving the alternative facts? The PNP Board of Inquiry and the Senate that both arrived at the conclusion that Aquino was responsible, or the Ombudsman which cleared him? Two against one. Which one is the alternative?