Enrile’s ‘friendly fire’” was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Feb. 6, 2016 (Pilipino version: “Ang ‘friendly fire’ ni Enrile“)

People expected a bombshell blast from Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile at the Jan. 27 Senate hearing on the Mamasapano incident, the probe of which was reopened at his request to present his new information proving President Benigno Aquino III’s culpability for the deaths of the SAF 44. Mainstream media was not impressed; the Inquirer pronounced the bombshell a “dud.”

Enrile presented no new information not already accessed by one or any of the nine bodies that independently investigated the incident. Neither did he raise new questions or accusations that had not earlier surfaced in congressional hearings or in the media.

No one has disputed that P-Noy knew and authorized Oplan Exodus, the last of a series of operations in a decade-long effort to capture Marwan. Or that he permitted the continued involvement of suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima in the planning and implementation of Exodus, the basis of the criticism that P-Noy broke the chain of command.

P-Noy himself had repeatedly acknowledged that he bore the ultimate responsibility for the Exodus failure. But Enrile wanted to prove that P-Noy directly caused the Exodus disaster and then compounded his guilt by denying assistance to the beleaguered Special Action Force commandos.

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Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.