By Corina Oliquino i FilAm Star Correspondent

Liberal Party president and Senator Francis Pangilinan has claimed President Rodrigo Duterte was using diversionary tactics and politicking in claiming senatoriable Mar Roxas as one of those to blame for the Mamasapano clash in 2015 to turn the public’s attention away from “the administration’s failures and its candidates’ track records.”

This, after Duterte said in a campaign speech this week, “He (Roxas) wasted 44 lives for nothing. They could not even explain…why it was the police who went there who were totally ignorant of the topography and the physical arrangement of the area?”

In its press release in September 2017, the Office of the Ombudsman under Conchita Carpio-Morales “denied separate motions for reconsideration filed by Aquino and complainants Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and affirmed the findings contained in the 13 June 2017 Consolidated Resolution.

“President Aquino’s act of utilizing the services of the preventively suspended [former PNP chief Alan] Purisima for Oplan Exodus prior to and during its implementation, despite an OIC PNP Chief having been already designated, caused Purisima to perform under pretense of official position, the acts pertaining to the PNP Chief without being lawfully entitled to do so, in violation of Article 177 of the RPC on Usurpation of Official Functions.”

“President Aquino’s act of utilizing the services of Purisima for Oplan Exodus under the aforesaid circumstances constituted an act of persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform acts constituting a violation of the order of preventive suspension and a commission of usurpation of official functions in violation of Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 3019,” it added.

The Senate committee report on the clash, meanwhile, noted the lack of coordination in the operation and involvement of Purisima in the operation “despite being put on preventative suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman over an unrelated graft complaint.”

“This was the first attempt at ‘coordination’ made by the PNP-Special Action Force with a unit of the AFP,” the committee report read.

“The ‘coordination’ while late was urgently necessary as the PNP-SAF troopers were already engaged with hostile forces and needed reinforcement to assist them in their exfiltration,” the Senate committee also said.

“Similarly, no prior coordination was made… with the government’s peace process mechanisms,” it added, noting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had authorized the deployment of Army troops and mechanized infantry to reinforce the SAF units but did not approve “indirect fire support without complete details of the firefight.”

“Oplan Exodus was poorly planned and executed. It intentionally broke the chain of command. The Oplan was not followed to details.

It was badly coordinated. Oplan Exodus had badges of failure from the start” the report said, noting “Secretary of Interior and Local Government and the Officer in Charge of the PNP [Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina] were deliberately kept unaware of Oplan Exodus.”