Mamasapano Encounter and the SAFF44
With just over a year to go before he relinquishes the presidency, President Aquino faced his biggest controversy: the botched January 25 Mamasapano operation. Forty-four police commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters, and at least five civilians died during an anti-terror mission in Maguindanao. Aquino was primarily blamed for letting his close pal, resigned police chief Alan Purisima, play an active role in the bungled mission despite his suspension over graft charges.
The public was further enraged when Aquino was seen attending an inauguration of a Mitsubishi plant while the bodies of 44 fallen commandos are arriving in Manila. The public, again, was infuriated with Aquino’s brazen and cold remark to the widowed wives of the 44 fallen police officers. Another big controversial angle in the Mamasapano encounter is the discovery of American soldiers’ involvement in the operation which the Constitution strongly prohibits.