President Rodrigo Duterte said he is open to giving Medal of Valor for all the 44 SAF commandos who perished in Mamasapano encounter almost two years ago as their relatives clamor for such recognition.
Speaking before the families of the SAF44 in Malacanan on Tuesday, January 24, the President said that he would direct PNP chief Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to make an assessment based on previous investigations if the SAF commandos could be given the highest military honor.
Only two SAF commandos were given such award during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.
“So I am asking Dela Rosa and you guys, Lito, study the matter very carefully and look that up. You know, if it’s sauce for the gander, it’s also sauce for the goose,” the President said.
“Walang pinipili. Patay kung patay. So look into it, I’m directing you now and give me the result within, probably at the end of the month. And if you think as a soldier that the 44 deserve the Valor, then recommend it and I would give it to them. All of the soldiers, the 44,” he added.
Dela Rosa should just look at the records and need not do another investigation since there are previous inquiries done after the Mamasapano incident, he said.
At the same time, the President said he would create a commission composed of seven, similar to the Agrava Commission that investigated the assassination of the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.
“I will appoint men of integrity and honor and kung tanggapin nila, then I will choose mostly the justices of the Supreme Court, maybe a few from the civilian sector, maybe a lawyer,” the President said.
During the dialogue with the President, the families said they were still seeking justice, two years after the bloody Mamasapano encounter. They were asking the government to fulfill its promises such as the grant of livelihood, scholarships for the SAF commandos children, the award of Medal of Valor and declaration for a national commemoration day for the gallant police troopers.
The President said he would approve having a day of remembering the gallantry of the SAF 44. There were 10 families from Luzon and Visayas who joined the President during Tuesday’s dialogue. Fourteen families came from Baguio City, and 15 families from Mindanao.