“As President and Commander-in-Chief, I am fully responsible for any result—any triumph, any suffering, and any tragedy—that may result from our desire for lasting peace and security,” President Benigno Aquino III said during a national address delivered in Filipino. In his introduction he acknowledged policemen and soldiers who make the greatest sacrifice when fighting breaks out.
“I am the father of this country and 44 of my children were killed,” he noted. “This tragedy happened during my term, and I will carry this to the end of my days. They were my responsibility, together with the rest of the forces of the SAF involved in this operation, as well as those who rescued them, and whose lives were likewise put in danger.”
Aquino mentioned the families of 44 PNP-Special Action Force troopers. “It is my duty to ensure that the sacrifices made by your relatives are repaid. My promise to you remains unchanged: During my remaining 17 months in office, I am doing, and will continue to do, everything I can to guarantee your families’ well-being.”