During a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda belied the claims made by the relatives of slain Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who quoted Aquino as saying that they are now “equal,” as his father, late Senator Benigno S. Aquino II, was also killed.
Instead of “tabla-tabla tayo”, the President allegedly said “pareho tayong nawalan” (we both lost loved ones), as witnessed by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Lacierda explained.
“I asked Secretary Dinky Soliman on that point ‘tabla-tabla tayo,’ Secretary Dinky Soliman, who was present, said he never said it. In fact, what he said was: “Pareho tayong nawalan,” he said.
He said that “tabla-tabla tayo” statement might have been a reinterpretation of the families borne out of frustration and anger as they seek justice for their fallen family members.
“I think that may perhaps been an interpretation owing to the anger and frustration while we’re looking for justice and accountability for their murdered relatives,” the Palace official maintained.
Lacierda said that what is important on the President’s visit was he was able to show his solidarity to the relatives of the fallen troopers.
“The President was there to express solidarity. And to also ask further ‘kumusta na?’ How are things… And I think most importantly if there is any group of people who demanded answers, these are the people who sought the answers, who wanted the answers. They asked hard questions to the President and the President did not in any way shy away from answering those questions,” he said.
Lorna Sagonoy, the mother of the late PO1 Joseph Sagonoy, said that it was Aquino who told them that they are now equal.
“Kagaya daw ng ginawa [sa] tatay niya noon, masakit daw sa kalooban niya kaya daw ‘tabla-tabla tayo.’ Yun ang sinabi ni President,” Sagonoy said in an interview over radio dzMM last Saturday.
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