August 24, 2001, Inquirer, Macapagal says gov't own probe shows no army-Abu collusion,
Posted: 10:29 PM (Manila Time)
PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Friday an internal investigation conducted by her administration found untrue the reported collusion of some officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Abu Sayyaf bandit group during a controversial encounter in Lamitan, Basilan, in Mindanao, a Malacañang statement announced.
In a roundtable interview by selected media outfits at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, the President said she is satisfied with the way the investigation was conducted and its findings.
"The internal investigation indicates that there was no collusion," the Malacañang statement quoted the President as saying. It added that she said she was "satisfied with the internal investigation".
Ms Macapagal also said that "for the sake of transparency… if an independent branch of government, (such) as Congress, wants to investigate, then it's their right and it's good for the people to know."
The Senate and the House of Representatives are separately investigating the June 2 encounter between government soldiers and the Abu Sayyaf group holding two American and 17 Filipino hostages.
The Lamitan town's Catholic parish priest, Father Cirilo Nacorda, told House defense committee members on Friday that an army general and four senior officers had allowed the bandits to escape an army cordon with their hostages.
The army general, Romeo Dominguez, maintains he is innocent.
Nacorda said he witnesses had confirmed his "suspicion that some elements in the military...had been conspiring with the Abu Sayyaf all these years."