Press Release
November 11, 2015

Duterte, Cayetano comfort SAF widows
Both vow to provide free legal service to their families

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte once again extended their sympathy and support to the wives and families of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos who were killed in the Mamasapano tragedy in January this year.

The two officials on Wednesday, November 11, opened the 23rd Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers of the Philippines (AFAD) Defense and Sporting Arms Show in SM Megamall in Ortigas.

After which, they had lunch with family members of the SAF troopers who were involved in the blotched operation in Maguindanao that claimed the lives of the 44 elite cops.

The SAF families were supposed to attend a hearing that was set by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday regarding the Mamasapano incident. In a subpoena issued by the DOJ, the families were informed that failure to attend the hearing would merit a corresponding penalty.

The scheduled hearing however, got cancelled to give way to preparations for the upcoming Asia Pacific-Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings next week. But the families lamented that they were not formally informed about the cancellation and knew about it only when they were already on their way to Manila.

Cayetano and Duterte, for their part, expressed their sympathy for the SAF families, while reassuring them that they will never stop supporting and assisting them with their needs.

Duterte also vowed to provide free legal services to the families of the fallen SAF commandos.

"Tutulungan namin kayo at hindi namin kayo pababayaan. Hanggang nandito si Alan, kung ano ang gawin niya ay susunod ako sa kanya," Duterte told the families.

Cayetano had been joining calls for the government to fast track the investigation of the gruesome January-25 incident in order to give justice to the deaths of the SAF members, whom he claimed were merely following orders to defend the country against terrorists.

"We owe it to the families of our slain SAF heroes to make sure that those who are responsible for the deaths of their loved ones are held accountable," he earlier said.

On Monday night, Duterte attended Cayetano's post birthday celebration at the senator's home in Taguig City, where he spoke as a guest of honor and was asked about his plans to possibly run for president in 2016.

Reacting to such questions, the mayor said whether or not he would vie for the presidency is a matter of destiny and God's will. Cayetano, for his part, said he remains committed to convincing the mayor to change his mind, stressing that the Filipinos need leaders like Duterte who can bring real changes in Filipinos' lives.

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