More than 60 people died in the 11-hour firefight between the elite Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015.
After receiving the 2017 Tandang Sora Award from the Quezon City government on Friday, Morales spoke to reporters but did not specify a date when her office will wrap up the probe.
"Maybe this year. Maybe next year," she said.
When reporters pointed out that her term would end in July 2018, Morales said: "Matagal pa 'yun. One and a half years. So 'wag mong sabihing it will take me one and a half years to conduct an investigation. Hindi naman siguro."
In July 2015, Morales approved the preliminary investigation proceedings against dismissed PNP chief Dir. Gen. Alan Purisima, former SAF chief Police Director Getulio Napeñas Jr. and nine other police officials who were allegedly responsible for the Mamasapano encounter.
The special panel of investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office (FIO) had recommended filing an administrative charge of grave misconduct and a criminal charge of violation of section 3 (a) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Purisima, Napeñas and SAF Intelligence Group Director Senior Superintendent Fernando Mendez.
Purisima was accused of leading, planning and implementing the covert PNP-SAF operation in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao despite having been placed under preventive suspension by the Ombudsman over a separate graft case.
The prime objective of the operation, codenamed Oplan Exodus, was to arrest three high-profile terrorists, including Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
The Ombudsman earlier ordered that Purisima be dismissed from service in connection with the alleged anomalous contract with a courier service company, Werfast Documentary Agency. Napeñas on the other hand has since retired from service.
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