Bbm And Deles.m4a: Audio recording on Mamasapano 'whitewash'

Bbm And Deles.m4a is the audio filename of the taped conversation between Senator Bongbong Marcos and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles.

In a Facebook post on February 12, journalist Carmen Pedrosa said the private conversation between "a senator" and peace negotiator Secretary Ging Deles was sent exclusively to Bayanko. She said the audio recording "confirms certain events and details for a whitewash."

Deles assailed what she called "malicious misinformation" being spread on social media alleging that she talked to a legislator mentioning an intent to "whitewash" the tragic events that unfolded in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25.

"That is a falsehood," Deles said, referring to Pedrosa's Facebook post.

"I did have two meetings with two senators the day after the Mamasapano incident. One was with Senator [Ferdinand] "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. and the other with Senate President Franklin Drilon," Deles recalled. "But I never adverted to anything about a plan to ‘make the incident disappear’ or for a 'whitewash.'"

On January 26, Deles was in the Senate to attend a hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law organized by the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and presided by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. Marcos was in attendance during said hearing‎.

"After the hearing, I met with Senator Marcos in his office to discuss the Mamasapano incident over which the Senator expressed concerns while we were still in the meeting room," Deles said. "There was nothing in our conversation that suggested any intent to whitewash the tragic incident. Certainly, we share the utmost efforts and hope of gaining clarity and accountability on what happened," she emphasized‎.

‎According to records of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Deles' meeting with Senator Marcos started at approximately 1:30 p.m. of January 26 and lasted about 15 minutes.

"We actually concluded our meeting by agreeing to wait for more information to come in on what really transpired, and share what we can with each other," Deles further related.

They also agreed that a meeting between the Senator and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal may be arranged to discuss the Senator's concerns with regard to the Mamasapano incident. Said meeting happened a week after, on February 2.

According to a report on The Manila Times, Senator Marcos claimed that the taped conversation between him and Deles was authentic.

"Unfortunately I have to say totoo (real). We first heard about this on Friday, I had my staff check it, I told them to listen to the tape and they said it was me talking and we can identify precisely it was the meeting between you and Sec. Ging Deles on Monday, so that was the 26th," the lawmaker reportedly told a weekly news forum at the Manila Hotel.

His office is now investigating how the recording was undertaken and reached the media, senior reporter Joel M. Sy Egco wrote in the paper's February 14 issue.

He said: "A copy of the recorded conversation [between Marcos and Deles] reached social networking site Facebook after it was posted by journalist Carmen Pedrosa..." who claimed that it was sent by a certain "Ricky."

In a separate Facebook post, Pedrosa said that what Egco wrote "is not totally accurate."

"I did not post the recorded conversation because I did not know how to transfer an audio recording from email to Facebook. What I mentioned was the existence of such an audio conversation between a senator whom I did not identify and Sec. Deles," she posted last Sunday, February 15.

Meanwhile, Marcos released Monday an official statement on the audio recording through his official website. It reads:

The claim doing the rounds in social media that OPAPP Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles saw me in my office on January 26, the day after the Mamasapano incident, to “whitewash” the investigation is definitely not true. There could not even be any suggestion of a “whitewash” because there was no investigation yet at that time.

In fairness to Sec. Deles, she was there only to brief us and explain what happened on the ground after the senate committee hearing on constitutional amendments chaired by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was held.

We also discussed the BBL as the OPPAP Secretary was seeking clarification on my pronouncement that I was suspending hearings on the BBL until the truth has come out about the death of the 44 SAF commanders in the clash with the MILF and the BIFF.

During our conversation, there were many other people present in the room as I normally have streams of visitors, including my staff and those of OPAPP.

I reiterated my full support in seeking a peaceful settlement with our Bangsamoro people but stressed that we must learn lessons from the Mamasapano incident."

Marcos heads the Senate Committee on Local Government, which deliberates on the Bangsamoro bill jointly with the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation chaired by Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III. ‎The Committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago later on became a third referral on the BBL.