President Benigno Aquino 3rd will not heed the call of some lawmakers for him to attend the inquiry by the House of Representatives into the massacre of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano,Maguindanao.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President cannot be forced to attend congressional hearings.
“You have to consider that it’s the Office of the President that we’re talking about, the office of the head of the executive branch, which is a separate and independent and co-equal from Congress. You also have to afford the office the courtesy and the respect that office demands,” Valte stressed.
She was reacting to the statement of Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House ad hoc panel on the Bangsamoro, that the President should explain why he trusted a suspended chief of the Philippine National Police to execute the mission to arrest terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
“That [having the President in a congressional probe]is a matter that they [lawmakers]need to talk and put to a vote, if they are really going to push for it,” Valte said.
She noted that asking Aquino to face Congress is not the only way to get the president’s output.
She cited the move of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Safety led by Sen. Grace Poe to write Aquino a letter to secure the copy of text messages between the President and Purisima on January 25.
The president granted the Senate panel’s request.
“We leave it up to the responsible congressmen to come up with the proper methodology by which to ask the president that particular question [on Mamasapano],” Valte said.
But for House Deputy Minority Leader Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna, the release of the text messages is not enough.
He said the cell phones of the president and other officials involved in the Mamasapano incident should be thoroughly scrutinized.
“If we want to get to the truth fast and without favor, that [forensic analysis]will be a start,” Colmenares said.
“He [President Aquino] owes it not just to the victims of the Mamasapano incident but the whole Filipino people as well,” he added.