House junks truth panel

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BESIDES from suspending, indefinitely, its own inquiry into the killing of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the House of Representatives has also reportedly abandoned its support to the proposal to create an independent truth commission that will investigate the bloody encounter.

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The creation of an independent fact-finding body, according to Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, is unlikely to push through because of the absence of a counterpart measure from the House.

“The House did not go for it. So it may not push through. They basically said idaan na lang sa hearing [let’s course it through a hearing],” Aquino said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday.

A truth commission can only be set up if there is a measure duly approved by Congress and signed by the President.

While there is already a measure (Senate Bill 2603) pending at the Senate, a counterpart bill from the House of Representatives is needed.

Senate Bill 2603 seeks to create a fact-finding commission, to be called the “Mamasapano Truth Commission” that will have plenary powers to investigate and report on the tragedy.

Under the proposal, the commission will be vested powers to order any agency to produce needed documents and to cite in contempt those who will defy or delay its mandate to investigate the clash that led to the deaths of 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Forces (PNP-SAF).

Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd, one of the authors of the measure, said the independent commission will thoroughly investigate and ferret out the truth behind the mowing down of the 44 police commandos.

The fact-finding commission will be composed of a chairman and two commissioners who will act as a collegial body.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd will appoint the members of the commission.

Sen. Aquino said he sees no problem even if a truth commission is not established since the inquiry being conducted by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs has been effective in finding out the truth.

“In my own assessment, I’m personally satisfied with the openness of the [Senate] hearings. The resource persons were able to answer directly all the questions,” the senator added.

Guingona, however, said the concerned Senate committees will be conducting the first hearing on the measure next week, which means that the chamber will still push thorough with its move to create a truth commission.

The senator added that while the support of the House of Representatives is crucial, he can only push for the passage of the Senate version.

“I can only do what I can do here [Senate]. That’s up to them [House],” Guingona said in an interview.

Executive session
Also on Tuesday, Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said the Senate will not protect or spare anyone liable for the massacre of policemen and civilians in Maguindanao.

Poe’s committee continued to hear the testimony of former Philippine National Police Intelligence head Fernando Mendez and resigned PNP chief Alan Purisima in an executive session.

Mendez and Purisima were with sacked SAF commander Getulio Napenas when the pre-operation briefing for Oplan Exodus was presented to President Benigno Aquino 3rd on January 9.

It was also during the time when Purisima, who was under a six-month suspension, told Napeñas not to inform Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd and acting PNP chief Leonardo Espina about the mission to capture terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

Poe promised to provide the public information discussed during the session that has nothing to do with national security.

One of the issues tackled during the executive session was the supposed involvement of the US in the operation but Minority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd refused to give any information.

Poe said members of the committee will decide if they will still conduct another public hearing.

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4 Comments

  1. Need the UN to investigate the Mamapasano Massacre,like when they investigated the assasination of Lebanese President Rafik Hariri.P-Noy abandoned and betrayed the SAF Police and there is no forgiveness to it.No civilize human being will ever do that.P-NOY is the first who know what is going on he was watching everything at Andrew airbase taken by the drone on a live feed.Zamboanga bombing is a decoy normal for a covert operation.

  2. apolonio reyes on

    Mga Senatongs at Tongreasedapdafmen, nuon napatay si Sen. Ninoy Aquino ay tinatag kagad ni Pres. Marcos ang Fernanado ” Mr. CJ Payong” Commission na walang naniniwala dahil sa kanyang nick name na ” taga paying ni First Lady ” kaya kagad pinalitan ng Tolentino Commission at wala pa din naniwala pagkat si Sen. Arturo Tolentino ay mataas na miembro ng KBL. Kaya tinatag ni Pres. Marcos ang “Agrava Truth Commission ” na inabutan ng EDSA I.
    Nang umupo si Pres. Cory Aquino ay binuhay ang Agrava Truth Commission na ang decision na si Gen. Fabian Ver lamang ang nag utos kila Gen. Luther Custudio at ilan pili ng Avesecom ang pumatay kay Sen. Ninoy Aquino. Wala naniwala, kasama na ako, pati ng mga Aquino na hindi daw gagawin ito ni Gen. Fabian Ver kung walang basbas ng pinakamataas na nakaupo nuon sa Malascanang. KUHA NYO MGA TONGRESSMEN AT SENATONGS?

  3. Claro Apolinar on

    They are all, the majority ruling the House and the Senate, running dogs of Aquino who will be on his side even if it means the destruction of the Philippine Republic. Our situation is worse than if our country were run by a centrally-directed MAFIA or YAKUZA organization!