New Mamasapano inquiry splits senators

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SENATORS Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Francis Escudero are divided on a proposal seeking to reopen Senate investigation of the January 25 Mamasapano firefight that led to the killing of 44 police commandos on a mission to capture terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

Marcos said all issues and angles in the gunbattle had already been discussed during the course of investigations conducted by different government bodies including the Senate and there is no point looking at them again.

He added that claims that there is a Caucasian-looking male among the casualties and that Marwan was killed by his own security aide are not new pieces of information and were already brought out during the Senate hearing of the Mamasapano incident.

“We heard all of these stories before,” according to Marcos, referring to the series of hearings conducted by the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee headed by Sen. Grace Poe.


Senator Francis Escudero, however, sees nothing wrong with a new Mamasapano probe.

“I am for the reopening of the Mamasapano probe in the Senate so we can exhaust all possible scenarios and ferret out the truth behind the police operation that targeted an international terrorist but led to the death of our SAF [Special Action Force] troops,” Escudero said in a statement.

Marcos, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said unless new information will be presented, there is no reason to reopen the investigation.

“I haven’t seen any report indicating there is new information. For me, it is very clear that the hearings conducted by different bodies on the incident were thorough and complete,” he added.

The incident was also investigated by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Marcos said the facts of the Mamasapano tragedy have been established clearly.

“It is an extreme form of disrespect to the widows and families of the heroes, the SAF 44, who gave their lives for the capture and neutralization of Marwan in order to attain peace for the whole country,” Marcos said.

Calls for the reopening of the Mamasapano inquiry were raised after President Benigno Aquino 3rd spoke of a supposedly alternative version of the incident.

“There is no such thing as an alternative reality. We already know what happened and what the country wants now is to provide justice not only for the families of the SAF 44 but for the entire Philippine National Police. This is what we should be talking about now,” Marcos said.

But Escudero said the new investigation would be a good way to settle the issue as to who really took down Marwan, after a Moro Islamic Liberation Front source claimed that the Malaysian terrorist was actually put down by his own aide.

Marcos, however, said the question on who fired the shot is a non-issue and that what is important is that Marwan has been neutralized.

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