EXPECT fireworks at the Senate committee hearing on Jan. 25, the first anniversary of the Mamasapano massacre. Just when the Administration thought the worst is over, the ghost of Mamasapano has returned to haunt President BS Aquino The Last.
The reopening of the probe on the Mamasapano Massacre of 44 Special Action Force heroes by the Senate Committee on Public Order, however, will be worthwhile only if it will shed light to unanswered questions, like those on the involvement of President BS Aquino The Last.
The Administration has always demeaned the memory of the SAF heroes starting with the ceremonies at the arrival of their bodies in Nichols. It prefers to call the massacre an “encounter,” which is a little better than the earlier “misencounter.” Then, it blamed the SAF for failing to coordinate before entering the “territory” of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mamasapano.
The most hurting ones were those uttered by BS Aquino when he quoted reports that it was the MILF and not the SAF that killed international terrorist Marwan, the object of the SAF operation in Mamasapano. Aquino later retracted though he didn’t apologize for announcing an unverified claim and demeaning the heroism of the SAF 44, whom he even called “my children.”
Investigations by the House and the Senate had barely uncovered the extent of the President’s involvement in Oplan Exodus to bag Marwan. There were attempts by his men to misinform the probers that they told nothing to the President at the height of the massacre, but this was belied by the sacked SAF chief Gen. Getulio Napenas and later, by PNP chief on-leave Gen. Alan Purisima.
With the reopening of the probe on request of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, more details should come out. Why didn’t the Western Command send helicopters to evacuate the wounded SAF commandoes? Why was there an eight-hour lapse in the supposed text messages of BS Aquino to Purisima?
There’s no cogent reason why the President shouldn’t reveal everything that he knows in a House or Senate inquiry. The President said he’s for finding the whole truth but he has been reluctant to even give a copy of his text messages to Purisima. Aside from revealing his text messages, he must also convince his friends at the MILF to surrender its men accused in the massacre.
BS Aquino said that Purisima and Napenas had lied to him. What were the lies they supposedly told him? Only he knows for he never gave details on these.
I hope the Senate panel will ask Aquino, his defense officials and the telecom firms to give added data on text messages sent and received on Jan. 25, 2015. Then, there’s the more vital issue of whether Aquino had indeed asked the military and the SAF to stand down, as reported by Dr. Dante A. Ang Sr., our chairman emeritus. It was explained that sending reinforcements would jeopardize the peace pact with the MILF.
Then, there’s the question of Malaysian and US involvement in the whole affair.
Sure, presidential contender Sen. Grace Poe will gain a lot of media mileage with the reopening of the Senate inquiry. On the other hand, it’s also an acknowledgment that her committee report which she refused to submit to the plenary for debates was half-cooked and lacking in details. The more meticulous ones never submit a committee report until they have covered all details and have thoroughly reviewed the facts on which they base their findings and recommendations.
By reopening the inquiry, Poe joins the very few committee chairmen who continued with their inquiry after submitting committee reports. The last one to do so is Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona 3rd.
In March, 2011, Guingona, chair of the blue ribbon committee, reopened his panel’s inquiry into the alleged corruption in the military under the previous administration although regular and ex-officio members had already signed a 65-page committee report after conducting six hearings. The reopening was a tacit admission by Guingona that the issuance of the committee report was precipitate, that the committee tasked to investigate venalities in government came out with recommendations in a report even before all facts are in.
Unlike Guingona, however, Poe is not (no longer?) an acolyte of Malacañang. Her refusal to submit the committee report for plenary debate was interpreted to mean she wants to stay in the good graces of Malacañang. But that was before BS Aquino picked Mar Roxas as his anointed presidential candidate, and Poe believes that Roxas is behind moves to disqualify her.