Religious group pushes for Truth Commission

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A Catholic umbrella organization of men and women has joined a call by members of Congress for the creation of an independent fact-finding commission that will investigate the Mamasapano encounter that killed 44 Philippine National Police Special Action Force commandos and 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

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“We call for the establishment of a Truth Commission to conduct an independent investigation on the “Mamasapano Black Sunday” and to determine accountability as well as command responsibility,” the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) said in a statement.

The AMRSP is composed of 268 women and 88 men who are members of various religious congregations in the country.

An investigation on the incident is being conducted by the PNP’s Board of Inquiry, while the Fact Finding Committee of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has already submitted its findings to the President.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has announced the creation of a “special team” composed of prosecutors and investigators from the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the incident.

The Truth Commission, on the other hand, is the subject of a proposed bill authored by Senators Teofisto Guingona III, Paolo Aquino IV and Aquilino Pimentel III and a counterpart bill in the House of Representatives authored by Reps. Jorge Banal, Sitti Turabin Hataman and Marcelino Teodoro.

The AMRSP said that its proposal for the creation of a Truth Commission is based on the belief that peace “is founded on justice and mutual trust.”

“The restoration of the Filipino people’s trust is vital in any peace-building effort,” the group explained.

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