• The truth has one version. Only one.

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    There’s a scene in the film “Something’s Gotta Give” which crystallizes acutely what the nation faces with the government’s decision to unleash multiple inquiries on the Mamasapano massacre under the guise of searching for the truth.

    In the scene, Jack Nicholson, playing a ladies man and looking like somebody who has gotten away with something, pleads with his 50-something loved one Diane Keaton to forgive him. He says: “I’ve never lied to you. I’ve always told you some version of the truth.”

    Diane replies angrily: “The truth doesn’t have versions, okay?”

    It’s a point that should immediately be raised with the chief investigator of each inquiry into the massacre.

    Eight different inquiries
    The last time I counted with my fingers, eight different inquiries were being set up for funding and launching. Each one wants to come up with a version of the truth. The inquiries, in no particular order of importance, are:

    1. PNP Board of Inquiry

    (constituted by DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, with PMA classmates of suspended and resigned PNP Chief Purisima in the panel)

    2. Senate committee inquiry, with Sen. Grace Poe as chief investigator.

    All senators are welcome to join the party
    3. Justice department inquiry

    (Constituted by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima)

    4. Investigation by the International Monitoring Team

    5. Investigation by the proposed truth commission or fact-finding body, if it is created by congress

    6. Joint inquiry by the two houses of congress (proposed by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte)

    7. Investigation by the Moro Islamic liberation Front (MILF)

    8. Investigation to be personally conducted by President Aquino (as he announced in his second speech on the massacre)

    Will each inquiry produce its own version of the truth? When all versions are finished, will they add up to something that can be called the truth? What will be presented to the grieving families to satisfy their demands for justice?

    You have to be dense and clueless like President Aquino not to see what is happening here.

    The whole point of all this inquiring is to cover up what happened. It is to come up with the uniform finding that President Aquino is innocent of wrongdoing. He did not send all those young brave commandos to their deaths. He dutifully shed tears.

    Inquiry by politicians a travesty
    The latest inquiry to take off is the Senate inquiry, which got off and running yesterday.

    The hearing was called by the Senate committee on public order chaired by Sen. Grace Poe, who’s been itching for some time to conduct an inquiry and pose as a hotshot lawyer and investigator.

    I don’t know what happened at the hearing yesterday. I did not have the stomach to endure another Senate inquiry on live TV.

    As I have already stated in this column, I believe that only an independent and comprehensive inquiry conducted by a commission or fact-finding body created by Congress for the purpose will have the credibility and authority to satisfactorily investigate the events and circumstances surrounding the incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Congress must vest it with powers and give it a budget sufficient to conduct a full-scale inquiry. The members must be persons of undoubted probity.

    An inquiry by a congressional committee – even by a joint committee of the legislature—does not qualify as a substitute.

    An investigation conducted by politicians, especially politicians allied to the administration, is a travesty of the needed process. It cannot conduct an inquiry that will bring closure to this gaping wound in national life.

    Senator Poe thoughtlessly compromised her inquiry and herself when she made public statements commending President Aquino for accepting Alan Purisima’s resignation, and commending Purisima for resigning. Will she have the gall to call Aquino for questioning; what will she do when he expectedly refuses? Will she haul him to the Senate in the same way that they dragged Mayor Junjun Binay to the Senate chambers for refusing to testify.

    Senate President Drilon compromised the whole Senate when he preempted any inquiry by declaring that the president bears no responsibility or culpability for the massacre. Senator Antonio Trillanes went further by exonerating both Aquino and Purisima.

    Why the TV networks insist in putting them on live TV is grotesque.

    An absolute need to know
    An inquiry into Mamasapano is imperative; it is a serious national undertaking that must be conducted with care, impartiality, professionalism and total integrity. No stone should be left unturned until all the pertinent facts are gathered.

    The fact that the President may have to be authorized to appoint the members of the fact-finding commission should not paralyze us into inaction. A two-step process like that followed by the Judicial and Bar Council for selecting candidates for the Supreme Court may work to insure the body from politics.

    The certitude that President Aquino will have to called to testify should not also throw a monkey wrench on the inquiry. He can testify in executive session if necessary.

    The multiple inquiries are a distraction and a waste of money. We have to turn our undivided attention on a real inquiry.

    There is today, right now, an absolute need to know what really happened in Mamasapano, and why it happened.

    The conscience and honor of the nation are on the balance.

    yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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    15 Comments

    1. The truth starts when everybody starts to stop referring to simyon as “president” for he is never one. He never won a clean and honest election. Secondly, he does not act as one. When everybody including the media will just refer to him as plain simyon, he will know that he has lost all respect and that may prod him to step down voluntarily. He can not “resign” because he just usurped the office. He occupied it illegally just as he illegally plundered government coffers to the tune of no less than PP160 Billion.

    2. Another Philippines MORO MORO and as usual no result, no kulong and no tax money for Juan dela Cruz. KAPAL naman ni PURISIMA hehehehe

    3. Para’ng Tumama sa Bigtime Lotto si Napenas, sa pa-Lotto ng Malakanyang. At the expense of 44 statistical numbers sacrificed.

    4. “So what is the truth?”
      As we speak, it has many versions. The most intriguing ONE is of course held by no less than the sitting president himself – which could only be discuss on a close-door-executive session(sorry Freedom of Information -you have no business sniffing around). Who in this world a moron would indict himself with self incriminating admittance that he bungled the covert ops code name Oplan Exodus. NOT even a moronic prez like Simeon 3rd obsessed with Nobel peace piece would admit to such – given the nature of character this sitting prez is renown for.
      Well, by the magical Powers of Presidential Discretionary Funds, – the willing Fall Guy SAF Director Napenas would be handsomely REWARDED – even with the impending loss of his retirement benefits for a possible “dishonorable discharge” for this fiasco – for EXONERATING his TWO IMMEDIATE SUPERIORS who planned and executed this Oplan Exodus , with him as the actual ground Director of the whole ops, Without the knowledge and concurrence of his immediate Bosses, SILG Roxas and PnP OIC Espina. He is about to lose his retirement benefits, but he will gain more for taking all the Blame intended for the CinC and suspended PnP Gen. THAT’S ALL FOLKS, PATRONAGE POLITICS IS WELL SERVED, – YOU SCRATCH MY BACK, I’LL SCRATCH YOURS. TAXPAYERS MONEY IS YOUR REWARD, by way of Presidential Discretionary Funds..

    5. First of all, the BBL is a waste of time and peoples money. Where in this world can you find a peace being negotiated with a group (MILF) that does not even represent a majority of the muslim community? MILF are just armed group with selfish interest and yet Abnoy was snared by their unlawful and unconvincing stand due to his personal selfish interest to qualify for the noble peace prize. I have the belief that MILF were the one who coddled Marwan and at the same time double crossed him after they have acquired his talent of being a terrorist and for the big bounty. If the BBL will proceed with the MILF, the country will fall into the hands of multiple new arm groups that idolizes the MILF strategy.

    6. What does this again tell you about the people running the philippines, they dont have a clue. They are like a bunch of disorganised bufoons. The blind leading the blind. It doesnt seem to bother them how the publics money is spent. We all know we all want the truth in this to come out. Having so many versions of the truth arrived at we then have to ask who will decide which version we accept. In fact they should then have to have an inquest into did they choose the correct version of the truth. All these things keep reminding me of the slogan, ” only in the philippines “.

    7. Primer C. Pagunuran on

      Another is the FBI at least in so far as the DNA validation probe is concerned. Still another is the Commission on Human Rights launched by Etta Rosales but more appearing like she is a mere publicity hound. Another one, however strangely, is the Department of Health under guise of “psycho-trauma counselling” of sorts. And still counting, who can tell.

    8. To render justice to the aggrieved and at the same time to balance the honor and conscience of the nation, the basic facts are clear upon which a response is in need. A response acceptable which follows the law of cause and effect. Jordan has led that example when only one killed by the ISIS, retalliation was correctly applied. If we just wait and rely on what these investigations will produce we will never have given what justice requires.Let us keep our response without waiting on all not-that- important.factual background to be disclosed. My guiding principle is KISS, keep it simple stupid.

      • I AGREE WITH YOU. Do what the Jordanian King did. Quickly retaliated upon seeing one of his citizens being burned to death by the colleagues of the MILF, BIFF, ABU SAYAF. Barbarians all. Pero si Abnoy at Caduwag este Catapang pala eh takot na masaktan ang damdamin ng mga kaibigan nila sa MILF, BIFF, ABU SAYAF at baka daw isipin na nagdedeklara tayo ng GIYERA. Messrs. Aquino, Catapang at mga alyado nyo: WE ARE AT WAR SINCE THEN WITH THESE BARBARIAN TERRORIST GROUPS. WHY WORRY NOW? The 44 SAF were mere addition to the number of AFP Troopers and soldiers these groups massacred, mutilate, decapitated in the past. They do not like peace, they like war and give it to them. HYPOCRITES!!!

    9. The truth all the people already knew is this: As early as 5;00AM the SAF Gen Napenas was already asking for Army units for reinforcement as the blocking force were already pinned down but the Army said they could not send any help because of the peace process. Hence who told told the Army to stand down? If it is not the President himself or the Peace negotiators like Deles and Ferrer? All the investigations will be short of the truth because we all know already that the President is involved in the SAF mission and Noynoy ordered the Army to stand down when his SAF were already pinned down because of the peace process.

      • Absolutely Right. The SAF commander was just following a plan hatched by the President and the ex-chief of PNP. In spite of asking for help the military did not come. Who gave the orders to the military. Once you get the answer, you dont need any commission of inquiry. Also the MILF is a party to the peace process. Why those barbarians engaged themselves in the massacare?

    10. vagoneto rieles on

      Since the Mamasapano shootout two weeks ago,there have been as many versions of of the story as there are spokespersons..from Malacanang’s mouth pieces to Napenas, Purisima and Catapang who, themselves, are the ‘last-stop-of-the-buck’ in their respective units. Thus far, however, the issue is as cloudy as ever. These spokespersons appear to be citing facts.. some of which are not germane to the event..thereby, effectively masking the truth. The media, (press, Saksi and TV Patrol) present no real help, as their accounts make an already nebulous picture, an even more amorphous narrative, by offering conflicting reports, often in the same newspaper. It leaves one to believe that the incident is being methodically muddled.
      The PDAF reportage, as well as those of the ‘hulidap sa EDSA’ and the ‘Binay saga’ seem to have had more structure and consistency..so that following them, and believing them were easier. The Mamasapano encounter will eventually come down to the people’s own perception. While government might avoid condemnation as a result of this, (as perhaps intended), it will surely loose credibility and support. And the public will remain as fragmented as ever. This is unfortunate, because, while there were lapses and outright errors in the handling of the raid, (it was clearly a raid); there were no real culprits..even as there are now scapegoats.
      I can only wish that the politicians and media did not have their own selfish, hidden agendas.

    11. GROTESQUE…..TRAVESTY…..WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY…… I agree that these are words describing the senate inquiry yesterday. I endured watching it because like the victims and survivor…. I thought justice would be somewhere around the corner. At the end of the day, I am still seething with anger and emotionally drawn to the men in uniform. This Senate inquiry should be stopped or better yet not aired at all. I regret having voted for those sitting there as senators. We need a system change. Thank you Mr Makabenta for your incisive and honest assessment.

    12. Well…. the truth has several versions. Like everyone would know that it is made up the December 25 date folrHesuKristo. So what is the truth?