The proposed Truth Commission that will probe the Mamasapano carnage has reached first base in the Senate but the measure is not gaining any ground at all.
The reason is that the House of Representatives is yet to act on two counterpart measures seeking to establish the commission.
The first proposal is House Bill 5442, which seeks to establish a Citizens Commission with a P20 million budget, which will function for six months and will be staffed by a chairman and four members to be appointed by the President.
The four will include: A member of the Muslim community, a worker in a non-government or civil society organization that advocates peace, a civilian academician whose expertise is in the field of national defense and a civilian academician whose expertise is Moro/Mindanao studies.
House Bill 5442 is authored by Representatives Sitti Hataman of Abante Mindanao, Leni Robredo of Camarines Sur, Arlene Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands, Bolet Banal of Quezon City, Marcelino Teodoro of Marikina City (Metro Manila), Teddy Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao, Sherwin Tugna of Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption, as well as Ibarra Gutierrez and Walden Bello of Akbayan.
“This undertaking is the realization of the resolve of the House of Representatives to make concrete contributions to the attainment of justice for the casualties of the Mamasapano incident by means of deliberate and thorough investigations to be conducted by a body composed of citizens of unimpeachable integrity and credibility,” the authors said.
“The unfortunate event has sweeping effects and repercussions that may possibly impede the ongoing peace process between the national government and the MILF [Moro Islamic Liberation Front], but more important, we need to honor the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and appease the grief of the victims’ families by giving them the truth and justice they deserve,” they added.
On the other hand, the Makabayan bloc is proposing House Bill 5462, which seeks to create a Mamasapano Truth Commission.
Under the Makabayan bloc’s version, the Truth Commission will be composed of a chairman and two commissioners to be appointed by the President.
But unlike the proposal of administration lawmakers, the Makabayan version does not require a member to be a Muslim expert.
“An independent and impartial commission that will ferret out all facts and consider all angles and seek the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, is necessary,” the authors, which include Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela, Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis and Terry Ridon of Kabataan, said.
“The multi-layered and simultaneous probes being conducted by the House of Representatives, the Senate, the PNP Board of Inquiry, the MILF, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Justice are necessary and timely,” they added.
The House, however, is yet to get its act together to consider and consolidate the proposed measures.