HOUSE Independent Bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said yesterday the proposed deposition for President Benigno Aquino III on the House Mamasapano probe would not be enough to answer all questions about the bloody incident.
While the separation of powers exists, Romualdez said only the appearance of President Aquino in a congressional investigation will help lessen public uproar over his not telling the whole truth behind the incident.
“President Aquino can show that he is sincere by appearing before a congressional probe so that the gap in the circumstances behind the incident can be answered. The public wants the complete picture of the incident,” Romualdez stressed.
“A deposition is incomplete and insufficient because this may not cover all the issues to be raised during the hearing,” said Romualdez.
In a related development, Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte, Jr. said yesterday he will call a leaders’ caucus to discuss the possibility of President Aquino sending a written or video deposition to the House joint probe on the Mamasapano carnage.
Belmonte, vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), said the deposition is a better alternative so that President Aquino can present his side on the circumstances in the Mamasapano operation that resulted to the deaths of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF).
He reiterated his rejection of the proposal to invite President Aquino during the resumption of the investigation on Monday and Tuesday next week.
“That’s an idea (deposition) to consider. We are against inviting him (President Aquino) in the hearing because of the principle of separation of powers,” Belmonte explained.
“I will take it up with other House leaders in a caucus before the resumption of the probe,” Belmonte said.
The House Committee on Public Order and Safety and House Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer and Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman, respectively, will resume its Mamasapano investigation on April 7 and 8.National Police), and substantially they already have given us the significant data,” said Hataman.
Some senators see nothing new in the statement made by President Aquino in defending himself on the Mamasapano massacre.
Sen. Bongbong Marcos said that the latest defense of the President still passes the blame to others.
“(There is) nothing new there. (Aquino) still says it’s everybody’s fault but his own,” said Marcos in a text message.
He added that the people will despair of ever learning the whole truth.
An administration ally, Sen. Chiz Escudero said he has not yet read Aquino’s latest statements but said that based on what he heard, it was just an “amplification” of what he had already said about his knowledge in the operation.
However, Escudero believes that in the coming days, the President will continue to issue statements to explain what really happened that time.
Asked if it was sufficient to satisfy those calling for Aquino to say sorry for the botched operation, the senator said: “Papunta na yata dun sa tingin ko. Pagkakataon na lang siguro para mapakinggan sya ng ating mga kababayan. Sana huwag isara ng ating kababayan yung kanilang isip kaugnay sa mga salitang binibitiwan or bibitiwan ni Pangulong Aquino.”
Escudero chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, one of three committees that investigated the Mamasapano operation.
He reiterated that an apology should be given voluntarily and should not be imposed on anyone.
Aquino , over the weekend, said that his fault in the botched Mamasapano operation that left 44 elite policemen dead was that he trusted certain people, apparently referring to resigned Philippine National Police Chief Dir. Gen. Alan Purisima, and sacked Special Action Force head, Director Getulio Napeñas.
But Acting Minority Leader Sen. Tito Sotto said that the mistakes of Purisima and Napeñas are forgone conclusions as manifested by the President.
“What we should focus on also is what transpired from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m? Why was there no help?” Sotto said in a separate text message, referring to that fateful day of January 25.
With Marlon Purificacion