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Mamasapano incident probe suspension needs majority House vote

  • Written by Jester P. Manalastas
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 3353
Ferdinand Martin Romualdez Ferdinand Martin Romualdez

THE suspension of the House hearing on the Mamasapano incident should not only be decided by the leadership but by the entire plenary through a majority vote.
   
This was according to the House Independent Minority bloc, led by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, as it stressed that many lawmakers are in favor of the decision of the House leadership to suspend indefinitely the inquiry of the Lower Chamber.
   
“The House Independent Minority Bloc will call for a vote by all the members of the chamber on whether or not to indefinitely suspend the hearings on the Mamasapano massacre,” Romualdez said.
   
Romualdez said the investigation must be resumed or it will be suspected as Malacañang intervention in what is supposed to be a purely House effort.
   
Upon the advice or order of House leadership, led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the two committees (public order and safety and peace, unity and reconciliation) decided to suspend indefinitely the Mamasapano hearing until the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry (BoI) completes its probe and releases.    
   
According to Romualdez, considering the sensitivity of the issue at hand, public perception of the indefinite suspension will reflect on all the members of the House, and not just on the committees which had been tasked to conduct the probe.
   
“It would be more appropriate, therefore, if the sentiments of all the members will be considered,” he added.
   
Likewise, Romualdez said that there is no sufficient reason why the House should limit or prolong the search for the truth on what really happened at Mamasapano.
   
“It has been clear right from the start that the investigation by the BoI would be limited to the actions and decision of the PNP-SAF during the Mamasapano encounter. Therefore, whatever will be the results of the Board of Inquiry’s probe would never be enough to unravel the whole truth behind the massacre,” the solon said.
   
Romualdez also said that the government must determine the liabilities of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who were part of the clash on January 25.
   
SAF commandos were deployed in Brgy. Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao to get international terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan and his Filipino cohort Abdul Basit Usman.
   
The operation went successful because the elite force killed Marwan, but it turned tragic when 44 commandos died in an almost whole-day gun fight against joint forces of the MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
 
Romualdez also said that if the Senate can go on with their own investigation unhampered, there is no reason why the House could not do the same.
   
“We don’t need to depend on the findings of the Board of Inquiry for its probe of the Mamasapano massacre,” he stressed.
   
Meanwhile, if the inquiry is suspended then it would be time for the administration to create an independent truth commission that will handle the investigation.
   
The independent minority bloc has a pending House Resolution 1879 calling for the creation of a truth commission that will probe the Mamapasano incident.
   
“We in the House are trying to establish the entire picture of what really happened in Mamasapano, as against the Board of Inquiry’s limitation to the PNP. If the House probe will be suspended indefinitely, we strongly appeal to our colleagues to support and adopt House Resolution 1879 creating a Truth Commission to investigate the carnage in Mamapasano,” he said.