An administration solon welcomed the Malacañang announcement that President Benigno Aquino III is willing to cooperate in the ongoing probes on the Jan. 25 Mamasapano incident, which resulted in the slaughter of 44 commandos from the Special Action Force or SAF.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian was reacting to the statement of Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. that the President supported the completion of the narrative of the Mamasapano incident.
However, Coloma could not categorically say if the chief executive was ready to submit a statement to the Philippine National Police’s Board of Inquiry or PNP-BOI.
Coloma said he does not have information if President Aquino actually coordinated with the BOI to give his account of the Mamasapano operation.
“It would be best if President Aquino submits his statement to the PNP-BOI but this remains wishful thinking given the fact that the BOI has no power to summon the commander-in-chief,” Gatchalian said.
The veteran lawmaker maintained that only an independent investigative body like the proposed “Truth Commission” can conduct a comprehensive probe on the Mamasapano incident.
This independent body shall be vested with broad investigatory powers, including summoning resources persons and witnesses, even the President.
“The Truth Commission will be responsible for investigating the preparation and implementation of the SAF operation, the real sequence of events on the ground during the incident itself, and any other occurrences material to the identification of the accountabilities and liabilities of all parties either directly or indirectly involved in the incident,” said Gatchalian, who filed House Bill No. 5404 that seeks to create the “Mamasapano Truth Commission”.
Gatchalian said the Jan.-25 incident, considering its urgency and gravity, requires the swift passage of the measure creating the “Mamasapano Truth Commission”. Its counterpart bill in the Senate, S.B. 2603, was filed by Senators Teofisto Guingona III, Bam Aquino, and Koko Pimentel.
“Being the servant of the public, it is of utmost importance for the President to have the truth commission institutionalized at the shortest possible time given the clamor for truth by his bosses. As many people say: Justice delayed is justice denied,” Gatchalian said.
The legislator maintained that the President should be among those who will be summoned by the said commission following persistent reports that he gave the go-signal for the SAF operation and he even flew to Zamboanga on Jan. 25 reportedly to monitor the progress of the operation
“The President should also attend the proceedings of such commission if his testimony is needed and truthfully answer the questions of the panel. He should lead by example,” Gatchalian said.
He also said all the President has to do is to certify as urgent HB 5404 and SB 2603 and the House Speaker and Senate President will direct the concerned committees to expedite the hearings on the two bills. (R. Burgos)