Senate draft report urges filing of murder, robbery, others vs SAF 44 killers
MANILA, Philippines — A Senate draft report on the Mamasapano incident has recommended the filing of murder, frustrated or attempted murder and robbery charges against those who killed the 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF).
In a 7-page executive summary of the draft report, which was released to the media on Tuesday by Senator Grace Poe, the three committees of the Senate — public order, finance and peace reconciliation and unification — that conducted the investigation on the incident decided to leave the responsibility of identifying the assailants to the Department of Justice.
But the three committees recommended the filing of criminal charges against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters, as well as those from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and members of private armed groups involved in the incident.
“As to the deaths of the PNP-SAF troopers: Murder as qualified by the circumstances of taking advantage of superior strength and with the aid of armed men…”
As to the injuries suffered by some PNP-SAF troopers, the committees recommended the filing of frustrated or attempted murder “depending on the nature of the injuries sustained.”
“As to the taking of the weapons, equipment and uniforms and personal effects of the killed PNP-SAF troopers, robbery as defined in Article 293 and qualified under Articles 294 and 295 of the Revised Pena Code,” said the executive summary.
The committees found “unmeritorious and without basis the statement” of MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal that the actions of the MILF fighters in Mamasapano against the PNP-SAF troopers were not sanctioned by the MILF leadership and “were not part of any MILF operation and, therefore, such acts were individual acts on the part of the MILF fighters, who claimed that they acted in in “self-defense” as “armed men” entered their communities.”
Poe said during a press conference that the Mamasapano incident was clearly a “massacre” and not simply a so-called “encounter” or “misencounter.”
The executive summary pointed put the testimony of the survivors who recounted how their companies were surrounded and decimated that even wounded SAF soldiers were fired upon.
“This was supported by the autopsy reports which showed that the SAF commandos were shot at close range. At least 26 out of the 44 SAF agents were shot in the head. Of the 26, seven were shot through the back of the head; seven were shot near or between the eyes; five were shot through the forehead; the rest were shot through the temples or through the jaws,” it said.
“The trajectories of the bullets further indicate that the shots were fired while victims lay on the ground. One skull was so severely injured that the point of exit could no longer be determined. The autopsy report also found it possible that a number of the SAF troopers had their vests removed before they were shot. Clearly, there was no intent to let any of these men live,” the summary added.
The draft report though has yet to get the votes or signatures of the majority members of the three committees before it can be transmitted to the plenary for either adoption or rejection.