Enrile refutes Aquino claim: ‘I have no grudge against him’
Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile belied President Benigno Aquino III’s statement that the reopening of the Mamasapano hearing at the Senate was politically motivated, saying he has no grudge against the President.
“Ang sentro ng aking questioning will be the participation of the President because hindi maliwanag ‘yun eh. Sinabi nila ultimately responsible. Why? The question is why?” Enrile said in an interview Monday.
(My questioning will focus on the participation of the President because that is not clear. (The report) said he is ultimately responsible. Why? The question is why?)
He was apparently referring to the report of three committees that found the President “ultimately responsible” on the Mamasapano incident last January 25 that left 44 elite policeman and several others dead.
“Now, pakisabi mo lang kung pwede na (can you tell) the President should not suspect any motive here whether because of any grudges or any political agenda. As far as I’m concerned, I’m no longer a politician,” said Enrile, who initiated the reopening of the Mamasapano probe.
“I have no grudge against him… I have no motive here except to serve the interest of the country and I think he is also interested in serving the interest of the country. There is no doubt about that,” the senator added.
Enrile was one of the three senators jailed for their alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in August 2015.
In asking for the reopening of the Mamasapano probe, Enrile said there are still more questions that need to be asked, particularly the participation of the President and other agencies involved in the police operation.
Senator Grace Poe, who leads the Mamasapano probe as chair of the Senate committee on public order, has scheduled the next hearing on January 25, 2016, exactly a year after the incident. The investigation is being conducted by Poe’s committee along with the committees on peace, unification, and reconciliation, and finance.
Enrile said he would not ask the committee to invite the President but said he would be “very respectful” if Aquino would attend the hearing.
Asked if it would be better if the President faces the Senate probe, the Minority Leader said: “Bahala s’ya (It’s up to him), I will not dictate on the President. I am ready to dance according to what the President would want to dance in this hearing.”
Among the resource persons that Enrile requested Poe’s committee to invite in the hearing include Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, resigned Police Chief Alan Purisima, former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang, and former Special Action Force (SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas, among others. IDL
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