Aquino may be called to face proposed Mamasapano inquiry | Inquirer News
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Aquino may be called to face proposed Mamasapano inquiry

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 02:10 PM February 02, 2015

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III may be called to face an independent truth commission proposed by lawmakers to probe the deaths of 44 members of the  Philippine National Police-Special Action Force  (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

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At least three senators and  three  members of the House of Representatives  faced   a joint press conference at the Senate  on Monday to announce their plan  to file bills creating the truth commission.

“We are here today to announce that we are  going to file this afternoon a  bill  creating  the truth commission that will probe the Mamasapano incident,” Senator  Teofisto Guingona  III said.

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Guingona said the members of the commission  will be appointed  by Aquino,  who was  said to have   knowledge  about the  fatal PNP-SAF  operation to arrest two suspected international terrorists.

Asked if the commission would be given the power to invite the President himself  to face its  investigation,  Guingona said: “ They can invite the President , definitely.”

“I’m sure that the President  will accede  because  we have faith in his leadership,”   the senator added.

He said there was no need to compel Aquino as he expressed confidence that the latter would also back the creation of the truth commission.

The President’s cousin, Senator  Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV, also backs the bill  but clarified  that the proposed commission will not  serve as a court  that will decide  and impose  penalties.

“We are not forming a court that will decide on penalties. This is a fact-finding commission,” Senator Aquino said in the same  press conference.

“This is really to ferret out the truth, to find the truth and to be able to make necessary recommendations when they finish they report,” Aquino added.

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“What happened in Mamasapano is a tragic incident but it also  calls for  answers to very difficult questions, questions that strike at the very core principle of any peace agreement. Peace, trust, because without trust, why bother with a peace agreement?” Guingona said.

“To regain the public’s trust, we need a credible independent commission that will look for the the truth,” he said.

Guingona said he was able to talk to Erica Pabalinas, widow of Senior Inspector Ryan Pabalinas, who spoke at the necrological services for the fallen SAF members.

“She asked for justice. Justice not only for our fallen heroes but justice for  everyone and we can only give justice  if we can find  the truth  through an independent  credible truth commission,”  Guingona said.

Aside from Guingona and Aquino,   Senator Aqulino “Koko”  Aquino III  will also sign as co-sponsor of the bill in the Senate.

Amin party-list Representative Sitti Turabin-Hataman said they would also file a  similar bill in the House of Representatives  this Monday afternoon  to back the creation  of the commission.

“We are supporting the call for an independent truth commission. We have to know the truth first for us  to be able to truly   give  justice  to all the victims of the Mamasapano incident,” Hataman said.

“We are one with the people in the call for truth, justice and peace. And we hope that the truth commission which will be created will be able to address the clamor of the people for a truly credible  truth commission,”  she added.

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TAGS: Aquilino Pimentel III, Benigno Aquino III, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, SAF 44, Special Action Force, Teofisto Guingona III, truth commission
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