Congress, PNP probe on Mamasapano clash ‘compromised,’ says CBCP
MANILA, Philippines—The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Wednesday said the integrity of a Congress-led investigation, as well as the police board of inquiry, on the death of 44 elite cops in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao, will be “compromised” by political affiliations and chain of command.
In a statement, CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the Filipino bishops are supporting the establishment of a “credible” independent truth commission.
The CBCP “fully supports and endorses the creation of a credible truth commission or a fact-finding body. Any inquiry by a police body, such as a Board of Inquiry, no matter how veridical its findings, will be weighed down by lingering doubts about its preparedness to point to liability, no matter how high up the chain of command attribution must go!” Villegas said.
“Subordinate officers, whether in the police or in the military, after all seldom point accusingly at superiors! An investigation by Congress is likewise compromised by the political allegiances of most of its members,” he said.
The CBCP also enumerated the desirable traits to be considered in picking members of the truth commission, adding that advocates of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should not be considered as nominees.
“The CBCP therefore strongly suggests that the members of any such committee, though appointed by the President, must be endorsed by and acceptable to the public, recognized for their probity, acknowledged for their truthfulness and characterized by their boldness,” Villegas said.
“The vocal advocates for the passage of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law are not credible nominees because they have made it exceedingly clear that they would not like the sad incident to derail the process of the enactment of the BBL,” the CBCP head added.
The Church group emphasized that any probe on the bloody Mamasapano encounter should remain transparent.
“It is as important that the hearings of the body be open to all, and that its findings be available to all. Nothing is served by secrecy,” he added.
Last Monday, House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. proposed a joint investigation with the Senate on the Mamasapano clash.
“We are the proper party, not some retired justices… Congress has certain inherent powers,” Belmonte maintained.
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