Truth commission eyed on Mamasapano clash
MANILA, Philippines—A lawmaker on Friday pushed for the creation of an independent truth commission with the power to summon President Benigno Aquino III to answer hard and serious questions about the Mamasapano incident.
Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian of the Nationalist People’s Coalition said only an independent investigative body would be able to conduct an impartial and comprehensive probe on the Jan. 25 debacle in Maguindanao province.
Such a truth commission should be able to compel the President to answer a number of questions, such as whether he gave the go-signal for the ill-fated Special Action Force (SAF) operation to arrest two international terrorists, including the Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” who was killed.
The operation ended in a brutal massacre of 44 SAF troops following an encounter with fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which also lost 18 of its members. Six civilians also died in the crossfire.
“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 in a statement.
“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,” he said.
Gatchalian has filed House Bill No. 5404, one of the measures in the House of Representatives proposing an independent truth commission to probe the bloody clash between police commandos and Muslim rebels.
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