Senate looks into Mamasapano truth commission
MANILA, Philippines — Exactly a month after the January 25 Mamasapano operation, the Senate held its first hearing on Wednesday on the proposed creation of the “Mamasapano Truth Commission” that would look into the incident.
The joint hearing of the Senate committees on public order, peace, unification and reconciliation, and finance started shortly after 1o a.m.
Among the invited resource persons in the hearing were Nasser Mahoramsalic, convener of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy and former commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights; Raul Rocky Villanueva, dean of Xavier University College of Law; and Dr. Edmund Tayao from the Political Science Department of the University of Santo Tomas.
Also invited were Father Bert Alejo of the Ateneo De Zamboanga University; Datu Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasa, executive director of the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia; Dr. J. Propero De Vera III, vice-president for Public Affairs of the University of the Philippines, Atty. Merlin Magallona, former dean / professor of the University of the Philippines College of Law.
The hearing by the three committees came a day after they concluded the same investigation on the Mamasapano incident that left 44 elite policemen dead.
The commission as proposed under Senate Bill 2603 filed by Senators Teofisto Guingona III, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel IV will be composed of a chairperson and two commissioners appointed by the President of the Philippines. The bill seeks to provide the body a P50 million-budget for its operational expenses from the available funds of the National Treasury.
It would have “plenary powers” to “investigate and report upon the deaths and injuries of members of the Special Action Force unit of the Philippine National Police in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.”
The commission, under the proposed measure, will have the power to issue subpoena, cite any person in contempt and impose appropriate penalties, among others.
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