2-senator ‘committee’ OKs creation of Mamasapano truth commission
MANILA, Philippines — After only one hearing and with only two senators participating on Wednesday, the Senate approved on committee level a bill seeking the creation of the “Mamasapano Truth Commission.”
Only Senators Teofisto Guingona III and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III were present when Senate Bill 2603 was deliberated and approved. The two senators, with Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, are authors of the bill.
The hearing was supposedly a joint session of the Senate committees on public order, peace, unification and reconciliation, and finance.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Guingona said the proposed measure could already be presented on the floor next week or in the next two weeks.
“We have to make the report and will put in the changes. And then we will file it in the plenary,” he said when asked what was the status of the measure.
Asked if that meant that the measure was already approved in the committee level, Guingona said “Yes.”
“No more follow up hearings,” he added.
Despite investigations by various groups and government agencies, the senator insisted that a fact-finding commission on the bloody Mamasapano incident was needed to reconcile the findings of all the different probes.
“Ang daming nag iimbestiga ngayon and I’m sure maraming mga findings sa kanila. At saka I’m sure hindi lahat magkatugma so dapat merong isang reconciling body na magtutuguma ng lahat,” (There are so many investigations going on and I’m sure they have many findings. I’m certain these will not all jibe so we need a body to reconcile all of them) said Guingona.
He maintained his position that members of the commission should be appointed by the President.
Aside from recommending the filing of criminal charges against those who may be found liable for the botched operation, Guingona said the commission might also recommend the creation of other bodies that will “promote reconciliation” and will look into “historical injustices of the past.
“So those things are important, those things take time but those things can be part of the recommendation of the Truth Commission,” he said.
Among those who attended the hearing of the committees and gave their positions on the bill 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; Dr. Edmund Tayao, professor at the University of Santo Tomas, Father Bert Alejo of the Ateneo De Zamboanga University; Datu Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan, executive director of the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia; and Atty. Merlin Magallona, former dean / professor of the University of the Philippines College of Law.
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