100 majority solons join call to resume Mamasapano probe
MANILA, Philippines – More members of the majority bloc in the House of Representatives are joining the minority’s petition to resume the investigation of the lower chamber into the Mamasapano debacle.
In a press conference Wednesday, minority leader Ronaldo Zamora said at least 100 of the 119 who signed the petition were from the chamber’s majority bloc, comprised of mostly allies of President Aquino.
All 19 members of the minority bloc joined the petition sent to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. urging for the House to resume its probe, which was suspended on the heels of public backlash that the first hearing took the tone of a circus as emotional and agitated lawmakers upstaged each other.
“These are significant numbers… Clearly, in our issues-based approach, a lot of the majority are joining us. That goes beyond politics or number. This goes to their basic sense of justice, transparency, and accountability,” Zamora said.
Zamora however denied that the bloc was holding hostage the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the discussions of which were put on hold due to the botched Jan.25 incident in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao, which left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters, and five civilians dead.
He also denied threatening the House leadership with suspending the Bangsamoro bill hearings if it won’t budge on refusing to resume the Mamasapano probe, saying the 19-member bloc does not have the political sway in the 290-strong chamber.
“We are not holding anything hostage. We are less than 10 percent in the House,” Zamora said of the bill that seeks to implement the government peace deal with the MILF to create a Bangsamoro entity.
The House leadership had called for the suspension of the Mamasapano probe due to already ongoing investigations by the police and the Senate. Meanwhile, congressional support for the Bangsamoro bill waned due to the involvement of the MILF in the debacle.
For his part, Representative Jeffrey Ferrer, who chairs the public order and safety committee one of the two panels conducting the Mamasapano probe, said the committee will resume its investigation in May when Congress from Holy Week break because the Senate and the Board of Inquiry have already released its findings.
But the resumption of the Mamasapano probe would be executive in nature, Ferrer said, adding that he would appeal to members to talk about the botched operation and not about the Bangsamoro bill.
“It’s still part of the investigation. Wala pang closure sa aming investigation,” he said.
Congress seeks to pass the BBL by June for the President’s approval on June 30.
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