DILG chief differs with Senate’s reopening of Mamasapano probe
Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento does not completely agree with the Senate’s decision to reopen the investigation on the deadly Mamasapano debacle that rocked the Aquino administration.
“Dumaan na po ito sa proseso noon sa kamara. Napakahaba na ng inquiry doon, napakaraming imbestigasyon at na-file na ang kaso sa DOJ (Department of Justice),” Sarmiento told reporters in Camp Crame on Tuesday.
“Personal na opinyon ko siguro, ‘yung dinaanang hearing ay i-respeto na natin kung ano man ang resulta ng imbestigasyon na ginawa,” the former secretary general of the Liberal Party said.
Two Senate committees, including the one headed by presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe, have agreed to reopen the probe on the Mamasapano encounter that killed 44 elite policemen and 13 other civilians last January 25.
The committees, which had earlier found President Aquino “ultimately responsible” for the operation, will reconvene on the first anniversary of the bloody raid.
Sarmiento replaced LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas as the Department of Interior and Local Government chief who was kept in the dark about the high-risk mission.
Asked if he thinks the reopening of the probe was politically motivated, Sarmiento said he’s not sure but stressed that both the Senate and the House have invested too much time on the Mamasapano case.
“Talking as a former legislator, napakarami pang nakabinbin na usapin sa kamara at senado na napakaimportante na bills na dapat tingnan at ihabol maipasa,” the former Western Samar district representative said.
The secretary also believes that the Senate should shift their attention to more important bills like the Valuation Reform Act that he authored.
He said the Bangsamoro Basic Law should be prioritized too.
The passage of the controversial measure had been derailed after the troopers of Philippine National Police Special Action Force clashed with Moro armed groups including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Mamasapano raid.
But Sarmiento said he respects the decision of the concerned Senate committee.
“Nirerespeto naman natin ang mga desisyon ng Senado… Kung meron mang patawag ay obligasyon namin na umattend sa kanilang gagawing inquiry,” he said.
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