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Poe should inhibit self from Mamasapano probe, says Alan Cayetano

/ 05:03 AM January 10, 2016

Presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe should inhibit herself from the reopening of the Senate investigation into the Mamasapano debacle and let a noncandidate chair the hearing, according to vice presidential candidate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who said he would do the same.

Cayetano said that, for that matter, all senators running for top posts should recuse themselves from the case.

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In a radio interview, Cayetano said Poe had already given her opinion on the Mamasapano incident through the committee report that she had drafted and she herself had said that she stood by her findings.

Poe had chaired earlier hearings on the issue, since she heads the committee on public order.

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In the same vein, Poe had asked the justices who had ruled on her citizenship in her Senate Electoral Tribunal case to inhibit themselves from the proceedings on her petition against the Commission on Elections that also deal with her citizenship, Cayetano said.

Voluntary decision

“Maybe it would be better it she [Poe] passes it to the vice chair [of the committee] or to a senator who is not running, and she could just monitor the hearing. I would do the same,” Cayetano said in the radio interview.

Anyway, Poe would still have control of the committee report, he added.

Poe’s spokesperson, Rex Gatchalian, said the senator had shown her impartiality in previous hearings on the issue and would continue to do so.

Gatchalian also said that inhibition was a voluntary decision.

“But if that is the collective wisdom of the Senate, then I am sure she will abide by it,” he said.

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He said Poe would have no problem relinquishing the task of chairing the hearing, but noted that her cochair was also a candidate.

The vice chair of the public order committee is Sen. Gregorio Honasan, who is running for vice president.

Cayetano said his decision to inhibit himself from the case was to address fears that the hearing would be politicized.

But he said he would submit questions on the issue and the committee should accept them and ask them of the resource persons. This could be done, he said.

“If there is fear that this would be politicized, I will inhibit and I will submit my questions to the committee,” he added.

First anniversary

Aside from Poe, Cayetano and Honasan, four other senators are seeking top executive posts.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago is running for president, while Francis Escudero, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Antonio Trillanes IV are running for vice president.

The reopening of the Mamasapano inquiry is scheduled on Jan. 25, the first anniversary of the bloody clash between police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and Moro fighters and private armed groups.

The incident led to the death of 44 SAF troopers, 17 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members and three civilians.

It also imperiled the Bangsamoro bill, a key piece in the government’s peace agreement with the MILF.

The reopening of the Senate investigation was prompted by a request from Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

President Aquino believes the Senate’s decision is politically motivated, saying the proponent likely harbors a grudge against his administration.

Lingering questions

He also said he was told the committee chair handling the matter did not refuse the request to reopen the probe.

Meanwhile, Marcos castigated Malacañang’s insinuation of bad faith in the Senate’s decision to reinvestigate the Mamasapano incident.

Marcos said the President himself had noted that this could be an opportunity to provide answers to lingering questions on the issue.

“So if Malacañang really has nothing to hide it should welcome the reopening of the investigation. I believe majority of the Filipino people sincerely want answers and would be discerning enough to recognize any attempt at grandstanding merely to score political points,” he said in a statement.

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TAGS: Alan Peter Cayetano, Cayetano, Grace Poe, Mamasapano, Mamasapano probe, Rex Gatchalian, Senate Electoral Tribunal, SET
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