Senators have 2nd thoughts on reopening of SAF 44 inquiry
Some senators are iffy about a plan to reopen a Senate inquiry into the botched Mamasapano operation that killed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos during the Aquino administration.
Sen. Grace Poe, who conducted the initial inquiry two years ago, said on Monday that while she was not against Sen. Richard Gordon’s proposal to reopen his committee’s inquiry into the massacre, it could not guarantee that former President Benigno Aquino III would talk if summoned.
“We should be prepared for the possibility that … Aquino will invoke his right not to talk about the case as it is already being handled by the court,” Poe said in a statement.
She said Gordon, chair of the blue ribbon committee, should also clearly outline the objectives of the new inquiry.
“Whatever new and relevant information that can be unearthed from this inquiry, in aid of legislation, will be beneficial not only to the families of the SAF 44, but also to the Filipino people,” she added.
Poe said in a radio interview that Sen. Panfilo Lacson shared her position.
She also encouraged her colleagues and the public to give the Office of the Ombudsman the opportunity to review the case through the processes allowed by law.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian raised the need for an executive session to find out if there were gaps during the previous hearings.
“This is to prevent duplication because hearings take so much time,” Gatchalian told reporters.
Sen. Sonny Angara expressed hope that Gordon would take into consideration “at least the testimonies if not the findings of the Poe committee.”
He said there were a lot of testimonies given during the five hearings and five executive sessions that were previously conducted that could be useful.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV took a swipe at Gordon, saying that the Mamasapano issue had been exhausted in Congress, which he said was ignoring the thousands of victims of the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war.
Sen. Leila de Lima, who is detained on drug charges, said in a statement that Gordon’s proposal was a move to crucify Aquino and cover up the Duterte administration’s own “bunglings and incompetence.”
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