Congress plans to finish Mamasapano probe this week

Congressmen plan to bring out within the week its comprehensive report on the botched operations in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that left 44 Special Action Forces dead.

The joint inquiry of the Committees on Peace and Order, chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer, and Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity, chaired by Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman-Salliman will resume on April 7 and 8 while Congress is on a break until next month.

“There’s a possibility that we’ll hold an executive session just for one day immediately this week after that and we will wrap it up. Without making comparisons to and respecting other investigations, I’m confident that we’ll come up with a credible and comprehensive report because we have some established and generally agreed facts and issues from two other reports,” said Rep. Salliman.

Both the Senate and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BOI) have earlier submitted their reports.

The House of Representatives suspended its joint inquiry last February to allow BOI more time to finish its own probe.

Salliman says that members of the joint committee have likely read both reports and will make clarifications from there.

“The Senate and the BOI, and even our inquiry, have their respective and unique limitations, time constraints and context, so we believe our report will be not only complementary but also comprehensive and deal with some issues in depth,” Salliman said.

He also appealed to his colleagues not to ask questions which were already answered by the previous reports. Other congressmen who were not able to ask questions the previous meeting will be prioritized to participate this time.

The first joint hearing held last February ended up as an embarrassing raucous as House members departed from the agreed ground rules by exceeding the time allotted to them, making several motions, and engaging in highly emotional debates with their colleagues.

“My humble appeal to my colleagues is that we should be responsible and act as mature lawmakers. I know this remains to be an emotional issue but our constituents elected us to represent them. Let’s not grandstand or do tantrums because of some agenda. Let’s just focus on finding the truth for legislation,” he said.

The House probe was likened to a “marketplace” compared to the more restrained hearing by their Senate counterparts.