MANILA, Feb. 24 – The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs joint hearing with the committees on peace, unification and reconciliation and finance, wrapped its inquiry on the Mamasapano incident on Tuesday, after five public hearings and four executive sessions,
Panel chairperson Senator Grace Poe assured that the committee report will be done with utmost care and fairness to include all information specifically statements and testimonies of the resource persons.
The Senate investigation was based on six resolutions filed to look into the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on January 25.
Poe said information about Operation Plan Exodus was deliberately withheld from the Secretary Mar Roxas of Interior and Local Government and the officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina of the PNP.
She said the PNP has clearly did not make prior coordination with nearby units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines until both the 84th and the 55th special action companies were already heavily engaged in firefights with hostile forces.
The Senate also discovered that many of the so-called fallen 44 were shot at close range and they were stripped of their weapons, equipment, uniform and even their personal belongings.
”They were treated with ignominy with videos of their corpses posted on the internet. Hence, of equal, if not greater importance to our nation is the impact of the Mamasapano incident on the ongoing peace process which the government is undertaking with the MILF,” Poe said.
Poe clarified that the Senate is one in the search for a lasting peace in Mindanao, saying every effort must be exerted to achieve the goal.
She also said the efforts of the government to arrive at a just, sustainable and lasting peace in Mindanao while ensuring the socio-economic, political and cultural equity must not be at the expense of our sovereignty and national integrity.(with Jelly F. Musico)