Senate panel rules to bring Mamasapano probe back at committee level

January 5, 2016 6:15 am 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 4 (PNA) – The Senate Committee on Rules announced on Monday its ruling to bring the committee report on the Mamasapano incident back at the committee level for the conduct of additional hearing “without voiding the previous proceedings.”

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said Senator Aquilino Pimentel III has already agreed to reopen the Mamasapano incident investigation upon motion of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Vicente Sotto III.

”The Committee (on Rules) hereby rules that there are no longer any obstacles to the return of the Committee Report No. 120 on the Mamasapano incident,” Cayetano, chairman of the Committee on Rules, said.

Last November, Enrile moved that the Mamasapano probe be reopened at the committee level, saying he wanted to ask questions about what the government did when the bloody encounter between elite Special Action Force commandos and Moro rebels was taking place on Jan. 25 last year in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Enrile was in detention due to plunder charges filed against him in connection with the pork barrel scam, when the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs conducted the Mamasapano investigation early last year.

Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, agreed with Enrile’s motion.

The Senate Committee on Rules decided to reopen the Mamasapano incident probe based on the Rules of the Senate’s Section 32 provision which states:

”When a report is returned to a committee or is transmitted to another, unless it is returned for purposes of conducting further public hearings on new matters arising after the report, all previous proceedings in connection therewith shall be deemed to be void and that matter in question shall revert to its original status.”

”If Committee Report No. 120 is returned to the relevant Senate committees with an assertion that there are new matters arising after the report, all previous proceedings subsist and are valid,” Cayetano said in his report.

”This finds basis in the exception clause under Section 32: “Unless it is returned for purposes of conducting further public hearings on new matters arising after the report,” he explained.

The 11-hour Mamasapano encounter left 44 SAF men, 17 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters and five civilians dead.

The 392 SAF forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were on a mission to neutralize Malaysian international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, when they encountered the MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) as well as private armed groups.

The Mamasapano incident has delayed the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), a codification of the peace agreements signed between the Philippine government and the MILF. (PNA)

SCS/JFM

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