MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo sees “no reason” to re-open the Senate’s probe into a controversial police operation, one year after the bloodbath in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao.
“Ako kasi wala akong nakikitang dahilan para buksan ulit. Unang una marami na tayong panahon na ginugol sa pag-iimbestiga, so ang tanong ko ano ang dahilan para buksan ulit iyong imbestigasyon?” said the Camarines Sur representative in an interview during the Kapihan sa Kamuning Bakery on Tuesday, January 12.
(I personally don’t see a reason to re-open the case. First of all, a lot of time has been spent investigating the clash, so now I wonder what the reason behind its re-opening is.)
The Senate last week announced it would be re-opening its probe into a January 25, 2015 clash between elite cops and Muslim rebels in Mamasapano. This was prompted by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who was detained at the PNP General Hospital when the Senate first heard the issue.
Dubbed “Oplan Exodus,” the operation neutralized a terrorist wanted by both the Philippines and the United States. The kill, however, came at a high price: the lives of at least 60 people, including 44 troopers from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF).
The hearing has been scheduled on Monday, January 25, 2016, exactly a year after the clash.
“Iyong pangalawa, ang danger kasi niyan ay election period at baka magamit iyong investigation ng mga nagnanais na makakuha ng public attention. Siguro kung may magandang dahilan para buksan ulit bakit hindi?” added Robredo.
(Second, there’s this danger that because the election period has started, the investigation might be used to get public attention. Maybe if there’s a good reason to re-open the case, why not?)
Speculation over the political motivations for re-opening the probe has been rife. It will be headed by Senate committee chairperson and presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe.
Several incumbent senators, meanwhile, are Robredo’s rivals for the vice presidency: Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Francis Escudero, and Gregorio Honasan.
Of the 5, only Cayetano has announced plans to inhibit from the probe.
Other characters in the clash and the subsequent probes are also seeking posts in 2016: former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II, the LP’s standard-bearer, and former SAF chief Getulio Napeñas, a senatorial candidate under Vice President Jejomar Binay’s opposition party.
“Ako sana. Para hindi nagagamit sa politika ang trabaho. Pero ang pag-i-inhibit kasi is a personal decision. Para sa akin sana ngayon na election time, kandidato kami, mas maging maingat na hindi namin nagagamit iyong aming trabaho. Kasi parating suspicious iyong aming ginagawa, kung ginagawa ba namin ito dahil sa gusto namin mapalawig ang aming popularity,” said Robredo when asked if senators seeking posts in 2016 should keep their distance from the hearings.
(For me, yes. So work isn’t used for politics. But inhibiting is a personal decision. Now that it’s election season and we’re candidates, we have to more mindful of not using our posts for politics. Because people might be suspicious of our actions, if we’re doing this just to be popular.)
Robredo is a member of the House of Representatives, which held various hearings on the clash but has yet to come out with a report.
The Senate, meanwhile, has come out with a draft committee report signed by almost all senators but this has not been tackled before the plenary. – Rappler.com
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