But upper house won't reopen probe
MANILA - The Senate is willing to provide documents for a case against former President Benigno Aquino III regarding a botched operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao during his term which resulted in the deaths of elite cops dubbed the "SAF44".
"If you are a former president, you lose your immunity from suit," Senate President Koko Pimentel told reporters on Wednesday.
However, he said that the reopening of investigations against Aquino should not be taken against anyone, because what is important is that "we are after the truth."
He added that as far as they are concerned, the Senate has done its job with regards to the investigation of the operation in 2015.
"Hindi na po sa Senado. We have a lot of things to do, darating na ang LEDAC (Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council). Sa Senado, pinrocess na namin yan," he said.
(That is no longer with the Senate. We have a lot of things to do, the LEDAC is coming up. We have already processed that at the Senate.)
In a statement, Senator Grace Poe said that it is indeed up to President Rodrigo Duterte if he wants to create a commission for the reinvestigation of the Mamasapano incident, which claimed 67 lives including 44 members of the police’s Special Action Force (SAF).
The Office of the Ombudsman also “essentially adopted the recommendation of their committee report with the recent filing of charges against [former police director general Alan] Purisima, and [former SAF head Director Getulio] Napeñas,” she said.
In 2015, Poe, who chaired the Senate committee on public order, said that Aquino must “accept responsibility” for the operation.
However, despite his colleague’s claims that the Senate has done its part, Senator Ping Lacson said that there are still gaps to be filled in the Mamasapano probe.
“Marami pang dapat tingnan sa nangyari,” he said, and added that it is best for lawmakers to see what they can do to move forward and render justice.
Meanwhile, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 national polls, criticized the previous administration for supposedly failing to provide assistance to family members of the SAF44, and assured them that justice will be served under the Duterte administration.
A day prior to the release of Aquino’s statement on the matter, former Vice President Jejomar Binay said that all those concerned must “continue to hope and work for justice.”
“Those responsible for the carnage must be held accountable. The time for justice and accountability is now,” he said, which was echoed by his daughter Senator Nancy Binay.
“As the SAF44 accomplished their mission to get [Malaysian terrorist] Marwan, the government should also complete the promises it had pledged to the grieving families of the brave policemen. They deserve nothing less from a grateful nation,” she said in a statement.