Press Release
February 23, 2015

FEBRUARY 23, 2015

The Committee on Order and Dangerous Drugs and the committee on peace, unification and peace reconciliation and the committee on finance is resumed.

In the resumption of our hearing on the Mamasapano incident, I would like to request my colleagues to focus on matters that have not been discussed or questions that have not been asked or sufficiently answered. I also would like to make some clarification on important matters that could provide the framework for today's hearing:

(1) For the AFP, were the grid coordinates given by Gen. Napeñas in the morning of Jan. 25, on the position of the 55th Special Action Company upon which information from Sr. Superintendent Taliño went personally to the mechanized brigade to ask for support and reinforcement, sufficient to give the AFP guidance to fire artillery. What is the difference between the information and the position of the 55th in the morning on January 25 and the position of the 84th in the afternoon around 5 P.M. when the AFP was able to drop white phosphorous which reportedly drove away their pursuers;

(2) The SAF in the early morning of January 25 was also requesting for air support, did the AFP have MG-520 attack helicopters in WestMinCom on that day at its disposal that could have been scrambled for the purpose. Or was it even feasible to deploy the MG-520's under the situation then prevailing as far as the 55th SAF is concerned;

(3) I understand that the American Armed Forces, like the joint operation task force Philippine based in Zamboanga could help in training and intel swap with our own military under the framework of the Visiting Forces Agreement, but what I want to ask the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, the DILG and the VFA Com is under what legal framework or arrangement could the American military train and engage in civilian Philippine national police. How about the FBI? I heard about the Anti-Terrorist Assistance Program (ATAP) that is supposedly the basis for the American government for their part to engage in the PNP under counter-terrorism. Can the DFA, DILG or the Anti-Terrorism Council enlighten the committee if there was really such a program officially acceded to by the Philippine Government;

(4) The OPAPP and the Peace Panel with all the submissions by experts before the committees on the BBL that there are serious constitutional challenges facing several provisions of the same. This is on top of the adverse public reaction brought about by the Mamasapano incident where do we go from here? How do we plan to make the whole process and final product, which is the BBL, most probably amended accordingly. Acceptable to the public and the MILF that would still attain the genuine peace that it aspires for. This could be discussed in subsequent hearings by the committee of Sen. Bongbong Marcos or perhaps the committee on constitutional amendments;

(5) In the reports submitted by Gen. Galvez, the CCCH and Gen. Catapang, it contain observations on the position of the remains of the 7 SAF members belonging to the 55th Special Acton Company, during the retrieval operations which may indicate that they were not killed in action but could have been tortured to death. Can you explain this observation Gen. Galvez? Is it also true that the artillery support was ready at 6 A.M. but the military was requested by Brig. Gen. Galvez of OPApP to wait and give way for the ceasefire mechanism to take place;

(6) From our last public hearing, I asked Gen. Purisima that he informed the President and gave him updates on the 25th, we will now ask him to read his text messages to the president on the 25th and share relevant information leading to the 25th;

(7) Finally, as raised by many sectors from either side of the fence, that the passage or as well as the non-passage of the BBL would result to a renewed war, true or not? I would like to ask our security sector if we are ready to address whatever eventualities that may ensue. Because I believe that the AFP and the PNP should rise above this Mamasapano incident and anchor on previous coordinated successes to enable us to work together to secure the nation in case of any threats.

Before we start, I also gathered from news, that the board of inquiry is scheduled to come up with a report next week. May we request them, our Dir. Magalong, to please furnish this committee to the same to form part of the record. I also received a request from the AFP, if they can do a short presentation, a short one if I may stressed, before our questions. We will allow that but you also sent a request for an executive session but we will decide on that at the end of the hearing.

In the meantime, I would like to, the rules still stay the same, each senator will again be given 5 minute each for questions, if his time is not sufficient, we will have a second round and they may avail another 5 minutes.

News Latest News Feed