Press Release
January 27, 2016


After five public hearings, five executive sessions, information from 37 resource persons and a 129-page report, the Senate re-opened its investigation into the ill-fated Mamasapano operation that killed 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) last year.

Sen. Grace Poe convened the Senate Committee on Public Order to receive new evidence on what the Committee, in its report signed by 21 senators, has labeled "a massacre, and not a misencounter."

"The report covered all bases and covered up nothing," Poe said in her opening statement. "Tinukoy natin ang mga nagkamali at pagkakamali, pero pinuri natin ang mga nararapat at kilos na marapat sa isang patas na pagtatasa ng partisipasyon ng bawat isa."

After reviewing information from top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as well as Cabinet members, local government leaders and representatives of the peace panel, the Committee submitted a comprehensive report to the plenary on March 18, 2015. It was signed by all senators who were present.

The clear conclusion was that "inadequate Intelligence, poor planning and lack of coordination" resulted in "fatal mistakes" that cost the lives of 44 SAF officers, 23 Moro fighters and 5 civilians and gravely affected the peace process.

The Senate also found President Benigno Aquino III, as Commander-in-Chief, failed to prevent former PNP chief Alan Purisima, who was already out of service at that time, from usurping authority and official functions, in violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code.

Purisima and former SAF chief Getulio Napeñas broke the PNP chain of command and committed acts constituting administrative and criminal offenses, the Committee said in its report.

It also noted that the Americans, who were present during the entire operation, were "more than mere observers" as they had trained, equipped and supplied information to the SAF troops involved in the operation.

"The records would show that the probe was thorough, our questioning relentless, the review of events methodical, and our request for information uncompromising," Poe, who chairs the Committee on Public Order, said.

The Senate also submitted the committee report to the Ombudsman to aid in its fact-finding, and recommended prosecution for those who bungled up the mission.

In October 2015, almost seven months after the filing of the committee report, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, who was in detention for plunder during the Mamasapano hearings, moved to re-open the investigation on the incident, saying he had new information to present.

"The reopening of the hearing was allowed with the specific note that the filed Committee Report remains valid and subsisting," said Poe said, who stressed that she was satisfied with the earlier hearings and the findings of the committee.

"However, if there are supervening events or new evidence that come to fore after all of these, I will also be the first to say that we should unearth these information and that we should be open to receiving and hearing additional facts in our continuing search for the truth," she said.

Poe, who will preside over the investigation as Committee chair, has invited 24 people for questioning by the senators.

Under the Committee guidelines, Enrile, as the pronent of the reopened investigation and the one who provided the list of resource persons, will have one hour to ask questions. The rest of the senators will have 10 minutes each.

"Ang katotohanang hindi buo ay hindi ganap," Poe said. "Kailangang ipagpatuloy ang masalimuot na pagbubuo ng mga datos para makita nating lahat ang buong katotohanang naganap sa Mamasapano. Ang tunay na parangal na dapat nating maibigay sa SAF 44 ay ang buong katotohanan. Dahil doon nakasalalay ang tunay na katarungan.

The hearing was jointly called with the Senate Committees on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, and Finance.

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