January 26, 2017
GORDON WANTS CLOSURE FOR SENATE PROBES
Senator Richard J. Gordon on Wednesday asked the Senate to ensure that proposed legislations arising from inquiries conducted by Senate committees are sponsored on the Plenary by the senator who chairs the committee that conducted the investigation.
In summary, Gordon proposed to let the chairman of the committee that conducted hearings/investigations in aid of legislation, recommend remedial legislation, conduct further hearings as needed to ensure that all issues are addressed in the proposed bill and then sponsor the bill in plenary until final passage. In doing so, time is saved and results can be measured in a timely manner since it is the same committee that starts and finishes the investigation and ensures that legislation is passed.
Gordon made the proposal after delivering a privilege speech on the second anniversary of the Mamasapano Massacre, when he upon learning that the Senate of the 16th Congress (the last Senate) failed to act on the recommendations submitted by the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs in 2015 after investigating the Mamasapano Massacre.
"I do not think it will be out of line if I request the Body ensures that all reports of committees that have been submitted should have closure as well. I am shocked that the recommendations of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs during the last Senate has not been acted upon by the last Senate," the senator recommended.
"When we conduct an investigation, we are required to submit legislation, not necessarily required, but if we see fit to do so. Gusto po natin na kapag na-recommend, inihahain natin ito sa floor para mapag-usapan at kung papayag, mai-refer yung batas na iyon, yung kanilang panukala, na pinopropose sa committee. Ang hinihiling ko lamang po, kung nag-imbestiga na yung isang Committee, gaya ng Public Order, sila na ang maglilitis nun ulit para mas mabilis nilang maihain yung kanilang panukala," he added.
Gordon explained that it would expedite the process of law making if a proposed measure resulting from an inquiry would be referred back to the same committee after it has been sponsored on the Plenary.
"Sinabi ko dapat maaprubahan yung mga committee report. Dapat yung rekomendasyon dun na rin sa committee na yun para hindi na hahaba, sila na rin ang magfa-file. Aaprubahan muna ng plenary. Pag na-approve ng plenary, ipapasa dun sa committee na concerned, gaya nung ibibigay sa Public Order or sa Economic Affairs. Dapat kung sino ang senador ng committee na nag-report out nun, yun na rin ang magii-sponsor on the Floor. Kung ia-file yun, first reading na yun. Hindi yung ibibigay sa committee na hindi nag-imbestiga, uulitin na naman ang imbestigasyon," he said.
The chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights cited as example the Committee Report he submitted on the inquiry into recent and rampant killings that he conducted last year.
"Ganoon din, I am being selfish, dun sa isinubmit natin tungkol sa police reform, at marami yun. Ibalik niyo na lang sa amin sa Justice at tatawag pa kami ng konting hearing para lalong mahimas yun at pagkatapos pagbalik mas mabilis na maibagay na kaagad iyong karampatang proposal namin... Kung mas mabilis nating magagawa, mas marami pa tayong magagawa para sa katarungan. Gaya nung sa EJK. Gaya ng sinasabi ng mga tao, walang nangyayari. Kaya dapat i-file ang kaso in connection with that. I-file yung bill. Kasi sinasabi ng mga tao walang nangyayari. Nakita ko ang nangyayari, we have to either amend the law or enact new ones. Halimbawa nag-submit ako, di ba nagsubmit ako noong araw sa Fertilizer, may Whistleblower Law," he said.
In the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident, 44 Special Action Force commandos, who were on a legitimate police operation, were killed in a clash with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and private armed groups. The SAF troopers were on a mission to arrest terror suspects including Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias "Marwan." While a team of commandos killed Marwan, scores of their colleagues were killed in a subsequent clash with Moro rebels.
The Senate committee report found then President Aquino ultimately responsible for the Mamasapano, Maguindanao mission that ended in a bloodbath. It added that what took place was a massacre, not an encounter, with the MILF and other armed groups killing and robbing the SAF members. It also recommended that MILF members involved should be charged with murder, frustrated murder, and robbery.
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