The Committee on Public Order and Safety and the special panel on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity in the House of Representatives will conduct a joint inquiry on the firefight between government troops and Muslim insurgents in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, which killed 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) last January 25.
The investigation will push through after a one-week postponement to give way for the wake and burial of the 44 fallen SAF men of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Officials of the SAF and the PNP have asked for the temporary deferment of the inquiry so that they can attend the wake and burial of their fellow police officers.
Negros Occidental Representative Jeffrey Ferrer of the National Unity Party (NUP), who chairs the public order committee said they have invited Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of the Interior and Local Government; Secretary Voltaire Gazmin of the Department of National Defense; Secretary Teresita Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process; National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia; Director General Ager Ontog Jr. of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency; Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF peace panel and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission; and former SAF chief Police Director Getulio Napenas, among others, to the Feb. 11 hearing.
The committee has also invited Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang, former PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, and acting PNP chief Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina to attend the inquiry.
A total of 37 resource persons were invited to the hearing.
"These calls for a congressional probe will push through. There is no gag order or whitewash here because I too want to get to the bottom of this matter," Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said.
"My take is that we have little time to waste on this probe and other legislative priorities we are currently attending to. Therefore let us hold it with everyone present and be prepared for this investigation so the results are substantial and not long-winding just to say we are doing this immediately. This is a serious matter and must not be rushed but dealt with correctly with truth prevailing in the end," he added.
The Speaker has also urged his fellow lawmakers to give the PNP-SAF officials ample time "to also pay proper respect to their colleagues and prepare for the heroes’ burial each of these 44 [fallen SAF men] deserve."