MANILA — House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty on Sunday has urged President Benigno Aquino III to direct the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a joint comprehensive investigation of the January 25 Mamasapano tragedy, just like what the two agencies did with respect to the 2010 Rizal Park tourist bus hostage-taking fiasco.
“The immediate formation of a joint DILG-DOJ Incident Investigation and Review Committee, or IIRC, similar to the one created with regard to the Luneta episode, will enable a swift and thorough inquiry into the Mamasapano bloodbath, which has roiled the nation,” Ty said.
“Just like the Luneta carnage, we are also hoping that the proposed IIRC’s inquiry into the Mamasapano encounter will be performed openly and visibly to ensure absolute transparency,” he added.
At present, the veteran lawmaker noted that the DILG, through a Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry, and the DOJ, via the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the National Prosecution Service (NPS), are conducting two separate investigations on the Mamasapano clash that killed 44 elite police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.
“Two disconnected probes are a waste of time and resources, considering that a more expeditious unified inquiry is viable through a simple presidential directive,” the LPG-MA solon pointed out.
He said whatever facts have been gathered so far by the PNP’s Board of Inquiry and the NBI-NPS may be used by the proposed IIRC on the Mamasapano tragedy.
The public outcry over the deadliest clash in PNP history has prompted the President to address the nation twice on prime-time, live television, in a bid to calm the nation.
The tragedy has also forced the President’s trusted aide, suspended PNP Director Gen. Alan Purisima, to resign his post.
Purisima allegedly planned and directed the SAF operation without the knowledge of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director Gen. Leonardo Espina.
The Mamasapano clash has also caused demoralization in the PNP, due to the collapse of the chain of command in the planning and execution of the SAF operation to neutralize global terrorist and bomb maker Zulkifli Abdhir, alias Abu Marwan, a Malaysian national, and his Filipino understudy, Basit Usman.
Marwan was believed to have been killed in the SAF operation. But as of Sunday, Marwan’s name was still in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s online list of 30 “most wanted terrorists,” with a reward of up to USD5 million for information leading directly to his capture.
In the Luneta incident, Ty recalled that the President had directed the DOJ and the DILG to perform a joint investigation.
As a result of the President’s order, Ty said the DOJ and DILG issued a joint department order creating an IIRC, with Secretary of Justice as chairperson, the Secretary of Interior and Local Government as vice-chairperson, and with one representative each from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the Filipino-Chinese community, and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).
The work of the IIRC on the Luneta incident work consisted of two parts.
On the first part, the committee made a comprehensive account of the sequence of events leading to the killing of the hostages and the hostage-taker, evaluated police action and the responses of the offices and private entities to the events, and recommended the filing of appropriate actions against those found culpable.
On the second part, the panel performed a review of operational plans and procedures, conducted a detailed audit and inventory of the training and equipment of responsible agencies, examined PNP standards and procedures in administrative cases involving officers and personnel, and recommended comprehensive policies and programs.
The Luneta incident claimed the lives of eight tourists from Hong Kong and the bus hijacker and hostage-taker, disgruntled former Manila police officer Rolando Mendoza.