MANILA –- Mamasapano hearing will resume in March, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., assured the public.
In a press briefing, Belmonte said the Board of Inquiry (BOI) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) conducting the Mamasapano investigation assured that their report will be available on or before the end of February.
“I have talked to Police Director [Benjamin] Magalong who heads the BOI that they will submit their report on or before February, meaning that we can resume the hearing in the early part of March,” Belmonte said as he reminded that Congress will go on a six-week Lenten break starting March 20.
He said Magalong vowed to submit the report within the month as and assured him that the BOI is getting full cooperation from the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines]. He also said the leadership of AFP have already on file the sworn testimonies of at least ten officers in the course of their investigation.
Belmonte, in consultation with senior House officials and the two chairmen unanimously agreed to temporarily hold in abeyance the ongoing investigation of the joint committees, saying that they need to wait for the BOI report first. House committee on Public Order and Safety chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer and committee on Peace, Unification and Unity chaired by Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman-Salliman agreed to suspend the hearing.
But Belmonte cautioned BOI that if they try to evade investigating resigned PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima, they will pursue the questioning.
“I talked with him [Magalong], kaya ba nyo? Ika ko pero kung hindi nyo kaya (can you do it? If not, we will take over) then we have to do it on our own,” he stressed.
The veteran lawmaker also claimed that there is a chance to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before the 2nd regular session winds up but he had left the timeline and discretion to Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez because he had talk to a lot of people during the 36 hearings of chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on BBL, conducted mostly in Mindanao.
The Ad Hoc committee on BBL will take its cue from the investigation report of the twin committees.
He clarified that there is no truth to the allegations of some of his colleagues that he want to gag lawmakers on the Mamasapano fiasco.
“The Speaker is not gagging anybody and I leave that to the sound judgment of the various people because if I cannot gagged the Makabayan bloc [opposition] anyway why should I give them the advantage of gagging the others,” he pointed out.