Poe assures no cover-up in Senate executive session

By , on February 18, 2015

Sen. Grace Poe heads the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano clash (Facebook photo)
Sen. Grace Poe heads the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano clash (Facebook photo)

MANILA  – Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday denied speculations that the Senate is trying to cover-up for a particular personality or entity when they decided to hold executive session for survivors and personalities involved in the Mamasapano incident.

”I know your concerns that we’re trying to cover-up for a particular personality or entity. Here in our discussion, we don’t see any cover-up,” Poe said in media interview after the session Philippine National Police (PNP) Intelligence Group Director Fernando Mendez for over two hours.

The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, chaired by Poe, took a short break only to open and to adjourn the regular session.

When the panel resumed the executive session, resigned PNP chief Alan Purisima was placed on the hot seat in front of the senators that include Teofisto Guingona III, Ralph Recto, Juan Edgardo Angara, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Nancy Binay, Antonio Trillanes IV, Gregorio Honasan II, Cynthia Villar, Loren Legarda, Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate President Franklin Drilon and acting minority leader Vicente Sotto III.

”I will not confirm the topics that we discussed today and it’s not to cover up a wrongdoing,” Poe assured.

Poe said the executive session has been helping them to gather more details in getting the full picture of the Mamasapano incident.

She, however, added that more questions have come up “that might need more public participation.”

”I feel that the people should also hear certain topics that can be discussed openly. So we will release to you in bullets, the topics that we discussed only in the executive session,” Poe said.

Meanwhile, Poe refused to comment whether the United States’ involvement in the operation was discussed in the executive session.

”Based on the executive session, I cannot comment on it,” she said.

As of now, Poe said the panel has no plan to summon the US embassy regarding the US’ alleged involvement in the operation.

”We have to be very careful for it involves also diplomatic relations. We want peaceful ties with countries, we want their cooperation to be able to help us secure ourselves as well. We’re not trying to make more enemies in this thing but we also have to be accountable,” Poe clarified.

”So when it comes to that, it is not because we are trying to hide the information from you, we are just being careful. But we are with you in wanting to know the extent of foreign involvement because if there’s nothing to hide, if there’s nothing wrong, then there’s no reason why we should hide the information. We’re just being careful on when we’re going to release and to what extent,” she added.

Poe assured the executive session is in line with the Senate mandate to conduct inquiry in aid of legislation.

”So we’re trying to do this in aid of legislation. I’m trying to do this to stick to that mandate of the Senate in aid of legislation and oversight,” the lady lawmaker said.

Aside from Mendez and Purisima, the Senate panel has allowed some SAF survivors and relieved SAF chief Police Director Getulio Napenas to speak in the first two executive sessions.

Poe said the Senate might hold a third public hearing on the Mamasapano incident depending on the results of the interview with Purisima, who stepped down amid public outrage on the bloody Mamasapano encounter.