MANILA – Senator Grace Poe said she is willing to correct her committee report on the Mamasapano incident investigation if President Benigno Aquino III has new information based on evidence.
”We will be humble enough to accept our mistakes if there are any other additional information that will prove us wrong in our committee report,” Poe said in a television interview on Thursday.
Poe made this reaction after President Aquino summoned Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BOI) chief Director Benjamin Magalong to Malacanang to explain his side on the Mamasapano incident that killed 44 PNP Special Action Force (SAF) troopers.
President Aquino was reportedly hurt by the conclusion of the BOI that the Chief Executive was liable for the bloody outcome of a mission to arrest two-high profile terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Basit Usman.
”Because we are co-equal branch of government, we did not send official letter questioning the President. If he has statement, we will accept what he would say regarding this matter,” Poe said.
”If the President has new information and it will be backed up by evidence, we can correct our committee report,” Poe said.
In her committee report, Poe said President Aquino “is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the Mamasapano mission” after he assented to unlawful exercise of official functions of then suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima.
Based on the findings, Poe said the Mamasapano incident was ‘clearly a massacre’ and not a simple encounter or “misencounter” perpetrated by concerned members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters who ‘murdered and robbed’ the 44 SAF commandos.
The report found Purisima committed “usurpation of authority or official functions while relieved SAF chief Getulio Napenas committed “grave misconduct, inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of officials duties.”
Poe was pleased by 20 senators who signed her committee report although almost half of them have expressed reservation.
”I’m happy that 20 have signed. Others will give additional opinion. But in principle they signed it in support of my report,” Poe said.
The senators who signed the 129-page committee report include: Vicente Sotto III, Nancy Binay, Jinggoy Estrada, JV Ejercito, Ramon Revilla Jr., Alan Peter Cayetnao, Pia Cayetano, Sonny Angara, Teofisto Guingona III, Serge Osmena III, Gregorio Honasan II, Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Aquilino Pimentel III, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Ralph Recto.
The four senators who did not sign include Senate President Franklin Drilon and senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Antonio Trillanes IV and Lito Lapid.
Though she is open to suggestion of her colleague, Poe said she would stand by with her committee report based on statements of the 37 resource persons who attended five public hearings and five executive sessions in the Senate.
”I will stand by the report specially on our conclusions based on the facts. We did not invent the recommendations and findings,” Poe said.
On suggestion to reopen the Senate hearing, Poe said she would rather wait for the evidences of Senator Alan Cayetano regarding his allegations against the MILF and BIFF.
”We can discuss them in our hearings in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Poe said.
Poe is scheduled to submit to the plenary the committee report when the Senate resumes its sessions on May 4.