MANILA – Senators have defended the Senate committee report on the Mamasapano incident, saying it was not based merely on emotions but on the evidences, testimonies and documents submitted to the Senate.
”It’s difficult not to be emotional because those who were killed were Filipinos. To be fair to the committee, they tried to be as objective as they could and with all those voluminous documents, the work is not easy,” Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said.
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loreta Ann Rosales earlier slammed the Senate report for concluding that the Mamasapano incident was not merely a misencounter but a massacre.
Rosales said the Senate findings that the incident was a massacre is “excessive.”
Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero said he respects Rosales’ opinion but the report was based on evidences, testimonies and documents.
”I don’t know where chairperson Rosales got her conclusion but my question to her is, does the rights of the police and military are not covered by the commission? Does it cover only civilians?,” Escudero asked.
Escudero said based on the evidences, 34 of the fallen 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) troopers where shot in close range and they were already unarmed because they had run out of ammunition.
”Whatever dictionary you will use, it will fall to the definition that it was a massacre. Again, not only civilians have the right to life but also police and military soldiers. Their rights should also be protected by the CHR,” Escudero said.
Acting Senate minority leader Vicente Sotto III said the CHR should make its own report “and not meddle with the Senate business.”
”They have no idea what happened to the executive sessions. Since when the CHR become editors? Why don’t they make their own report?,” Sotto reacted.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said the CHR should also look for the rights of the police and “not only the rights of the activists and media members.”
Senator Grace Poe, who prepared the committee report as chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, defended the investigation report.
“The committee report was based primarily on the testimonies of resource persons given under oath as well as documents and reports submitted officially,” said Poe in a text message.
She insisted that the Mamasapano incident was clearly a massacre.
“The attribution of massacre refers to the use of excessive force and ignominy which attended the finishing touches inflicted on the SAF troopers when they were already gravely injured but breathing as they lie defenseless on the Mamasapano cornfields,” she said.