Senate to discuss contradictory portion of Senate, MILF report — Poe

By , on March 26, 2015


Sen. Grace Poe at the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano clash (Photo courtesy of Sen. Grace Poe's Facebook page)
Sen. Grace Poe at the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano clash (Photo courtesy of Sen. Grace Poe’s Facebook page)

MANILA — Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of joint Senate panels that investigated the Mamasapano incident, on Wednesday said they would discuss how the Senate would treat the report of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Poe said certain findings of fact of the MILF report on the bloody Mamasapano encounter that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos dead, “are contradictory” to a portion of the Senate report.

”How the MILF report should be treated, considering certain findings of fact which are contradictory to a portion of ours, shall also be discussed by the joint committees,” Poe said in reaction to the MILF report submitted to her committee and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos’ committee on local government last Tuesday.

The lady senator commended the MILF leadership for completing their investigation on the Mamasapano incident without further delay, and for furnishing the Senate with a copy of the report.

”Understandably, we have divergent views on certain issues and events, particularly on the nature and gravity of the killing of the members of the 55th SAC. This may be because we had access to different sets of witnesses or we have a different appreciation of facts,” she said.

Poe, however, said her committee will stand by its report signed by 20 senators.

”However, as I announced previously, amendments may be proposed and considered when we resume session in May,” she said.

Poe’s report concluded that the Mamasapano incident was not a simple encounter or mis-encounter but a massacre based on findings that 34 of the fallen 44 SAF have been shot in close range.

The MILF report, on the other hand, described the incident as a mis-encounter which, it said, was triggered by the SAF troopers belonging to 55th company who made the first shots at the MILF forces, killing two of them while crossing a wooden bridge.

The MILF also blamed the incident to lack of coordination, even accusing the Philippine National Police-SAF of violating the ceasefire agreement.

The MILF insisted in its report that disciplinary action against their involved members should be carried out by the MILF leadership.

”What is important is that all of us continue on our pursuit of the truth and not to waver on our quest for genuine peace in Mindanao,” Poe said.

She said due to the differing findings of fact, “it is more imperative for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to expedite and finish its investigation, identify the culpable individuals, and prosecute them accordingly.”

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero has also expected the MILF report to favor their fighters but insisted that coordination is not a requirement since the mission of the Oplan Exodus was a high-value target.

Escudero was referring to two high-profile terrorist Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman, a leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who also attacked the SAF troopers.

Poe said the Senate will tackle again the committee report on the Mamasapano incident at the resumption of regular session on May 4.