Press Release
August 27, 2015


Sen. Francis Escudero said the Department of Justice (DOJ) should prioritize the completion of its investigation into the bloody Mamasapano encounter that killed 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) rather than focus on what could be a purely internal problem within the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).

"It has been seven months since the Mamasapano incident and we have yet to know the complete picture of what really transpired. Matagal nang nakabinbin ang kaso at sana makita naman ng taumbayan ang pagtatapos ng imbestigasyon sa DOJ para mapanagot ang dapat managot sa korte," Escudero said.

He added: "The DOJ should keep its eyes on the ball. It should not let the INC issue sidestep other cases that really matter to our people."

The senator said the DOJ's investigation in the controversy surrounding the INC may be misinterpreted as an "interference" and infringement of the right to religious freedom guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution.

Escudero said the DOJ, headed by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, should uphold the principle of separation of the church and state.

"It may be a prudent to first let the leadership of the INC resolve what appears to be a purely internal matter. Ayaw nating makita na may pagkakahati-hati at hindi pagkakaunawan sa panahong ito," Escudero said.

According to Escudero, the DOJ should release the full Mamasapano findings, and not on a piece-meal basis, so those responsible for the deaths of SAF members can be brought to the bar of justice.

Earlier this month, De Lima announced that the DOJ fact-finding team will release within August the second part of the investigation into the Mamasapano incident, which touches on the alleged involvement of United States forces in the mission to arrest terror suspects Zulkifli Bin Hir alias "Marwan" and Basit Usman.

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