Press Release
January 27, 2016


Magandang Umaga sa inyong lahat.

As Chairperson of Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, jointly called with the Senate Committees on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation and Finance, this public hearing on the Re-opening of the Mamasapano Incident is called to order.

Bago po natin simulan ang pagdinig, nais ko po sanang magbigay ng ilang pananalita. Bilang pagbabalik-tanaw at malaman natin kung saan tayo nanggaling at kung nasaan na tayo ngayon sa usapin ng Mamasapano.

Mahigit isang taon na ang lumipas, bago sumapit ang hatinggabi ng ika-25 ng Enero 2015, halos apat na daang (400) miyembro ng Special Action Force (SAF) ang may misyon para dakpin ang dalawa sa pinakamapanganib na terorista sa buong mundo.

Bago mag-bukang liwayway, patay na ang dalawang kriminal. Pero bago magtakip-silim, apatnapu't apat (44) na PNP-SAF ang wala nang buhay. May dalawamput-tatlong (23) Moro fighters at limang (5) sibilyan rin ang namatay, at marami pang nasugatan.

In the Senate, eight resolutions were filed and a privilege speech delivered, all expressing the nation's pain and the outrage over the death of the SAF fallen heroes. This loss was as massive as the tribute to their valor was moving.

The Committees conducted five public hearings, spanning a total of 23 hours and 39 minutes. The transcripts of these hearings alone total 1,098 pages.

We also met five times in executive session, spending 15 hours and 9 minutes, grilling witnesses behind closed doors.

A total of 37 persons were summoned to testify. From both camps of the conflict, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the Office of the President to barangay officials. The Philippine National Police (PNP), the Special Action Force (SAF), the Philippine Army, high-ranking national government officials, local government officials, peace panels of the Government and the MILF, and heads and members of ceasefire committees appeared before us.

On March 18, 2015, your Committees submitted a 129-page Committee Report (CR No. 120) on the various resolutions with regard to the Mamasapano massacre. The Committee Report was signed by 21 senators, some with separate annotations and was submitted to plenary for its consideration.

Tatlumpu't pitong (37) araw mula nang buksan natin ang unang pagdinig ng Senado, kulang dalawang buwan mula nang maganap ang trahedya sa Mamasapano, isinumite po ng Committee ang aming report.

The records would show that the probe was thorough, our questioning relentless, the review of events methodical, and our request for information uncompromising.

Committee Report No. 120. among others, contains the following conclusions, findings and main observations:

1) What happened in Mamasapano on 25 January 2015 was a Massacre, Not a "Mis-encounter";

2) The PNP's Inadequate Intelligence, Poor Planning and Lack of Coordination with the AFP were Fatal Mistakes;

3) MILF and BIFF fighters and members of other Private Armed Groups (PAGs) committed murder and robbery and was not in self-defense;

4) The MILF leadership does not have absolute control over their ground troops which, therefore, raises doubts as to the capacity and sincerity of the MILF as our "partner" in the peace process and it has implications upon the safety of government troops who must conduct law enforcement operations within MILF controlled territory;

5) While prior coordination by the PNP with the AHJAG is not necessary, the Ceasefire mechanism between the GPH and MILF proved unable to effectively end the firefight and save the members of the 55thSAC;

6) The Chain of Command within the PNP was violated and both Purisima and Napeñas committed acts constituting administrative and criminal offenses;

7) The President failed to prevent then suspended PDG Purisima from violating Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code (Usurpation of authority or official functions) and, as Commander in Chief, makes him ultimately responsible for the incident.

8) The Americans, who were present during the entire operation, were more than mere observers especially given the facts that they directly trained, equipped and supplied information to the SAF troops involved in the operation.

The report covered all bases and covered up nothing. Tinukoy natin ang mga nagkamali at pagkakamali, pero pinuri natin ang mga nararapat at kilos na marapat sa isang patas na pagtatasa ng partisipasyon ng bawat isa.

We were able to do these because first, we believe that truth can never be compartmentalized; and that second, the nation, even in grief, has the wisdom and courage to handle the truth, no matter how painful.

However, if there are supervening events or new evidence that come to fore after all of these, I will also be the first to say that we should unearth these information and that we should be open to receiving and hearing additional facts in our continuing search for the truth.

Almost seven (7) months after the filing of our committee report, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile took the floor on 7 October 2015 with a motion to reopen the Committee Hearings on the Mamasapano Incident. After inquiries and clarifications, the Senate, as a whole, during plenary session, unanimously and finally decided on 18 January 2016 to grant Senator Enrile's motion, taking in good faith his assertions on new information regarding the issue. The reopening of the hearing was allowed with the specific note that the filed Committee Report remains valid and subsisting.

Ginawa natin ang ating trabaho dati. Ngayong may lumilitaw na posibleng bagong impormasyon, hindi tayo maaaring magbubulag-bulagan o magkunwari na wala nang maaaring gawin pa ang Senado.

Ang katotohanang walang kabuuan ay hindi ganap at hindi matatawag na katotohanan. Kailangang ipagpatuloy ang masalimuot na pagbubuo ng mga datos para makita nating lahat ang buong katotohanang naganap sa Mamasapano. Ang tunay na parangal na pwede nating maibigay sa SAF 44 ay ang buong katotohanan. Dahil doon nakasalalay ang tunay na katarungan.

It is for this reason that we are convened here today to hear new matters and receive new evidence or information that may be submitted; facts that will, hopefully, add to our enlightenment and not subtract from what we already know. Let me emphasize it succinctly: the purpose of this inquiry is not only to find fault but more importantly, to know the absolute and complete truth.

For the orderly conduct of today's discussion, we shall observe the following guidelines:

1. Given that he is the main proponent of the hearing on the Mamasapano reopening, Senate Minority Leader Ponce Enrile, will be accorded the first one hour to ask questions to Resource Persons invited. (For the information of everybody, all Resource Speakers today are mainly from the recommendations of Senator Enrile.)

2. Thereafter, the other Senators shall be given 10 minutes each for their questions on a "first in time first in right" basis

3. Finally, given the relatively high emotions involved in this issue, may I remind our fellow Senators, also those in the audience, as well as our resource speakers to observe proper decorum as well as our rules on inquiries in aid of legislation.

News Latest News Feed