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Senators want probe on SAF members' massacre in Maguindanao

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2015 - 5:51pm

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, is calling for an inquiry into the bloody encounter between elite forces of the Philippine National Police and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that left more than 40 policemen killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Poe said she wants no stones left unturned to determine why the government suffered so many casualties during last Sunday’s encounter.

“It takes a lot of government funds so that we can train elite forces. Was there an overall coordination for the operations? Do they even know the terrain? Why did they pursue the operations?” she asked.

Poe lamented that the fallen police heroes sacrificed their lives, not only for their country, but also for their families.

“Definitely, the top PNP officials will be summoned,” said Poe, who chairs the committee on public order.

“We need to know what really happened,” the senator said, adding that Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas III may also be asked to attend the Senate hearing.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, condemned the incident.

“That’s even horrifying, it’s now 50. The count is speculative but never mind. It just makes it a more horrific piece of news,” he said.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is detained at Camp Crame, said he will be willing to lead a subcommittee to conduct an inquiry if allowed so by members.

“The Senate should conduct an investigation into the SAF incident. If they want me to conduct the hearing, I would be more than willing to do so,” Estrada said in a statement from his detention cell at Camp Crame.

Senate President Franklin Drilon also condemned the attacks in Maguindanao.

“I condemn the unfortunate and unwarranted encounter between the members of our Philippine National Police and the Muslim rebels. I sympathize with the victims and their families,” Drilon said.

Drilon lamented that the incident might affect the ongoing efforts to initiate peace talks in Mindanao.

“We are at a crucial point in our history as a nation where we are in the process of creating and embedding peace in Mindanao, that is why we denounce to the strongest terms any act that poses a grave risk of thwarting every success we have made so far in the peace process,” he said.

Drilon told the public that the government will not allow the unfortunate incident affect the peace process.

“We should not allow the unfortunate incident, and the deaths of our policemen, condemnable as it is, to stand in the way of efforts to bring lasting and genuine peace and development in Mindanao. It must all the more strengthen our desire and resolve for peace,” he said.

Drilon called on authorities to conduct a comprehensive investigation and get to the bottom of the tragedy.

“Our nation deserves an explanation as to why dozens of our brave policemen doing their duties had to die in such a manner,” Drilon said.

CAMP CRAME DRILON FERDINAND MARCOS JR GRACE POE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY MANUEL ROXAS JINGGOY ESTRADA MAGUINDANAO MINDANAO PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE AND THE MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE AND THE MUSLIM
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