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More orderly House session vowed

Paolo Romero and Jess Diaz - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives will hold a more orderly inquiry into the Jan. 25 killing of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao following the shouting and heckling, as well as delays due to debates on procedural matters, at the first hearing last Wednesday.

Despite the criticism, last Wednesday’s joint  inquiry of the committee on public order and safety, and committee on peace, reconciliation and unity was able to bring out new information on the botched police operation.

Negros Occidental Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer chairs the committee on public order and safety, while Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman-Salliman chairs the committee on peace, reconciliation and unity.

Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said he has spoken with the committee chairmen on the conduct of the first hearing.

“We made some suggestions on how they should do it,” he said. “It’s their turf but we gave them food for thought on how to maintain some degree of control.” 

Some lawmakers interrupted their colleagues while posing questions, and others insisted on grilling the resource persons when the hearing was about to adjourn.

Salliman told The STAR he will be stricter in presiding over the hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

“We have to understand that everybody was emotional, which is the same sentiment of the public,” he said. “This hearing was also a venue to ventilate issues and sentiments from all sides.”

Lawmakers must also set an example in holding a sober inquiry to give way to objectivity and swift resolution of the incident, Salliman said.

Speaking to reporters, Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat said he would prefer a chaotic hearing than an orderly one as long as they can bring out the truth.

“It was really like palengke (market), but that’s because there are many members of the hearing committees, and we come from different political and religious persuasions,” he said.

The committees on public order and security and on peace and reconciliation have a combined membership of more than 100, he added.

Lobregat said one could just imagine if scores of those members would seek recognition from the presiding chairmen at the same time and speak without permission.

“It’s not easy to preside over that kind of a hearing, unlike an inquiry participated in by 12, 10 or fewer senators,” he said.

However, Ferrer and Salliman could do a better job of steering the debates when the two committees continue their inquiry next week, Lobregat  said.

Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon said last Wednesday’s hearing was able to make the truth behind the Mamasapano incident come out.

“I think we asked the hard questions to ferret out the truth, including on the deep involvement of President Aquino in the botched SAF (Special Action Force) operation,” he said. “Unlike some, who are making only jabs, we feel that we scored some knockouts.” 

Ridon said Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio was able to elicit the revelation of the alleged rescue directive of President Aquino.

 

ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS REP ANTONIO TINIO BASILAN REP CELSO LOBREGAT FERRER AND SALLIMAN HEARING HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JEFFREY FERRER JIM HATAMAN-SALLIMAN PRESIDENT AQUINO
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