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Getting to the truth

SINGKIT - Notes from the editor (The Philippine Star) - February 8, 2015 - 12:00am

Now it seems that everybody and his uncle wants to investigate, find out the truth about and determine accountability and liability of whoever was behind the Mamasapano encounter (not a “misencounter”) that resulted in the death of 44 Special Action Force policemen. 

The families of the slain policemen need to know, the members of the police force need to know, the people of the Philippines need – and deserve – to know the how, the why and the who behind Operation Wolverine.

There are currently six investigations going on – the Philippine National Police has constituted a Board of Inquiry, the Armed Forces has completed its probe into its role, the Commission on Human Rights has gone to Mamasapano for an ocular inspection, the International Monitoring Team and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will each conduct its own investigation, and I don’t understand why the Department of Justice is already forming a special team to do “case buildup” and “prepare the appropriate or necessary criminal charges against those who may be identified or determined to be responsible for what happened.” Can’t they wait for the results of the probes, then they will know exactly what charges can be filed and against who. The Senate committee on public order is set to hold hearings tomorrow. The House wants a joint Senate-House investigation, but will proceed with its own if the Senate does not want to share (the limelight?). Others want to legislate a Truth Commission, insisting only an independent body can get at the truth and nothing but.

This early, cynics, critics and naysayers are pooh-poohing the PNP Board of Inquiry investigation as nothing but a cover-up and a whitewash (one even said to “cover up with a whitewash”), and that certain sinister “mistahs” are hard at work behind the scenes to “fix” the results of the probe.

Pardon a personal take on this, but I am giving the PNP BOI the benefit of integrity and fairness. In the three years that I have been with the national advisory group (we are called the NAGgers – really) of the PNP and even before that in various projects, I have worked with several members of the BOI and I believe they are men of integrity and probity, competence and intelligence. They have undergone advanced schooling and training here and abroad and have led national and international missions with admirable success.

But beyond advanced training and operational competence, I trust that they will be unwavering in uncovering the whole truth and that they will not be swayed by loyalties to class or clan, will not be cowed by threats from superiors or tempted by promotion or reward. Their task is not easy – finding out the truth about a complex operation undertaken by their own comrades and superiors – but I believe they have accepted the responsibility knowing full well what it entails. I ask that we support them, and help them by being vigilant, by not confusing the situation with rumor and innuendo, and by praying for strength, courage and clarity of vision for all of them. We as a nation need them to succeed and come out with a credible and complete report.

 

 

   

 

 

ARMED FORCES BOARD OF INQUIRY DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HUMAN RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL MONITORING TEAM AND THE MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT MAMASAPANO OPERATION WOLVERINE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE SPECIAL ACTION FORCE
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