Rep. Lobregat asks House to resume Mamasapano hearings PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 March 2015 11:24

Representative Celso Lobregat of District 1 has asked the House leadership to resume hearings on the Mamasapano incident the soonest possible time saying it should come ahead of the resumption of deliberations on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Speaking on a matter of privilege last March 4, Lobregat told members of the House that the abrupt suspension and the consequent shelving of the House investigation on the Mamasapano carnage has made the House of Representatives look like a “surplus, excessive and non-essential matter” taking cue from the press statement of a Deputy Speaker who said in a press statement that “an inquiry by the House would be just a surplusage.”

The joint Congressional Committee on Public Order and Safety and the Special Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity held its first hearing on the Mamasapano incident February 11 and scheduled the next two hearings on Feb. 17 and 18. However, in an advisory issued Feb. 16, the joint committee postponed the two hearings until further notice while awaiting for the final report of the Board of Inquiry (BOI).

In a press statement last March 2, a House Deputy Speaker, according to Lobregat has declared that the House decided to shelve its own probe and that there is no reason to revive it. “We have decided to archive the probe; there is no reason to revive it. The (DILG-PNP) Board of Inquiry is probing it, so is the Senate. There is the DOJ probe as well. An inquiry by the House would be just a surplusage,” Lobregat quoted the deputy speaker.

In his privilege speech, the District I congressman declared that the decision to postpone and eventually archive the Mamasapano inquiry was made without consulting and the approval of the Joint Committee. “While it is admitted that the handling of the first hearing was disorderly, ways and means could be implemented to improve the handling of future hearings.”

Numerous factors led to the situation and were not only attributed to the committee, its chairpersons and the members of Congress, but, Lobregat stressed it was during the first hearing where essential issues were brought to fore.

“Where we are now—honestly in Limbo,” Lobregat declared admitting that a large group of congressmen have written a letter to the speaker appealing for the resumption of the Mamasapano inquiry.

He said while the Senate and numerous other agencies including the MILF are conducting the Mamasapano probe, there is a deafening silence in the House. “The House of Representatives is a collegial body. We operate under the committee system, “ he said citing the earlier suspension of the Ad Hoc committee deliberation on the BBL to await reports of the joint committee as well as the committee approved motion of the joint committee to set the next hearing on the Mamasapano incident to Feb. 17 and 18.

On the contrary, he said, the suspension of the Feb. 17 and 18 hearings on the Mamasapano incident was made without consultation and approval of the Joint Committee and what is more complicating is the decision of the leadership to archive or shelve the House probe.

“We are appealing to the House leadership to please immediately resume the house hearings on the Mamasapano incident. My dear colleagues, let us save this House and at least restore even a little the image and respect that is left on this institution,” Lobregat added in his privilege speech.

As this developed, in an advisory issued recently, the House will resume deliberations on the proposed BBL on April 6. “We received the notice to resume hearing on the BBL on April 6. I am saying this is not correct because we have yet to hear the Mamasapano incident and resume the BBL deliberation,” Lobregat contested in a recent media interview.

The Ad Hoc committee last Feb. 9 suspended deliberations on the BBL until receipt of the report of the joint committee on public order and safety and the special committee on peace, reconciliation and unity on the Mamasapano incident. Its deliberation on a line-by-line basis in relation to proposed amendments covered more than 90 pages of the 99-page BBL except for 4 critical provisions. — Jubels Santos