Alan Cayetano to Poe: Inhibit from Mamasapano probe
MANILA, Philippines – Senator and vice-presidential candidate Alan Peter Cayetano said he will inhibit himself from the upcoming Senate investigation into the Mamasapano massacre, and is encouraging Senator Grace Poe, who is seeking the presidency, to do the same.
Poe heads the Senate sub-committee tasked to conduct the probe.
"It would be better if Senator Poe passes it to the vice chair [of the committee] or to a senator who is not running, and she could just monitor the hearing. I would do the same,” he said in a press release Sunday, January 10.
The Aquino administration says the reopening of the senate probe into the tragedy is politically-motivated given its proximity to the upcoming national elections. (READ: President Aquino and the ghosts of Mamasapano)
The ruling party has asked senators running in 2016 to inhibit themselves from the probe “to avoid any semblance of impropriety.”
Aside from Poe and Cayetano, senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Miriam Defensor Santaigo, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II are seeking top national posts.
Sending a representative
Cayetano said he would limit his participation in the probe to queries submitted to the committee and a counsel who will ask questions on his behalf.
Most, or “80%” of his questions, would be sourced from families of the police officers who died during the ill-fated counter-terrorism operation, said Cayetano.
The senator said concerns on the intentions of the reopened Senate inquiry could have been avoided if it had been reopened earlier.
Cayetano requested Poe to reopen the probe last July 2015 through a letter, a request which Poe declined.
It was only at the request of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile that the Senate announced the re-opening of the probe in the first week of January.
The investigation is set to begin on January 25, the one year anniversary of the bloody operation.
The Mamasapano tragedy was a botched police operation in which 60 people, including 44 policemen, were killed in a gun battle between government forces and local armed groups, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
The police operation intended to capture terrorists wanted by both the Philippines and the United States.
The massacre endangered a long-awaited peace deal with the MILF and intensified public disapproval of the Aquino administration. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com