House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Thursday thumbed down the request of 33 fellow congressmen to resume the Chamber’s investigation on the deadly Mamasapano, Maguindanao clash that resulted in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members.
“Once the BOI report is in and yet there are vital questions which remain unanswered, we could reopen [the probe],” Belmonte said, referring to the Palace-ordered Board of Inquiry probe on the incident.
“The multiplicity of investigations is not desirable,” stressed the House leader in re-echoing his reason for suspending the joint House panel hearings in the first place.
Earlier Thursday, Makabayan Bloc solons Reps. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela, Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna and Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis trooped to Belmonte’s office to submit a signed letter asking for the resumption of the House inquiry on the January 25 bloodbath.
Among the 33 lawmakers who affixed their signatures to the letter, three belonged to the ruling Liberal Party (LP) where Belmonte sits as vice chairman. The three were Ma. Lourdes Acosta Alba of Bukidnon, Rose Marie Arenas of Pangasinan and Joselito Mendoza of Bulacan.
However, it did not take the Speaker long to decide on this request as he would make his unfavorable response known to reporters later that day.
The joint House panel conducted its first and only hearing on the Mamasapano mission last February 11. However, the disorderly and “circus-like” nature of the proceedings only ended up embarrassing the House of Representatives.
The BOI is set to submit its findings on the incident in early March. (Randy K. Ortega)