SEN. GUINGONA PUSHES FOR THE CREATION OF TRUTH COMMISSION
Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona, Chair of the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, heard the proposed bill that seeks to create a Mamasapano Truth Commission to shed light on the incident in Mamasapano on January 25, 2015. Sen. Guingona hopes the bill would gather support, adding that nothing but the whole truth would give justice to those who died in the police raid in Mamasapano, also known as ‘Oplan Exodus.’
“Two months after the incident, emotions still is running high,” said Sen. Guingona. “The Senate hearings we’ve had regarding the incident at Mamasapano has raised more questions than answers. Until we have uncovered meticulously the intricate layers of said incident, these emotions may lead us to decide and act adversely.”
Peace-maker organizations led by the Institute for International Dialogue and the Al Qalam Institute of Ateneo de Davao met with Sen. Guingona regarding the proposed bill. They asserted their case for continuing a process in which they said, ‘they have invested almost all of their professional lives.’
The organizations include Friends of Bangsamoro, Women’s Peace Table, Lanao Peace Partners, Mindanao Peaceweavers, and the Intercultural Organizations’ Network for Solidarity and Peace.
“There is a voice, buried within the din of voices, that must be heard; and these are the voices of those who know what war is like from the ground,” adds Sen. Guingona, who hails from Mindanao. “I would be remiss in my duties as a duly elected representative of Mindanao if I don’t give them a voice in the plenary.”
Aside from the peace-maker organizations, other groups have also called for the creation of an independent truth commission such as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), and the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP).
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said during the Senate hearings that aside from their own investigation, they were pushing for an independent probe. Likewise, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Pio Catapang also stated that he is pushing for a higher independent body that will probe the incident, including the operational gaps, responsibility and accountability of those involved in the unfortunate tragedy.
“Let the work of uncovering the truth begin so that we can move forward towards giving justice and accountability to all those involved in this unfortunate incident. When there is justice and accountability, only then that we can have mutual trust that leads to reconciliation. Reconciliation is a vital ingredient that would help us achieve just and lasting peace in this country,” said Sen. Guingona. /MP