DAVAO CITY – The progressive Makabayan bloc in Congress said the absence of President Benigno Aquino III in the resumption of Congress’ hearing on the Mamasapano incident Tuesday is a cover-up.

President Aquino on Tuesday inaugurated the P772.9-million bridge in Barangay Lullutan, Ilagan City, Isabela province.

Gabriela Women’s Partylist Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmie De Jesus said the President should attend the hearing after he was “pinpointed to have violated the chain of command by the Board of Inquiry and identified by the Senate to have the ultimate responsibility in the Mamasapano operation”.

“If the intent of this investigation is to arrive at the truth, then President Aquino must be made to attend and answer very important questions under oath,” they said.

Members of the Makabayan bloc including partylists Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Act Teachers and Kabataan pushed for the House of Representatives Committees on Public Order and Safety and Peace and Reconciliation to have President Aquino answer questions.

The committees, however, denied the motion by Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares to send the questions to Malacanang and allow the President to respond.

Aquino ally, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said sending letters to the President would only “embarrass” Aquino. Ilocos Norte Rep. Rudy Farinas said if the President would answer everyone’s questions, “he might not be able to do his job”.

Bayan Muna said the House majority “lawyered” for President Aquino.

“Covering up for the President is like rubbing salt over the wounds of widows and civilians who fell victims to the Mamasapano operation. Let the House of Representatives not be part of a grand cover-up to shield the President from accountability.  Let the House of Representatives not be party to this injustice,” Ilagan said.

Ilagan said it was also important for the President to clarify his imprimatur on allowing the US government’s involvement in the design and implementation of the operation.

“Who let the US troops in and why? Why did the President allow their participation? There is also a need to clarify if the plan took into consideration how the operation would impact the civilians and the community.”

Bayan Muna Rep Carlos Zarate said only the President can personally and officially answer their questions.

“We are challenging then Pres. Aquino to voluntarily answer those questions under oath. Otherwise, his so-called commitment to seek the truth is empty,” Zarate said.(davaotoday.com)

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