By Maila Ager | Inquirer.net
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. took the floor on Tuesday to demand justice for the fallen 44 Special Action Force (SAF) men and their families, saying a year has passed since the bloody Mamasapano incident but the appeal for justice has not changed until now.
Marcos recalled that when he joined the SAF widows and families at Villamor Air Base in February last year, he said it struck him that the families’ one constant prayer was that their loved ones would receive the justice that they deserve.
“They did not ask for money or benefits, or for medals or decorations or ceremony or even recognition – talk that is now uppermost in the minds of some today,” he said in a privilege speech.
As chairman of the Senate committee on local government, Marcos immediately suspended the committee’s hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) following the January 25 Mamasapano incident last year that left the 44 elite policemen and several others dead.
“Although a year has passed since that awful day, we Filipinos today still grieve, still weep together over Mamasapano in a spirit of mourning and remembrance,” he said.
“The nation still mourns – not just the widows and the orphans, but all our people, because the slain commandos and civilians did not come from just one section of our country, but from all sections, without regard to geography, color or creed,” said the senator.
On Wednesday, the Senate will reopen its investigation on the incident upon the request of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.
Marcos said this would allow the chamber “to review and examine the circumstances and the reasons why Mamasapano happened the way it did, and why so many of our best and brightest men in uniform were brought down the way they did.”
The purpose of the inquiry, he said, was not principally to find fault, but to gain understanding of the tragedy “so that justice can be served and it will not be reenacted in our public life.
“As a member of government and Congress, it fills me with shame that in all these months that have passed, despite the grand pronouncements of immediate action and investigation, our government has not moved forward in meeting this appeal for justice,” Marcos said.
“President Aquino himself has been forced by this great delay to acknowledge on the day of the anniversary, he himself is dismayed by how slow his government has been to bring justice to the families of the murdered victims in Mamasapano,” he added.
He said what the nation feels was “beyond dismay, beyond impatience, beyond just sadness but a loss of part of our humanity as Filipinos.”
“We feel this when we see that we have failed our very own sons, husbands and fathers, our very own declared heroes. If this is how we treat those that have given their lives in defense of the country, what fate the ordinary citizen? What fate for those we love and care for in life?”
Marcos ended his speech, calling for justice for the fallen SAF men.
“Justice, Justice, Justice is what the SAF families cry out for. Justice is what the nation needs if we should continue be the compassionate and loving race that all Filipinos aspire to be,” he further said.