Interior Secretary Mar Roxas speaks with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin during the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano incident.  (MNS photo)

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas speaks with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin during the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano incident. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — With so many lawmakers present at the House of Representatives’ first hearing on the Mamasapano clash, legislators argued among themselves on when to quiz the resource persons because there was just so little time on their hands.

Just as Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas was set to begin questioning resource persons on the botched anti-terror raid past 12 noon, Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz quipped that lawmakers should first get the testimonies of the other resource persons because Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin were set to leave for a 1 p.m. meeting.

“I think we can ask them later,” Tupas replied.

Minutes later, Muntinlupa City Rep. Rodolfo Biazon repeated his call for a joint congressional investigation on the Mamasapano clash but Tupas tried to interject.

An irked Biazon shot back at Tupas: “I’m saying something here, what I’m saying is important because we are depriving the rights of persons who have been invited to the hearing.”

The Iloilo lawmaker, however, clarified that there should be no quarrel among lawmakers since other lawmakers will also be asking questions.

To this Biazon responded, “I expected to be heard when I’m talking here!”

In comparison, the Senate hearings on Monday and Tuesday proceeded in an orderly fashion, with each of the senators yielding to one another in asking questions.

The House hearing, which began at 9:30 a.m., had dragged on for three hours without lawmakers being able to ask questions and the key agencies involved in the police operation—the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Interior and Local Government—repeating the presentations they showed at the Senate over the past two days.

Sacked Special Action Force (SAF) head Getulio Napeñas also reread the statement he told senators at the earlier Senate hearing on the Mamasapano clash.

With the clock ticking and the hearing getting nowhere, committee on public order and safety chair Negros Occidental Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer appealed to his colleagues for order so they could proceed.

“I’m asking your cooperation, we have here until 12:30, ako rin gusto kong magtanong pero please I need your cooperation,” he said.

It was only at that point that Tupas was able to ask his questions. (MNS)