Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was infuriarated by nonappearance of invited Cabinet officials in April 1 Kidapawan dispersal probe at the Senate on Wednesday.
Senator Enrile expressed his disapproval at the start of the inquiry because of the absence of Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad, and Climate Change Commission Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman.
DILG Regional Director Reynaldo Bungubung represented Sarmiento. Undersecretary Vilma Cambrera for Sec. Soliman, and Undersecretary Dennis Guerrero for Sec. Alcala. Sec. Singson, however, sent his regrets to the invitation.
The inquiry is to be made by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights chaired by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III.
The senator said that President Aquino’s administration is taking the investigation being conducted regarding the violent dispersal of thousands of famished farmers in Kidapawan for granted.
“You know this involves an event that affected–according to the papers–6,000 members of our national community. I supposed if they were invited, they should be here because that’s the purpose of their being members of their Cabinet,” Enrile said.
Enrile reminded the Aquino government should place huge importance on the dilemma of Filipinos who are just asking for food but were given bullets instead.
“We are talking here of policies. Is this the way your departments look at this problem of the country involving voters, citizens, your bosses --supposedly, your boss,” Enrile said, pertaining to representatives send by the secretaries.
“But if you are using that as a slogan, I am asking this question because your boss claims that the Filipino people is your bosses,” Enrile said.
Enrile demanded explanation from the representatives on why their leaders failed to attend the hearing.
“What is the impelling problem of your department that keeps (your boss) out on a problem of the country, as important as this one,” Enrile asked.
Soliman is alleged to be in Davao Oriental monitoring the El Niño situation which is affecting farmers in said place. Alcala received an “urgent” call which was unexplained.