PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has approved the awarding of highest award to 42 of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos killed in an encounter with Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Wednesday sent a letter to Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, informing him that the President had already approved the conferment of the Medal of Valor to 42 SAF commandos.
"I am pleased to transmit to you the endorsed letter by the President, approving to upgrade the PNP Distinguished Medal (Medalya ng Kabayanihan) of the 42 members of the PNP Special Action Force as setforth therein to the posthumous award of the PNP Medal of Valor (Medalya ng Kagitingan),” Medialdea said.
In a separate letter dated February 8, Duterte declared all the slain elite police as Medal of Valor awardees, "for acts of conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of lives and limb above and beyond the call of duty."
The killed SAF troopers who received the awards were:
1. Police Senior Inspector Ryan Pabalinas
2. Police Senior Inspector Max Jim Tria
3. Police Senior Inspector John Garry Erana
4. Police Senior Inspector Cyrus Anniban
5. Police Inspector Joey Gamutan
6. Police Inspector Rennie Tayrus
7. Senior Police Officer 2 Lover Inocencio
8. Senior Police Officer 1 Rodrigo Acob Jr.
9. Senior Police Officer 1 Virgel Villanueva
10. Senior Police Officer 1 Noel Golocan
11. Senior Police Officer 1 Andres Duque Jr.
12. Senior Police Officer 1 Junrel Kibete
13. Senior Police Officer 1 Victoriano Acain Jr.
14. Senior Police Officer 1 Robert Allaga
15. Senior Police Officer 1 Jedz-in Asjali
16. Senior Police Officer 1 John Lloyd Sumbilla
17. Police Officer 3 Amman Esmula
18. Police Officer 3 Romeo Senin
19. Police Officer 3 Chum Agabon
20. Police Officer 3 Glenn Bedua
21. Police Officer 3 Richelle Baluga
22. Police Officer 3 Noel Balaca Jr.
23. Police Officer 3 Joel Dulnuan
24. Police Officer 3 Walner Danao
25. Police Officer 3 Godofredo Cabanlet
26. Police Officer 3 Franklin Danao
27. Police Officer 3 Jerry Kayob
28. Police Officer 3 Noble Kiangan
29. Police Officer 3 Ephraim Mejia
30. Police Officer 3 Omar Nacionales
31. Police Officer 3 Rodel Ramacula
32. Police Officer 3 Roger Cordero
33. Police Officer 3 Peterson Carap
34. Police Officer 3 Nicky Nacino Jr.
35. Police Officer 2 Russel Bilog
36. Police Officer 2 Windel Candano
37. Police Officer 2 Loreto Capinding II
38. Police Officer 2 Gringo Cayang-o
39. Police Officer 2 Mark Lory Clemencio
40. Police Officer 2 Joseph Sagonoy
41. Police Officer 2 Oliebeth Viernes
42. Police Officer 2 Angel Chocoen Kodiamat
Of the 44 SAF commandos, only Senior Inspector Gednat Tabdi and Police Officer 2 Romeo Cempron had been awarded the medals of valor during the administration of then President Benigno Aquino III.
On January 25, 2015, the SAF troopers launched a law enforcement operation against two high-value targets, Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and terrorist Abdul Basit Usman, which resulted in a firefight with the rebels.
The encounter killed at least 67 people, including Marwan. Usman was killed in a separate police operation. (SunStar Philippines)