FOUR senators have filed a resolution commending the "bravery and heroism" of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) slain in the Mamasapano, Maguindanao clashes.
On January 25, almost 400 SAF commandos were sent to Mamasapano to serve arrest warrants on Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who has links with Jemaah Islamiyah and Filipino bomb expert Basit Usman.
The troops killed Marwan but 44 SAF men were killed in a clash with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed the death of Marwan.
In Senate Resolution 1146, Senator Loren Legarda said the elite commandos were able to uphold their duties by fighting to their last bullet despite being outnumbered and outpositioned.
"The members of our force died in the line of duty, fulfilling their responsibility in maintaining peace and order in the country by going after suspected terrorists," detained Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. said in Senate Resolution 1148.
Revilla said the slain cops deserve "honor, respect and gratitude from their countrymen."
"Such display of dedication and commitment by the members of PNP-SAF to capture those who were considered enemies of the State deserves recognition," Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said in Senate Resolution 1150.
Senator Manuel Lapid, in Senate Resolution 1149, sought for the commendation of the SAF for their "exhibited" bravery and heroism when they successfully put an end to the terror brought by Asia’s most wanted man at the cost of 44 "courageous" comrades who perished in the clash.
"This tragic loss of lives is greatly felt not only by the national police organization but is mourned by the Filipino people who lost 44 dedicated members of the public service," Lapid said.
"The Senate of the Philippines salutes the courage of the members of the PNP-SAF and honor the valor and heroism of those who sacrificed their lives to ensure that the country is safe and secure from the threats of terrorism," he added.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., for his part, said the mission to arrest Marwan and his cohort was not worth the lives of 44 slain elite commandos.
Marcos said the slain SAF members who were "well-trained and well-armed," did not deserve to die on the operational plan to kill Marwan.
"I don't think that 44 dead, even mutilated, SAF policemen is a good mission at all. I don't know if the arrest or killing of Marwan is even worth 44 lives of our best-trained policemen," said Marcos.
Two weeks after the bloodbath clash between the elite cops and Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, Marcos said there was still the "deafening silence" from the government as to who commanded the operation.
Marcos, however, hoped that the Senate probe into the Maguindanao clash scheduled on November 9 and 10 would "satisfactorily" clarify the issue.
He said he is expecting that the invited persons in the hearing that will be led by Senator Grace Poe would answer the following questions:
- Who gave the go signal for the mission?
- Why was a suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima even involved in the mission (which is clearly a violation of the protocol on his suspension)?
- Why was the plan to extricate the soldiers from the site not even carried out?
- Why was the operation kept sercret from PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina?
"We hope to get documents on Monday when the (Senate) public order committee of Senator Grace Poe begins hearings on the Mamasapano. I also hope that the hearings would only be on Monday and Tuesday and no more third hearing," he said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) led on Friday an inter-faith prayer rally for the strengthening of peace and order in the country especially in Mindanao, where 44 SAF men were killed last January 25.
The event held at Quezon City Memorial Circle in Quezon City was in line with the celebration of the 2015 United Nations World Interfaith Harmony week.
The activity was participated by the different Muslim communities within National Capital Region with other religious sectors and non-government organizations "whose shared desire is to intensify peace advocacy in the country." (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/Sunnex)