Nalzaro: ‘NPA’ killed SAF 44

SOME of the nagging questions surrounding the Mamasapano encounter have finally been answered. This, following the release of the report of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BOI) that conducted a fact-finding investigation into the encounter between PNP Special Action Force (SAF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25 that left 44 SAF members killed. It was not true that MILF and BIFF were responsible in the killing of those Fallen SAF 44. The “NPA” killed those SAF troopers. Yes. It was the “NPA” that killed them. Napeñas, Purisima, Aquino (NPA). Gilawog sila sa tirong niining tulo. Pagkatoytoy!

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Seriously, the BOI report gives comprehensive details of and insight into what really happened during that fateful day when SAF members were practically massacred by combined MILF/BIFF forces. It appeared that those SAF members were sitting ducks for the Muslim rebels. They had nowhere to go. But despite their small number compared to MILF/BIFF forces, those brave and gallant SAF members stood their ground until the last drop of their blood. Aside from the bullets from the enemies, there were people out there who were partly responsible for their death. But unfortunately these people until now are not bothered by their conscience into admitting their responsibilities.

I haven’t finished reading yet the BOI report because it consists of 120 pages. But based on observations by some media organizations, Oplan Exodus, a special police operations aimed to get international terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir and his local assistant, Basit Usman, was already defective from the very start. From its planning to its execution, there was already something defective with the Oplan, according to BOI report.

No less than President Aquino together with suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima and SAF commander Getulio Napeñas broke the PNP’s
chain of command by not informing acting PNP chief Leonardo Espina about the operation.

Napeñas was made as a shock absorber by Aquino and Purisima’s mismanagement of the botched operation. He is made as a sacrificial lamp by taking all the heat. Aquino blamed him for the failed operation.

The BOI report noted that Napeñas took direct order from Purisima even though the latter was already placed under six-month suspension by the Ombudsman because of graft charges. Purisima had no authority to oversee that highly sensitive operation because he was already suspended, the BOI said.

But if you were in the shoes of Napeñas, wouldn’t you take order from Purisima despite his suspension when he was all the time beside the President when Oplan Exodus was hatched in Malacañang with the presence only of the chief executive, Purisima, Napeñas and one PNP intelligence officer?

The words of Purisima were already construed by Napeñas as coming from PNoy. Would Napeñas question the authority of Purisima when the President was privy all the time to Purisima’s action? The chain of command was only between the three of them. PNoy trusted Purisima too much because of their closeness. But in fairness to Purisima, he wouldn’t be actively involved in the planning and in the execution of Oplan Exodus without being invited by the President. So blame the chief executive. PNoy is the commander in chief
and he had direct knowledge and full control of the operation. And now he won’t take any responsibility?

The BOI report also noticed the lack of coordination among the military on the field and the GRP-MILF ceasefire committee. Napeñas admitted these lapses, claiming he took the risk by not informing their military counterpart as the operation might be burned out, like in past attempts when he coordinated with the military, the information leaked and the operations were aborted. We are only talking of coordination with the military side, much more with the MILF side. The MILF coddled Marwan.

In any operation, there should be that element of surprise and target on time. How can that element of surprise be effective when the high-valued target was learned about it from MILF sources?

The other observations of the BOI report are the lack of communication facilities. Even the firearms of the SAF members were found defective. The operating units mainly rely on their mobile phones and not on police and military radio communications. Wala nay radio communication ug wala na mobuto ang armas sa mga SAF kay nabasa sa tubig didto sa sapa sa encounter site.

The findings even blamed a military general based in that area for not providing immediate reinforcement to the dying SAF members.

As a military officer he didn’t want to jeopardize the peace talks with the MILF. The military general opted to save the peace
process than saving the lives of the SAF members.

Some sectors, even Church officials, praised the BOI for its findings that pinpointed to PNoy as partly responsible for that debacle. Former Senator Ping Lacson described the BOI report as “no fear and favor.” But now, after this BOI report, will Aquino take direct responsibility for the Mamasapano incident? I doubt it.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)
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