The new PNP-SAF commander on the loss of members at the Mamasapano Clash: “It is worth it.!”

Source: Interaksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines — The new commander of the police Special Action Force on Friday said the loss of 44 members of the elite unit in Mamasapano, Maguindanao during the mission to get international terror suspect Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” was “worth it” because it would save many more lives.

Chief Superintendent Noli Talino also defended replaced relieved Director Getulio Napenas, who was sacked in the aftermath of the bloody operation, calling him a “good man and a good leader” and hoping “sana maayos lahat at makabalik siya (that things will be put right and he can return).”

Clearly struggling to contain his emotions, Talino said: “Is it worth it? (Is) one international terrorist equivalent to 44 SAF troopers? I’m sure if you will ask them, (they will say), ‘It is worth it.’ Dahil mas maraming buhay ang maisasalba at maililigtas kung mawala si Marwan (Because many more lives will be saved if Marwan is gone). And we live by our motto, ‘Tagaligtas’ (Rescuers).”

The government earlier said Marwan was killed in the operation although there has yet to be hard confirmation on this.

He also recounted what happened that fateful day as he and Napenas manned the command post during what he called “Operation Exodus” “and helping each other out and thinking of how to extract the troops.”

At around 7 a.m., he said, Senior Inspector Ryan Pabalinas of the 55th Special Action Company came on their radio “asking for support” as “I noticed the swelling (number of) armed men around them.”

However, he said, the reinforcements they sent in could not get through because the unit had already been surrounded.

And then, “silence … that voice was nowhere to be heard, there was radio silence, a very long silence.”

“After the battle, I realized that voice will never be heard again,” Talino said.

“I felt guilty about what happened and it seems our efforts were not enough,” Talino admitted. “But we did our best.”

He also presented the survivors of the operation, including the wounded.

Talino then encouraged the “families of our fallen comrades” and the members of the SAF not to quit or give up.

“We only request for the 44 gallant men of SAF,” he added, in an appeal to the public, “tulungan po natin sila (let us help them), let us take care, help and protect their families. Let us also help the SAF.”

 

PNP-SAF chief relieved after Mamasapano clash!

Source: SunStar.com.ph

MANILA — The head of the elite Philippine National Police (PNP)-Special Action Force (SAF) was relieved from his post after Sunday’s fierce encounter between government troops and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Maguindanao that left over 40 police commandos dead.

In a press conference in Camp Crame on Tuesday, PNP Officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina said PNP-SAF head Chief Superintendent Getulio Napenas will be replaced by his deputy, Chief Superintendent Noly Taliño, while the investigation on the Maguindanao incident is ongoing.

“He (Napenas) was given chance to help recover the body of his men from the battlefield but he has been recalled back to Manila pending the outcome of the investigation,” he said.

Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said a special board of inquiry will be created and will focus on the investigation on the bloody “misencounter,” including the accountability and liability of the officials who took part in the operation and the members of the rebel group involved.

The board will be composed of police officials from the PNP Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development, PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operation of Western Mindanao.

“It did not reach us in the command group. That will be also tackled in the board of inquiry,” Espina said.

Roxas said he ordered the PNP Directorate for Comptrollership chief Rolando Purugganan to coordinate with the families of the slain cops and ensure that they will not go through a long process of getting their benefits on top of the financial assistance provided by the PNP, including the funeral arrangements for their loved ones.

He said the fallen cops are entitled for spot promotion and will be awarded with the highest possible medal, which is equal to the gold cross medal.

“Tuloy ang tiwala at kumpiyansa ng PNP sa peace process na bagaman napaka lungkot at matindi ang kapaitan ng pangyayari, ang mas malawak na peace process ay mahalaga at kabahagi ang PNP sa pagsulong ng kasalukuyang peace process,” Roxas said.

The incident happened amid the peace deal between the MILF and the government that aims to establish a more powerful and better-funded autonomous region for minority Muslims in Mindanao and end a decades-long rebellion.

The 392 SAF operatives were sent to Maguindanao in an attempt to serve warrant of arrest on Malaysian bombing suspect Zulkifli bin Hir, or Marwan, and Filipino bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman.

A police operative remained missing while 11 others were wounded in the fighting in the remote village of Tukanalipao in Maguindanao province.

Magdalo party-list Representatives Ashley Acedillo and Gary Alejano urged the MILF central committee to order its men from the 105th Base Command who were involved in the fighting last Sunday to surrender the weapons they have captured from the fallen SAF troopers.

“If they are sincere enough with this peace process, they should return that as a gesture of sincerity to the peace process,” Alejano said.

An emotional Alejano, who participated in the all-out war campaign of the Estrada administration against the Moro rebels, urged President Benigno Aquino III to have a strong stand following the fateful incident.

The former military officer said that it is important to see the commander-in-chief standing behind the troops.

“I’m not only sad but really disgusted of what happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. I can recall how our troops died in Central Mindanao, fighting for the government against the MILF, now it seems that it is happening again,” said Alejano.

Acedillo, for his part, believed that the incident was not just an ordinary misencounter but also an “unjustified attack” by the rebel group.

He described the clash as an “overkill” as some of the troopers were mutilated.

Pangasinan Representative Leopoldo Bataoil and ACT-CIS party-list Representative Samuel Pagdilao, both retired police officials and former members of PNP-SAF, condemned the action taken by the MILF.

Pagdilao said that he will ask the House leadership to make a parallel investigation and determine what really happened.

Pagdilao, one of the founding members of SAF in the 1980s, said that he is supporting the suspension of hearing of ad hoc committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) pending the result of the investigation.

Bataoil urged the government to declare a National Day of Mourning for the slain police commandos who died in the line of duty.

Tension high as MILF, BIFF add forces after Mamasapano clash!

Source: GMANetwork.com

Tension is still high in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao, with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters adding forces in the area.

In his live report on Unang Balita on Wednesday, GMA News’ Chino Gaston said the groups deployed additional forces should the government launch a pursuit operation related to the gun battle on Sunday, where 44 members of the police’s Special Action Force were killed.

But according to Brigadier General Carlito Galvez of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, military and police forces were pulled out of Barangay Tukanalipao, where the day-long clash happened. Checkpoints have also been removed.

The committee is also speaking with MILF commanders, asking them not to add reinforcement so fear would not spread to other parts of Maguindanao.

It also asked the group’s leaders to understand the situation and appease their members who may have lost loved ones in the battle.

In his report, Gaston also said, “Nakumpirma natin na walang ikinakasang operasyon laban sa BIFF o sa MILF dahil sa insidente.”

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Tuesday appealed for calm in the aftermath of the clash.

“We call for sobriety as we all await the full report on the investigation. During this time, we must ascertain facts to avoid confusion and acknowledge the complexities of the situation to allow for the rule of law to truly prevail,” Sereno said in her statement.

In voicing their condemnation of the incident, Senators JV Ejercito and Alan Peter Cayetano both withdrew as co-authors of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law currently being deliberated in Congress.

MILF probes clash

The MILF, meanwhile, has formed its own investigating body to look into Sunday’s deadly encounter, which occurred despite the peace agreement signed by the group with the government in March last year.

“Our concern is the truth,” MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim said in an undated statement posted on the group’s official website. “There will be a lot of speculations as to what happened and until what happened is established with credibility and integrity, the said incident will weigh down our current efforts to bring peace to our homeland.”

The group also extended its condolences to the family of the 44 SAF members who were killed in the clash.

“In order to give meaning to their deaths, we must resolve not to let something like this happen again. To this end, the MILF is convening a Special Investigative Commission (SIC),” Murad said, adding the mandate of SIC “is to gather as much reliable information and interview witnesses to establish the truth.”

‘Secret’ mission

Meanwhile, relatives of the slain elite police officers were pained further by a report that the forces were tortured as they were dying. Their guns and other possessions were also reportedly taken.

BIFF spokesman Abu Misry Mama denied this, saying the injuries that killed the police officers were obtained during the clash.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the province said all police officers have been accounted for, with the number of fatalities at 44, the report said.

Some relatives said the elite police kept the operation a secret, even to those with family members in the police and military.

“Palaisipan pa sa kanila kung sino ang nagbigay ng utos,” Gaston said in his report.

Members of both military and the police are waiting for the national address that President Benigno Aquino III is expected to make on Wednesday night.

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