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Monday, February 16, 2015

Only cover-up became clearer


Editorial
The Daily Tribune 
Daily-Tribune-Mamasapano-coverup-cartoonNoynoy’s allies laid the premise on which the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano massacre. Liberal Party member Teofisto Guingona started the ball rolling by stating that both the call for resignation of Noynoy and the proposed all-out war against Muslim rebels are both wrong.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, for his part, tried to establish that the Special Action Force (SAF) mission was a success in eliminating Malaysian terrorist Marwan and thus the 44 slain commandos were heroes and that no one, primarily Noynoy, should be blamed for the disastrous turnout of the mission except for designated scapegoat relieved SAF commander Getulio Napeñas.
It seems that if worse comes to worst, resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima will take the blame but the accountability would go only as high as Purisima.
From the testimonies of the police officials, however, what was glaringly clear was that the members of the 55th company surrounded by heavy fire from members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters were denied any military reinforcement until late in the day of the fateful day of Jan. 25.
The argument from the military was that it takes time for a request for the military to prepare a response to the request for assistance yet the claim becomes ridiculous since a military detachment was a stone’s throw away from the site of the encounter.
The military upon hearing a firefight would have instinctively reacted in deploying troops that would have definitely reduced casualties.
According to Napeñas, all it would have taken was an artillery barrage to convince the Muslim militants to retreat since it was the realization that the police commandos will not get any reinforcement from the military that had emboldened the rebels.
Napeñas also stressed that he was getting direct orders from Purisima, and that PNP officer in charge Leonardo Espina and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II were taken out of the loop on the mission.
Yet Napeñas appeared to have greatly softened on his earlier claims about Purisima issuing direct orders regarding the operation and claimed during the Senate that Purisima was only sharing information and that he was the one fully in charge of the mission.
Napeñas’ shift in gears on Purisima, in effect, was seen as meant to free Noynoy from allegations that he was part of those in command of the mission.
There were strong suspicions that Noynoy was the one who ordered reinforcing troops to stand down in consideration of the peace agreement and the ceasefire that was part of it.
What was undeniable is that Noynoy was in Zamboanga City within the proximity of the incident during Operation Exodus meant to capture or eliminate Marwan and his Filipino aide Usman.
A point that Napeñas chose to stick to is that the military failed to reinforce the beleaguered SAF commandos which still raises the question what caused the military to hold off in providing help to the surrounded units.
Representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the hearing said aside from the length of time needed to put up a reinforcement contingent, the military did not have accurate coordinates on the location of the pinned SAF commandos and the insurgents surrounding them.
The fact, however, was that negotiations involving the international monitoring team with government negotiators was happening while the military with mechanized units were about to enter the area of engagement.
The question remained on who ordered the troops to stand down since it was Napeñas who was the supposed head of operations was the one seeking the reinforcing troops.
The situation was not made clearer as a result of the hearing except for the efforts of the police and military officials to cover up for Noynoy which became glaring.

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