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Monday, March 23, 2015

LACSON ON THE PNP; JIM LEADER CAPTURED


FORMER Senator Panfilo Lacson does not agree with Malacañang’s argument that the principle of chain of command does not apply to the Philippine National Police.

Lacson, who was PNP Chief from 1999 to 2001 before his election as Senator, explains: “From the very start, from the time the PNP was created in 1991, the President has always been regarded as the commander-in-chief.” 

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV defends President Benigno Aquino III. Trillions says that and said only Napeñas was responsible for the incident and the relieved Special Action Force commander should be man enough to admit his mistakes and ask for forgiveness from the families of the slain policemen.

“Did the President violate the chain of command?” Trillanes said. “That’s absurd. The whole world will laugh at us.”

Lacson explains that with Executive Order No. 226 of 1995 which instituted command responsibility in the PNP and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the principle of command responsibility is ingrained in the PNP.

“The chain of command is present even in business organizations. What does chain of command mean? It’s the formal line of authority, responsibility in communication. This is the relationship of superior and his subordinate. So you cannot say that the PNP is not covered by a chain of command,” he says.

Lacson disputed the claim of Palace spokesmen and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that the PNP board of inquiry contradicted itself in its report on the Mamasapano incident that resulted in the death of 67 people, including 44 police commandos.

Lacson agrees that while President Benigno Aquino III had the prerogative to directly order Special Action Force commander Getulio Napeñas, but how will Malacañang will be hard put o explain why former PNP chief Alan Pursima was issuing orders when he was already suspended.

Lacson made his remarks after Malacañang argued that Aquino does not have any liability for the incident because the PNP was a civilian agency not covered by the principle of chain of command.

But Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. reiterated that the root cause of the chaos and even the deaths that resulted from the secret operation was mainly because President broke the chain of command.

“There was chaos because the normal chain of command, the whole command structure, was bypassed, and President Aquino made his own chain of command,” Marcos told reporters. .

Marcos said the chain of command during the Mamasapano incident consisted only of Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas. “So there were only three of them who planned and talked about this. So that is certainly significant,” Marcos said.

But Marcos notes that it will be hard to make Aquino answer for the incident because of the presidential immunity from suit.

“How do we make him answer? I don’t know. We’re just hoping that he acknowledges the need. That’s what the people are waiting for. What’s his reason for breaking the chain of command,” said Marcos.

On the other hand, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the independent bloc in the House of Representatives, slammed the Palace from trying to discredit the BOI report after it criticized Aquino for violating the chain of command.

“It is preposterous, absurd, ridiculous, and outrageous for Malacañang to discredit a government-sponsored inquiry,” said Romualdez, also president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa).

“They even told the public to wait the results of the investigation and after the findings were made public, they are now assailing the PNP-BoI, that’s illogical,” Romualdez added.

Instead of washing his hands of the issue, Romualdez said President Aquino should explain why he allegedly violated the chain of command and why he should not be held liable over the Mamasapano incident.

“Like what I had been saying in the past, the President should admit full responsibility,” Romualdez said.

***

The leader of a new Muslim rebel splinter group, linked to the Mamasapano carnage, more than a dozen bombings and beheading of a farmer as well as accused of protecting two terror suspects, was captured Sunday night in General Santos City.

Mohammad Ali Tambako, head of the newly formed Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM), was arrested with four of his followers while aboard a tricycle in Barangay Calumpang, General Santos City.

“Tambako was fleeing when he was arrested,” said Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, head of the military public affairs office.

“They were on their way to a sea port in General Santos … armed with hand guns and grenades.”

The police and the military operatives arrested Tambako, a native of Mamasapano, Maguindanao, and his associates – Datukan Sato Sabiwang, Ali Valley Ludisman, Mesharie Edio Gayak, and Abusahma Badrudin Guaimil alias Hansela Omar – on
the strength of an arrest warrant issued by Cotabato City Regional Trial Court Branch 15 Judge Jorge Jabido for their alleged involvement in the killing and bombing of civilians in Midsayap, North Cotabato, in 2010. They yielded three grenades and two handguns.

Army 10th Infantry Division (10ID) commander Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año said that Tambako had been in General Santos City for at least one week after he escaped a military dragnet in Maguindanao where there is an ongoing offensive against the BIFF.

Tambako and his companions were flown to Manila for inquest.

Tambako, who formed JIM with about 70 armed fighters last year, has been suspected by the military of giving refuge in his southern stronghold to top Malaysian terror suspect Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, and long-wanted Filipino bombing suspect Abdul Basit Usman.

The operation to neutralize Marwan and Usman last January left 44 police commandos dead in an ensuing gun battle with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and private armed groups, including Tambako’s JIM in Mamasapano. That prompted the military last month to launch an offensive against the BIFF and other armed groups that has killed about 100 suspected insurgents and led to the capture of Tambako.

Before forming JIM, Tambako was vice chairman for military affairs of the BIFF under Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato. However, he was expelled last year from the BIFF, along with 30 of his followers, for beheading farmer Ricarte Dionio in Midsayap, North Cotabato, following a raid at a Christian community in 2013.

Prior to this, Tambako was a member of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) before he joined the MILF and later the BIFF, where he was appointed Amir after Kato, reportedly his uncle, suffered a stroke in January, 2012.

Tambako studied in Egypt and Cabunoc said his time overseas enabled him to build up extensive contacts with foreign militants. Having been exposed to foreign terror networks in the Middle East, Tambako had established a network of contacts among the notorious Islamic Fundamentalists around the world, according to the military.

He finished his special education at the Ulama Doctrine School in Libya and took graduate studies in Cairo, Egypt.

Tambako also took the elite force training in Pakistan.

AFP records show that Tambako is associated with the Jemaah Islamiyah and high value targets like Marwan, Usman, Mauiyah, Omar Patek, and Albader Parad.

Despite his links to terror groups, sources said Tambako’s downfall was a result of information provided by influential Muslim clerics and senior commanders of the MILF. The same sources said one of the informants is a senior Islamic preacher who
served as guide to capture the suspects.

It was learned that Tambako opposes peace talks with the government, apparently the reason the MILF provided information on his whereabouts.

***

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