Like ex-OIC, PNP chief says he wasn’t informed about Oplan Exodus
Even Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricardo Marquez, who was then the operations chief during the Mamasapano raid in January, was kept in the dark about the Special Action Force mission to take down international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan that led to the death of 44 policemen.
“I was not informed about the incident. I knew of it when the firefight was in its full swing,” Marquez said when asked if he, too, was blinded during the ill-fated operation that had sparked public outrage.
At the time of the SAF raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, Marquez was the head of the Directorate for Operations, whose duty is to oversee the national support units of the PNP including SAF.
Like Marquez, the now retired Leonardo Espina, who was then the PNP’s officer in charge before Marquez became the PNP chief, was kept out of the loop during the planning and execution of “Oplan Exodus.”
President Benigno Aquino III, dismissed PNP chief Alan Purisima and former SAF director Getulio Napeñas were the only high officials who knew about Oplan Exodus that turned out tragic.
But Marquez said he was also “cut out of the day to day operations of the PNP” as he was entirely managing the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meetings in Subic.
“What exactly was my role during that time, I was in fact managing Apec operations in Subic so in more ways than one, I was cut out from the day to day operations,” he said.
“So to answer your question I really didn’t know there was a movement of SAF troopers to Mamasapano until the actual engagement day,” he said.
Forty four elite SAF troopers perished in the day-long gunfight with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the private army groups in Barangay (village) Tukanalipao.
“After cases by the DOJ have been filed, I think we fairly settled everything with SAF,” said Marquez.
Cases have been filed by the Department of Justice against 90 MILF and BIFF members for the death of 35 troopers from the 55th Special Action Company (SAC).
But as for the death of nine members of the 84th SAC, the DOJ said no cases could be filed against their killers for lack of evidence. IDL