Espina: PNP unaware of SAF operation, to probe lapses
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine National Police (PNP) command group said it had no knowledge that the Special Action Force (SAF) will deploy almost 400 men to execute a large-scale operation against terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir known as “Commander Marwan” in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
“The operation didn’t reach us (PNP command group). The board of inquiry will tackle this,” PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said on Tuesday.
The “misencounter” of 392 elite cops with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters led to the death of 44 policemen on Sunday.
The MILF camp claims that SAF commandos intruded their base, violating the ceasefire agreement between Muslim rebels and government troops.
Espina and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas have not confirmed who gave the officers the go-signal to penetrate the MILF and BIFF camp.
But so as not to influence the investigation, they ordered the administrative relief of SAF head Police Director Getulio Napeñas.
Napeñas will be replaced by deputy SAF director Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño.
Mainly, the BOI will look into the lapses committed, create doctrinal, tactical and preparational point of view as reference for future police operations.
“It’s important to know what the operational lapses are so this won’t happen again,” Espina said.
The board is composed of Police Director Edgardo Ingking of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, Police Director Benjamin Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Chief Superintendent Catalino Rodrigo of the Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development.
“We want to know what really happened. The board of inquiry will entail both internal and external aspects, what are the liabilities of the officers who led this SAF operation,” Espina said.
The BOI will also look into the administrative liability of the officers. This also includes criminal and external liability of the perpetrators.
But Roxas assured that the PNP still backs the peace process with the Muslim groups.
”Tuloy ang tiwala at kumpiyansa ng PNP sa peace process. Bagaman napaka lungkot, kabahagi pa rin ang PNP sa pagsulong ng kasalukuyang peace process,” he said.
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