Taliño: Slain SAF men would say it’s (the mission) worth their lives
MANILA, Philippines—‘‘It’s worth it.’’
This is what the 44 slain commandos of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force would say if asked if the dangerous operation they conducted against a wanted international terrorist in Maguindanao was worth their lives, according to Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño, who now heads the elite police force.
Taliño spoke at the necrological services held Friday for the 44 slain SAF men at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, which also coincided with the observance of a National Day of Mourning declared by President Aquino in honor of the fallen heroes.
“Is it worth it? One international terrorist equivalent to 44 SAF troopers? I’m sure if you’ll ask them, they’d say ‘it’s worth it’,” Taliño said, his voice quivering. Taliño replaced SAF commander Police Director Getulio Napeñas, who has been relieved of his post pending an investigation to be conducted by a board of inquiry on the tragic incident.
“Dahil mas maraming buhay ang maisasalba at maliligtas noong nawala si Marwan (This is because more lives will be spared and saved due to Marwan’s death). And we live by our motto ‘Tagapagligtas’ (savior),” he continued.
“Commander Marwan” or Zulkifli Bin Hir, was the high-value target of the SAF in their covert operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province over the weekend that led into a carnage after they had a “misencounter” with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
During the gunfight, 44 SAF men were brutally killed. Marwan was also reported to have been killed in that operation.
In his emotional message for the fallen cops, Taliño said he and Napeñas “felt guilty” over the tragic incident.
“I felt guilty, same feeling as General Napeñas, about what happened and it seems our efforts are not enough to extend the help that they (families) have asked for,” he said, his voice breaking.
Napeñas had admitted that he was responsible for the “sensitive mission.”
But Taliño defended his superior and said: “General Napeñas is a good man and is a good leader.”
“We thank him for leading SAF, that much needed leadership. Sana maayos lahat at makabalik siya (I hope everything will be resolved so he can come back),” he added.
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