Purisima admits he informed Aquino about Mamasapano clash, casualties
MANILA, Philippines—Resigned Police Director General Alan Purisima finally admitted during a Senate hearing on Monday that he was the one who informed President Benigno Aquino III of the Special Action Force (SAF) raid on Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last Jan. 25.
During the last hearing of the Senate committee on public order, joint with committees on peace, unification and reconciliation, and finance last Feb. 12, Purisima refused to say who informed Aquino about the raid, saying he has yet to get clearance from the President.
But when he returned to the Senate this Monday, the resigned police chief readily obliged when Senator Grace Poe, who heads the hearing, asked him to read his exchange of text messages with the President on Jan. 25.
Purisima said he began texting the President at 5:45 a.m. of Jan. 25 when he informed him that terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, had been killed and that a SAF trooper was wounded in the encounter.
“The body of Marwan was left behind but pictures were taken,” he said, reading his text message to the President.
He said the President replied at 7:36 a.m: “Why was its left behind, the other two targets?”
Aquino was apparently referring to Marwan and the other suspected terrorist, Abdul Basit Usman, who was also the target of the operation.
Responding to the President’s text message, Purisima said the SAF troopers did not reach Usman because they were fired upon by some 15 to 20 armed elements.
The President’s reply was: “If I remember correctly, 160 (SAF) troopers were directly involved in this operation plus provisions for (for) other PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) units to assist…”
“Are they still in contact with the two targets? If not, and the opposing force has escaped, are we now back to square one?” Aquino further asked.
Purisima’s reply was that the containment forces were the ones in contact and that “they are supported by mechanized and artillery support.”
“Basit should not get away,” the President said in a text message to Purisima at 10:16 a.m.
Purisima said his last message to the President was at 6:20 p.m. of January 25 where he informed that the SAF troopers “suffered heavy casualties.”