Aquino to SAF troopers: No one is questioning that you got Marwan
MANILA, Philippines—From a scheduled 30-minute dialogue, the private meeting between President Benigno Aquino III and the Special Action Force (SAF) troopers deployed to Mamasapano, Maguindanao, where 44 of their comrades were killed, ended after three hours.
In the dialogue held at Camp Bagong Diwa on Wednesday, Aquino assured the SAF troopers that no one is questioning their accomplishment of killing Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
“Diniin ng SAF troopers that ‘we got Marwan.’ Ang sabi ng Pangulo, walang kumekwestyon doon (The SAF troopers maintained that ‘we got Marwan.’ The President said, no one is questioning your accomplishment),” said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, narrating the events of the meeting to reporters.
“Si Marwan ay isang threat sa ating buong bansa, sa mga inosenteng Pilipino. Bagama’t matagal nang pinaghahanap si Marwan, kinilala ng Pangulo na ang SAF nga ang nakakuha sa kanya (Marwan is a threat to the country and to innocent Filipinos. Marwan may have been hunted long enough but the President acknowledged that it was the SAF that got Marwan).”
Aside from discussing the Mamasapano incident, Roxas said the meeting also discussed training, equipment, and the needs of SAF troopers such as higher hazard pay for the police commandos.
Aquino gave a 30-day timeline for the PNP and the National Police Commission to produce a report on the next steps which will be undertaken for the benefit of the SAF troopers.
In a separate interview, PNP officer in charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina described the meeting between Aquino and the police commandos as “cordial.”