SAF 44 kin fear ‘scripted’ PNP BOI report on Mamasapano clash
MANILA, Philippines – Scripted.
This was how Dona Sumbilla-Navarro, the older sister of slain Special Action Force commando, PO3 John Lloyd Sumbilla, described the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BOI) report on the Mamasapano debacle, which was expected to be released on Monday (Mar. 9).
Sumbilla was one of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who died in an encounter with Moro rebels after killing suspected terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, and attempting but failing to arrest suspected bomber Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on Jan. 25.
“Parang scripted na po yung lalabas bukas kasi ang balita namin bago ilabas, babasahin muna ni President Aquino. (What will come out tomorrow is probably scripted because, as we have heard, President Aquino would read it first),” Navarro said in an interview after the SAF 44 march for justice on Sunday.
“If the SAF 44 were alive, perhaps they would even be blamed for what happened,” she said.
Navarro added his brother and the rest of the SAF officers might have been brought to the court-martial and investigated if they did not die.
One of reasons the House of Representatives postponed last month the congressional probe on the Mamasapano carnage was the blame game between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP.
But for Sumbilla’s mother Telly, it was clear that his son was abandoned by his superiors.
“The SAF 44 were ordered to go there but they were left there,” Telly said in the interview.
“When they asked for help, no one helped them,” she said.
The Aquino administration could not “undo” the Mamasapano fiasco. But the least it can give justice to the fallen elite officers, the 62-year-old mother said.
Her daughter, Dona Sumbilla-Navarro, said justice could only be achieved if the truth came out and those who were responsible for the tragedy were held accountable.
Even after the release of the BOI findings, Telly said they would continue to seek for truth and justice.
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