Napeñas turned the Mamasapano raid into a ‘mission impossible’ – Aquino
MANILA, Philippines – Director Getulio Napeñas, the former Special Action Force (SAF) chief who was the ground commander of the disastrous Mamasapano raid last January 25, got yet another verbal beating from President Benigno Aquino III on Monday.
“Ganda ng plano kaya lang drawing pala,” said Aquino as he put the blame of the debacle solely on Napeñas.
Aquino narrated the details of the operation before an audience of evangelical church leaders, led by Bro. Eddie Villanueva, and defended himself in the face of public outrage over the Mamasapano incident.
“Ang bottom line ngayon, kung alam ko lang na ito ang gagawin niya (Napeñas) from the start, hindi ko i-a-approve ang mission na ito. Yung puwedeng maging successful na mission sa ginawa niyang plano, naging ‘mission impossible’ (The bottom line is if I have known what he did, I would not have approved of the mission. A successful mission in his plan turned out to be ‘mission impossible’),” he added.
He added: “May mga tumutuligsa sa atin dito, sinasabi na sinasalba ko ang sarili ko. Kung ako may kasalanan dito, bakit hindi ko aakuhin lahat? (Some say that I am saving myself. If I was to blame [on the Mamasapano incident], why would I not take full responsibility of it?)”
Aquino also elaborated the errors in the operation, particularly the inability of Napeñas to coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to devise an escape plan for the troopers.
Aquino said that Napeñas “fooled” him when he supposedly told him that everything in Oplan Exodus, the operation which seeks to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Binhir alias Marwan and his henchman, bomber Basit Usman, was implemented seamlessly.
“Maraming wishful thinking si (Director Getulio) Napeñas compared to reality. Malinaw na binola ako (Napeñas let wishful thinking prevailed over reality. It is clear that I have been fooled),” he told religious leaders in a “prayer gathering” held at Malacañang.
“Madaling mapapakita sa lahat ang ebidensiya: cellphone record, witnesses, etcetera (na) sinolo ni Napeñas (ang misyon), siya ang nagdesisyon. Ang dami niyang desisyon…may times na ang mga desisyon niya palpak ( The pieces of evidence from cellphone records, witnesses, would show that Napeñas took over the mission. Some of his decisions were futile),” Aquino added.
The President said that if he might have known of the lapses in the Operation Exodus, he might not have given his go signal for its implementation.
In his 30-minute explanation, Aquino kept mum on the involvement of resigned PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima on the operation.
Aside from 44 SAF members, 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and five civilians were killed.
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