Espina denies imposing gag order on Napeñas | Inquirer News

Espina denies imposing gag order on Napeñas

/ 02:54 PM March 11, 2015

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine National Police officer in charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina has denied imposing a gag order on the beleaguered ex-commander of the Special Action Force, Director Getulio Napeñas.

“You know me. You know I never do that. I never issue any gag order… It depends on his (Napeñas) discernment,” Espina told reporters in an ambush interview on Wednesday.

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The denial came amid reports that Espina had instructed Napeñas not to speak publicly until after the PNP’s Board of Inquiry (BOI) releases its report on the Mamamsapano debacle that killed 67 Filipinos.

Since Napeñas’ interview with the PNP press in Camp Crame on February 4, he has not granted any media interviews.

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In earlier media reports, Napeñas’s lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre said the superiors of his client had asked him to refrain from speaking to the media until the BOI completes their investigation.

In a phone interview with INQUIRER.net, Aguirre clarified that he “did not use the term gag order.”

But he revealed that Espina, at the height of the blame game between the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in congressional hearings, had casually asked Napeñas “not to pay attention” to the claims of the AFP generals.

The AFP generals Espina allegedly referred to were AFP chief of staff Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. and Major General Edmundo Pangilinan, commanding general of the 6th Infantry Division.

“Kinausap ni General Espina si General Napeñas na sana ‘wag na muna niyang patulan ang mga patutsada ng mga AFP generals from Catapang and Pangilinan kasi baka magkaroon ng public perception na nagaaway at nagbabangayan ang PNP at AFP,” Aguirre said.

But the lawyer clarified that no person higher than Espina ordered Napeñas to remain silent about the issue.

Napeñas has been on the receiving end of blame in the bloody incident that cost the lives of 44 of his men.

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Recently, President Benigno Aquino III slammed Napeñas for “fooling” him and failing to abort the mission as his men were being killed one by one.

A few days after the January 25 clash, Napeñas immediately took responsibility as he was still the SAF commander for the bungled operation. He was later administratively relieved pending the investigation on the incident.

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Ex-SAF chief Napeñas: I am not Purisima’s puppet

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TAGS: Espina, gag order, Getulio Napeñas, Leonardo Espina, Philippine National Police (PNP), Special Action Force
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