Palace: Aquino assumed Napeñas knew what to do
MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III did not have to remind relieved Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas about the need to coordinate the Mamasapano operation with groups concerned with the peace process, Malacañang said Friday.
“Like what the President said, when he says ‘coordinate,’ he already assumes that the person he is talking to knows what he means,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing a couple of hours before the Board of Inquiry’s report on the botched Mamasapano operation was released to the public.
“He is not a newcomer, he is not a young officer, so he should know what to do when it comes to operations, especially when the President tells him to ‘coordinate’,” she pointed out.
The Undersecretary said Aquino did not have to list down the things that Napeñas had to do. She also said that the president does not “micromanage.”
Valte, however, declined to comment on the BOI report, which found that peace process mechanisms were not followed.
She said Palace will issue a response after Aquino reads the report.
Despite the ongoing peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the BOI said that the SAF did not coordinate with the military and the peace mechanism entities – the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG). This led to a delay in the implementation of a ceasefire during a so-called misencounter between the SAF and the MILF. The splinter group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was also involved in the gunfight, which lasted for hours.
While the SAF succeeded in killing international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, the operation resulted in the deaths of 44 policemen, 18 MILF fighters and five civilians.
The BOI said Napeñas “failed to consider the consequences” of his plan to inform the Armed Forces of the Philippines of the operation when they have already engaged the target, based on the concept of “Time on Target.”
It also revealed that the “AFP did not deliver the artillery fire support under the consideration of the peace process, and on the absence of compliance with the required protocol.”
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