PNP insists: SAF killed Marwan
THE Special Action Force killed Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir alias “Marwan.”
The Philippine National Police maintained that its elite police commandos shot Marwan on January 25 in an ill-fated operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Several PNP officials denied claims, purportedly from a Moro Islamic Liberation Front report, that the wanted bomb maker was killed by his own security aides.
Director Benjamin Magalong, the former chair of the BOI, which conducted an investigation into the ill-fated operation, said he was standing by their findings that Marwan was killed by the SAF.
He pointed out that the BOI, upon its creation a day after the Mamasapano carnage, immediately proceeded with the probe and even going to the battlefield itself.
“Based on the evidence that we gathered, our SAF teams killed Marwan. They sacrificed so much and risked their lives. The SAF truly deserves the credit and all the honors,” he said on Sunday.
An MILF report has alleged that Marwan, considered to be a “high value” terrorist target, was already dead when the SAF assaulted his hut in the early hours of January 25.
The report also claimed that Marwan’s security aides were the ones who killed him, contrary to official findings of the BOI report released in March.
However, Magalong pointed out that they did not receive any evidence from the MILF, which would support this new claim.
“We have not received a single evidence from MILF that would support that claim. Anybody can simply generate claims, allegations or false information and make it appear to be true,” the former BOI chair said.
Magalong used to be the chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group when he was tasked to head the BOI. He has been reassigned to the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management.
He also challenged those claiming that the SAF did not kill Marwan to present their evidence, pointing out that “The burden of proof lies with that person who is making the claim.”
The police official said he personally talked to the survivors of the Mamasapano clash, noting that the commandos were consistent in their accounts.
The Mamasapano left 44 troopers dead, while 16 survived. One of the survivors was PO3 Christopher Lalan, the lone man standing from the 55th Special Action Company, which was the assault force.
The deaths of the commandos led to the relief of the then SAF head, Director Getulio Napeñas. He was replaced by Director Virgilio Moro Lazo.
While Magalong refused to speculate on the possible reasons why the belated information was being floated, he did not find any logic behind it.
He pointed out that the MILF’s revelation never came up during their investigation, and that there were no such claims during the series of hearings conducted in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“It’s all water under the bridge, it’s too late,” he said.
Asked if the PNP can conduct another investigation should new evidence be presented, Magalong said the BOI was creation of then Interior secretary Roxas.
“It (BOI) ceased to exist after we submitted our report in March,” he said.
Another member of the BOI, Senior Supt. Robert Po, echoed Magalong’s sentiments, saying he believed that Marwan was killed by the SAF and not by his aides.
“I personally believe that this is not true. We have interviewed all those who were in the operation and I am sure they told the truth,” he said.
Lazo expressed sadness for his fallen men, who gave up their lives to neutralize a notorious terrorist.
“It (Inquirer story) runs contrary to what the survivors stated in their accounts… We are a little sad,” he said of his commandos’ sentiments.
Magalong said he was also saddened with the new development, pointing out that the SAF sacrificed their own lives to take down Marwan.
“I am convinced that the SAF killed Marwan. I am very sad that the credibility of the PNP, the BOI and most especially the SAF is being attacked,” he lamented.
At the same time, sources questioned the timing of the allegations, which came eight months after the bloody encounter.
Another source pointed out that if it were true that Marwan was killed by his security aides, the MILF should have revealed it months earlier.
“It would have been a very good opportunity for the MILF to show to the public in good faith that they killed Marwan and are cooperating with the government. But why only now?” the source said.
The source added that it was highly unlikely that the PNP would risk the lives of hundreds of commandos if Marwan was going to be killed by his own men anyway.
“Can you imagine, are you going to risk the life of hundreds of policemen for a fake scenario like that?” the informant said.
Meanwhile, Magalong stressed that apart from being an attack on the PNP’s credibility, the claim that the SAF was not the one, which killed Marwan was an insult to the fallen troopers.
“In my personal opinion, this is an insult to the bravery of the 44 slain commandos and the survivors. It was a very sincere effort on part of the SAF, they sacrificed so much already,” he said.
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