Palace: Aquino to personally confer posthumous awards on SAF 44
Malacañang on Saturday confirmed that President Benigno Aquino III himself would lead the awarding ceremonies to recognize as heroes the 44 troopers of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) who lost their lives in the Mamasapano operation last year.
Presidential communications undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III said Aquino will attend the ceremonies in Camp Crame on Monday, exactly a year after the bloody clash, to personally confer posthumous awards on the fallen elite commandos.
“This is the awarding ceremony that will take place, I believe, in Camp Crame. The President authorized the award and among the awards that will be conferred ay ang tinatawag na (is called) Medalya ng Kagitingan or the PNP Medal of Valor,” Quezon said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
Aquino earned the ire of the public for his supposed aloofness toward the Mamasapano fiasco, particularly due to his absence during the arrival of the troopers’ remains in Villamor Airbase, while he attended the inauguration of an automobile company.
The Medal of Valor, the highest military award in the country, will be conferred on Chief Insp. Gednat G. Tabdi and PO2 Romeo C. Cempron.
Tabdi was the head of the SAF 84th company, which led the “main effort” in the operation to capture international terrorist Zulkifi Bin Hir alias “Marwan,” while Cempron was the lead gunner of the 55th company.
Asked why only two SAF members would receive the Medal of Valor, Quezon said the 42 other slain troopers would receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal as previously recommended by the National Police Commission.
“My understanding is that besides the awarding of the PNP Medal of Valor, which will be (given) to two individuals, there will also be the Medalya ng Kabahayanihan or the PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal, which will be awarded to the SAF 44,” he said. CDG
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