No stand down order from Aquino, AFP, PNP execs tell Senate
Almost all officials—including former Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas—invited to the reopening of the Senate probe on the deadly Mamasapano operation proved false the reports that President Benigno Aquino III gave a stand down order to protect the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
One of the questions that Napeñas’ camp was hoping to be answered was, if President Aquino prevented the deployment of reinforcement and artillery support as it would affect the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which covers the government’s peace agreement with the MILF.
Senator Sonny Angara asked the officials one by one if they heard about the alleged order, Napeñas said: “Wala po kaming nakuhang (We did not get a) stand down order.”
But Napeñas, during the interpellation with Senator Bam Aquino, said Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, military’s 6th Infantry Division chief, refused to deploy artillery support despite his repeated request to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
According to several news reports, Aquino ordered the AFP not to send reinforcement to the Special Action Force troopers being pinned down in the cornfields of Barangay (village) Tukanalipao because he put primacy over the BBL.
These were the responses of the officials:
Retired Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, former AFP chief of staff – “I didn’t order stand down neither did I receive from the President a stand down order.”’
Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, chief of the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command – “I did not receive any stand down order from Catapang nor the President.”
Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Department of National Defense chief – “I’m not aware of any stand down order.”
Mar Roxas, former Department of Interior and Local Government secretary – “There was no such order. I didn’t personally hear such order.”
Leonardo Espina, retired Philippine National Police officer in charge – “I was in Manila. I didn’t hear such order.”
Director General Ricardo Marquez, PNP chief – “I was in Clark, Pampanga managing Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation security.”
Alan Purisima, dismissed PNP chief – “There was no stand down order. I was in Nueva Ecija during the incident..”
Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, former SAF deputy director – “There was no order to stand down nor I received any information of a stand down order.”
Chief Supt. Edgar Basbas, Regional Director, Police Regional Office 9 – “I did not receive a stand down order.”
Police Director Benjamin Magalong, PNP Board of Inquiry chairman – As head of BOI, we haven’t received any material evidence about a stand down order.” IDL
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