Marwan killed for money by his aide, group claims
Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, was killed by his aide and not by the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) as claimed by President Aquino, a Mindanao-based party-list group said on Friday.
Marwan’s aide was identified as Datukan Sanggagao, according to Jesus “Peping” Agdumag of the Anti-War Anti-Terror (Awat) Mindanao party-list.
Another Inquirer source who has investigated the Jan. 25, 2015, Mamasapano clash said this was the same information his team had gathered, and it was also the name of Sanggagao that surfaced during the investigation.
But the Inquirer source said Sanggagao was alive and in hiding.
The story about Marwan’s aide killing the terrorist in exchange for money circulated in Central Mindanao soon after the bloody encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, that left 44 SAF commandos, 17 Moro rebels and three civilians dead.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) also said in its report on the Mamasapano clash that Marwan was killed by his aide, but stopped short of naming Sanggagao.
The SAF claimed that its 84th Special Action Company (SAC) killed Marwan in an exchange of fire, but the MILF report pointed to findings that were inconsistent with the SAF version.
The MILF reported that Marwan appeared to have been shot from close range and that his hut and its surroundings showed no signs of a gun battle.
“This is the ultimate truth,” Agdumag told the Inquirer by phone on Wednesday, referring to his group’s report.
Awat is a little known political group but its members are Mindanao residents and it has a vast network in the region.
The group sent its investigation report, shown to the Inquirer, to the offices of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Grace Poe before the Senate reopened its Mamasapano investigation on Jan. 27.
“I don’t know why the senators did not use our report, but we couldn’t sleep not saying the truth,” Agdumag said.
He said Awat’s report was based on a yearlong investigation of the Mamasapano bloodbath.
Through various other assets, according to Awat’s findings, Sanggagao was recruited for the operation to take down Marwan being planned by Director General Alan Purisima, then the PNP chief, and Director Charles Calima, then head of the PNP Directorate for Intelligence.
The assets, including Sanggagao, were assured of a P50-million reward for their help in getting Marwan.
Sanggagao was given money to build a hut some 500 meters away from Marwan’s hut in Pembalkan village in Mamasapano and to buy gadgets for monitoring the terrorist’s movements.
In the early hours of Jan. 25, 2015, Sanggagao shot Marwan dead, cut off his right index finger and handed it to the SAF. (There was a photo that showed a SAF commando cutting off Marwan’s left index finger.)
But Sanggagao was surprised to hear gunfire from the SAF and feared that he would be liquidated.
A frantic Sanggagao called up another asset to find out what was going on.
The other asset recalled Sanggagao’s last words: “Why are they shooting me?”
Then the line went dead.
The other asset, assisted by some companions, took the bodies of Marwan and Sanggagao and buried them.
Speaking at the Inquirer Multimedia Forum on Sept. 8 last year, President Aquino said he had asked for verification of an “alternative version” of events that took place in Mamasapano. He did not explain what the alternative version was.
A week later, the President said there was no longer an alternative version and showed photos of a dead Marwan with a SAF commando cutting off the terrorist’s left index finger.
Mr. Aquino declared that it was the SAF that indeed killed Marwan.
But Awat said that if the government wanted it, Marwan’s body could be exhumed.
The implication is that if both of Marwan’s left and right index fingers are missing, then the Sanggagao story is the right version.
According to the SAF version, the fighting at Marwan’s hut alerted the terrorist’s companions, and the 84th SAC had to shoot its way out of the village.
The company lost nine members in the fighting.
A 36-strong blocking force, the 55th SAC, lost 35 members in a daylong gun battle with MILF fighters, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters rebels and armed villagers.
There was a ceasefire between government forces and the MILF, which had signed a peace agreement with the government, but Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF commander at the time, did not give the MILF a heads-up on the operation to capture Marwan.
Napeñas was sacked after the mission backfired. Together with Purisima, he is facing charges in the Office of the Ombudsman over the debacle.
He is running for a seat in the Senate in the May 9 national elections.