Another SAF embarrassment
Two years after the so-called Mamasapano massacre, the Special Action Force (SAF) once again proved itself as the world’s most bumbling, bungling and inept commando unit when it took part in the battle to retake Marawi City from the Maute group, a ragtag band of Moro civilians.
A SAF armored personnel carrier (APC) was captured and was used by the Maute bandits against government troops.
How the APC went into the hands of the supposedly untrained bandits is something out of a comedy movie.
It got stuck in a mud hole, forcing its supposedly highly-trained occupants to abandon it.
Now, the mission is to retake the APC, which is mounted with a .50-caliber machine gun, from the enemy.
In 2015, a total of 44 SAF commandos, part of a big group on a mission to capture a Malaysian bomb expert holed up in a Moro rebel camp, were massacred by the rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province.
It was the most embarrassing incident in the Philippine National Police (PNP) commando unit’s history, which the SAF leadership said would never happen again.
Until the incident in Marawi City.
I wrote in Tuesday’s column that members of the Maute group were probably “high” on methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu), the reason why they were fearless in fighting government troops.
My suspicion was confirmed by a Marawi resident, a Maranaw, who said that the sale and use of shabu was prevalent in the city.
Former Marawi mayor Fahad Salik was one of the government officials linked by President Digong to the illegal drug traffic.
Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, PNP chief, visited his troops in Marawi wearing a bulletproof vest and lugging an MP-5 German-made machine pistol.
His counterparts in the Army, on the other hand, were simply in their fatigue uniforms with none of the burloloy or accoutrements.
Si Bato atapang a tao atakot rebenterador.
Director Dante Gierran is Dela Rosa’s counterpart in the National Bureau of Investigation.
The two officials are a study in contrast.
Gierran is a Cebuano Visayan like Bato, and both were chosen by the President because they worked with him when he was mayor of Davao City.
But the comparison ends there as Gierran works quietly and self-effacingly but is feared and respected by his men.
Dela Rosa, on the other hand, challenges his subordinates to a duel or fistfight in front of TV cameras but has nothing to show in terms of achievement.
Silent water runs deep; shallow water makes a lot of noise.
Esteban Uy, owner of Advance Forces Security Agency, has shouldered the hospital bills of his guard, Edwin Zerrudo, who got sick due to overwork.
Zerrudo was always absent and was unable to pay P700 monthly for his medical care, which is deducted from his paycheck, Uy said.
However, Uy said yesterday he would pay Zerrudo’s bill for humanitarian reasons.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.