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ENRILE: NOY 'DIRECTLY INVOLVED', HE ALLOWED SLAUGHTER OF SAF 44
[“So that there would be no more questions about whether we should reopen the Mamasapano hearing or not, I would like to make it of record that I have evidence,” Enrile said. “First, that the President of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III, actively and directly involved himself in the planning, preparation of Oplan Exodus.” The President knew about the fighting in Mamasapano as he had flown to Zamboanga City, Enrile said.]


JANUARY 19 -President Aquino offers prayers for the slain SAF commandos at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan in January last year. STAR file photo
President Aquino was “directly involved” and allowed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos to be slaughtered in Mamasapano last year. And the accuser claims to have evidence to prove it. Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile made the allegations in open plenary session at the Senate yesterday. “While the operation was going on, and SAF units were being slaughtered, (Aquino) did not do anything at all to save them,” Enrile said. He took the floor to put on record that he has evidence to pin down Aquino and end debates on the reason for reopening the probe into the deaths of the so-called SAF 44 in Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015. Enrile claimed that Aquino knew from day one about the operation to neutralize three foreign terrorists led by Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan. “So that there would be no more questions about whether we should reopen the Mamasapano hearing or not, I would like to make it of record that I have evidence,” Enrile said. “First, that the President of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III, actively and directly involved himself in the planning, preparation of Oplan Exodus.” The President knew about the fighting in Mamasapano as he had flown to Zamboanga City, Enrile said. He continued: “Second, that on the day of the actual operation, (Aquino) was monitoring the operations while he was in his plane going to Zamboanga City… and I am going to prove these with evidence in that hearing.” Initially, Senate President Franklin Drilon said he wanted to clarify the definition of “new matters” after Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano interpellated Sen. Grace Poe on the ruling of the committee on rules that allowed the reopening of inquiry. Sen. Vicente Sotto III seconded the motion when Enrile reiterated his motion in the plenary that the Mamasapano hearing should be reopened and be brought back to the committees. “… so that I can present the evidence with respect to the participation of the President actively, extensively, directly in the planning of this particular Oplan Exodus and the fact that he knew it from the very beginning that there was going to be an operation on that day, Sunday, January 25, 2015,” Enrile said. “…that he was onboard plane when they were monitoring the operation and third, he did not do anything to rescue the beleaguered Mamasapano assault group of the SAF.”  READ MORE...RELATED NEWS, Retired cop surfaces with audio recording on ‘Mamasapano cover-up’—report...

ALSO: Palace hits back at Enrile - PNoy did everything to save SAF 44


JANUARY 19 -In this Jan. 30, 2015 file photo, President Aquino condoles with the family of the fallen Philippine National Police-Special Action Force troopers during the necrological service at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile earlier this year claimed that Aquino was directly involved in the operation to neutralize Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, which led to the death of 44 SAF commandos on January 25, 2015. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Gil Nartea
Malacañang on Tuesday denied claims of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile that President Benigno Aquino III was directly involved and allowed 44 Special Action Force commandos to be killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year.
"Sa kanyang mga pahayag sinabi na ng Pangulo na sa kanyang pagkabatid ay ginawa naman niya ‘yung dapat gawin bilang pangulo at commander-in-chief," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing. Enrile claimed that Aquino "did not do anything" to save the police commandos while they were being slaughtered during an encounter against Moro rebels. The senator insisted that the president was aware of the operation to neutralize Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan. "Meron siyang mga ginawa. Meron ding ginawa ang mga kinauukulang opisyal ng pamahalaan at lahat naman ng mga ito ay naibunyag at naisiwalat na ‘nung mga nakaraang pagkakataon. Marami na ring pagsisiyasat na isinagawa hinggil diyan," Coloma said. READ MORE...RELATED, SAF commandos to get highest honor - DILG Chief Sarmiento...

ALSO: PNoy responsible for SAF 44 as commander-in-chief - Poe


JANUARY 20 -In this January 30, 2015 photo, President Benigno S. Aquino III honors the fallen Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) Troopers during the Necrological Service at the NCRPO Multi-Purpose Center of Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Benhur Arcayan
Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday admitted that President Benigno Aquino III has responsibility for the operation to neutralize Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, which led to the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year.
Poe, who heads the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said that commanders on ground may not be held liable for making a wrong judgment call but that is not the same case as Aquino. "Hindi ko sinasabing 'yung sa pangulo ay ganun, basta 'yung sinasabi namin dahil nga siya ang commander-in-chief at may kausap siya, mayroon siya talagang responsibilidad doon," Poe said. Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero also noted that Aquino is an impeachable officer. "Kaugnay ng pananagutan ni Pangulong Aquino kung saka-sakali, nabanggit mo na din, impeachable officer siya at hindi maaaring mapanagot sa ano man at naging maingat din kami dahil kapag nilagyan namin ng pananagutan ang commander on the ground dahil may maling ginawa, ang takot namin, baka mabalihibuan o kabahan na 'yung mga commander natin, hindi na magdesisyon on the ground dahil baka masampahan siya ng kaso," Escudero said. On the other hand, Escudero said that the Senate report on the Mamasapano incident cannot be changed without the consent of the 21 senators who signed it. READ MORE...

ALSO: Poe panel invites Cabinet, SAF men to probe


JANUARY 21 -Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chairman Grace Poe said President Aquino should be held liable for command responsibility over the Mamasapano debacle that led to the slaughter of 44 police commandos on Jan. 25 last year. Philstar.com/File
  Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II have been invited to attend the Senate reinvestigation on the Mamasapano massacre at 10 a.m. on Jan. 27.
Former Special Action Force commander Getulio Napeñas, a senatorial candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance, will also attend the hearing. Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chairman Grace Poe said yesterday President Aquino should be held liable for command responsibility over the Mamasapano debacle that led to the slaughter of 44 police commandos on Jan. 25 last year. Eighteen rebels and five civilians were also killed in the encounter. “Right now, we stand by our report,” she said. “We have no intent to replace or add any other subjects in our discussions unless there are new evidence that might affect the outcome of the (committee) report. “I am confident that we have asked the pertinent questions but Senator Enrile might have a different style of questioning so we will leave it up to him… nobody objected from the Rules Committee and even during plenary,” he said, referring to the reopening of the inquiry pushed by the minority leader. Napeñas said Enrile had invited him to attend the hearing. He met with Enrile last week but he declined to divulge details of their discussion. He believes the allegations of Enrile that Aquino was directly involved in the Mamasapano operation last year, Napeñas said. Enrile had said that he has evidence to prove that on that fateful day, Aquino was monitoring the operation while he was on a plane to Zamboanga City. Enrile would also show evidence that some Cabinet members did not disclose the facts in past Senate hearings. Napeñas said Enrile may have basis for saying what he had said. “The President has full knowledge of the Mamasapano (operation),” he said. Poe said the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs focused on Aquino’s liability as commander-in-chief. “When you say that it’s your responsibility, it only means that you also have direct authority,” she said in Filipino. “It’s unconventional because we are asking about the chain of command, but if you commit a mistake, for example a commander in his decision on the ground, you cannot hold him liable for any criminal liability for a wrong judgment call.”  Aquino’s liability focused only on his action or inaction as commander-in-chief, Poe said. Also invited to the hearing are National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia Jr., former Armed Forces chief Gregorio Pio Catapang, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, former PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina, PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez, Armed Forces chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri, Army 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, PNP intelligence chief Fernando Mendez, Director Benjamin Magalong as chair of the PNP Board of Inquiry, former SAF deputy director Chief Supt. Noli Talino, Zamboanga peninsula police director Chief Supt. Edgar Orduna Basbas, 4th SAF Battalion commander Sr. Supt. Hendrix Mangaldan, Sr. Supt. Richard de la Rosa, Supts. Michael John Mangahis, Abraham Abayari, Raymund Train, Chief Insp. Recaredo Marasigan and Police Officer 2 Christopher Lalan. READ MORE...

ALSO Noy’s least offense: ‘criminal neglect’ -ex DILG Chief


JANUARY 21 -Ex-DILG chief Rafael Alunan
EX-DILG CHIEF CITES GROSS FAILURES IN EXODUS At the very least, President Aquino should be charged with criminal neglect for what is emerging as a huge lapse of judgment in saving lives of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in the botched Oplan Exodus, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan said, as he traced the police operation’s failure to Aquino himself for apparently breaking the chain of command and the utter lack of effort to save the SAF commandos from a slaughter. “The chain of command failed in Mamasapano as well as the principle of command responsibility. It was a failure of leadership and moral courage, and that began with the commander-in-chief,” Alunan said in a Facebook post. He noted that in making then suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima in charge of the Mamasapano operation, Aquino likewise violated the suspension order of the Ombudsman which was a clear breach of the law. Alunan added the massacre of the SAF 44, and the wounding of 15 more, could have been mitigated “had there been swift action to protect the boys from further harm who were conducting a legitimate police operation.”  “(Saving them) should have been top priority, but there was none. That to me was criminal negligence,” he added. “The evasion of justice to escape responsibility and accountablity is, ultimately, a failure of good governance. Lives and limbs were lost and families were shattered because the wrong guys were in positions of power,” Alunan said. “For those who failed to lead and act with moral courage, their conscience will be bothered and tormented till they breathe their last,” he added. Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said that Aquino is now clearly taking all efforts to save himself and his cohorts from any guilt. “By now it is clear that President Aquino is not telling the whole truth about his involvement in the Mamasapano operation that led to the deaths of 44 PNP SAF troopers, 18 (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) fighters, 2 (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) fighters and at least 3 civilians,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes told The Tribune in an interview. Reyes also took a swipe at Aquino for allowing the participation of a foreign government in an internal operation. Former SAF director Getulio Napenas has admitted that the US was involved in  Operation Wolverine which was precursor of Oplan Exodus. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace: Aid given to SAF 44 families now at P188 million


Citing data from the Presidential Management Staff, Coloma said out of the total amount, P151.2 million in mandatory lump sum benefits and other assistance have been given to the families of the SAF 44. File photo
Malacañang on Sunday announced that the total amount of assistance given to the kin of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members killed in the Mamasapano incident last year has now reached P188 million.
"For the information of the public, we are ready to provide them with data so that they will understand that the government has tried its best to provide the necessary assistance,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a Radyo ng Bayan interview. It has been a year since the deadly encounter among the SAF 44, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The government forces were carrying out a mission to capture wanted Malaysian terrorist and bomb-maker Zulkifli Abdhir. Citing data from the Presidential Management Staff, Coloma said out of the total amount, P151.2 million in mandatory lump sum benefits and other assistance have been given to the families of the SAF 44. ”It has different ranges depending on the tenure or years of services,” Coloma said. Coloma said the immediate families of the SAF 44 have also been receiving monthly pension now amounting to P10.1 million from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Police Commission. Duterte doubts SAF 44 probes can resolve questions


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Enrile: Noy allowed slaughter of SAF 44


President Aquino offers prayers for the slain SAF commandos at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan in January last year. STAR file photo

MANILA, JANUARY 25, 2016 (PHILSTAR)  By Christina Mendez Updated January 19, 2016 -President Aquino was “directly involved” and allowed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos to be slaughtered in Mamasapano last year. And the accuser claims to have evidence to prove it.

Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile made the allegations in open plenary session at the Senate yesterday.

“While the operation was going on, and SAF units were being slaughtered, (Aquino) did not do anything at all to save them,” Enrile said.

He took the floor to put on record that he has evidence to pin down Aquino and end debates on the reason for reopening the probe into the deaths of the so-called SAF 44 in Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015.

Enrile claimed that Aquino knew from day one about the operation to neutralize three foreign terrorists led by Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

“So that there would be no more questions about whether we should reopen the Mamasapano hearing or not, I would like to make it of record that I have evidence,” Enrile said. “First, that the President of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III, actively and directly involved himself in the planning, preparation of Oplan Exodus.”

The President knew about the fighting in Mamasapano as he had flown to Zamboanga City, Enrile said.

He continued: “Second, that on the day of the actual operation, (Aquino) was monitoring the operations while he was in his plane going to Zamboanga City… and I am going to prove these with evidence in that hearing.”

Initially, Senate President Franklin Drilon said he wanted to clarify the definition of “new matters” after Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano interpellated Sen. Grace Poe on the ruling of the committee on rules that allowed the reopening of inquiry.

Sen. Vicente Sotto III seconded the motion when Enrile reiterated his motion in the plenary that the Mamasapano hearing should be reopened and be brought back to the committees.

“… so that I can present the evidence with respect to the participation of the President actively, extensively, directly in the planning of this particular Oplan Exodus and the fact that he knew it from the very beginning that there was going to be an operation on that day, Sunday, January 25, 2015,” Enrile said.

“…that he was onboard plane when they were monitoring the operation and third, he did not do anything to rescue the beleaguered Mamasapano assault group of the SAF.”

READ MORE...

Enrile said he had studied the evidence presented in the committee, and he believes that some Cabinet members were not telling the truth.

“Mr. President, I will show that some members of the Cabinet who appeared in these hearings did not disclose the true facts, even though they knew it and yet they testified under oath and they did not disclose the facts properly and truthfully,” he said.

During session, Drilon put on record his “abstention” on the decision to reopen the inquiry, following his call to clarify the definition of “new matters.”

Drilon’s move came amid the interpretation of Section 32 of the Senate rules, which provides that “when a report is returned to a committee or is transmitted to another, unless it is returned for purposes of conducting further public hearings on new matters arising after the report, all previous proceedings in connection therewith shall be deemed to be void and that matter in question shall revert to its original status.”

Senators eventually agreed that Enrile should be considered to be in good faith when he claimed that he has “new matters” to discuss.

Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chairman Poe had set the resumption of the Mamasapano inquiry on Jan. 27.

Enrile also debunked the existence of a national security concern about the inquiry since Mamasapano was “a pure police operation.”

“My question is, was there a national security matter involved in Mamasapano? Mr. President, there was none,” he said.

“This was a police operation involving the enforcement of our criminal laws. According to the basis of that operation, they were supposed to be enforcing a warrant of arrest. What is national security in that? The life of the nation is not involved. The question is, was there a criminal case filed? That is the question.”

Enrile said he had read the report.

“It was cited there a criminal number,” he said. “A case number. But there was no mention of the court, the judge, the corpus delicti or where and when a criminal case was filed.

“So what are we talking about national security here? I’ve been handling national security of this country for 17 years.”

Before the session started, Drilon criticized Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. over his statement that the executive can ask advance questions before allowing officials to attend Senate hearings.

“This is a committee hearing, the advance written questions will be available during the question hour. This is not the question hour,” he said.

Continuing cry for justice

Meanwhile, vice presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sees the government’s unfulfilled promises and the continuing cries for justice of families of the 44 slain SAF commandos as justifying the reopening of the Senate investigation into the Mamasapano massacre.

“Almost a year has passed after the Mamasapano massacre and yet we continue to hear complaints from some of the kin of the SAF 44 that they have yet to receive the assistance the government promised to them,” he said.

Marcos said widows Virgie Viernes and Merlyn Gamutan are complaining that they have not received the aid that the government had promised.

Their complaints run counter to the statement of the Philippine National Police last July that the families of the slain commandos have been given about P80 million in cash, as well as scholarships for their children, he added.

Marcos said the families of the SAF 44 are asking for justice for their loved ones.

“Yet until now no case has been filed in court to prosecute those responsible,” he said.

“We owe it to the families of the SAF heroes to resolve these issues and the Senate investigation will allow us the opportunity to do that.”

Marcos has consistently prodded the Department of Justice to speed up its preliminary investigation on the Mamasapano massacre and to file appropriate charges in court to begin the process of giving justice to the victims.

Malacañang will not stop the Senate from reopening the investigation, Coloma said.

“We will address these... if and when these are raised or asked at the proper forum,” he said.

“The Senate is at liberty to determine how it wants to conduct the planned reopening of the inquiry. Records will show that the executive branch had always been open and forthcoming in addressing all questions pertaining to the Mamasapano incident.”

Enrile vowed to establish the role of Aquino in the incident and what he was doing while the encounter between the SAF and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and vigilantes was going on.

Poe said Enrile must be given the chance to ask questions about Aquino related to the Mamasapano massacre.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricardo Marquez sees the slaughter of the 44 police commandos in Mamasapano last year as a game changer for the Special Action Force.

He hopes that all the citations and awards will be given to them.

Marquez said SAF chief Director Moro Virgilio Lazo believes his men have recovered from the tragedy.

“So the feeling of General Lazo is we have recovered from that incident,” he said.


The new chief of the Philippine National Police, Dir. Ricardo Marquez, graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1982. He also holds a Masters in Management from the Philippine Christian University. FROM CNN PHILIPPINES

“We have talked about this when I brought some people with the President. I guess that was a turnaround. It’s a game changer for the SAF.”

Marquez said the PNP has been planning to hold an awarding ceremony for the slain commandos and the survivors.

“We are inviting of course the families of our Gallant 44,” he said.

“I felt that it’s a fitting moment for our troops to finally be awarded appropriately. The will be given the second highest award, distinguished conduct medal.”

Marquez said they are awaiting the final phase of the awards – the Medal of Valor – which remains pending at the Office of the President.

“On the benefits, we have not left anybody. All of them received benefits due them,” he said. – With Perseus Echeminada, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Aurea Calica

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Retired cop surfaces with audio recording on ‘Mamasapano cover-up’—report
@inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 02:35 PM January 23rd, 2016


Supt. Diosdado Valeroso Photo from retired Chief Supt. Diosdado Valeroso Facebook account

Just a few days before the scheduled resumption of the Senate probe on Mamasapano, a retired police official on Saturday claimed that he has a digital audio recording of a supposed conversation between a “ranking government official” and a “lawmaker” that would further shed light on the botched operation.

READ: Senate to reopen Mamasapano probe on Jan. 27

A report by GMA News Online quoted retired police Chief Supt. Diosdado Valeroso as saying at a press conference that the two people in the recording appeared to be talking about an alleged attempt to cover up the real turn of events in the bloody clash “to avoid its possible effect on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

The report said Valeroso declined to name the officials in the conversation, however, he added that it transpired “a day or two” after the botched operation, which left 44 troopers of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) and several others dead.

Valeroso said he acquired a copy of the recording last Tuesday through e-mail, however, he declined to name the source.

The report said he also declined the requests of the families of the fallen SAF troopers to get a copy of the recording as it still up for verification by experts.

The retired police said he will forward the recording to the Senate committee on public order, led by Sen. Grace Poe, which is set to reopen the probe about the incident on January 27.

READ: Poe: Senate to reopen Mamasapano probe on operation’s 1st anniversary

The committee is set to reopen its investigation a year after the tragedy on the initiative of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who claimed of “possibly new evidence” and spoke of President Benigno Aquino III’s “active” and “direct” involvement in the operation. Yuji Vincent Gonzales/RAM

READ:
Enrile out to prove Aquino’s ‘direct’ involvement in Mamasapano


PHILSTAR

Palace hits back at Enrile: PNoy did everything to save SAF 44 By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated January 19, 2016 - 3:02pm 2 300 googleplus0 0


In this Jan. 30, 2015 file photo, President Aquino condoles with the family of the fallen Philippine National Police-Special Action Force troopers during the necrological service at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile earlier this year claimed that Aquino was directly involved in the operation to neutralize Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, which led to the death of 44 SAF commandos on January 25, 2015. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Gil Nartea

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday denied claims of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile that President Benigno Aquino III was directly involved and allowed 44 Special Action Force commandos to be killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year.

"Sa kanyang mga pahayag sinabi na ng Pangulo na sa kanyang pagkabatid ay ginawa naman niya ‘yung dapat gawin bilang pangulo at commander-in-chief," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing.

Enrile claimed that Aquino "did not do anything" to save the police commandos while they were being slaughtered during an encounter against Moro rebels.

The senator insisted that the president was aware of the operation to neutralize Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

"Meron siyang mga ginawa. Meron ding ginawa ang mga kinauukulang opisyal ng pamahalaan at lahat naman ng mga ito ay naibunyag at naisiwalat na ‘nung mga nakaraang pagkakataon. Marami na ring pagsisiyasat na isinagawa hinggil diyan," Coloma said.

READ MORE...

Enrile earlier said that he has evidence that Aquino was actively and directly involved in the planning and preparation of the operation. He also claimed that the president was monitoring the operations while he was on his plane going to Zamboanga City.

"So that there would be no more questions about whether we should reopen the Mamasapano hearing or not, I would like to make it of record that I have evidence," Enrile said.

The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs has scheduled the resumption of the Mamasapano hearing on January 27.

Enrile requested to reopen the investigation as he was detained when the Senate panel conducted the hearings early last year. He said that he wanted to ask questions regarding government action while the encounter between police commandos and Moro rebels was ongoing.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

SAF commandos to get highest honor By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 24, 2016 - 12:00am 3 19 googleplus0 0


Justice for SAF 44

MANILA, Philippines - The highest award for the uniformed service will be conferred posthumously on two of the 44 police commandos killed in Mamasapano, as the Philippine National Police (PNP) commemorates the first anniversary of the tragedy tomorrow.

President Aquino leads tomorrow’s commemoration, which coincides with the 25th Foundation Day of the PNP.

The tragedy has set back the government’s peace initiative with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), whose fighters were responsible for the deaths of the commandos who were on a mission to arrest high-value terrorists.

In an interview over radio dzRB, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III confirmed the President’s authorized the grant of the awards.

To receive the Medalya ng Kagitingan or Medal of Valor tomorrow are Special Action Force members Sr. Insp. Gednat Tabdi and Police Officer 2 Romeo Cempron. President Aquino has approved the awarding of the Medal of Valor to Tabdi and Cempron in recognition of their extraordinary courage in battling guerrillas belonging to the MILF and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Earlier, the National Police Commission awarded Tabdi’s and Cempron’s 42 comrades the PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal or Medalya ng Kabayanihan. Also awarded the Medalya ng Kabayanihan was Supt. Raymund Train, who survived what many have considered a massacre.

Train was team leader of Oplan Exodus, the main objective of which was to serve warrants of arrest on Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Filipino terrorist Basit Usman.

The commandos had just killed Marwan in a remote barangay in Mamasapano, Maguindanao when they ran into hundreds of MILF guerillas.

The policemen battled the guerrillas for hours and waited for reinforcements that never came.

Critics of the administration believe the government deliberately ignored the commandos’ plea for reinforcement for fear of antagonizing the MILF, with which the administration is working out a peace deal.

The carnage prompted lawmakers to hold off discussions on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The Senate will reopen the investigation into the Mamasapano incident on Jan. 27.

Then PNP chief Alan Purisima – under suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman for corruption charges – was found to have planned the operation and directed its execution.

Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said the reopening of the probe was prompted by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s claim that new evidence points to President Aquino’s direct involvement in the operation.

Napolcom resolution


DILG CHIEF Sarmiento

Interior and Local Government Secretary and concurrent Napolcom chairman Mel Senen Sarmiento bared the issuance of resolutions recommending the highest honor for the two SAF commandos.

Napolcom vice chairman and executive officer Eduardo Escueta said Tabdi was the team leader of Team 1 of the Main Effort 1, 84th Special Action Company when Oplan Exodus was carried out.

Tabdi also served as the navigator and point man of his team.

“Although wounded, weakened and dehydrated in the daylong firefights, he prepared and led his troops for the showdown against the overwhelming odds that marked his gallant stand as a SAF trooper,” the Napolcom resolution read.

“His leadership, courage and gallantry had inspired the troopers to hack it out with the overwhelming enemy to accomplish the mission,” it added.

Cempron, as lead gunner of the Main Effort 2, 55th Special Action Company, helped secure the teams tasked to arrest Marwan and Usman.

“While his team of 36 SAF commandos was being bombarded by the enemies in the cornfields of Sitio Tukanalipao, and without proper cover, Cempron bravely fought and made his last stand until he ran out of ammunition,” Napolcom said in its resolution.

Escueta said Cempron fought and stood his ground in the battlefield for five hours knowing fully well that the SAF was already outnumbered and with only a few team members surviving.

“At the last moment of his life, when escape could be possible, PO2 Cempron decided, instead, to help facilitate the escape of PO2 Christopher Lalan by using his body as a diversion for snipers so that the latter can run away from the enemies,” he added.

The Napolcom, Escueta said, acknowledges the need to honor the outstanding accomplishments of the SAF troopers.

“These heroes will always be remembered and their sacrifice will never be forgotten. The SAF 44 did not die in vain, but showed the highest form of sacrifice for our safety and for our country,” Escueta said.

He explained the qualified children of awardees of the Medal of Valor and the PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal shall be granted educational scholarship under the Reward Education Assistance Program (REAP) of the PNP. – Aurea Calica


PHILSTAR

Poe: PNoy responsible for SAF 44 as commander-in-chief By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated January 20, 2016 - 4:20pm 1 2 googleplus0 0


In this January 30, 2015 photo, President Benigno S. Aquino III honors the fallen Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) Troopers during the Necrological Service at the NCRPO Multi-Purpose Center of Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Benhur Arcayan

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday admitted that President Benigno Aquino III has responsibility for the operation to neutralize Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, which led to the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year.

Poe, who heads the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said that commanders on ground may not be held liable for making a wrong judgment call but that is not the same case as Aquino.

"Hindi ko sinasabing 'yung sa pangulo ay ganun, basta 'yung sinasabi namin dahil nga siya ang commander-in-chief at may kausap siya, mayroon siya talagang responsibilidad doon," Poe said.

Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero also noted that Aquino is an impeachable officer.

"Kaugnay ng pananagutan ni Pangulong Aquino kung saka-sakali, nabanggit mo na din, impeachable officer siya at hindi maaaring mapanagot sa ano man at naging maingat din kami dahil kapag nilagyan namin ng pananagutan ang commander on the ground dahil may maling ginawa, ang takot namin, baka mabalihibuan o kabahan na 'yung mga commander natin, hindi na magdesisyon on the ground dahil baka masampahan siya ng kaso," Escudero said.

On the other hand, Escudero said that the Senate report on the Mamasapano incident cannot be changed without the consent of the 21 senators who signed it.

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A supplemental report will be released instead if Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile comes out with new information as the Senate panel reopens the investigation of the incident.

The Senate decided to reopen the investigation of the Mamasapano incident at the committee level upon the request of Enrile, who said that he wanted to ask questions on government actions during the encounter between the police commandos and Moro rebels.

Enrile was detained for plunder when the Senate held its investigation on the incident early last year.

The 91-year-old lawmaker claimed that Aquino was "directly involved" in the operation and that he has evidence to prove.

Malacañang, however, denied Enrile's claims and insisted that the president did everything to save the lives of the 44 SAF commandos.


PHILSTAR

Poe panel invites Cabinet, SAF men to probe By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 21, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chairman Grace Poe said President Aquino should be held liable for command responsibility over the Mamasapano debacle that led to the slaughter of 44 police commandos on Jan. 25 last year. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II have been invited to attend the Senate reinvestigation on the Mamasapano massacre at 10 a.m. on Jan. 27.

Former Special Action Force commander Getulio Napeñas, a senatorial candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance, will also attend the hearing.

Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chairman Grace Poe said yesterday President Aquino should be held liable for command responsibility over the Mamasapano debacle that led to the slaughter of 44 police commandos on Jan. 25 last year. Eighteen rebels and five civilians were also killed in the encounter.

“Right now, we stand by our report,” she said.

“We have no intent to replace or add any other subjects in our discussions unless there are new evidence that might affect the outcome of the (committee) report.

“I am confident that we have asked the pertinent questions but Senator Enrile might have a different style of questioning so we will leave it up to him… nobody objected from the Rules Committee and even during plenary,” he said, referring to the reopening of the inquiry pushed by the minority leader.

Napeñas said Enrile had invited him to attend the hearing. He met with Enrile last week but he declined to divulge details of their discussion.

He believes the allegations of Enrile that Aquino was directly involved in the Mamasapano operation last year, Napeñas said.

Enrile had said that he has evidence to prove that on that fateful day, Aquino was monitoring the operation while he was on a plane to Zamboanga City.

Enrile would also show evidence that some Cabinet members did not disclose the facts in past Senate hearings.


Relieved SAF chief Getulio Napeñas. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Napeñas said Enrile may have basis for saying what he had said.

“The President has full knowledge of the Mamasapano (operation),” he said.

Poe said the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs focused on Aquino’s liability as commander-in-chief.

“When you say that it’s your responsibility, it only means that you also have direct authority,” she said in Filipino.

“It’s unconventional because we are asking about the chain of command, but if you commit a mistake, for example a commander in his decision on the ground, you cannot hold him liable for any criminal liability for a wrong judgment call.”

Aquino’s liability focused only on his action or inaction as commander-in-chief, Poe said.

Also invited to the hearing are National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia Jr., former Armed Forces chief Gregorio Pio Catapang, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, former PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina, PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez, Armed Forces chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri, Army 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, PNP intelligence chief Fernando Mendez, Director Benjamin Magalong as chair of the PNP Board of Inquiry, former SAF deputy director Chief Supt. Noli Talino, Zamboanga peninsula police director Chief Supt. Edgar Orduna Basbas, 4th SAF Battalion commander Sr. Supt. Hendrix Mangaldan, Sr. Supt. Richard de la Rosa, Supts. Michael John Mangahis, Abraham Abayari, Raymund Train, Chief Insp. Recaredo Marasigan and Police Officer 2 Christopher Lalan.

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‘Politically motivated’


COLOMA

Enrile’s move to reopen the Mamasapano investigation could be politically motivated, Malacañang said yesterday.

Coloma said Aquino had told reporters that politics could be the motivation behind the reopening of the investigation.

Enrile was using the Mamasapano issue as a bargaining chip to have his former chief of staff, Jessica Lucila Reyes, who is detained on plunder charges, released on bail, according to reports.

On many occasions Aquino has spoken publicly and answered questions from the media about Mamasapano, Coloma said over Radio Mindanao Network.

Aquino apparently referred to Enrile when he said in Davao City on Jan. 8 that he could see politics behind the reopening of the Mamasapano investigation because the one pushing it had an ax to grind against him and his administration.

Coloma said Aquino’s position was clear – that he was doing what was right, reasonable and just in all instances.

“What’s important for him is the fulfillment of his sworn duties, following the Constitution and all of the laws because he is Chief Executive or chief implementer of all the country’s laws,” he said.

“So it is very clear… the President is always honest, open and forthright when it comes to the incident in Mamasapano.”

Coloma said then justice secretary Leila de Lima had explained that Aquino was not commander-in-chief of the Philippine National Police, a civilian organization, and need not follow a chain of command.

Aquino dared

Napeñas challenged yesterday Aquino to own up to his accountability as commander-in-chief in the botched Oplan Exodus.

He said Aquino cannot escape responsibility for the debacle, which then suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima had directed.

“As I testified before Congress hearings, the President had direct knowledge of Oplan Exodus when we carried it out,” he told The STAR

Napeñas said Aquino could have done something more as commander-in-chief to save his men while he was in Zamboanga City along with former Armed Forces chief Gen. Pio Catapang and the former Western Command chief Gen. Rustico Guerrero.

He was in constant communications with General Guerrero and requesting for artillery support that could have saved the day for the trapped SAF commandos, he added.

But no artillery support came until it was too late, he said.

Napeñas said he is ready to reaffirm his previous testimony and appear again before a Senate public hearing set next week.

At the outset, Napeñas denied that he was the source of information of Enrile.

He said Enrile has complete and genuine documentation of the Mamasapano massacre.

He could only surmise Enrile gathered these documents when he was still under hospital detention at the PNP Medical Center in Quezon City.

Before the scheduled Senate hearing, Napeñas said he would join the widows and families of the slain commandos to commemorate their valor and sacrifice to carry out Oplan Exodus.

However, he has no idea yet where the first death anniversary of the SAF 44 would be held. – With Marichu Villanueva, Helen Flores, Aurea Calica, Mayen Jaymalin


TRIBUNE

Noy’s least offense: ‘criminal neglect’ -ex DILG Chief Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 21 January 2016 00:00


Ex-DILG chief Rafael Alunan

EX-DILG CHIEF CITES GROSS FAILURES IN EXODUS

At the very least, President Aquino should be charged with criminal neglect for what is emerging as a huge lapse of judgment in saving lives of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in the botched Oplan Exodus, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan said, as he traced the police operation’s failure to Aquino himself for apparently breaking the chain of command and the utter lack of effort to save the SAF commandos from a slaughter.

“The chain of command failed in Mamasapano as well as the principle of command responsibility. It was a failure of leadership and moral courage, and that began with the commander-in-chief,” Alunan said in a Facebook post.

He noted that in making then suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima in charge of the Mamasapano operation, Aquino likewise violated the suspension order of the Ombudsman which was a clear breach of the law.

Alunan added the massacre of the SAF 44, and the wounding of 15 more, could have been mitigated “had there been swift action to protect the boys from further harm who were conducting a legitimate police operation.”

“(Saving them) should have been top priority, but there was none. That to me was criminal negligence,” he added.

“The evasion of justice to escape responsibility and accountablity is, ultimately, a failure of good governance. Lives and limbs were lost and families were shattered because the wrong guys were in positions of power,” Alunan said.

“For those who failed to lead and act with moral courage, their conscience will be bothered and tormented till they breathe their last,” he added.

Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said that Aquino is now clearly taking all efforts to save himself and his cohorts from any guilt.

“By now it is clear that President Aquino is not telling the whole truth about his involvement in the Mamasapano operation that led to the deaths of 44 PNP SAF troopers, 18 (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) fighters, 2 (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) fighters and at least 3 civilians,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes told The Tribune in an interview.

Reyes also took a swipe at Aquino for allowing the participation of a foreign government in an internal operation.

Former SAF director Getulio Napenas has admitted that the US was involved in Operation Wolverine which was precursor of Oplan Exodus.

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Various accounts have placed the US government as the source of the actionable intelligence on Marwan and Usman, through US assets within the MILF, as well as drone surveillance and GPS (global positioning system) tracking.

“It is very likely that it was also the US that asserted the operation be compartmentalized between Aquino and Purisima and the SAF director. It is very likely that it was the US that directed Aquino to undertake the operation despite the potential loss of lives and huge political costs. Several news reports already point to this,” Reyes said.

“The Filipino people should not allow a cover-up of Mamasapano. Aquino, Purisima and their US handlers should be held accountable for their crimes. We cannot allow government to be run barkada-style, without regard for laws and without a shred of accountability,” he added.

No no-holds barred hearing



Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs handling the Mamasapano probe when it reopens on January 27, laid down the ground rules on the new hearings yesterday saying she would not be too accommodating to her colleagues as far as questions to be thrown at the resource persons when the issue is already beyond the Mamasapano incident.

In allowing the re-opening of the botched Mamasapano operation, Poe said that the Rules of the Senate under Section 32 paved for the reinvestigation when there are new findings or evidence.

“We’re allowing him to reopen the proceedings also out of respect as a colleague in the Senate,” Poe, referring to Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile who had initiated the move for the reopening of the case.

“We will try to accommodate him in presenting his questions (to resource persons). But the moment we see that the issues (being raised) are not covered by those privy to the Mamasapano (operation) and are turning to be personal, as the presiding senator, I will put this immediately to a stop,” she said in a press conference in Dasmarinas, Cavite.

Poe said she will not prohibit the presentation of any “surprise” witnesses, if there are some personalities or inviduals who are willing to come out and provide testimony, especially if their pronouncements will prove to be crucial in shedding light to the issue at hand.

“But if I could easily assess that they do not have anything to do (to the issue), as the presider of the meeting, I think it’s incumbent upon me to act on this but of course, with the concurrence of some of my colleagues, whether we should allow it to continue or not,” she said.

Poe said she can only hope for now for the invited officials from the Executive to appear in the scheduled hearing on Jan. 27 and not have Senate probers resort to compelling their attendance should they try to evade the proceedings.

SAF men invited

Members of the Special Action Force (SAF) who survived the so-called Mamasapano massacre, aside from high officials, are among those invited to the reopening of Mamasapano probe in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile admitted having a meeting with retired SAF Dir. Gen. Getulio Napenas but did not say whether the latter will be the one he intends to have him among the resource persons in the hearing.

Instead, Enrile said he sought for the issuance of invitation to the commander of the Western Mindanao Command Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero and National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia Jr.

Guerrero, during the Senate hearings held last year, was sought by then Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge (OIC) Leonardo Espina to provide reinforcements after the latter learned that the elite police troopers were already engaged in a heavy gunfight in Mamasapano during the early hours of their operation.

“I checked some of the facts. He was with his lawyer. He was not alone,” Enrile said when asked on his meeting with Napeñas.

Poe, in another interview with reporters, said Enrile’s questioning alone, based on their last conversation, could eat up almost two hours of the hearing.

Other senators who may want to pose queries on the resource persons will also be given a chance but only after Enrile has exhausted all his questionings since it is he who has initiated the move to revisit the Mamasapano incident, she said.

Poe said most of those who have appeared in last year’s series of hearing, including those who appeared during executive sessions, have been invited anew.

They are now also contemplating making public some of the information provided them during the closed-door proceedings saying that there seems to be no more reason keeping them from the public.


Aquino and his Exec. Sec. Paquito Ochoa

In the guest list provided by Poe are Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Presidential Communications chief Heminio Coloma Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gregorio Pio Catapang, former PNP chief Alan Purisima, Espina, PNP Chief Ricardo Marquez, AFP chief of staff Gen. Hernando Delfin Carmelo A. Iriberri, M/Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander, 6th Infantry Div., Philippine Army; Guerrero; PNP Intelligence Chief Supt. Fernando Mendez; Director Benjamin Magalong, chairman PNP Board of Inquiry; Napenas; fFormer SAF Deputy Director C/Supt. Noli Talino; Chief Supt. Edgar Orduna Basbas, regional director, Region 9; Senior Supt. Hendrix Mangaldan, PNP 4th SAF Battalion commander; Police Senior Supt. Richard Dela Rosa; Police Supt. Michael John Mangahis; Police Supt. Abraham Abayari; Police Supt. Raymund Train; Police Chief Insp. Recaredo Marasigan and PO2 Christopher Lalan.
By Ted Tuvera


PHILSTAR

Palace: Aid given to SAF 44 families now at P188 million (philstar.com) | Updated January 24, 2016 - 4:42pm 2 31 googleplus0 0


Citing data from the Presidential Management Staff, Coloma said out of the total amount, P151.2 million in mandatory lump sum benefits and other assistance have been given to the families of the SAF 44. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Sunday announced that the total amount of assistance given to the kin of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members killed in the Mamasapano incident last year has now reached P188 million.

"For the information of the public, we are ready to provide them with data so that they will understand that the government has tried its best to provide the necessary assistance,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a Radyo ng Bayan interview.

It has been a year since the deadly encounter among the SAF 44, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The government forces were carrying out a mission to capture wanted Malaysian terrorist and bomb-maker Zulkifli Abdhir.

Citing data from the Presidential Management Staff, Coloma said out of the total amount, P151.2 million in mandatory lump sum benefits and other assistance have been given to the families of the SAF 44.

”It has different ranges depending on the tenure or years of services,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the immediate families of the SAF 44 have also been receiving monthly pension now amounting to P10.1 million from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Police Commission.

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”This is a continuing benefit aside from another third category which is the donations that the SAF 44 families have received through the PNP Special Financial Assistance Fund, Senate, House of Representatives and local government unit of Dasmariñas, Cavite,” Coloma said.

He said the total donation is P26.87 million.

Coloma clarified that aside from the immediate families of the SAF 44, the extended families totaling 261 have also benefited in the aspect of livelihood, housing, education and other related assistance.

”So we did not confine only to the immediate family as provided by law, but the extended family members have also been provided with assistance,” he said.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte doubts SAF 44 probes can resolve questions By Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 22, 2016 - 12:00am 1 2 googleplus0 0


Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said all the investigations are not enough to answer questions about the Mamasapano encounter between SAF members and Muslim rebels on Jan. 25, 2015. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - Presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has expressed doubt that various investigations on the killing of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos during an encounter with Muslim rebels in Maguindanao last year will ever resolve “all unanswered and unasked questions.”

“Para sa akin kasi (for me) it is a done thing. Is there another truth? Aside from the results of the many investigations from (resigned justice secretary Leila) De Lima of the DOJ, to the (Commission on) Human Rights, Congress and of course yung kay (Sen. Grace) Poe,” Duterte told reporters after a forum at the De La Salle University in Manila on Wednesday.

Duterte said all the investigations are not enough to answer questions about the Mamasapano encounter between SAF members and Muslim rebels on Jan. 25, 2015.

Duterte said he is aware of confidential information about the incident as he was present in a command conference in Zamboanga City with the President and then interior secretary Manuel Roxas II when the incident happened.

“I would like to tell you that on the day the President was in Zamboanga, I was invited dun sa Andrews. There was a command conference. Roxas was there that late afternoon and evening when the President went to visit because there was a bombing the previous day,” he said.

“Meron akong narining doon (I heard something there) but you know, unfortunately I was invited to that conference in confidence because it was a security matter,” Duterte added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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