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MAMASAPANO TAPE: EVIDENCE OF 'COVER-UP' ATTEMPT TO CUSHION IMPACT ON PASSAGE OF BASIC BANGSAMORO LAW
[GOVT EXECS WANT TO PUSH TO DIVIDE THE COUNTRY INTO TERRITORIES]


JANUARY 25 -Retired-Chief Superintendent Diosdado Valeroso.
A retired police official claimed that he has “critical evidence” proving that there was an attempt to cover up events surrounding the bloody Mamasapano encounter to cushion its impact on the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. In an interview with Radyo Inquirer on Monday, retired-Chief Superintendent Diosdado Valeroso said that the two government officials talking in the recording “possibly” appeared in one of the Senate hearings conducted regarding the botched operation last year. Refusing to provide specific details, Valeroso said the two officials in the supposed cover-up–one an elected official and an appointed government head–might have been called as resource speakers in one of the hearings. “Meron sigurong instances (na dumalo sila sa Senate hearings). Kasi maraming pinatawag na personalities doon. Posible kasi hindi ko naman nasundan yung kabuuan ng Senate inquiry na naconduct,” Valeroso said. (There may have been instances when they attended the Senate hearings because many personalities were called to attend. It is possible but I was not able to follow the course of the Senate inquiry conducted.) The retired police official said the 15-minute conversation might have occurred “a day or two” after the bloody January 25 operation. Valeroso believed that the government officials in the conversation were pushing for the “division of the country into different territories.” “Hindi lumalabas na for the sake of the country (ang usapan nila) kasi merong ibang pananaw na ang pagsusulong ng batas na gusto nilang mangyari ay ang pagkakahiwa-hiwalay o pagkakahati-hati ng ating teritoryo,” he said. (It seemed that the topic of the conversation was not for country’s sake because they have a different view concerning the passage of the law. They want to push for the division of the country into different territories.) READ MORE...RELATED, Will Senate play audio on Mamasapano? Drilon warns Senate panel it's unlawful...also
Day before Senate inquiry, Ex-SAF chief recounts Aquino’s involvement in Mamasapano planning...

ALSO: At inquiry - Enrile blames President for SAF 44 massacre
[“When I say compartment of Oplan Exodus, I mean the President intentionally, deliberately and actually confined and arrogated unto himself full knowledge, command and control and strategic decisions. The President excluded all others, including members of the Cabinet… he left it to himself and his trusted men,” he said. Enrile asked Purisima if he understood what he meant by compartmentalization that the President did on the police operations. He replied by saying that Oplan Exodus was “crafted by the PNP SAF and our part is informatory.” “That’s your defense,” Enrile said of Purisima, adding that President Aquino “excluded everyone else.’]


JANUARY 28 -Senator Juan Ponce Enrile during the committee hearing on the Mamasapano encounter where 44 PNP SAF were killed. INQUIRER PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA
The line of command in the Armed Forces of the Philippines was paralyzed the day 44 elite troopers were massacred in Mamasapano a year ago. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile,  seeking to prove an alleged failure of leadership, Wednesday said President Aquino had “compartmentalized” the Mamasapano operation on Jan. 25, 2015, that left out the existing police and military hierarchy, immobilizing ground commanders at the critical moments and leading to the massacre of the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. Enrile said Wednesday at the reopening of the Senate inquiry into the slaughter of the SAF troopers after they had killed Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, that the planning and execution of “Oplan Exodus” were left only to Alan Purisima, the then suspended chief of the Philippine National Police, and Getulio Napeñas, the director of the Special Action Force (SAF) who had been sacked. In a meeting in Malacañang’s Bahay Pangarap on Jan. 9, with Napeñas, Purisima and Supt. Fernando Marquez, the President gave the go ahead that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and then the PNP officer in charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, be informed of the operation “time on target” when the SAF troopers were on the ground. Purisima also later said he would take care of informing Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., the then Armed Forces chief of staff on the day of the operation to get Marwan. Enrile berated Catapang for not responding fast enough to help the trapped SAF men. He was irked at Catapang at first when he asked the number of military troops sent to aid the SAF men and the former AFP chief replied by saying this could be answered by Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the 6th Infantry Division. “For heaven’s sake, you are the chief of staff. If we are at war with China, and that is what you do, this country is doomed,” Enrile said. Critical situation He also asked why Catapang called his staff to make an assessment on the “criticality of the situation” of the SAF men. To which Catapang said they were not informed about the operation against Marwan. “The Army should operate at the tip of your fingers in case of emergency. You are not supposed to remove your boots, that’s the manner of preparedness of the Armed Forces. You must be prepared all the time, at any time anywhere,” Enrile said. Noting that the military was not informed about the operation, Catapang admitted that it took sometime for the military ground commanders to “react at the tactical level.” Catapang also said there were two helicopters prepositioned in Cotabato province that day but the PNP did not request air support.“My God, do you really need a request to support a beleaguered troop? My goodness,” Enrile said. Catapang replied: “We follow the chain of command. The decision to utilize the helicopters was delegated to our tactical commanders. ” Enrile asked Catapang if he informed President Aquino about the ground situation and the former AFP chief of staff said this was the job of the PNP. “So the line of command was paralyzed that day. The command system of the AFP and the PNP was paralyzed on that day and that was the reason for the loss of 44 people,” Enrile concluded. Eight blunders He said this compartmentalization was among eight blunders that the Chief Executive committed in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus, the code for project Marwan, and these were “at the center” of the Mamasapano debacle. Saying he was out to seek justice for the dead and survivors in the bloody clash with Moro rebels after Marwan was killed, Enrile blamed Mr. Aquino for the Mamasapano debacle as he pointed out the role the President played in the police operation. READ MORE...RELATED, ENRILE: COME OUT AND TESTIFY...

ALSO: AFP ganged up on SAF chief - Napeñas' incompetence led to carnage
[DEBACLE TRACED TO SAF CHIEF’S MINDSET]


JANUARY 28 -THEN Director Getulio Napeñas, head of the Special Action Force, is shown in this photo released Wednesday by the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the continuation of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano debacle. Around that time, his men were already dead after a clash with Moro fighters. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AFP
The reopening of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano fiasco a year ago turned into a day of the generals, who ganged up on Getulio Napeñas, the sacked commander of the Fallen 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos, and said his incompetence had led to the carnage. The commanders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines had only harsh words for Napeñas and minced no words in blaming him for the debacle during the withdrawal phase of the operation. “He is the kind of man who blames everyone but himself. He blamed the AFP. He even blamed the President. This mindset is the root of the problem that led to the debacle suffered by the SAF 44,” the former military operations chief, Maj. Gen. Angelo de Leon, concluded in a briefing he presented to the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs. Napeñas said the military was kept in the dark about the SAF operation against Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, because the AFP had been “compromised” and previous coordination did not pan out. He hinted about lack of confidence in the military’s ability to keep operations against “high-value targets” under wraps. He said 10 operations had been aborted previously. Fifth call During the hearing, the military, in its briefing, acknowledged five calls from SAF officials seeking artillery support for the besieged SAF troopers in Mamasapano on that tragic day. According to De Leon, it was only by the fifth call around 5:35 p.m. that the required information from the SAF was completed. The mandatory information, he explained, included the location coordinates of all friendly and enemy forces, the target description, established communication with troops requiring support, eyes on the ground, as well as details of the encounter. READ MORE...

ALSO: Mamasapano case to be resolved in 3-4 weeks, says justice secretary


JANUARY 28 -Justice department spokesman and Undersecretary Emmanuel Caparas said the agency would soon issue a resolution on the complex crime of direct assault with murder complaint that the National Bureau of Investigation filed against 90 MILF, BIFF and vigilantes over the killing of 35 police special Action Force (SAF) operatives on Jan. 25, 2015. Philstar.com/File photo The Department of Justice (DOJ) will resolve in 3 to 4 weeks the direct assault with murder against 90 individuals for the death of 35 of the 44 members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) on Jan. 25, 2015 in Mamasapano. Justice Acting Secretary Emmanuel Caparas said there are so many evidence that the panel of prosecutors have to go through to resolve the case. The DOJ panel has wrapped up its investigation after four of the 90 respondents have submitted their counter-affidavit. “It is left to our prosecutors to go over everything that has been gathered and come up with the resolution of the case,” Caparas said. “Please expect us to have a resolution on that matter–give us about 3 to 4 weeks to be able to do that. Napakadami kasi ng ebidensya na tinitingnan ngayon and when we proceed with whatever action we decide to later on, it has to be supported very well by evidence,” he added. Caparas said they have monitored the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano case last Wednesday but since “there is nothing new there, whatever is on the table, we continue as far as we are is concerned.” READ MORE...

ALSO: MAGUINDANAO NEWS - Mamasapano ushers new beginnings, devp’ts for Maguindanao


JANUARY 26 -Workers of the Maguindanao provincial government’s disaster response team pose for photographers at the new Tukanalipao Bailey Bridge during a break in their humanitarian mission in Mamasapano town last January 25, the first anniversary of the “Mamasapano incident.” Philstar.com/John Unson
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - While residents of Mamasapano town have sad stories on the Jan. 25, 2015 hostilities in their once idyllic barangays, they have good tales too on how the carnage ushered in improvements in their communities. For one, folks never ever thought local infrastructure projects, amounting to almost P100 million, can be implemented by the executive department of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after the Mamasapano incident in record time, from February to December 2015. At least 44 operatives of the police’s elite Special Action Force (SAF), 17 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and five innocent villagers were killed in a series of encounters on Jan. 25, 2015 in three adjoining barangays in Mamasapano. The hostilities, which also involved a third group, the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), now most known as the “Mamasapano incident,” shook the nation to its core and badly affected the peace overture between Malacañang and the MILF. The government-MILF peace initiative, now in its 19th year, aims to replace ARMM with a more empowered Bangsamoro government through the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, still pending in Congress. Karim, a corn farmer, said while they are still in pain, as a result of the deaths of 17 local MILF guerillas and five innocent neighbors in the incident, there are continuing improvements now in their lives helping them reel off from its saddening vestiges. “We were destined to experience that incident for us to realize that for every trial comes joy and more spiritual strength as Muslims,” Karim said in the Maguindanaon dialect. Muslims believe in qad’r (destiny), which for them sometimes brings miseries, as tests of true faith, so they can rise as strong and “rewarded” believers soon after. “The deaths of Mamasapano residents, MILF members and unarmed villagers alike, and the dislocation for several months of thousands as a result of the `Mamasapano incident’ pained the local communities so much. Seeing these positive developments around helps them recover fast,” said a public school teacher handling classes in a new school building built by the ARMM government in Barangay Tukanalipao west of Mamasapano. “All of these were paid in blood by the slain Mamasapano residents and members of the SAF,” the teacher, who asked not to be identified, pointed out. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Execs in Mamasapano ‘coverup’ recording want to ‘divide country’


Retired-Chief Superintendent Diosdado Valeroso.

MANILA, FEBRUARY 1, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Aries Joseph Hegina @AHeginaINQ - January 25th, 2016 - A retired police official claimed that he has “critical evidence” proving that there was an attempt to cover up events surrounding the bloody Mamasapano encounter to cushion its impact on the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

In an interview with Radyo Inquirer on Monday, retired-Chief Superintendent Diosdado Valeroso said that the two government officials talking in the recording “possibly” appeared in one of the Senate hearings conducted regarding the botched operation last year.

Refusing to provide specific details, Valeroso said the two officials in the supposed cover-up–one an elected official and an appointed government head–might have been called as resource speakers in one of the hearings.

“Meron sigurong instances (na dumalo sila sa Senate hearings). Kasi maraming pinatawag na personalities doon. Posible kasi hindi ko naman nasundan yung kabuuan ng Senate inquiry na naconduct,” Valeroso said.

(There may have been instances when they attended the Senate hearings because many personalities were called to attend. It is possible but I was not able to follow the course of the Senate inquiry conducted.)

The retired police official said the 15-minute conversation might have occurred “a day or two” after the bloody January 25 operation.

Valeroso believed that the government officials in the conversation were pushing for the “division of the country into different territories.”

“Hindi lumalabas na for the sake of the country (ang usapan nila) kasi merong ibang pananaw na ang pagsusulong ng batas na gusto nilang mangyari ay ang pagkakahiwa-hiwalay o pagkakahati-hati ng ating teritoryo,” he said.

(It seemed that the topic of the conversation was not for country’s sake because they have a different view concerning the passage of the law. They want to push for the division of the country into different territories.)

READ MORE...

He emphasized that the audio recording would raise new questions as to who should be held accountable in the events “before, during and after” the incident.

“Ang malinaw lang dito sa sinasabi natin is dahil sa piece of information na ito, magkakaroon ng muling pananaw kung sino ang accountable before, during and after the Mamasapano incident and kung ano ang kinalaman nito sa kabuuan sa usapin ng peace process o hangad nila na ipasa ang isang panibagong batas,” Valerso said.

(What is clear with this information is it would provide another view as to who should be held accountable before, during, and after the Mamasapano incident and its connection to the peace process and the legislative measure that they want to pass.)

He said the audio recording would have to be examined by technical experts to determine its authenticity and to ascertain the personalities involved in the conversation.

The retired official added that he was not yet in talks with any lawmaker concerning the release of the audio recording to the public. However, he said that he was willing to surrender it to the Senate if needed. CB

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Will Senate play audio on Mamasapano? By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 26, 2016 - 12:00am 1 24 googleplus0 0


Senate President Franklin Drilon said he has already warned the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Sen. Grace Poe of the consequences of releasing the recording to the public. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - While it is unlawful to release or even possess an audio recording of a supposed conversation between top government officials about a possible cover-up of the Mamasapano carnage, Senate President Franklin Drilon said yesterday he won’t stop a Senate panel from playing the audio recording as part of its re investigation into the tragedy.

This developed as Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles again denied having advised President Aquino against sending reinforcements to beleaguered Special Action Force commandos battling Muslim guerrillas in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year.

A retired police general – Diosdado Valeroso – has surfaced to claim he has an audio recording of a purported plot to whitewash the Mamasapano tragedy.

“But let me just remind Valeroso that under Republic Act 4200 the unauthorized recording of conversations is unlawful, and may be punishable by six months to one year (in prison),” Drilon said.

“And the evidence of such a conversation is also inadmissible as evidence under the Anti-Wiretapping Law, Republic Act 4200,” he stressed.

Drilon said he has already warned the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Sen. Grace Poe of the consequences of releasing the recording to the public.

READ MORE...

“But you know, it’s really up to the committee whether or not this will be allowed. I am just stating the law, lest they say again that we are suppressing evidence, we are not. We are just stating the present law,” he said.

“Now if the committee chooses to disregard this, and play whatever that recording is, then that is a decision that the committee will have to make,” he said.

At Malacañang, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said it would be up to Valeroso to prove there was a cover up.

A background check on Valeroso, according to Coloma, showed that he was a former member of the Reform Armed Forces Movement (RAM) and the Young Officers Union (YOU) who took part in the August 1987 coup d’etat.

The Senate panel reopens tomorrow its investigation into the Mamasapano tragedy, with Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile promising to drop a bombshell that would supposedly directly link President Aquino to the deaths last year of 44 SAF policemen at the hands of guerrillas belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Authenticity check Poe emphasized yesterday her committee would first assess the authenticity of the audio recording before deciding whether it could be used to help her panel in its work.

“We don’t know where the recordings came from. So, he should be able to tell us where it came from. We should conduct due diligence in verifying the origin of this recording,” Poe said.

“We may accept (the recordings) as a submission but with regard to the authenticity, we will not be able to validate that until we’ve also checked the list and investigate the source,” she said.

About 15 to 18 police officers, including Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ricardo Marquez, are set to attend tomorrow’s reopening of the investigation into the Mamasapano encounter. Marquez said he and his men have been invited by Poe’s committee to attend the hearing.

The PNP Academy Alumni Association Inc. (PNPAAAI), for its part, has voiced support for the reopening of the Mamsapano investigation as requested by Enrile.

“Despite the many high profile investigations conducted by the Senate, Congress, the PNP and the DOJ on this unprecedented treachery, we are far from unearthing the whole truth,” PNPAAAI chairman Tomas Rentoy III said in a letter to Enrile.

Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo also expressed openness to a reinvestigation of the Mamasapano incident but stressed it should be based on new evidence and not be used as forum for politicking and mudslinging.

“Justice can be only achieved if we find the whole truth. If there’s new evidence, why not? But that matter must be made clear because it’s election time and this could be used by some people,” Robredo said.

The military, meanwhile, said it is hopeful of seeing a closure to the Mamasapano incident.

Armed Forces public affairs chief Col. Noel Detoyato said they are ready to cooperate with Poe’s committee “if we are asked to provide the necessary reports or if they ask our officers to attend.”

Detoyato said the military and the police in the provinces are now conducting monthly planning conferences to ensure that all operations are well coordinated.

“We continue to sympathize with our police counterparts. We hope the issue will have a closure so we can recover from this episode,” he added.

Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military continues to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of all SAF personnel involved in the Mamasapano operation, where 18 rebels and five civilians were also killed.

As Poe’s Senate panel reopens its probe on the Mamasapano tragedy, Sens. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and JV Ejercito scored the slow pace of justice for the fallen 44 policemen. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jose Rodel Clapano, Alexis Romero, Delon Porcalla, Evelyn Macairan, Perseus Echeminada

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related from the INQUIRER

Ex-SAF chief recounts Aquino’s involvement in Mamasapano planningBy: Yuji Vincent Gonzales  @YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net 06:33 PM January 26th, 2016


Sacked Special Action Force Director Getulio Napenas (left). AP FILE PHOTO

A day before the reopening of the Senate probe on the Mamasapano clash, the former chief of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) reiterated that President Benigno Aquino III was involved in the “preparation and planning” of Oplan Exodus, where 44 elite commandos were killed in the hunt for international terrorist Zulkifi bin Hir alias Marwan.

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

In a radio interview on Tuesday afternoon, retired SAF chief Getulio Napeñas recalled a meeting with Aquino at Malacañang last year, which was also attended by dismissed PNP chief Gen. Alan Purisima and SAF Intelligence Group Director Fernando Mendez.

Napeñas said Aquino had a hand with the decision not to coordinate early with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The failure of the botched operation had been attributed to a broken chain of command and lack of coordination among police and the military.

“Pinatawag ako ni Gen. Purisima mag-present doon sa Malacañang. Hindi ako nag-volunteer niyan. Tinawag n’ya ako. Ibig sabihin siya ang nagmamando, namamahala. Siya ang pinagkakatiwalaan ng pangulo. Nag-briefing ako doon sa loob, prinesent ko ‘yug concept of operation. ‘Yung mga video, kung anu-ano pa. Marami akong pinakita,” Napeñas told co-anchors Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja of “Dos por Dos” on DZMM.

(Gen. Purisima summoned me make for a presentation in Malacanang. I didn’t volunteer for that. He called me up to do that. That only meant he was the one who was in command, who was manning the [operation]. He was the one the President trusted. I had a briefing inside [Malacanang], where I presented the concept of operation. The videos, among others, I showed them all.)

READ MORE...


(Photo by Rey Baniquet / Malacañang Photo Bureau / PCOO) MANILA, Philippines–He had always defended and stood by Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima, but this time, President Aquino appeared to have drawn the line following what he felt was a betrayal by his close friend who disobeyed his orders. “If ever I [was at] fault here, it was [because I trusted] these people. Why did I fail to detect that they were misleading me?” the President said on Saturday night. He was referring to Purisima, then the suspended PNP chief, and the sacked Special Action Force (SAF) commander, Director Getulio Napeñas, who both briefed him on Jan. 9 about the police operation to get Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan.” By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:52 AM March 23rd, 2015

“Nagsalita ‘yung pangulo. (Paano) ‘yung coordination with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines). Nasabi ko na rin ‘yan noon. Ang sagot ko, sir, with all due respect compromised po ang AFP. Kaya ang recommendation po namin time-on-target sabihin sa AFP. Sinegunduhan ‘yan ni Gen. Purisima at director for intelligence group. Hindi umimik ang president,” he added.

(The President asked, ‘[How’s] the coordination with the AFP.’ I had pointed out that out before. My answer was, ‘Sir, with all due respect, the AFP is compromised. So we recommend we’d tell the AFP time-on-target.’ Gen. Purisima supported that and the director for intelligence group. The President didn’t say anything.)

Asked what he thought of Aquino’s non-response, Napeñas said he considered it as a go-signal.

“After that naiwan silang dalawa (Purisima and Aquino), lumabas kaming dalawa ni director intelligence group. Paglabas ni Gen. Purisima, sinabi sa akin, ‘saka ninyo sabihan ‘yung dalawa kapag nandodoon na.’ Sabi n’ya ‘kayo na ang bahala kay Gen. Catapang.’Totoo ‘yan, sinabi n’ya ‘yan,” he said, referring to former AFP chief Gregorio Catapang.

(After that, Purisima and Aquino stayed, while the director for intelligence group and I left the room. When Gen. Purisima went out, he told me ‘to tell the other two once [you’re there].’ He said, ‘you handle Gen. Catapang’. It was true, he said that.)

“Anong impression dun? Eh ‘di approved n’ya ‘yun,” he said.

(What’s the impression with that? That means it’s already approved.)

Citing an exchange of text messages between Aquino and Purisima, Napeñas went on by saying that the President himself approved the time frame of the operation and ordered the deployment of additional troops.

“Nag-recommend ako kay Gen. Purisima na imbis na gagawin namin ‘yan before ng visit ni Pope, first window, gagawin natin ‘yan on second window, (January) 21 to 26, something like that, dahil doon sa sinabi ng Pangulo na dagdagan ang tropa,” he said.

(I recommended to Gen. Purisima that instead of pushing with the operation before the Papal visit, first window, we’d do it on second window (January 21 to 26), because of what the President said about increasing the number of troops.)

“Too tight yung first window at saka yung tropa na idadagdag ay nasa Tacloban for the Pope’s visit. Sinagot ako ni Gen. Purisima OK. Sumagot ang pangulo natin, OK. So that means ano ang impression nun? Pangulo pala ang nag-approve talaga ultimately,” he added.

(The first window was too tight and the troops to be included were still in Tacloban for the Pope’s visit. Gen. Purisima told me ‘OK’. The President said OK. So what is the impression? It’s the President who approved ultimately.)

The Senate committee on public order will resume its investigation bloody clash on Wednesday, more than a year after the tragedy, on the initiative of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile who claimed that he was set to prove Aquino’s “direct” and “active” involvement in the operation.

Napeñas was among the personalities summoned by the committee in the reopening of the probe.

“Prepared (ako) sa mga tanong ni Sen. Enrile. Prepared naman po tayo d’yan kasi yung detalye naman halos memoryadong-memoryado natin,” he said.

(I am prepared for Sen. Enrile’s questions. We’ve always been prepared for that because the details we’ve memorized thoroughly.)

Napeñas is running for senator under Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance party. TVJ

On January 25, 2015, 44 members of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) were killed in the hunt for Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir, aka “Marwan,” in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province. Their mission may have succeeded, but one year later families of the slain SAF44 and affected civilians today continue to seek justice from a government which allegedly broke chain of command and poorly handled the mission. Visit the INQUIRER tribute site at inquirer.net/mamasapano.


INQUIRER

FIRST DAY OF INQIRY: Enrile blames President for SAF 44 massacre SHARES: 2559 VIEW COMMENTS By: Christine O. Avendaño @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:22 AM January 28th, 2016


Senator Juan Ponce Enrile during the committee hearing on the Mamasapano encounter where 44 PNP SAF were killed. INQUIRER PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

The line of command in the Armed Forces of the Philippines was paralyzed the day 44 elite troopers were massacred in Mamasapano a year ago.

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, seeking to prove an alleged failure of leadership, Wednesday said President Aquino had “compartmentalized” the Mamasapano operation on Jan. 25, 2015, that left out the existing police and military hierarchy, immobilizing ground commanders at the critical moments and leading to the massacre of the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

Enrile said Wednesday at the reopening of the Senate inquiry into the slaughter of the SAF troopers after they had killed Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, that the planning and execution of “Oplan Exodus” were left only to Alan Purisima, the then suspended chief of the Philippine National Police, and Getulio Napeñas, the director of the Special Action Force (SAF) who had been sacked.


PHOTO OF PURISIMA, AQUINO

In a meeting in Malacañang’s Bahay Pangarap on Jan. 9, with Napeñas, Purisima and Supt. Fernando Marquez, the President gave the go ahead that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and then the PNP officer in charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, be informed of the operation “time on target” when the SAF troopers were on the ground.

Purisima also later said he would take care of informing Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., the then Armed Forces chief of staff on the day of the operation to get Marwan.

Enrile berated Catapang for not responding fast enough to help the trapped SAF men. He was irked at Catapang at first when he asked the number of military troops sent to aid the SAF men and the former AFP chief replied by saying this could be answered by Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the 6th Infantry Division.

“For heaven’s sake, you are the chief of staff. If we are at war with China, and that is what you do, this country is doomed,” Enrile said.

Critical situation

He also asked why Catapang called his staff to make an assessment on the “criticality of the situation” of the SAF men. To which Catapang said they were not informed about the operation against Marwan.

“The Army should operate at the tip of your fingers in case of emergency. You are not supposed to remove your boots, that’s the manner of preparedness of the Armed Forces. You must be prepared all the time, at any time anywhere,” Enrile said.

Noting that the military was not informed about the operation, Catapang admitted that it took sometime for the military ground commanders to “react at the tactical level.”

Catapang also said there were two helicopters prepositioned in Cotabato province that day but the PNP did not request air support.


Philippine Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. PHI;STAR FILE

“My God, do you really need a request to support a beleaguered troop? My goodness,” Enrile said.
Catapang replied: “We follow the chain of command. The decision to utilize the helicopters was delegated to our tactical commanders. ”

Enrile asked Catapang if he informed President Aquino about the ground situation and the former AFP chief of staff said this was the job of the PNP.

“So the line of command was paralyzed that day. The command system of the AFP and the PNP was paralyzed on that day and that was the reason for the loss of 44 people,” Enrile concluded.

Eight blunders

He said this compartmentalization was among eight blunders that the Chief Executive committed in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus, the code for project Marwan, and these were “at the center” of the Mamasapano debacle.

Saying he was out to seek justice for the dead and survivors in the bloody clash with Moro rebels after Marwan was killed, Enrile blamed Mr. Aquino for the Mamasapano debacle as he pointed out the role the President played in the police operation.

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After the seven-hour hearing of the Senate committee on public order, Enrile said he focused on the President’s role, responsibility and accountability in the Mamasapano episode because this was not discussed in the earlier hearings of the committee chaired by Sen. Grace Poe.

He said he had “established” the President’s role in the operation, and that Wednesday’s hearing was enough.
Asked on the possible liability of Mr. Aquino, he said that this will be up to the courts if this reaches them. “Let the law enforcement people do the job in the future,” Enrile said.

Fulfilling promise

In his opening statement, Enrile said that he was just fulfilling his promise to the wounded SAF survivors who were confined at the PNP General Hospital in Camp Crame, Quezon City. Enrile was detained there on a plunder case against him in connection with his alleged misuse of pork barrel funds but was released on bail in August last year.

“I am doing this so the people will know the national leaders who failed them because of ineptness and lack of leadership. I am doing this for truth and for no one else,” he said.

In his opening remarks, Enrile said Mr. Aquino:

•Actively and directly participated in the planning and preparation of Oplan Exodus.
•Deliberately compartmentalized the operation to himself and Purisima.
•Was the approving authority of Oplan Exodus.
•Was fully aware of what was going on during its execution.
•Wantonly disregarded the command system of the PNP and the AFP.
•Intentionally and actually and directly dealt with a person who before and at the time of the Mamasapano gruesome massacre was not an active part of the command system of either the AFP or the PNP.
•Did not make any effective decision or issue any effective order or an effective action as President of the Republic of the Philippines to prevent barbaric slaughter and slaying of PNP troopers whom he knowingly sent in a dangerous mission to capture Marwan and two other targets.
•Shielded himself from the responsibility and accountability for the Mamasapano debacle, deliberately hid or was hiding himself behind Purisima.

Facilitator

Enrile was able to confirm from Napeñas that Mr. Aquino, along with Purisima, Napeñas and Marquez, had discussed the details of Oplan Exodus, including the capture of Marwan dead or alive, on Jan. 9 at Bahay Pangarap.


Napeñas

Napeñas also said the President did not object or comment to his proposal on the usage of time on target or the manner of cooperation of the SAF with the military. He confirmed to Enrile that he asked Mr. Aquino that they would coordinate with the military only after the assault force was on the target location and that the Chief Executive did not object or comment.

Asked by Enrile what his role was at that meeting, Purisima—who was then suspended by the Ombudsman on a graft case—said he was a “facilitator.”


PURISIMA

Enrile pointed out that President Aquino was “never heard” during the 12 hours of the firefight.

Based on the text messages that Purisima sent the President on the police operations, including the groups that the SAF groups were engaged with at that time, the Chief Executive was “fully informed about the ongoing operations,” Enrile said.

Interviewed by reporters after the hearing, Enrile said he did not agree that President Aquino was misinformed by Napeñas as he noted that the Palace has a massive intelligence fund for them not to know the real score.

Napeñas, for his part, told reporters that Enrile was able to show President Aquino’s role in the police operation as he insisted that the Chief Executive had the final say in the approval of Oplan Exodus.

Enrile told Napeñas that President Aquino “compartmentalized” or agreed to compartmentalize Oplan Exodus to himself and Purisima and Napeñas agreed.

“When I say compartment of Oplan Exodus, I mean the President intentionally, deliberately and actually confined and arrogated unto himself full knowledge, command and control and strategic decisions. The President excluded all others, including members of the Cabinet… he left it to himself and his trusted men,” he said.

Enrile asked Purisima if he understood what he meant by compartmentalization that the President did on the police operations. He replied by saying that Oplan Exodus was “crafted by the PNP SAF and our part is informatory.”

“That’s your defense,” Enrile said of Purisima, adding that President Aquino “excluded everyone else.’

--------------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Enrile: Come out, testify By: Christine O. Avendaño @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:58 PM January 25th, 2016


Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

WITNESSES TOLD IT’S ABOUT MORAL COURAGE

SENATE Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile on Monday urged Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and others with new information about the massacre of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos a year ago to show up at the reopening of the Senate inquiry into the botched Mamasapano police mission.

“If they have knowledge then I suggest that they voluntarily appear and ask permission to submit their evidence. This is for the nation. It’s not for anybody,” said Enrile, who had called on the Senate committee on public order to reopen its inquiry in the light of new information he said he had gathered.

Enrile said he had evidence to show that President Aquino knew extensively about the Mamasapano police operation on Jan. 25, 2015, and had monitored in Zamboanga City the unfolding debacle in Maguindanao province, but did nothing to save the lives of the commandos as they were being slaughtered by Moro rebels.

Palace allies said Enrile was out to exact revenge on the President. Enrile has been charged with plunder in connection with a P10-billion pork barrel scam and is out on bail.

Duterte told the Inquirer that he was in Zamboanga City on that fateful day and was invited by then Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to a closed-door command conference at Edward Andrews Air Force Base at 5:30 p.m. as news broke out that the commandos were being annihilated.

Retired Chief Supt. Diosdado Valeroso, who has been linked to various coup plots, claimed over the weekend that he had a digital audio recording of a supposed conversation between a “ranking government official” and a “lawmaker” that could purportedly shed light on the Mamasapano carnage.

The SAF commandos staged a predawn raid that killed international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, but were slaughtered as they disengaged from the area controlled by guerrillas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The incident derailed a peace process that Mr. Aquino had envisioned to put in place before he steps down.

Enrile shrugged off reports about the claims of Duterte and Valeroso.

“I do not need them, I don’t know what they have,” he said. “If they think that what they have is material evidence to be known to the people and they are running for public office, it’s their duty to speak out without having to be subpoenaed … This is a matter of courage and moral courage above all.”

Prepared to tell all

Duterte, a presidential candidate in the May elections, said on Sunday that he would reveal what he knew about the massacre if he was called to the Senate committee hearing “because I have the moral obligation to tell what I know” and there was “no point in telling a lie with another lie.”

The Davao mayor also said he now knew more about the massacre after discussions with military officials who had knowledge of the debacle, revealing that the SAF 44 were “thrown into the lion’s lair” without the necessary wherewithal.

For his part, Valeroso said the two people in the recording appeared to be talking about an alleged attempt to cover up the bloody clash “to avoid its possible effect on the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law,” which Mr. Aquino had envisioned would be the charter of a new autonomous Islamic region in Mindanao.

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Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said he would ask Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the committee, to invite Duterte to the hearing. But he said it was up to Enrile to decide whom to call to the inquiry.

Speaking to reporters, Enrile said it was up to Duterte and Valeroso to appear “if they have evidence.”

“I do not even know whether my evidence is acceptable, but I will present it anyway,” Enrile said.

Asked whether he expected the committee to hold just one hearing, Enrile said most of his questions to the resource persons were just answerable with a yes or no and that if he would not be interrupted, he could complete the interrogation in three hours.

Inadmissible

Senate President Franklin Drilon cautioned that Valeroso’s audio recording may not be used or even submitted to Poe’s committee because this will violate Republic Act No. 4200, or the Anti-Wiretapping Act.

Drilon wondered whether the audio recording that Valeroso was talking about was the one involving an alleged conversation between Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., and Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles, which circulated in April last year.

He said he did not know for certain whether this was the same recording but added that if ever, this would be an “old issue” and “obviously political gimmickry.”

“But let me just remind Valeroso that under RA 4200, the unauthorized recording of conversations is unlawful, and may be punishable by six months to one year,” Drilon told reporters.

Also illegal was mere possession of such unauthorized recording and even communicating it or furnishing transcriptions of such unlawful recording, he added.

“The evidence of such a conversation is also inadmissible as evidence under the Anti-Wiretapping Act,” he said.

Not a court hearing

Enrile disagreed.

“This is not a courtroom where the strict rules of evidence apply,” he said.

“We are not investigators here for the prosecution. We conduct these hearings in aid of legislation because we might have to pass laws to correct what happened,” Enrile said.

“Any information that is pertinent, material and relevant to be heard by the nation must be put on the table. No excuses,” he added.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is prepared to cooperate in the Senate inquiry and help put closure to the tragic event, according to Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs chief.

“We are willing to cooperate if we are asked to provide the necessary reports or if they ask our officers to attend the hearing,” Detoyato said Monday.

“We continue to sympathize with our police counterparts and we hope the issue will have closure so we can recover from this episode,” Detoyato said. With a report from Julie M. Aurelio


INQUIRER

AFP: Napeñas incompetent DEBACLE TRACED TO SAF CHIEF’S MINDSET SHARES: 7670 VIEW COMMENTS By: Jeannette I. Andrade @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:05 AM January 28th, 2016


THEN Director Getulio Napeñas, head of the Special Action Force, is shown in this photo released Wednesday by the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the continuation of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano debacle. Around that time, his men were already dead after a clash with Moro fighters. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AFP

The reopening of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano fiasco a year ago turned into a day of the generals, who ganged up on Getulio Napeñas, the sacked commander of the Fallen 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos, and said his incompetence had led to the carnage.

The commanders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines had only harsh words for Napeñas and minced no words in blaming him for the debacle during the withdrawal phase of the operation. “He is the kind of man who blames everyone but himself.

He blamed the AFP. He even blamed the President. This mindset is the root of the problem that led to the debacle suffered by the SAF 44,” the former military operations chief, Maj. Gen. Angelo de Leon, concluded in a briefing he presented to the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.

Napeñas said the military was kept in the dark about the SAF operation against Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, because the AFP had been “compromised” and previous coordination did not pan out. He hinted about lack of confidence in the military’s ability to keep operations against “high-value targets” under wraps. He said 10 operations had been aborted previously.

Fifth call

During the hearing, the military, in its briefing, acknowledged five calls from SAF officials seeking artillery support for the besieged SAF troopers in Mamasapano on that tragic day.


PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES The Armed Forces of the Philippines has shown to the Senate a photo of former Special Action Force Chief Getulio Napeñas and Deputy Director Noli Taliño smiling and looking at ease at the height of the gunfight between the SAF commandos and Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, a year ago. A photo presented on Wednesday by Maj. Gen. Angelito de Leon, AFP deputy chief of staff for operations, showed Napeñas and Taliño seeming to be untroubled while their men were being pinned down in a cornfield around 4:14 p.m. of Jan. 25, 2015. The AFP said the SAF leaders were “detached from the reality of the SAF operation and unaware of the magnitude of SAF casualties.” They said the SAF commanders “lacked grasp of the gravity of the situation” and had “a walk in the park mindset.”  INQUIRER HEADLINE -MAMASAPANO PROBE LOOK: Napeñas, Taliño smiling while SAF men being pinned down–AFP @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 04:26 PM January 27th, 2016

According to De Leon, it was only by the fifth call around 5:35 p.m. that the required information from the SAF was completed. The mandatory information, he explained, included the location coordinates of all friendly and enemy forces, the target description, established communication with troops requiring support, eyes on the ground, as well as details of the encounter.

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Among factors he cited which affected the military’s support for Oplan Exodus, the operation to capture Marwan, were the redeployment of AFP men, causing forces to be thinly spread; the deliberate withholding of information about the operation;

•the absence of radio communications;
 •and the use of different maps where the SAF used a Google map instead of a tactical map which made it difficult to find specific locations.

Smiling Napeñas

De Leon also pointed out in the briefing, showing a short video clip, that the SAF used a red private car as its tactical command center and that the unit had neither knowledge of the AFP’s call for fire procedure nor coordination.

In the presentation, the AFP attached a picture of a smiling Napeñas and three other SAF officers taken at 4:14 p.m. at the headquarters of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade.

•“Napeñas was detached from the reality of the SAF operation;
•unaware of the magnitude of SAF casualties;
•lacked a grasp of the gravity of the situation;
•had no intention to lead from the front;
•had a walk in the park mindset;
•and failed to exercise combat leadership,” De Leon said.

More trusted

For his part, Napeñas said the US-sourced intelligence was usually relayed to the SAF rather than the military.

When Sen. Ralph Recto asked him if the US forces’ Joint Task Force in Zamboanga City trusted the PNP-SAF more than the AFP, Napeñas simply said, “Why did they (Americans) give the intel to us? You can already conclude from that.”


Napeñas

Responsibility

Napeñas pointed out during the hearing that there were several joint operations with the military that fizzled out, including “Oplan Wolverine 1,” the reason that Oplan Exodus was kept under wraps until after it was put into motion.

Napeñas said the AFP could have sent artillery support in a matter of 30 minutes had Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the Army 6th Infantry Division, not refused.

The SAF commander claimed that he and an American military officer, a certain Col. Eric Brown, were asking for reinforcements in the morning of Jan. 25, but Pangilinan only approved the deployment in the afternoon.

Sen. Francis Escudero observed, “Everyone had command but nobody wants to take responsibility.”


INQUIRER

Mamasapano case to be resolved in 3-4 weeks, says justice secretary SHARES: 842 VIEW COMMENTS By: Tetch Torres-Tupas @T2TupasINQ INQUIRER.net 06:41 PM January 28th, 2016


Justice department spokesman and Undersecretary Emmanuel Caparas said the agency would soon issue a resolution on the complex crime of direct assault with murder complaint that the National Bureau of Investigation filed against 90 MILF, BIFF and vigilantes over the killing of 35 police special Action Force (SAF) operatives on Jan. 25, 2015. Philstar.com/File photoY

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will resolve in 3 to 4 weeks the direct assault with murder against 90 individuals for the death of 35 of the 44 members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) on Jan. 25, 2015 in Mamasapano.

Justice Acting Secretary Emmanuel Caparas said there are so many evidence that the panel of prosecutors have to go through to resolve the case.
The DOJ panel has wrapped up its investigation after four of the 90 respondents have submitted their counter-affidavit.


PHOTO OF CURRENT DOJ CHIEF: EARLIER NEWS --Newly appointed Acting Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas insisted that he is more capable of leading the Department of Justice (DOJ) given his track record in the previous posts he held, both in public and private sectors. Speaking to reporters, Caparas defended his appointment as acting DOJ chief, as well as the appointment of his former boss, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa as the newest associate justice of the Supreme Court as he finds it unfair how their appointments were linked to their relationship with President Aquino. MANILA BULLETIN FILE HEADLINE:
Caparas says his classmate [PNoy] appointed him based on his track record. by Leonard Postrado January 25, 2016 BULLETIN.

“It is left to our prosecutors to go over everything that has been gathered and come up with the resolution of the case,” Caparas said.

“Please expect us to have a resolution on that matter–give us about 3 to 4 weeks to be able to do that. Napakadami kasi ng ebidensya na tinitingnan ngayon and when we proceed with whatever action we decide to later on, it has to be supported very well by evidence,” he added.

Caparas said they have monitored the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano case last Wednesday but since “there is nothing new there, whatever is on the table, we continue as far as we are is concerned.”


NEWS LAST YEAR: PHOTO OF NOW FORMER DOJ CHIEF DE LIMA - INQUIRER HEADLINE NEWS LAST YEAR -De Lima: Aquino cannot be held accountable for Mamasapano clash --De Lima said in a statement, “The PNP BOI cannot assume to impose upon the President his role and corresponding accountabilities as Commander in Chief of the PNP without itself understanding the very nature of the PNP as a civilian agency that should relate to the President as its Chief Executive”. Based on the BOI (PNP Board Of Inquiry) report, President Aquino along with sacked Special Action Force Commander Getulio Napeñas violated the chain of command in implementing Oplan Exodus which investigators found to be “defective” from the get-go. ALSO: De Lima said, some 90 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and private armed groups had been recommended to be criminally charged for the Mamasapano clash, according to a report by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the National Prosecution Service (NPS). INQUIRER FILE PHOTO REPORTED By: Tetch Torres-Tupas @T2TupasINQ INQUIRER.net 07:46 PM March 14th, 2015

The panel of prosecutors, composed of Senior Asst State Prosecutor Rosanne Balauag, and Assistant State Prosecutors Alexander Suarez, Rassendell Rex Gingoyon, Benito Oliver Sales III, and Aldrin Evangelista, terminated the preliminary investigation proceedings last January 14.

The complaint involves the death of 35 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos following a clash with combined forces from the MILF, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and private armed groups (PAGs) in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. 9 other SAF troopers died, also in Mamasapano on the same day, but they were part of the group that raided terrorist Sulkifli bin Hir aka Marwan’s hut in Barangay Pidsandawan.

On January 25, 2015, 44 members of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) were killed in the hunt for Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir, aka “Marwan,” in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province. Their mission may have succeeded, but one year later families of the slain SAF44 and affected civilians today continue to seek justice from a government which allegedly broke chain of command and poorly handled the mission. Visit the INQUIRER tribute site at inquirer.net/mamasapano  

PHNO PRESENTS THE INQUIRER TRIBUTE HERE FOR US ALL.
MABUHAY ANG SAF ELITE FORCE COMMANDOS!

PLEASE WATCH THIS 'TRIBUTE TO THE SAF SOLDIERS! GOD BLESS YOU! AT PHNO, WE BELIEVE IN YOU.

 
TAGAPAGLIGTAS: MAMASAPANO 1 YEAR AFTER...A YOU TUBE DOCUMENTARY OF THE SAF COMMANDOS.


PHILSTAR

GOOD NEWS: Mamasapano ushers new beginnings, dev’ts for Maguindanao By John Unson (philstar.com) | Updated January 26, 2016 - 3:08pm 0 100 googleplus0 0


Workers of the Maguindanao provincial government’s disaster response team pose for photographers at the new Tukanalipao Bailey Bridge during a break in their humanitarian mission in Mamasapano town last January 25, the first anniversary of the “Mamasapano incident.” Philstar.com/John Unson

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - While residents of Mamasapano town have sad stories on the Jan. 25, 2015 hostilities in their once idyllic barangays, they have good tales too on how the carnage ushered in improvements in their communities.

For one, folks never ever thought local infrastructure projects, amounting to almost P100 million, can be implemented by the executive department of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after the Mamasapano incident in record time, from February to December 2015.

At least 44 operatives of the police’s elite Special Action Force (SAF), 17 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and five innocent villagers were killed in a series of encounters on Jan. 25, 2015 in three adjoining barangays in Mamasapano.

The hostilities, which also involved a third group, the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), now most known as the “Mamasapano incident,” shook the nation to its core and badly affected the peace overture between Malacañang and the MILF.

The government-MILF peace initiative, now in its 19th year, aims to replace ARMM with a more empowered Bangsamoro government through the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, still pending in Congress.

Karim, a corn farmer, said while they are still in pain, as a result of the deaths of 17 local MILF guerillas and five innocent neighbors in the incident, there are continuing improvements now in their lives helping them reel off from its saddening vestiges.

IMAGE: The Night of Decree (Qadr) 23 Jul 2014/Bint Mirza/  Inspiration, Islam, Islamic Designs, Islamographics, Ramadan Special

SOURCE: THE NIGHT OF DECREE

“We were destined to experience that incident for us to realize that for every trial comes joy and more spiritual strength as Muslims,” Karim said in the Maguindanaon dialect.

Muslims believe in qad’r (destiny), which for them sometimes brings miseries, as tests of true faith, so they can rise as strong and “rewarded” believers soon after.

“The deaths of Mamasapano residents, MILF members and unarmed villagers alike, and the dislocation for several months of thousands as a result of the `Mamasapano incident’ pained the local communities so much. Seeing these positive developments around helps them recover fast,” said a public school teacher handling classes in a new school building built by the ARMM government in Barangay Tukanalipao west of Mamasapano.

“All of these were paid in blood by the slain Mamasapano residents and members of the SAF,” the teacher, who asked not to be identified, pointed out.

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It was in southwest of Barangay Tukanalipao where more than 20 of the 44 SAF men that clashed with MILF and BIFF gunmen were killed, in a series of encounters that lasted for 11 hours, near a river then traversable only via a so unsafe wooden footbridge that was to become an icon of the bloody incident and a symbol of the widespread poverty and underdevelopment in the area.

The dirt road connecting the scenes of the fierce encounter near the Tukanalipao River to the center of the barangay is now concrete and safer. All weather bridge now connects both banks of the waterway.

Combatants of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division had recently built a mosque along the route using grants from the ARMM government.


MAGUINDANAO -School buildings, mosque to rise in Mamasapano. Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (center), military officials and local leaders officiate Wednesday's symbolic launching of a Mosque project in Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Officials on Wednesday launched the construction of P49.8 million worth of school buildings and a mosque in the surroundings of Mamasapano, Maguindanao where policemen and Moro rebels figured in bloody firefights on January 25 which shook the nation to its core. The hostilities, now known as the "Mamasapano incident," also challenged the peace overture between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which started in 1997. Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan of the 6th Infantry Division, and ARMM’s public works secretary, Hadji Emil Sadain, jointly led the symbolic groundbreaking rite for the projects, in the presence of local officials and barangay leaders. The proposed Islamic worship site, located along a newly concreted farm-to-market road in Barangay Tukanalipao in west of Mamasapano, will be built by uniformed, but non-combatant engineering personnel of the 6th ID. PHILSTAR NEWS FILE MARCH 25, 2015 HEADLINE news by John Unson.

The Department of Public Works and Highways in the autonomous region (DPWH-ARMM) has also been constructing eight units of water supply facilities, worth P38 million, in Maguindanao’s adjoining Mamasapano, Datu Unsay, Shariff Saidona and Datu Hofer towns after the Mamasapano incident.

Some barangay folks on Tuesday said they were saddened by lack of focus by giant television networks on how ARMM officials and the provincial government of Maguindanao implemented humanitarian and infrastructure projects in Mamasapano in recent months in TV reports about Monday’s first anniversary of the Mamasapano incident.

For fish vendor Talib, the sacrifices of engineers, construction workers, soldiers, ARMM and provincial officials, who fused ranks together to construct infrastructure facilities and help them rise again via various socio-economic and humanitarian interventions, were just as burdensome as the sufferings they had experienced for a time after Jan. 25, 2015.

“We ought to thank them too,” Talib said in Filipino.

Local officials in Mamasapano and nearby towns said they are grateful to President Benigno Aquino III, to ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman and members of his regional cabinet for helping residents of the three barangays affected by the Mamasapano incident bounce back.

“Projects are flourishing everywhere,” said Mayor Sam Dimaukom of Datu Saudi town in Maguindanao, about eight kilometers northeast of Mamasapano.

The mayor of Mamasapano, Benzar Ampatuan, is just as thankful to engineer Zainal Mlok of the 2nd District Engineering Office of Maguindanao for his hands-on involvement in the implementation of ARMM projects in the municipality.

The ARMM government had allocated P1.098 billion for infrastructure projects in the second district of Maguindanao in 2015, compounded with an additional P1.084 billion package for this year.

While progress is now gradually spreading around the three barangays where policemen, MILF and BIFF forces figured in bloody gunfights exactly a year ago last Monday, people in Mamasapano still long for something, the much awaited enduring peace they believe an acceptable, peaceful closure to the decades-old Moro rebellion can bring in.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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