Aquino gave the go-signal for SAF raid

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That was the claim of Police Director Getulio Napeñas, the recently-sacked head of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force, referring to his troops’ ill-fated operation to terminate Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir and his local cohort that led to the massacre of the 44 SAF troopers on January 25.

That was the report yesterday of Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Arlyn de la Cruz, a veteran journalist who has specialized in military and insurgency reportage for two decades. I’m surprised why that account was buried deep inside her report (SAF Chief: My men were still alive at noon but no reinforcements came”) and why the newspapers’ veteran editors didn’t make it their banner story for the day.

That important part of de la Cruz’ report reads:

“Who gave the go-signal?


This reporter asked him who knew about the Mamasapano operation.

Without hesitation he said: “The President, of course, because we had been working on this mission for a long time. As I told you, it was command commitment. We knew how dangerous Marwan was and that was the basis of this operation, to save the lives of the innocent people from the Bin Laden of Southeast Asia.”

A senior police official who asked not to be named told this reporter that Napeñas also admitted to Roxas that it was President Aquino who authorized “Oplan Wolverine,” the mission to get Marwan, a bomb expert from the Indonesia-based terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.

Did the enormity of the debacle freeze him?  Aquino at the short January 28 press conference on the SAF massacre.

Did the enormity of the debacle freeze him? Aquino at the short January 28 press conference on the SAF massacre.

“Eventually this will come out and Napeñas owes it to the families of the fallen 44 to admit that he just followed orders because that’s what we do—we follow orders,” the police official said.”

When he was asked after his speech January 28 to give a categorical ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on whether he gave the go-signal for the SAF’s Jan 25 operations, Aquino evaded the question.

“’Sir, can we proceed with the mission?’ I don’t think I was ever asked that question,” the President said. “Isn’t that a rhetorical question?”

That Aquino personally gave the go-ahead for the mission explains why the SAF head had the gall not to inform his immediate superior PNP OIC Leonardo Espina nor Interior Secretary Mar Roxas of a major operation involving 400 PNP SAF troopers going into a known Moro Islamic Liberation Front territory.

It also bolsters claims over the real reason why Aquino suddenly decided to go to Zamboanga City the day before the Jan 25 raid where he visited the site of a blast the day before, which killed one person and wounded two dozen others.

Waiting for the big event
According to that claim, Aquino wanted it to be a big event, an awesome photo-op when he would congratulate the SAF troops either in Zamboanga city or in Cotabato, after they had captured or killed their two terrorist targets.

Aquino himself in his speech Jan 28 disclosed the involvement of suspended PNP Director Alan Purisima, known to be very close to him since he had been his personal bodyguard since the late 1980s. “General Purisima was helping me understand the jargon. But he was involved up to the point in time, directly, that he was ordered suspended by the Ombudsman,” Aquino said.

Aquino obviously was careful to point out that Purisima’s involvement ended when he was suspended. However, there are reports that it was Purisima who was the SAF supervising “project officer’ for the raid, who even monitored the attack from his residence in Camp Crame.

It was Purisima who allegedly told Aquino that the SAF raid to capture the two terrorists would boost the president’s prestige in the way images of US President Obama monitoring his special forces’ raid to kill Osama bin Laden did.

big20150202Purisima, however, suddenly left the country Jan 30, with his office claiming he had to attend a meeting in Saipan of the Free and Accepted Masons fraternity, in which he has the rank of grandmaster.

What remains a puzzle involves the SAF chief Napeñas’ revelation, told to the Inquirer’s de la Cruz, that by 6 a.m., the SAF troopers were already calling for reinforcements. “I knew the Philippine Army in the area was ready to reinforce us at once,” Napeñas was quoted as saying. “”But they were also waiting for orders.”

It’s impossible for Napeñas not to have informed Purisima and Aquino that the SAF raid was in big, big trouble that they needed to be rescued.

The firefight lasted from sunrise to sundown, and there was plenty of time for reinforcements to save the SAF troops from being massacred.

Why didn’t he, Purisima, Espina, Roxas, and even Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang, order troops to save the trapped SAF troopers?

Aquino had not been asked in his short press conference on Jan 28 – or couldn’t be asked, as only three journalists were given the opportunity to ask questions – at what time he was informed of the SAF attack.

Did Aquino, because of some psychological malady, just cocoon himself, and pretend that the problem didn’t exist, just as he did in the Luneta hostage crisis in 2010?

We would be shamed as a nation if our leaders, especially the Congress, could not account for what happened, if they shirk the responsibility of calling the president himself to explain why 44 young PNP troopers had to die.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Rigoberto Tiglao

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49 Comments

  1. sana 2016 na, such that we can get rid of this bungling Aquino mis-govt.. start pa lang ng term nya ng 2010, palpak na don sa luneta hostage crisis…. what can you expect… from a “student council” mis govt.?? ‘hope by now, those who wrongly voted for him, because of sympathy to his mother, have now realized that they have made a tragic mistake… that they were swayed also by the yellow propagandists — abs cbn, daily inquirer and sws. ‘hope the spirit of those 44 SAF men, haunt this mis-govt….

  2. It is possible too that the zambo city bombing was the handiworks of govt operatives as pretext for pnoy’s visit to the city in the guise of looking into the bombing incident. It was a sub-plot to the SAF’s marwan operations. Isnt it?

  3. If PnOy rightfully gets a lot of flak for being absent during the arrival honors of the
    SAF heroes massacred , desecrated and robbed by the evil men of Mindanao….

    ……How bout this suspended PNP Chief who chooses to attend a MASON affair abroad ?

  4. A leader has to make a decision, and Pnoy made his. Whatever is the result, the leader should accept responsilitity. He will earn respect if he accepted the responsibility and being forthcoming about what happened.

  5. Judging from all the feedback to your story Sir, the Benigno Simeon the 3rd is now more dead than a forgotten carcass.

    The guy is no longer useful. It must be doubly painful since the massacre was delivered on a bloody plate on his own mother’s birthday, January 25, when in fact he wanted the victory to be his best gift to mama cory. The poor sod, might just turn more and more to the cee.

    If the Masons had suddenly decided he no longer deserved their love, it is possible they will leave his decayed self to rot even more.

    The question is, why is a long dead shit not being thrown out by the people from Malacanang? And how can this shit still keep creeping behind our back signing this and that deal with the MILF with the Malaysian BFFs of the turd helping very much to speed things up? OMG.

  6. Aquino became amnesiac when asked if he gave the go ahed signal for the operation. He said he cannot remember giving the orders. That is the tradement of a congenital liar. It is not habitual. It is in his DNA.

  7. This government is inutil as regards the MILF and BIFF. Let them admit it. They(MILF and BIFF) are after Power and Purse NOT peace!

  8. Roxas thinks he’s off the hook, no sir, he already made the conclusion by blaming and relieving Napeñas who was merely getting orders from Purissima (Roxas’ enemy). I thought he said to wait for the Board of Inquiry findings, then why did he conclude the blame is on Napeñas w/o official findings?

  9. Sad, sad, sad; too much, too much, too much! When will this “irresponsible” governance, at the expense of the Filipinos, end?

  10. The ignominious murder of the “SAF-44,” obviously is a result of gaping loopholes in its planning and execution. Incompetence is not a challenging way to describe this tragedy.

    But if indeed the elements of the AFP that could have prevented this bloody rout did not reinforce the beleaguered SAF were ordered to stand down, then this is not incompetence; this is a wanton betrayal, needlessly and Hitler-like sacrificing so many lives at the altar of Führer Pnoy’s ego, obsessed to prove what could never be proven – that he is a leader with resolve, courage and integrity.

    There is no debate whether Pnoy ordered to get Marawan. He is the Commander in-Chief. There is no debate if Pnoy preferred a different, even secretive group to accomplish the mission. He is the Commander in-Chief.
    The debate is centered at, is ordering the AFP in the vicinity of the shooting gallery to stand down served the greater good? The lives of thousand men for a just and genuine peace is a fair price. All nations paid for their “independence with itegrity” with the blood of its soldiers,

    Could anyone imagine President BS Aquino reciting this before a live broadcast?

    “I take full responsibility. I offer no apology. I only offer my sincere condolences to the family left behind by these heroes. I also pledge that the full might of our Armed Forces and our National Police will not stop till these killers are brought to justice. For we cannot and we will not pursue peace where justice does not exist.”

    No? I thought so.

  11. Sa mga nakakaalam at walang nalalaman, ito ang mga gustong ipaalam sa atin ni Pnoy. Gusto niya na maniwala tayo na walang alam si Mar Roxas sa nangyari pero nalaman agad ni Mar ng detalyado ang nangyari sa Selendra explosion at siya din ang unang nakakaalam ang nangyari sa Zamboanga attacked pati na sa bagyong Yolanda sa Tacloban. Halos lahat ng major events ay alam agad ni Roxas except thus Mamanpasano massacre. Gusto rin ipaalam ni Pnoy sa atin na kahit alam ni Allan Purisima ang palpak na operasyon ay wala siyang directang pakialam dito. Kahit inamin ni Pnoy na siya ang directang nag bigay ng go signal sa operation ay di siya nag kulang sa paalala Kay General Napenas sa coordination sa mga military sa area. Ang mga Ito ang gusto nila na ipaalam sa atin pero ang Hindi nila alam ay di naman tayo maniniwala na General Napenas lang ang may alam.

  12. What a fantastic show it might have been with pnoy on a tv documentary ala Obama during the operation to get bin Laden seated among Intel operatives monitoring with mouth constantly agape the step by step progress of operation “wolverine” and when it is announced that marwan has been neutralized he would stand with dramatic gestures congratulating all those around. This must have been the scenario that pnoy was anticipating when he was waiting somewhere yet undisclosed in zamboanga. Pero pumalpak so he hid in zamboanga for three days rueing why his attempt to copy obama’s drama failed. What an imbecilic notion really but what is worse is this moron actually thought it will succeed so threw all caution to the wind and sent the hapless policemen to their brutal death thinking of nothing else but the drama of an egotistical operation. I am so disgusted!

    • apolonio reyes on

      ANYWAY, Domingo, IT IS STILL A FANTASTIC LEGACY OF PNOY, THE LUNETA MASSACRE AND HE MAMASAPANOT DEBACLE. NOTHING CAN COMAPRE TO THESE LEGACIES OF A SEATING PRESIDENT. DI BA, Domingo?

  13. so if you were the president you will not order the raid or approve the mission? of a very high value international terrorist? so Pnoy is to be blamed for ordering the arrest of terrorists? are you out of your mind? those who say that approving the raid is wrong are just as incompetent as the police officials and commanders who made a very poor planning of the raid. plain simple. common sense.

    • The president is being blamed not for ordering the arrest of the terrorists but for allowing it to be done in a way that got his troops massacred – no plans for reinforcements and the army was not allowed to help because there was supposed to be a cease fire with MILF. The police were sent with their small arms and when they got overwhelmed, he did not send the army to rescue them and they died to the last man – after 12 hours. If he had a son and that son was among the troops, would he have ordered the army to the rescue?

    • very clearly, the president needed t0 own up like a man…then again he g0t very vague about things because he’s n0t man en0ugh…

    • how can you blame someone who is not admitting to anything! So following your “common sense” approach,what kept the Phil Army from rescuing the corneredSAF force.lastly,why the long silence in the aftermath.common sense is not too common nowadays huh

    • Actually this “operation wolverine” was a way for BS Aquino to recover from his blunder during the Pope’s visit. If he could gloat over the body of the dead Marwan in front of camera’s he though he could be the ‘Bida’ again. But the wolverine was a disaster (even if Marwan was killed – the lives of 44 SAF is not worth 1 dead Marwan). And so, instead of being the ‘Bida” again BS Aquino is now the doule ‘contra-bida’ !!!

    • you obviously don’t get it. Pnoy’s orders were channeled through a suspended PNP chief, and bec. Purissima and Roxas are mortal enemies and not on talking basis, no coordination was made., thus the failure.
      Of course he has orders to arrest all terrorists and criminals, that’s a blanket order to all of us, yes civilians included (thats why there’s a reward), what Tiglao is referring to is the Mamasapano incident where an inexperienced commander-in-chief attempted to be a hero but failed miserably.

    • PNoy was out of his mind by denying responsibility when he was oh so ready to grab the credit if the mission went without a hitch.

      Tsk tsk

    • there is nothing wrong in approving a mission like this, but knowing the facts of the case, he should have alerted all branches of the military in case help/aid is needed. In his aspiration for an ala Obama style of distinction, he wanted to keep it within a small group. He was hallucinating that an elite squadron like the one who took bin ladin could be the same group he sent to nab/kill the terrorist. doesn’t he know the capabilities of his army? all branches of the military should have been on alert for missions like this. He wanted publicity that a handful of men killed this terrorist and it is his men who were killed. then he hid in his bedroom and maybe took the fetal position and called his mommy. disgusting. now he wants the public to make donations to the families of those slain? IS HE REALLY THE PRESIDENT OF OUR COUNTRY?

    • so why can’t your idol just admit that he approved the raid. based on your logic, he should be proud to approve the arrest of terrorists. now why din’t he approve the sending of reinforcement?????

    • Why did he send the PNP to serve a warrant on a terrorist? That was pure stupidity. Are they better trained than the military? If so why even bother with having an untrained military? I’m not Filipino but this man must have the Barak H. Obama disease. Everything he touches seems to turn to crap.

      military?

  14. So MNLF, MILF, BIFF then what the F are they waiting for. The lives of those Police special forces are for nothing then. All armed group in the whole region of Mindanao and Sulu are Illegal. Lay down their arms in 24 hours . No more peace talks . Then clean up, or Hamleting during the 70s or eradicate the whole armed group at once. How about All the christians should take arms and do the same as the one in the former Yugoslavia, ETHNIC CLEANSING.

    • you said the magic word, ethnic cleansing. and all Christians in Mindanao now have join their local militias if the military cannot protect their communities 24 hrs 7 days a week. watch out for the moros in your neighborhood or better yet tell them to leave and move to Sabah where they belong.

  15. may news item ngayon na sinabi ni ping lacson na only boy sisi can authorize that kind of operation. ibig sabihin hindi pwedeng si director napenas (?) lang ang mag authorize ng operation

  16. BE NIG NO : BERDUGO NG MAMASAPANO!

    SIMYON AKINO: MAMAMATAY TAO!!!

    Despite US pressure, simyon can not force the MILF to surrender Marwan because the MILF needs Marwan for their source of funds and arms. Without arms and funds, MILF has nothing to negotiate with. Hence, simyon concocted a drama to appease the US as if he really wanted to get Marwan. But to do so would start a bloodbath with the MILF and will put his BaBaLa into jeopardy. If he allowed the reinforcements to come in, that would have been a total war with so many MILF/BIFF as well as soldiers killed. Then, BBL is gone and he would have lost face totally. He wanted to save face and in doing so, he allowed the butchery of our beloved SAF guys. If Congress allows him to go scot free, our legislators will become accessory to mass murder and we should start a nationwide campaign for our electorate never to vote the pork-recipients again.

  17. armando flores on

    It is about time before aquino can do more irreparable damage to the country that his head should roll out of malacanang. The PSG must realize that they are serving the country and not just the person of an idiotic president in malacanang who does not deserve any minute longer in that seat of power.

  18. The myth that the SAF is our best trained fighting unit is already busted. Read the military version of what happened in today’s Inquirer. Maybe they should ask the Vietcong to teach them the science of ground fighting, as these folks can beat American troops with their eyes closed if the Americans are deprived of their over reliance on hardware like fighter jets, missiles, satellite surveillance etc. Or maybe the Cubans, whose expeditionary forces beat the butts of American backed rebel groups in Africa in the 70s and 80s. Or the Hezbollah who beat back the Israelis incursion into Lebanon a few years ago. Napenas sounds like a crybaby by blaming the Army delay in sending reinforcements when he still had 300 troops in reserve. And they lost the initiative they were supposed to have in an instant, not because of a fortuitous event but by lack of preparation, an unforgivable lapse in military leadership. During the Chechen War, a Russian general in his command post, upon realizing that his men had fumbled an ongoing mission, grabbed his rifle and rushed to the battle scene to fix the problem. He was killed in action, the highest ranking Russian general to die in that war.

  19. I understand why the SAF Inspector told mar Roxas on his face that this country is not worth dying for because the government is not committed to save them in their hour of need. This should worry Pnoy because the morale of the police are so low that an opportunist could pounce on and might bring down his government.

  20. kaya sa susunod na eleksyon, isip-isip din. hwag papadala sa emosyon at sa “band wagon”. lalo na kayo na ang tanging source lang ng information ninyo ay ABS-CBN, SWS/Pulse Asia at Inquirer.

  21. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Somebody must have given the orders and that order must have come from one who cannot be ignored or even questioned for propriety sake. The people cannot dispel the suspicion that the US$5M dollar bounty may also have relevance on the event taking note of who mastered the PDAP and DAP controversies. Love of money is the root of all evil and that statement is very much applicable to he present situation. Sec. Coloma said that they would extract statements from the wounded soldiers not mentioned in newspapers as people are made aware of the fallen 44 and not of those who escaped or have been wounded in the encounter. TRUTH AND JUSTICE have to be sought on the matter and to the wounded SAF members the “Medal of Valor”. God bless the Philippines.

  22. again the problem with pnoy boils down to his cognitive and affective attributes which are not within the normal range. these attributes should be in the normal range for any human being to act and do things normally. had we listened to those who divulged his “medical records” in 2010, then we should not be in this situation now. at least, i did not vote for him

  23. opinion reader on

    ika nga ni FrancisM sa isa sa pinakisakt nya na kanta “You can’t talk peace and have a gun”. Isang malaking kabaliwan ang Bangsamoro Basic Law” na itech–isip-isip ulit kapag may time…

  24. P-noy was thinking big that his SAF local commando is equivalent to Obama’s Navy SEAL to take down a high value target. P-noy you are not Obama . You should step down and your allies – Purisima – Roxas – Binay – Espina just play hide and seek in luneta.

  25. The question of who gave the order, to me, is irrelevant. As Commander in Chief it has to be President Pnoy. If he did not give the order, then there is no surprise too, that people around him do not consider him relevant or worth their time.

    I can appreciate the need for complete secrecy necessitating not to coordinate with other entities not directly involved with the operation. I very much doubt if there was even a gruesome thought of, “gusto pala ninyong solohin yung $5 million ha? Okay, save yourselves then!”

    The only question I would ask is, who gave the order for the AFP in that area, not to send reinforcements? For that is the reason 44 SAF men died. They were betrayed. They were sacrificed at the altar of the President’s ego, obsessing to be recognized for what he could never be – a leader with resolve, deserving the Nobel Peace Prize.

    • It is Abnoy for sure who ordered Catapang, his COS not send reinforcement to the aid of the SAF. This COS should explain also on what was he doing during all those times that the SAF were being mowed down like a line of trees? Even a bit, hindi siya nakunsensiya na pinapatay ang mga pulis. Sabihin ng militar naman siya at pulis naman ang me operasyon nun, eh gago ka pala eh. Katungkulan mo na iprotekta ang mga pulis na yan kasi kasama sila sa mga dapat nyung protektahan na mamamayan ng Pinas. Asan ka General Catapang? sa apelyido pa lang eh alam ng hindi aatras pero sa nangyari eh ni few steps forward eh walang ginawa. Mga barbaro ang mga ito. Sayang ang mga buwis na itinustos ng taumbayan sa mga pagaaral nyo sa PMA. Nakikinig lang sila sa putukan, huhuhu. Ung commander ng army camp na malapit dun eh dapat ding magpaliwanag o icourt martial kasi sa teritoryo nya nangyari ang pag massacre sa 44 SAF. tulad din siya ni Catapang, nasikmura na pinapatay ang mga pulis na nangangailangan ng reinforcement nila. MGA BARBARO KAYO TULAD NI ABNOY, ROXAS, OCHOA, GAZMIN, atbp.

  26. sonny dela cruz on

    Now, the President, Purisima and the whole malacanan people are involved in this failed operation. What will the Filipino people will do? Nothing, they are afraid of pnoy’s military paid by the tax payers, suppose to be the protector of the country and the Filipino people.

  27. Unfortunately, the Legislative Branch of the government is the “same” and one as the Executive Branch. The Executive Branch has a stronghold of the greedy for money and power Legislators. Thus, the will protect the hand that feeds their greed.

    What is needed is an independent commission to investigate the SAF massacre.

  28. I challenge those in government who were incensed by the “Hello Garci” scandal and other forms of corruption that they witnessed, causing them to resign from their post to show that they no longer wish to be associated with that president, to do the same thing. Why they have chosen to glue themselves in their position despite the veracity of the thievery through DAP and PDAF is very unacceptable. I am waiting to see how they will react to the senseless loss of the policemen’s lives. If our commander in chief is proven to have withheld permission to help those men in the battlefield, he is just as guilty of brutality butchering them as those monstrous MILF and BIFF .

  29. Roldan Guerrero on

    Most Filipino call it TREASON COMMITTED BY A PRESIDENT HIMSELF AGAINST HIS OWN PEOPLE! What about you Mr. Tiglao? How do you call it?

  30. PNOY was paralyzed when his entire plan of self glorification backfires and as usual he thought his bodyguard was going to rescue him but as he often does he coddles the incompatent and corrupt in his own cabinet. What a waste of and the worst president ever.