The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had confirmed that Malaysian terrorist Zulkipli Bin Hir alias Marwan was indeed killed by police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25.
Reports said the confirmation was relayed to Philippine officials late Wednesday.
The Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) had earlier said sample of Marwan’s DNA was sent to the FBI for testing. The FBI then compared the sample to the DNA extracted from Marwan’s brother.
Marwan and another terrorist—Abdul Basit Usman —were the target of the SAF commandos who stormed Mamasapano on January 25. Usman escaped.
The operation however led to the killing of 44 SAF commandos by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
On Wednesday, the sacked SAF commander, Getulio Napeñas. said he will resign if Marwan’s death was not confirmed.
“I will resign if the target was not Marwan. We have credible information that he was the one killed by SAF operatives,” Napenas said in a news briefing.
He admitted that he has been reporting to suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima and Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, now the PNP officer-in-charge.
Purisima, he said, had approved several operations to get Marwan between April and November 2014 before he was ordered suspended by the Ombudsman in December.
Napeñas added that Purisima instructed him to inform Espina about the
Maguindanao operation “pag nandoon na kayo [when you reach the target site].”
He said on November 29, Purisima informed him of the whereabouts of Marwan and Filipino terrorist Usman, and he was ordered to coordinate with intelligence units for the operation.
Napeñas added that he did not inform Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd about Purisima’s order because he would be breaking the chain of command.
He said he knew that there was a possibility that the 84th Company commandos would be exposed to danger if they were caught inside MILF territory in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Unfortunately, Napenas said, the operation was delayed and the SAF commandos were still in the area at daybreak.
He added that while there have been criticisms about the botched operation that left 44 police commandos dead, he is confident that they succeeded in killing the terror suspect.
“As long as the terrorists are alive, we will continue to be in danger,” Napenas said.
According to him, evidence submitted to the PNP Board of Inquiry showed that the military’s Western Mindanao Command was given grid coordinates of the location of the police commandos.
Earlier, Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. presented to the media a timeline of the Mamasapano clash.
He said military troops have been on the site as early as 9:25 a.m. on January 25 but their role was only to “extract” the SAF commandos from the encounter area, not to join in the firefight.