SENATE Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile articulated in English and Tagalog what the people have been seeing all along. In this government you officials, and the police and military are just pointing fingers at each other.”
He blamed President BS Aquino for the Mamasapano disaster.
As told in our front page story today, Enrile said President Aquino kept the knowledge Oplan Exodus to himself and to suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima.
He hid the operation from his own Cabinet members and relevant government, police and military officials. Thus, the debacle.
Sen. Enrile got then SAF Director Napeñas to admit — in answering his question — that President Aquino had compartmentalized the Oplan Exodus to himself and Purisima.
“To understand this, when I say compartmented Oplan Exodus, I mean that President Aquino intentionally, deliberately and actually confined and arrogated unto himself and Purisima full knowledge, command and control, and strategic decisions over Oplan Exodus,” Enrile said. He “excluded all others, including members of his Cabinet except Secretary Roxas and the command system of the PNP and the AFP. He kept everything to himself and his trusted man Purisima.”
SP Drilon rises in BSA’s defense
In contrast to Senator Enrile, other senators tried to make BS Aquino look less culpable. Senate President Franklin Drilon in particular took pains to elicit answers from witnesses to show that Aquino had nothing to do with the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus.
At one point, he categorically contradicted Sen. Enrile, who had made the conclusion that the lack of coordination and eventually the killing of the 44 SAF heroes happened because of Aquino’s interference (pakikialam) in the work that should have been left to professionals. Drilon made an intervention to proclaim that no witness or resource person had ever made any testimony saying that the President had done any “pakialam.”
Mr. Drilon also argued against Senator Enrile’s assertion that BS Aquino had compartmentalized the operation to himself and suspended PNP Chief Purisima. Drilon said it was Napeñas and not President Aquino who had actually compartmentalized Oplan Exodus. He encouraged Purisima to say that it was Napeñas who had crafted the whole plan and then ignored BS Aquino’s instruction to coordinate with the military.
Napeñas several times tried to correct statements made that he had authored the whole plan, saying that a team of planners had created it and he was only the ground commander of the PNP commandos tasked to carry out the mission to capture high-profile terrorist Marwan.
On Napeñas’ having failed to coordinate with military commanders, it was clear since last year’s hearings that after he and Purisima met with President Aquino and he left Purisima and Aquino to talk by themselves, Purisima finally came out and told Napeñas that he (Purisima) would take care of the coordination.
On questioning by Senator Ralph Recto, Napeñas spoke about US involvement in Operation Exodus. This point was stressed by committee hearing chair Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares.
Trillanes: Court martial unharmed SAF commandos
Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th made a point of showing how the PNP SAF people were so lacking in the virtues possessed by military officers like himself. An AFP sergeant had earlier testified that he and his men had seen and talked to two groups of SAF commandos who were not advancing to the scene of the massacre to help their besieged fellow SAF commandos.
These SAF commandos would most likely have also been killed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) if they had advanced.
Trillanes told Napeñas—and the hearing—that if that had happened in the military, the SAF men who did not move to rescue their besieged SAF comrades would have been court-martialed for cowardice. Trillanes also directly addressed the present chief of the PNP to enforce discipline among his people.