Govt will not pressure suspended PNP chief to talk about Maguindanao mission
President Benigno Aquino 3rd will not compel suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima to speak up on his involvement in the operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that led to the massacre of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF).
Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said the government will follow the established process in eliciting information from people who had any participation in the planning and implementation of the mission to capture two terrorists —Filipino bomb maker Abdulbasit Usman and Malaysian terrorist Zulkipli Bin Hir alias Abu Marwan.
The President has earlier admitted that Purisima knew of the operation and was giving him briefings about the top-secret mission until his suspension in December last year. The Office of the Ombudsman suspended the PNP chief for six months for his alleged involvement in an anomalous contract with a courier service in 2011.
On Friday, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian dared Purisima to break his silence and reveal the extent of his involvement in the mission that killed 44 elite police commandos.
But there was no similar call from the Palace for Purisima to come out.
“Nauunawaan po natin…Ang layunin po, ang gusto ng lahat ay katotohanan.
Iginagalang ho natin ang pananaw ng mga lider ng ating bansa. Meron pong proseso sa pag-alam ng katotohanan. Kung sino po dapat ang magbigay ng pahayag ay dapat lumahok sa pagbatid ng katotohanan [We understand. Everyone wants to know the truth. We respect the opinion of some of the country’s leaders. But we have a process in bringing out the truth. He who should give a statement should participate in the quest for truth,]” Coloma said in an interview aired over Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.
“As the President said, the truth will set us free,” he added.
Reports that Purisima was still involved in the execution of the operation despite his suspension had enraged the public, especially after the President admitted that the suspended PNP chief planned the mission.
Aquino met the families of the 44 slain SAF troops in Camp Bagong Diwa on Friday.
“Pinasalamatan sila ng pangulo at pinarangalan ang kanilang katapangan at kabayanihan sa misyon para hulihin ang mga teroristang sina Marwan at Usman.
Patuloy ring makkipagpulong ang Pangulo sa mga pinuno ng PNP-SAF para sa pagpapatatag ng kanilang pwersa,” Coloma said.
Lawmakers Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela City, Carol Jayne Lopez of You Against Corruption party-list and Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol party-list said Purisima should be investigated for his role in the botched operation.
“Purisima cannot escape responsibility from the massacre of 44 SAF commandos since he was identified by relieved SAF commander Director Getulio Napenas as the one calling the shots and that the SAF director was directly reporting to him. Even President Aquino admitted that General Purisima was giving him briefings on the top secret SAF operation to neutralize Marwan,” Gatchalian said. With Jefferson Antiporda
The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs may also invite the suspended PNP chief once the panel starts its inquiry into the bloody incident on Wednesday.
Sen. Grace Poe, the chairperson of the committee, admitted that they have not yet included Purisima in the list of resource persons to be invited.
Four separate Senate resolutions have been filed calling for an investigation of the SAF operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Poe said the primary objective of the investigation is to know what really happened, who called the shots and how the operation was carried out.
The senator said she is also not convinced that the responsibility rests on a single individual, Police Director Getulio Napeñas, the SAF commander who was sacked because of the incident.
“The committee wants to look deeper on the chain of command to find out who is in charge and how he managed the operation,” Poe explained.