UNISAN, Quezon: Getulio Napeñas, former director of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), said Friday that President Benigno Aquino III has no courage to take responsibility for the anti-terrorist police operation in Mamasapano that led to the deaths of 44 SAF members last year.
Napeñas, one of the senatorial bets under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, made the statement during a proclamation rally of local candidates in this province that was attended by UNA officials and members.
“Even here, I have to tell the President himself dito sa harapan [here in front]: Wala kang bayag [You have no balls],” Napeñas said.
He alleged that it was not he but Aquino who broke the chain of command.
“I was charged with usurpation of authority,” Napeñas continued in Filipino. “How will I commit it when it was the President who made the orders? Right? How funny,”
He added, “They alleged that I allowed myself to be induced by General Purisima to perform an illegal act. I don’t understand it. It was the President himself making the orders, how could I ever be induced by General Purisima when he was the one making the orders through General Purisima?”
On Tuesday, the Ombudsman said it found sufficient grounds to file charges of graft and usurpation of authority before the graft court Sandiganbayan against Purisima, former PNP director, and Napeñas for their alleged participation in the planning of a counter-terrorist police operation in Mamasapano, despite Purisima being under preventive suspension.
The respondents can still file motions for reconsideration on the Ombudsman’s ruling.
“I leave it for you to judge and I hope those at the Ombudsman or at the Sandiganbayan are enlightened that I will see this fight through to the end,” Napeñas said in Filipino.
The Ombudsman also found Purisima and Napeñas administratively liable for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
But because Purisima was ordered dismissed from the service in June 2015 while Napeñas retired in July 2015, the penalty imposed was a fine equivalent to their one-year salary.
They also face perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and cancellation of civil-service eligibility.
“Just a small amount, that is what hurts,” Napeñas said in Filipino. “That is why I said, I will fight for this until the end.”
The charges are in connection with the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that ended in the deaths of over 60 people.
Dubbed “Oplan Exodus,” the operation was aimed to capture international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and his protégé Abdulbasit Usman. Marwan was killed while Usman escaped.
Forty-four PNP-SAF members, said to be part of the operation, were left dead in a cornfield after a firefight with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups.
Members of the MILF and civilians were also among the casualties. REINA TOLENTINO