THE “advice” of resigned Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima to keep PNP Officer-in-Charge Leonardo Espina and Armed Forces chief Gregorio Catapang Jr. out of the loop in the Mamasapano operation put the police forces in danger, suspended Special Action Force (SAF) chief Getulio Napeñas said on Wednesday.
Under intense quizzing from former military chief Rodolfo Biazon, Napeñas admitted that he usurped authority by following Purisima’s order not to inform Espina and Catapang about the covert operation.
“In a meeting, there were four of us, facing each other. The President was there. We talked about coordination but when we got out, General Purisima and the President remained inside and talked. General Purisima then said to me, ‘Ako na bahala kay Gen. Catapang [I’ll take care of Gen. Catapang].’ Due to his closeness to the President, those words put us in a volatile and bad situation,” Napeñas said.
The sacked SAF chief was one of the resource persons invited by the House committees on public order and safety and on peace, reconciliation and unity.
Napeñas was referring to a meeting in Bahay Pangarap on January 9, 2015, wherein he presented to President Benigno Aquino 3rd a plan to capture Marwan.
Purisima was suspended by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on December 4, 2014.
Napeñas’ revelation incensed Biazon, who said Napenas defied authorities and betrayed his superior–Espina.
“Bakit ka naniwala eh advice lang ‘yun [Why did you obey him when what he said was only an advice]? You are mandated to immediately report to him since he is your direct superior. You violated the chain of command. He should be the one giving orders to you. You disregarded your superior,” Biazon said.
But Purisima insisted that he did nothing wrong when he continued to be involved in the Mamasapano (Maguindanao) mission despite his suspension.
He said the chain of command is a military concept that cannot be strictly applied to the PNP. He claimed that existing laws provide that command and control of the PNP are vested in the PNP chief, and that means direct control of tactical and strategic movements and deployment and utilization of any unit or personnel, as well as equipment, facilities and other resources.
“The PNP command chain was not broken at any time during the mission. The force commander, in this case the SAF chief, executed a delegated power. This [execution of delegated power]is not affected by my preventive suspension,” Purisima added.