Napeñas: Purisima’s meddling imperilled SAF commandos

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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.

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2 Comments

  1. vagoneto rieles on

    We can relate to General Napenas’ statement. The President’s open and unabashed closeness to General Purisima caused him to withhold information from Secretary Roxas and General Espina. Nothing really happens in a vacuum. What one does or does not do affects those around them..more so if these happen to be subordinates. General Purisima’s “advise” to keep information to just the three of them.. in light of his affinity to the President..was taken by General Napenas to mean that, perhaps, he now belonged to an exclusive circle, and that he was in a mission, so confidential as to bypass the command chain.
    By way of related observations.. ‘it is best to be circumspect in exercising “utang na loob”, which in this case has come at a terrible price; and, to be crystal clear in our words and body language so as not to give the wrong message to all around us.’

  2. Stop the blame game Napenas. Tell the whole truth. You were the leader of the SAF forces, but when your guys needed help, President Aquino gave the stand down order. President Aquino should have ordered to rescue the SAF forces at all cost.