POLICE officials on Friday decried what they described as an effort to sow intrigue between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and use it as a smokescreen in the crisis that the Aquino administration is facing as a result of the massacre of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.
“Parang pinagsasabong ang PNP at AFP para mapagtakpan at ma-divert sa amin ang issue. Ano yan, divide-and-conquer [It is like the PNP and the AFP are being made to fight in a cockpit to cover up w hat happened to the elite police forces and divert attention to the massacre issue to us. What is that, a divide-and-conquer tactic]?” a ranking PNP official told The Manila Times.
When asked who he believed was behind the smear, the official said, “Spin doctors of Malacanang. Wala ng iba, gusto nilang matuon sa sinasabing word war ng AFP at PNP ang pansin ng mga tao imbes na sa kapalpakan nila [Nobody else, they want the people’s attention to the supposed word war between the AFP and the PNP instead of to their blunders].”
Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo, chief of the PNP Public Information Office, immediately brushed the matter said, saying the PNP is solid and they talk with their counterparts in the AFP.
“Kung ganoon ang basa nyo, hindi ganoon ang basa namin [If that is how you read it, it is not how we read it]” according to Cerbo.
On Thursday, a ranking AFP official texted journalists and aired his gripes against the PNP, which, he said, has been receiving accolades as a result of the slaughter of the 44 SAF men.
He said the military had had losses in the past but they did not get the same outpouring of sympathy to the police.
“Ganda parangalan mga SAF 44 [The SAF commandos are honored]. Paano ang ibang mga sundalo na unang namatay [How about the soldiers who earlier died for the country]? Al-barka 19 SF (Special Forces) and (Scout) Rangers, 2011. Al-barka 14 Marines, 2007. Zamboanga 20 soldiers and 5 PNP, 2013. Davao oriental 18 SF [Special Forces], 2001. Sulu 35 army, 1981. Sulu 119 army, 1977,” the official, who requested anonymity, noted.
“Sa [In]Cabatangan, sa [in the]Misuari attack sa [on]Sulu both 2001. Sa [In] Narciso Ramos highway marines 20 plus, rangers 20 plus, (year) 2000. Don’t forget our soldiers who bear the brunt of the fighting,” he said.
The official, who is assigned to an AFP unit engaged in psy-war operations, said the military is not “diminishing” the heroism of the SAF because they deserve the accolades.
“But our soldiers deserve the same care. Look at the amount of support being given to [the]SAF casualties and look at the support our soldiers receive. Please compare and please let us be fair to all those who [also]serve,” he added.
The official criticized the SAF operation against Zulkipli Bin Hir alias Marwan, who was reportedly killed by the police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25.
Another target of the operation, Filipino bomb maker Basit Usman, eluded arrest.
PNP Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said an operation has been launched to arrest Usman but could not divulge details on the hunt.
In assailing the SAF operation, the AFP official said an “operation like that which is surgical in nature or a raid [on]an enemy encampment or a battle, which a protagonist initiate[s]must be deliberate and must be a choreographed chaos (not simply chaos) that must bring disunity and confusion to the enemy and not to friendly forces.”
“If an operation is not well-planned, not coordinated, not rehearsed together with all concerned, then the victim[s]of the chaos will be friendly troops and not the intended enemy,” he added.