The Philippine National Police (PNP) chief on Monday vowed appropriate honors for all 44 police commandos who were killed during a high-risk operation early this year in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Director General Ricardo Marquez’s pledge came amid criticism over the exclusion of two of the commandos from a list of awardees during the PNP’s 114th anniversary last Friday in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Delisted were Police Officer 2 Romeo Cempron and Supt. Raymund Train, who were supposed to receive the Medalya ng Kagitingan and Medalya ng Kabayanihan, respectively.
During a news briefing in Camp Crame, Marquez said he will ensure that all the SAF men from the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) who died during “Oplan: Exodus” will get the benefits and honors due them.
The PNP chief, who is set to retire from the police service in August next year, told reporters that they are coordinating with the National Police Commission to find out the eligibility criteria for the Medal of Valor.
Medalya ng Kagitingan, Medal of Valor in the military, is the highest honor being accorded any member of the PNP who has shown intrepidity and gallantry in the service.
Medalya ng Kabayanihan, Distinguish Conduct Medal in the military, is the second-highest decoration that can be given to any member of the police force.
The PNP chief said he “cannot simply forget our men and colleagues who have made their supreme sacrifice for the sake of our country.”
When he assumed the top police post last July 16, Marquez said he will be behind the back of every policeman who is faithfully doing his duty and performing his job.
A resolution from the PNP’s Special Promotion, Awards and Decorations Board seen by The Manila Times had sought the highest honors for Cempron for his gallantry in action during the January25 police mission.
Target of the mission were Malaysian terrorist Zulkipli Bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino bombmaker Abdul Basit Usman.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd was heavily criticized for failing to acknowledge or at least mention the SAF 44 in his sixth and last State of the Nation Address last July 27.