SAGADA MOUNTAIN PROVINCE: A member of the Special Action Force (SAF) tasked to take out international terrorist Zulkifli “Marwan” Abdhir lived to tell his tale during the burial ceremonies of PO3 Noel Golocan, one of the 44 comman-dos killed in Maguindanao.
The commando, who requested anonymity, said the 78 PNP-SAF members were fighting Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members and the terrorists belonging to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) when they sent repeated calls for reinforcements.
“We already finished our target and went towards the blocking force located around 1.2 kilometers away. We heard sounds of gunfire from their direction”, he said.
He recalled that 36 SAF troopers from the 84th Seaborne Batallion were divided into four teams and tasked to enter barangay Pidsandawan at dawn of January 25 to arrest Marwan and Filipino bomber Abdul Basit Usman.
He added that another 36 SAF members from the 55th SAF Batallion were positioned in the cornfields to secure the exit of the 84th Batallion in the operation called Oplan Wolverine.
“But the [enemy]bullets were coming from different directions. That is why we requested for reinforcements. But there was none even with out repeated requests,” the source added.
He also said that with nine 84th Seaborne Battalion members already dead and 35 from the 55th Special Action Battalion also lying motionless, they (remaining 34) decided to maneuver out of the area.
“It was around 11 p.m. [of January 25]when reinforcement came. We moved out of Mamasapano around 12:30 a.m.,” he said.
The surviving commando hopes that suspended SAF Chief Getulio Napeñas can explain the failure to reinforce and save the lives of the 44 fallen SAF men.
“I’m sure Napeñas was following the orders of those above him. He is bound to obey those orders,” the source also said. He was among those who attended the burial rites of Golocan in Sagada, Mountain Province.
Golocan belonged to the 55th SAF Batallion and was a member of the blocking force.
Born and reared in the mining community of Mankayan, Benguet, PO3 Golocan finished his elementary and high school education at Lepanto High School.