Sacked Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas did not violate the PNP chain of command when he decided to keep Operation Plan (Oplan) Exodus secret from Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina said on Tuesday.
Espina disclosed that Roxas is not part of the chain of command.
The acting police chief told senators that the chain of command does not include the secretary (Roxas) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“As far as I know, it is only until me and down,” Espina replied to Sen. Francis Escudero, who had asked if the decision of Napeñas not to inform the DILG chief about Oplan Exodus can be considered a violation of the PNP’s chain of command.
Roxas is also chairman of the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
The Napolcom exerciss administrative control and operational supervision over the PNP.
Espina said informing the DILG secretary about a particular police mission is more of a judgment call of the PNP chief.
“So if there was violation of chain of command is that you [Espina] were not informed,” Escudero asked, to which Espina replied, “Yes”.
Napeñas earlier said resigned PNP chief Alan Purisma told him to keep Espina and Roxas out of the loop in relation to the SAF operation to capture suspected terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.
“Huwag mo muna sabihan ‘yung dalawa saka na pag nandoon na, ako na bahala kay [Gregorio] Catapang [Don’t inform the two yet until the troops are in the area, I will take care of Catapang],” Napeñas said quoting Purisima.
Catapang is the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
No direct orders
Napeñas admitted also on Tuesday that he did not receive a direct order from President Benigno Aquino 3rd or from Purisima to proceed with the mission to capture Marwan.
He said he also did not get an order stopping him from carrying out the operation.
“If there was a direct order or approval of the President, there was none. But then, [on]the two occasions that we had a mission update, it could be implied or [there was]a tacit approval that the mission is a go,” Napenas also told the senators.
He said he was never given any order or “guidance” to proceed with the operation but since there was also no order stopping him, he proceeded with the top-secret operation that led to the killing of 44 SAF commandos.
But Sen. Loren Legarda questioned the decision of Napeñas to follow Purisima’s “advice” not to inform Roxas and Espina.
But Napeñas said he took the advice of Purisima as an order of the President because it was given to him immediately after Purisima met with Aquino.