LIBERAL Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II has pushed for a speedy trial of Alan Purisima, former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), and ex-Special Action Force (SAF) Chief Getulio Napeñas, who are facing charges of graft and usurpation of authority in connection with the 2015 Mamasapano tragedy.
Roxas made the stance a day after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of criminal raps against Purisima and Napeñas in what she described as the Mamasapano massacre, which left 44 SAF troopers dead – the biggest loss of a government elite force in history.
The 44 SAF members died after they were ambushed by combined forces of the rebels and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as the SAF troopers successfully killed the international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.
“It is a welcome development that she (Morales) already finished her job, and we expect a speedy trial on this,” Roxas said. “It is very important that we bring those responsible before justice and punish them accordingly.”
Roxas, then-Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), was not informed of the Mamasapano operation even if the PNP was under the supervision of the DILG.
Purisima, who was under preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman during the Mamasapano operation over an allegedly anomalous courier service contract, called the shots in the operation despite his suspension. Napeñas followed the orders of the suspended PNP Chief.
But for Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, spokesperson for the LP-led administration coalition, the Ombudsman’s decision was a vindication for Roxas.
“We welcome the verdict of the Ombudsman,” he said in a statement. “It validates what has been established in the Senate, AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), PNP, and DOJ (Department of Justice) investigations, as well as what Mar has been saying all along: Purisima and Napeñas are the ones who should be held responsible for the deaths in Mamasapano.”
Gutierrez added, “It is one firm step forward toward achieving justice for those who lost their lives in this incident.” LLANESCA PANTI