SAF operation uncoordinated with military

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THE massacre of 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in the hands of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last Sunday could have been avoided had the covert operation been carefully planned and coordinated in advance with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin was reacting to accusations that the AFP did not reinforce or it took the military quite some time before coming to the aid of the embattled SAF team that at the time were already at the receiving end of the separatist MILF rebels, who were superior in number and masters of the terrain.

Gazmin on Thursday confirmed that the 6th Infantry Division had received the SAF’s request for reinforcement but it was made too late or some three hours after the police commandos’ first engagement with the group of international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan,” a Malaysian.

“Their request for assistance arrived at 6 p.m. when their first encounter with Marwan, which was at about 4:30 p.m. [or]5 p.m. [or]thereabouts,” the Defense chief said.


“Kung nagkaroon ng oras dun sa coordination, hindi mangyayari yang pinangangambaha nating ganyan [Had there been time for coordination, what we feared would not have happened],” Gazmin added.

He pointed out that soldiers from nearby units or detachments were also securing certain areas and could not be simply pulled out on short notice.

“Such major operation needs careful planning because what we entered was a big MILF and BIFF camp. You need a bigger force,” Gazmin said.

BIFF is the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group of the MILF.
A military source also on Thursday disclosed that the 6th ID has conducted a parallel investigation of the Maguindanao clash on orders of higher headquarters.

“There are sensitive issues, but one of our jobs is to take a look [at such issues].

Appropriate investigation is being conducted,” the source, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter, said.

He pointed out that information was deliberately withheld to maintain the secrecy of the operation, considering the sensitivity of the targets and situation in the area.

“But it appears that the operation had no proper planning and they were not able to mitigate the situation,” the source said.

By “they,” he was apparently referring to military leaders.

The source noted that what made matters worse was that the reinforcement team did not know the exact location of the encounter.

“I understand that we were kept in the dark until it became something that we did not want to happen. When we knew [about]it, it was too late. We didn’t know also how to address [the situation],” he said.

Another source said the investigation would focus on circumstances surrounding the carnage, on the role of the AFP in the incident and on preparations for a congressional inquiry into the bloodbath.

“We committed no lapses. We just want to look into the gaps, the flaws committed so that it would not be repeated,” he added.

The source said the 6th ID sent six armored personnel vehicles and the 55th Special Action Company but were not able to enter the area because they did not know where exactly the fighting was taking place.

“Reinforcement teams were able to link around 10 p.m. with the 36 SAF men who died,” he said, adding that many lives were saved despite hitches.

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5 Comments

  1. too many incompetents in the government. looks like the moros are more smarter. they always make a large killings and body counts than our PNP and AFP.

  2. Someone from the government have accidentally tipped off the MILF before the insertion team of SAF. It is quite impossible for these highly trained commandos not to secure positional advantage in the river banks, they were ambushed. The enemies were already in a vantage position when the landed in the wee hours last Sunday. Remember most of the casualties belongs to the blocking team, they will never take cover from the corn plants which can be easily penetrated even by an armalite or MP 5 rifles.

  3. It is a standing order plan were made with P-Noy,Purisima and the late Robredo,Mar Roxas and Espina are not present thet why they were not informed.High profile target less people who knows more chance of sucess,like when the US killed Bin Laden the Pakistan government doesnt even know about it and the misssion was sucess.SAF mission was a sucess they capture or killed their intended target,they didnt fire at the MILF position ,the problem was on their way out the MILF found out that the Malaysian bomb maker who make bombs for them got capture or killed thats when they surround the SAF and slaughtered them.

  4. so who planned the operations (covert)? these officials (arm chair generals) are addressing the result and not the root cause of the problem (if coordination is the issue) -as if the lives of the 50 or so elite & highly trained police officers are nothing but collateral damage to the mad crusade of noynoy (and his cohorts) to get the noble peace prize!

  5. Aquino wake up, this is our armed forces, not your gang of corruption. Your corrupt gang must keep everything secret because of the stolen money. But our Armed Forces must always be coordinated. The number one rule of any command is do not divide your forces. You kept the PNP assignment secret not only from the AFP but also from the PNP hierarchy. You placed a disgraced Purisima in charge. You broke rule number one. You put an incompetent in charge and broke apart the chain of command. Only an idiot would do everything you did. You are the stupidest idiot in the Philippines or maybe in all the world.