Former Special Action Force director Getulio Napenas Jr finally broke its silence over the Mamasapano incident, on Tuesday disputed, through his lawyer, President Aquino’s allegation that he deliberately and repeatedly misled the commander-in-chief on the January 25 mission that saw 44 of his men killed in Maguindanao.
Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre, the legal counsel of Napeñas, said that the blunders in the operation, which killed 44 police commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters and five civilians, were the President’s fault as he authorized then suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima to lead the raid.
(The first question that needs to be asked is why did he (Aquino) allow a suspended PNP chief to lead a sensitive operation? I think that decision was the one that triggered everything.)
He also hit Aquino and Purisima for skirting responsibility on the mission to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Binhir alias Marwan and his Filipino henchman Basit Usman.
“Binigyan niya ng kapangyarihan at karapatan sa isang maselang operasyon si Gen. (Alan) Purisima. Bakit kahapon ay hindi man lang binanggit ang naging papel ni Gen. Purisima? Bakit walang responsibility si Gen. Purisima? Bakit walang responsibility ang pangulo sa pangyayaring ito?” Aguirre further added.
(He (Aquino) gave the authority and right to lead a sensitive operation to Gen. Purisima. Why didn’t he divulge yesterday the involvement of Purisima? Why is Gen. Purisima not claiming responsibility? Why is the President not claiming responsibility for this operation?)
According to news report, the camp of the beleaguered police officer believes that the findings of the investigation of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) have been compromised by the remarks of the President against Napeñas.
Meanwhile, the Palace official also made a crucial delineation: while the President had said it was his full responsibility – being the “father of the nation” – for what happened, culpability is a separate matter.
“The primary responsibility of the commander in chief is overall supervision and policy….The execution and tactical decisions moment by moment — it’s possible the operational lapses happened there — were clearly outside the President’s involvement,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. added, speaking in Filipino.
“Yung tungkol sa paliwanang na ginawa ng Pangulo kahapon, hindi naman pangunahing layunin ‘yung pagbubunton ng sisi kanino man. Ipinaliwanag ko na noong February 6, nabanggit ng Pangulo ‘nung tatlong pagkakataon na maaaring mai-abort ‘yung operation at kahapon ay ipinaliwanag niya isa-isa kung ano ‘yung mga tatlong pagkakataon na ‘yon,” Coloma reiterated.
He added that Napenas had a full opportunity to explain his side during the four Senate hearings.