PRESIDENT AQUINO ONLY GAVE GUIDANCE IN MAMASAPANO, SAYS PALACE OFFICIAL

PRESIDENT AQUINO ONLY GAVE GUIDANCE IN MAMASAPANO, SAYS PALACE OFFICIAL

MANILA — Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. on Thursday said President Benigno S. Aquino III only guided former Special Action Force (SAF) Chief Getulio Napeñas during the deadly Mamasapano operation in Maguindanao last year.

Coloma said the instruction given by the President to Napeñas to coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) before the conduct of the operation was not intervention.

“Ang malinaw lang naman dito ay ang sumusunod: Una, inutusan siyang (Napeñas) mag-coordinate. Hindi pakikialam iyon. Iyon ay guidance na napakahalaga na nanggaling mismo sa Pangulo ng Pilipinas,” he told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang.

“Hindi ko narinig si Director Napeñas mismo na nagsabi na itinuturing niyang pakikialam ito,” said the Palace official.

Napeñas led the Jan. 25, 2015 operation, which succeeded in neutralizing Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir (Marwan) but resulted in the death of 44 SAF troopers.

Coloma also noted the testimony of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ricardo Marquez that the PNP Headquarters was not aware of the operation called Oplan Exodus.

“If you will recall, nag-testify si PNP Chief Director General Marquez that as then Director for Operations walang buong operation plan na nasa kamay ng national headquarters ng PNP. At sinabi din niya ang kanyang puna doon sa Oplan Exodus, walang malinaw na—well, walang mga patakaran o guidelines hinggil sa pag-abort na dapat naging bahagi ng contingency plan,” he said.

When asked to comment on the “stand down” order from President Aquino as claimed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Coloma replied, “Saksi ang bansa, tinanong ang lahat ng mga nandoon, lahat ng nandoong opisyal, lahat ng nandoon AFP at PNP at mismong si Director Napeñas mismo, iisa lang ang sagot nila: Walang ganoong order. Wala silang narinig at walang ganoong ibinigay at walang ganoong sinundan na order”.

“Kaya sa aking pananaw, bilang saksi doon sa pitong oras na pagsisiyasat kahapon, epektibong natugunan at napabulaanan ang mga alegasyon ni Senador Enrile sa pagdinig kahapon. Isama na rin natin ‘yung alegasyon ni Senador Marcos. Naisawalat ang kawalan ng kaalaman ni Director Napeñas sa tunay na sitwasyon ng kanyang mga tropa sa Mamasapano,” he added.

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile requested for the reopening of the Mamasapano incident investigation, claiming he has new evidence that would show the involvement of President Aquino in the deadly encounter. PNA/northboundasia.com