MANILA — Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II on Tuesday ordered the immediate relief of PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) commander in wake of the bloody clash with the MILF which left 44 SAF men dead.
Roxas said SAF Director Getulio Napenas Jr was relieved and will be replaced by SAF Deputy Director Chief Supt. Noli G. Talino.
Roxas also said that a total of 392 SAF members were part of the operation and 44 of them were killed, 12 were wounded and 336 were all accounted and now staying at Camp Awa in Cotabato City.
”Kahapon sa nakalap na preliminary, fog of war effects, may BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) na umatake sa ating mga tropa, meron ding misencounter with MILF kasi umiwas isang unit sa kanilang rota, pumasok sa area na may MILF kaya nagka misencounter on that side. This happened easily over 12 hours from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. hanggang sa gabi may putukan pa, sa gitna ng gubat, bakawan,” Roxas explained during the press conference held at PNP Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
(Yesterday, in the gathered preliminary, fog of war facts, there were BIF Fighters who attacked our troops, there was also a misencounter because one unit tried to avoid their route, the MILF entered the area so there was another misencounter on that side. This happened easily over 12 hours from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., gunshots could be heard through the night, in the middle of the jungle and mangrove area.)
Meanwhile, Roxas formed Board of Inquiry (BOI) that will investigate on a “tactical level” what happened in PNP SAF Maguindanao operation and also to find out how PNP SAF prepared, what coordination was made.
Roxas said the BOI will be led by PNP-Officer in Charge (OIC) Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, Police Director Edgardo Ingking; Police Director Benjamin Magalong, CIDG chief; Police Director Catalino Rodriguez; and Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo.
According to Espina this will be done to give justice to the fallen hero adding that the objective of it is to be able to know if there were lapses made in the operation and who are the officers and men that could be held liable and accountable in the incident and eventually file charges.
”With the BOI ano ba talaga nangyari, it will entail both internal and external, ano ba mga culpability, liability ng officers who led the SAF operation. Admin as well as criminal liability, and of course this is to include external liability ng lahat ng pumatay sa ating pulis. Importante malaman ano mga operational lapses para hindi na maulit,” he added.
(What really happened in the BOI? It will entail both internal and external, what is the culpability, liability of officers who led the SAF operation.Admin as well as criminal liability, and of course this is to include external liability of those who killed our policemen. It is important to kno all the operational lapses so this won’t happen again.)
Espina said he ordered admin relief of SAF director Getulio Napenas pending outcome of board of inquiry, he was recalled back to Manila, and given chance to help recover body of his men, but today he was recalled back to Manila.
“I personally talked to Napenas about his admin relief for the start of BOI, I would like to get to the bottom of things,” Espina told the reporters.
Meanwhile, Roxas said that he still has confidence with PNP for providing peace process despite fallen comrades killed in a clash with lawless elements in Maguindanao.
”Tuloy ang tiwala at kumpiyansa ng PNP sa peace process na bagaman napaka lungkot, tindi ng kapaitan ng pangyayari, ang mas malawak na peace process ay mahalaga at kabahagi ang PNP sa pagsulong ng kasalukuyang peace process,” Roxas said.
(The trust and confidence of PNP on the peace process remains. Despite the extremely unfortunate circumstance, the greater goal of the peace process is important and the PNP is still a part of pursuing the current peace process.)
The target of the SAF troopers is allegedly Zulkifli bin Abdul Hir alias Marwan, a Malaysian bomb maker with a 5 million dollar bounty from the United States government.
”Just for the sake of clarity, Marwan is top high value target both internationally, locally, sangkot sa (involved with) bombings. Matagal na siya hinahabol, matagal na sya (He’s long been pursued, he’s been a part of) most wanted terrorist target ng pulis and other security forces,” Roxas noted.