MANILA – ”This country is not worth dying for, sir, kung ‘yung gobyerno natin hindi kami kayang protektahan as a warrior (This country is not worth dying for, if the government cannot protect us as its warriors.)” This was the sentiment expressed by Senior Inspector Michael Melloria to Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, when the latter paid a visit to Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troopers at Camp Bagong Diwa on Sunday.
One week after the tragic slaughter of 44 PNP-SAF commandos in a violent confrontation with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, this sentiment is echoed by others in the special forces.
In what was an emotion-filled visit, the best Roxas could do was give the men and women of the PNP-SAF the assurance that the government is doing everything in its capacity to obtain justice for their fallen comrades.
Roxas told the PNP-SAF troopers that like them, he is disturbed by the fact that he had no prior knowledge of the raid, and that he was not advised by suspended Special Action Force (SAF) commander Police Director Getulio Napeñas of the operation.
“Sa personal ko na puso at kaisipan, interesado ako sa board of inquiry dahil bumabagabag sa akin gabi-gabi, di ako nakakatulog, ang katanungang ‘kung nalaman ko ito, may natanong ba ako, may nagawa ba ako, may na-contribute ba ako? (In my heart and in my mind, I am interested in the board of inquiry because it hounds me night after night, I cannot sleep, the question of ‘if I had know about it, could I have asked something, could I have done something, could I have contributed something?), ‘” Roxas said.
“Ako ‘yung SILG [Secretary of Interior and Local Government] na pumirma sa appointment ni Napeñas. So bilib ako sa kanya. Pero hindi natin maiwasan ang katotohanan na hindi niya ako sinabihan [tungkol sa raid] (I was the one who signed the appointment of Napeñas. Which means I had faith in him. But we cannot avoid the truth that he did not inform me [about the raid]),” he added.