MANILA – “We have to move forward and not let our immediate past drag us in towards the future.”
Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina stressed this on Thursday as he assured the public that all is well in the country’s national police force despite the Jan. 25 bloody encounter in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao that left 44 elite police commandos dead.
In a press briefing after his Command Conference with PNP regional directors at Camp Crame, Quezon City, Espina admitted it was “hard to move forward” after the incident, but added that “it is our job to render service to the public despite all odds.”
”This morning, I called for all RDs and units of PNP so that this is more geared towards direction of working despite the recent setback that the PNP experienced. We will not be perturbed or disturbed by recent events,” he added.
Espina also reminded his men to be professional, do their job and don’t let the criminals to take advantage of the situation, adding that this is the way they can give justice to the fallen PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) heroes.
”We are professionals, we are uniformed policemen, it is our job to render service to the public despite all odds. Kayang-kaya namin ito (we can definitely do this), we assure everybody that we are all okay in PNP,” he said.
At the same time, Espina said the PNP continues to have strong relationship with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in serving and protecting the public.
”The AFP remains to be very, very strong and both organizations will continue to serve the people as we are mandated to do and are expected to do,” he explained.
Asked if the command conference was a loyalty check, Espina replied, “Sa PNP, hindi na kailangan ng loyalty check (Here in the PNP, there’s no need for a loyalty check). All of us are loyal. Hindi namin itinatago na may incident (We’re not denying that there was an incident). We are all affected, we have to move forward. This is the only way we professionals can pay respects to our fallen heroes. We have hurdled all obstacles, we will pass this test that was given to us.”
Espina also reiterated his call to let the Board of Inquiry (BOI) determine the truth on the Mamasapano, Maguindanao clash.
”Itong BOI ay na-create para malaman yung operational audit, ano ang tama, ano ang maling ginawa (The BOI was created to know the operational audit, what went right, what went wrong), from there we will know what were the lapses. There were lapses, definitely, 44 ang patay. From then on, we will meet again so we will not make the same mistake again,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PNP-OIC said they are still waiting for the result of the investigation of the BOI on SAF chief Getulio Napeñas who could face administration charges after he admitted that he was reporting directly to suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima.
”Titingnan po natin dun sa lalabas na resulta ng BOI probe, mahirap kasing pangunahan (We’ll wait for the results of the BOI probe, it’s difficult to speak ahead of it). I would repeat that BOI is really independent from me. Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) head Director General Benjamin Magalong said that he would be getting my statement, anytime, I will give my statement. I want this to be a very truthful inquiry. Hintayin natin kung ano man ang administrative culpability ni Napenas (Let’s wait and see whatever is Napenas’ administrative culpability),” Espina said.