MANILA – Resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima disclosed on Monday the exchange of text messages between him and President Benigno S. Aquino III during the Mamasapano incident on Jan. 25.
At the resumption of the Senate inquiry into the bloody Mamasapano encounter that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) men dead, Purisima said he first informed the President about the implementation of the “Oplan Exodus” through text short message service (SMS) at 5:45 a.m. on that Sunday.
In the same first SMS to the President, Purisima informed the Commander-in-Chief about the killing of international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who was the prime target of the operation.
Here is the complete SMS transcription of the conversation between His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III (HEBSA III) and Police Director General Alan La Madrid Purisima as revealed during the Senate inquiry chaired by Senator Grace Poe:
PDG ALAN PURISIMA to HEBSA III – January 25, 2015, 5:45 a.m. (Sunday) – PDG PURISIMA: “Sir good morning. For info SAF elements implemented oplan against high value targets. As of now sir results indicate that Marwan was killed and one Saf trooper wounded. The body of Marwan was left behind but pictures were taken. The troopers are now withdrawal phase and progress report to follow.”
HEBSA III (7:36am): “Why was it left behind? The other two targets?”
PDG PURISIMA: “Sir accordingly, when the nearest target from the line of approach is M1 and when they hit the primary target, the other house where Basit Usman was located with other elements reacted and fired at the troopers. There were about 15 to twenty armed elements. It was about 430am and it was decided that they pull out after gathering pictures and other evidences. They were not able to reach the secondary targets sir.”
HEBSA III: “If I remember correctly, 160 SAF troopers were directly involved in this operation plus provision for other PNP and AFP units to assist. The terrain is flat and clear as opposed to upland forested or jungle terrain. Why could they not contain and/or overwhelm the 15-20 member opposing force? Are they still in contact with the two other targets? If not and the opposing force has escaped, are we now back to square one?”
PDG PURISIMA: “They are presently in contact with reinforcing elements from BIFF. The containment forces are the ones in contact right now. They are supported by mechanized and artillery support, Sir.”
PDG PURISIMA: “The local target Basit and his group were the first group that were engaged by main effort group.”
HEBSA III: “Review your earlier and latest texts. They differ as to which was engaged first.”
PDG PURISIMA: “I mean sir the first target was M1 where they were able to neutralize first. The group of Basit retaliated which was about 100 meters away.”
HEBSA III (10:16am): “Basit should not get away.”
PDG PURISIMA (11:38am): “Already advised sir but as of the moment the main effort is withdrawing and according to dir IG we still have our contact with the …and will hit them again sir.”
PDG PURISIMA (6:20pm): “Sir latest report from operating elements in Maguindanao states that the security elements who were engage by BIFF/MILF Elements suffered heavy casualties. They were reportedly overrun. CCH (committee on the cessation of hostilities) and international monitoring team are in the area retrieving casualties. The main effort is still in the process of rendezvous with other SAF and AFP elements.”
Purisima explained that some of the SMS did not have time element due to his phone features.
The former PNP chief also clarified that he was not directly involved in the operation but was merely relaying to President Aquino the information he received from the ground, including from relieved SAF chief Director Getulio Napenas and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command head Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero.
Purisima said he was in his home province in Nueva Ecija on Jan. 25.