MANILA — Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang on Wednesday took a swipe on sacked Special Action Force (SAF) chief Police Director Getulio Napenas for not trusting the military during the botched Mamasapano operations.
“It is only Director Napenas who don’t trust the AFP,” Catapang said in front of lawmakers during the continuation of the joint inquiry of the House committee on public order and safety and the special committee on peace, reconciliation and unity.
But Catapang immediately clarified that the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) remained united despite the accusation made by Napenas that soldiers were not able to give the much needed artillery assistance and reinforcements on time during the unfortunate incident last January 25 in Barangay Tukanalipao which led to the death of 44 elite police commandos.
“Mr. Chairmen, your honors, we are very close with the PNP. We are band of brothers. They [the agencies] trust each other,” Catapang pointed out.
PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leoanardo Espina also shrugged off the spreading rumors the there is a breach of trust between the two armed agencies after the Mamasapano incident.
“I have often repeated that what transpired in Mamasapano is not a reflective between the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines… it is not reflective of the relationship between the PNP and the AFP which remains to be very, very strong. We have no problem,” said Espina in the vernacular.
Catapang and Espina were classmates [mistah] and both members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 1981.
Espina said that whenever they have operations in the province of Maguindanao, he always instructed his subordinates and other personnel to coordinate with military through Western Mindanao Command Chief Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero or Catapang himself.