President Aquino should make a full disclosure of what he knew about the “top secret operation” of the Special Action Force or SAF in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao on Jan. 25, Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian urged.
Gatchalian, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, said it is imperative for the President to make a full disclosure about the operation, which resulted to the killing of 44 SAF personnel last Sunday, in a statement he is set to deliver on Wednesday night.
The disastrous operation killed 44 SAF personnel including seven commissioned police officers, wounding 12 others.
“As commander-in-chief, it is the prerogative of the President to order a top secret operation to bag international terrorists. However, it is also his duty as the Chief Executive to make a full disclosure to the Filipino people on the SAF operation that resulted in a fiasco with 44 of its personnel being killed by elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
The administration lawmaker made the call following reports that revealed President Aquino was on top of the operations, which aimed to capture Zulkifli bin Hir, or “Commander Marwan”.
Marwan is a Jemaah Islamiyah member who is also a most wanted terrorist.
Citing information from “unimpeachable sources”, Gatchalian also disclosed that the SAF operation was funded by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission or PAOCC on orders of President Aquino.
Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa Jr heads the PAOCC with an annual budget of P500 million.
Citing the same sources, Gatchalian said the SAF has long been pursuing the arrest or neutralization of Commander Marwan when the group almost had the Malaysian bomb expert in 2005.
Gatchalian added he was also informed that SAF Director Getulio Napenas was directly reporting to Gen. Purisima in the “White House”, where the suspended PNP chief still holds residence.
“It was General Napenas who was briefing General Purisima, who in turn, reports directly to the President to brief him about the progress and developments in the top secret SAF operation to arrest Commander Marwan,” Gatchalian said.
He also said this was the reason why Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas relieved General Napenas for not following the chain of command, which blinded the cabinet member as well as PNP Officer-in-Charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina about the SAF operation.
This, Gatchalian reiterated, should be enough for Congress to summon Ochoa and Purisima to a congressional probe that would look into the catastrophic SAF operation in Maguindanao.
“They are the ones who can give the details of the operation from the planning stage up to the implementation, but which unfortunately resulted in the massacre of 44 SAF officers and men,” Gatchalian said.
“Since President Aquino cannot be summoned by Congress, it would do him good if he can make a full disclosure of what he knew about the operation, especially so that he was in Zamboanga City a day before the SAF operation started,” Gatchalian concluded. (R. Burgos)