President Benigno Aquino III should explain his direct hand in the “top secret” Special Action Force or SAF operation in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao, Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian said.
The Mamasapano operation was carried out by SAF to neutralize international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.
“In the case of President Aquino, he has refused to answer media queries if he gave the go-signal for the SAF operation only to be confirmed by the relieved SAF Director Getulio Napeñas that the commander in chief was the one who green-lit the top secret operation,” said Gatchalian.
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Gatchalian also said Napeñas’ revelation that Aquino gave the go-signal for the SAF operation in Mamasapano can be considered as the “smoking gun” against the President who, until now, has refused to answer categorically media questions on who gave the green light for the Jan-25 SAF operation.
With the revelation of Napeñas, the lawmaker reiterated his call for President Aquino to make a full disclosure of “Operation Wolverine” that resulted in the deaths of 44 SAF personnel by elements of 105th and 118th Base Commands of Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Napeñas disclosed to a Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter the details when asked who gave the go-signal for the Mamasapano operation.
“The President, of course, because we had been working on this mission for a long time. As I told you, it was command commitment. We knew how dangerous Marwan was and that was the basis of this operation, to save the lives of the innocent people from the Bin Laden of Southeast Asia,” Napeñas was quoted as saying.
In his televised address to the nation last Jan. 28, President Aquino admitted that he knew about the operation, which was designed under the leadership of Director General Alan Purisima, the suspended PNP chief, based on an “actionable intelligence”. The President, however, did not categorically say that he gave the go-signal for the SAF mission.
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“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 slaughtered by the MILF,” Gatchalian, a National People’s Coalition member, said.
Gatchalian questioned how Purisima managed to get out of the country and go to Saipan as he is required to get a travel authority from Malacañang despite his suspension as the PNP chief.
“President Aquino should order General Purisima to come back immediately and face the music. His going abroad can be interpreted as flight, which almost always is an indication of guilt,” he said.
The administration lawmaker had earlier received information from unimpeachable sources that the SAF operation in Mamasapano was funded by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission or PAOCC, which has an annual budget of P500 million, on orders from President Aquino.
PAOCC submitted to the President the after-operation report, which indicated that the intelligence information on the whereabouts of Marwan came from the SAF.
Gatchalian said Purisima should be summoned by Congress to the scheduled investigation of the failed SAF operation since 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 deaths of the 44 SAF officers and men.
“Since Congress cannot summon the President, his alter egos, including General Purisima, can very well tell the committee all the details the Filipino people wanted to know about the SAF operation,” Gatchalian concluded. (R. Burgos)