- Marcos presses Aquino to explain role in Mamasapano operation

News & Interviews
11 February 2015

By Maila Ager |

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III should speak up and explain his role in the botched Mamasapano incident, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Wednesday.

“Dapat mag-pahayag na ang ating Pangulo kung ano ba talaga ang nangyari, sino ba talaga ang involved, ano ba ang naging sequence of events, ano ‘yung naging timeline, saan nag-simula, saan nag-meeting, at kung ano talaga ang role ng ating Pangulo dito sa buong sitwasyon ng Mamasapano?” Marcos said in an interview over DZRH.

(The President should speak up on what really happened, who is really involved, what the sequence of events was, what timeline was, where it started, where they met and what his role was in the Mamasapano situation.)

Aquino’s name has been repeatedly mentioned in the ongoing Senate investigation on the incident after he allegedly met in Malacañang with then suspended Philippine National Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima, and Director Getulio Napeñas, the relieved head of the PNP-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), and another official, on January 9, 2015 or two weeks before the bloody encounter in Mamasapano, Maguinandao last January 25 where 44 elite policemen were killed.

It was Napeñas who disclosed that a meeting took place when he first appeared at the Senate investigation on the incident. This was later confirmed by Purisima himself.

Marcos wanted to know, in particular, who authorized Purisima to participate in the Mamasapano operation.

“Kasi wala namang mag-o-authorize kay General Purisima na makilahok dito sa operation na ito. Wala namang pwedeng mag-order niyan, iisa lang siguro, wala nang mas-tataas kay General Purisima kung hindi ang Pangulo. Ngayon, gusto ko sanang ipaliwanag, ano ba talaga ang role niya dito?” asked the senator.

(Because no one will authorize General Purisima to take part in this operation. No one is higher than him who can order him except for one, and that is the President. Now, I want him to explain his real role here.)

Marcos noted that now resigned PNP Chief Purisima was under preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman when he joined the meeting in Malacañang. The latter admitted during the hearings of the Senate that he was the one who brought Napeñas to Aquino for a mission update.

It was also after that meeting that Napeñas said Purisima told him not to inform Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, officer in charge of the PNP, about the Mamasapano operation.

“Ang problema kay General Purisima dahil suspendido siya, hindi siya dapat nagpe-perform ng kanyang mga function, hindi siya dapat nag-iisue ng order. Kaya nga medyo nag-taka ‘yung mga ibang senador, panay ang pilit niya na hindi naman daw siya nag-uutos, hindi naman daw siya nag-o-order, nagbibigay lang daw ng payo. Ang hirap paniwalaan. Ang katotohanan, kahit na nagpapayo lang siya sa mga opsiyal ng PNP, para sa kanila, mukhang order. Kaya kahit anong tawag niya: payo, advice, kung anu-anong salitang ginagamit, ang katotohanan parang order ang kanyang ginawa,” Marcos said.

(The problem with General Purisima was that because he was suspended, he shouldn’t have been performing his function or issuing orders. That’s why some senators were confused why he kept on insisting that he did not give out an order, but an advice. That’s hard to believe. The truth is, whether he just gave an advice to officials of the PNP, for them, it looks like an order. Even if he gave an advice or whatever word he uses, the truth is, it looked like an order.)

“’Yun ‘yung gusto ko sanang itanong na hindi na ako pinapabayaan na magtanong, sino ngayon ang kayang mag-authorize sa isang suspendido na Chief PNP na sumama sa mga briefing, sa mga meeting, ang mag-issue ng mga order sa mga opisyal niya? Siguro galing sa taas ‘yang authorization na iyan. Sino bang mas mataas kay General Purisima? Siguro si Sec. Mar, at tsaka ang Presidente. Pero si Sec. Mar ay wala naman sa picture dahil nga (hindi) nila sinabihan,” he further said.

(That’s what I wanted to ask: who had the authority to order a suspended PNP chief to join briefings and meetings and issue orders to his officials? The authorization must have come from a higher-up. Who is ranked higher than General Purisima? Perhaps, Sec. Mar and the President. But it’s unlikely that it was Sec. Mar since he was not informed.)

[Website editor's note: This article references an interview between Sen. Bongbong and Joe Taruc and Milky Rigonan of DZMM. Click to listen to the audio or read the full transcript.]