By Bernadette E. Tamayo | Journal Online
POLICE Chief Supt. Getulio Napeñas “clearly violated” the chain of command when he followed the advice of suspended National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima not to inform Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and PNP Officer-in-Charge Deputy General Leonardo Espina about the execution of a mission to arrest a Malaysian bomb expert.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. made the assessment after hearing the testimony of Napeñas during yesterday’s first public hearing into the Mamasapano clash last January 25 between Special Action Force (SAF) troopers and Muslim rebels, an offshoot of the mission to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino bomb maker Basit Usman.
The mission to arrest Marwan and Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, dubbed Oplan Exodus, left 44 police commandos dead. Napenas was relieved of his post as SAF director after the incident. Napenas admitted that he chose “to follow” the advice of Purisima to inform Roxas and Espina about the operation only when it was already being conducted or observe the “time on target” policy.
Purisima gave the controversial advice to Napenas during a “meeting update” about Oplan Exodus with President Benigno Aquino at the Presidential Security Group (PSG) compound last January 9.
“Mukhang maliwanag na there’s a violation in the chain of command although pinipilit ni Purisima na ito’y advice lamang. Eh commander mo ‘yan. Besides ano pinag-uusapan nila ni Presidente? Were they talking about unrelated matter or about this mission?” asked Marcos.
“If it’s about the mission, si President mismo nag-recognize na kasama s’ya sa planning, kasama s’ya sa chain of command. Violation ‘yun, suspendido eh. Hindi s’ya dapat maisama not by anybody except the Ombudsman who will lift the order kung sakali,” said Marcos in a chance interview.
Asked whether the President is at fault in the apparent violation of the chain of command, Marcos said: “No. What I’m asking is how is it that despite the protestations of Purisima, eh maliwanag nga na in the loop s’ya. Talagang nasa chain of command s’ya. Pano ngayon nangyari ‘yun eh suspendido siya?
“He (President) was consulting with Purisima on this. Napeñas said Purisima was the one that the President was always asking about (the operation). So why is he in the chain of command? That is the confusion. Secondly, why is the acting chief PNP not in the chain of command? What is the reason for removing him from the chain of command eh maliwanag na maliwanag na s’ya ang overall commander ng PNP at the time of the mission,” he said.
“The question is saan ang lugar ni Purisima? What exactly is the role that he played and why was he allowed to play it? That’s the question? Kung natanong ko, itatanong ko kay Napeñas bakit ka sumunod kung sa palagay mo hindi order? Iyung mga senador, kami nga hindi kami satisified dun sa mga naging salaysay ni Purisima so we have to dig deeper,” he added.
“Kung talagang time on target lang ang sinasabi ni Gen. Purisima bakit n’ya kailangan ipaalala kay Napenas na ‘wag sabihin sa dalawa (Roxas and Espina)? Ito ba’y SOP (standard operating procedure) sa police na paminsan-minsan hindi sinasabihan ang chief PNP? Kung bakit, ano nga dahilan bakit nila gagawin ‘yun?” Marcos said.
“The other thing is, whatever it is the advice, eh, bakit n’ya (Napenas) susundin eh alam n’ya suspended (si Purisima)? Eh, commander n’ya ‘yun kahit papano. Galing nga (si Purisima at) kausap si Presidente tapos lumabas (si Purisima), ‘yan ang inutos. Hindi n’ya sinabi pero, after consultation, iniwan sila di ba? Hindi n’ya alam ano pinag-usapan nila (Presidente at Purisima) pero paglabas ‘yun kagad ang inutos,” he said.
Marcos added: “Kung ikaw man ang nakikinig at nanggaling ang isang tao at nakipag-usap sa Presidente, lumabas may utos, ano magiging reaction mo? Sasabihin mo inimbento lang ni Purisima ‘yun o napag-agreehan nilang dalawa ni President Aquino? Ano talagang nangyari dun sa chain of command na ‘yun. That’s what we’re going to find out tomorrow.” The Senate is set to continue its probe on the Mamasapano encounter today.