Transcript: Ambush interview after Mamasapano probe

Q. Anong impression niyo Sir sa mga sagot ni Napenas? Apparently parang inaako na niya? He was acting on his own, judgment call niya raw?

Sen. Bongbong: Oo, pero hindi rin maliwanag dahil nagbibigay din ng instructions si Gen. Purisima.

Q: Advise was the word.

Sen. Bongbong: Kahit advice ang gusto mong tawagin sinundan niya. Bakit? Dahil ibig sabihin syempre commander niya yon kahit suspendido di ba. Pero sinong nagpasok ngayon kay Gen. Purisima into the loop na suspendido siya. E siya mismo alam niya na suspendido siya at hindi siya dapat magbigay ng order kahit na magconduct ng meetings/briefings sa White House dapat hindi siya. The definition of suspension is that you can’t undertake your function in your position. So hindi siya pwede magissue ng order, hindi siya dapat kasama sa mga briefing, lahat yon. Kailangan na sa bahay lang siya, hindi siya pumapasok ng opisina at hindi nga siya nag aattend ng mga meetings. Papaano nangyari yon. Tapos kung talagang time on target lang ang pinapaalala niya (Gen. Purisima) bakit kailangan niya paalala kay Gen. Napenas na huwag sabihin sa dalawa. Ito ba’s standard procedure sa pulis na paminsan minsan hindi sinasabihan ang Acting Chief PNP? Anong dahilan para Gawain niya yon. What is the point? E sinasabi because time on target daw ang kanilang prinsipyo , bakit pa niya kailangan sabihin yon at bakit siya ang magsasabi. Then the other thing, advice o anuman, sinundan e. Bakit niyang susundan kung alam niyang suspendido. E commander niya yon di ba. Commander niya yon kahit papaano, e galing nga nakipagusap sa presidente tapos lumabas yan ang inutos. Hindi niya sinabi pero after consultation, iniwan sila di ba, yung dalawa pumasok sila hindi niya alam kung anong pinagusapan pero paglabad yon kaagad ang utos. Kung ikaw man ang nakikinig at nanggaling ang isang tao nakipagusap sa presidente, lumabas may utos e anong reaction mo, anong sasabihin mo, inimbento lang ni Gen. Purisima yon o napag agreehan ni Gen. Purisima at President Aquino? Ano ba talaga ang nangyari sa meeting na yon. Yun ang dapat natin alamin. That’s what I will try to find out tomorrow.

Q. May violation ba Sir doon sa sinasabing chain of command?

Sen. Bongbong: Mukhang maliwanag na there is a violation in the chain of command because altho pinipilit ni Gen. Purisima na itoy advice lamang e commander mo yan at sinabihan ka. Besides ano pinagusapan nila ni presidente. Were they talking about an unrelated matter or tungkol sa mission na ito. Ibig sabihin recognized na if it is about the mission, si presidente mismo recognized na kasama siya sa planning at kasama siya sa chain of command. O violation yon, suspendido e, hindi siya dapat maisama. Not by anybody except by the Ombudsman who will lift the order kung sakali.

Q. What does this speak of Sir, the commander in chief taking advice or information from a suspended PNP chief?

Sen. Bongbong: You can, alam mo the fact that he is suspended, very natural sa junior officials o subordinate officer na matagal mo nang commander may tiwala ka, di naman katakataka na tatawag Sir, may mission kami anong tingin niyo maganda ba ito o hindi? Pwede siyang magbigay ng advice there is nothing wrong with that at saka very natural yon. But to be issuing orders, yon at kailangan sundan, and to be brought into it, madali naman sabihan Sir advisan niyo naman kami kasi kayo ang may experience dito, alam mo yung area, alam mo yung intelligence, ano sa tingin niyo maganda ba itong aming plano o hindi. That is perfectly natural I don’t question that at all. At the same time, the President is perfectly within his powers to ask for any briefing, information, to read any document that he wants to. But the question is saan ang lugar ni Gen. Purisima. What exactly is the role that he played and why was he allowed to play it? That’s the question. Unang tanong ko kay Gen. Napenas is bakit ka sumunod kung sa palagay mo hindi order. That’s the question that has arisen dahil kaming mga senador hindi satisfied sa naging salaysay ni General Purisima. We have to dig deeper. What I am asking is, despite the protestations of Gen. Purisima, sa dami ng pagkakatanggi niya, e maliwanag na talagang in the loop siya. Talagang nasa chain of command siya. Paano ang suspended na opisyal ay napasok sa chain of command. The President was consulting with Gen. Purisima and according to Gen. Napenas, Gen. Purisima was the one that the President was always asking about this operation. So why is he in the chain of command. That is the confusion also. Una, why is he in the chain of command at pangalawa, why is the acting chief PNP not in the chain of command? What is the reason for removing him in the chain of command. E maliwanag na maliwanag sa chain of command na siya ang overall commander ng PNP at the time of the mission.

Q. How will you read the failure of Iqbal in attending today’s hearing?

Sen. Bongbong: It is not helpful. Syempre parang binalewala yung aming request napaka important nitong ginagawa natin. Hindi naman sapat na ang AFP at PNP lang ang magbibigay ng salaysay. Kailangan din natin malaman kung anong nangyari sa MILF side. Marami tayong tatanungin sa kanila? Ang paulit ulit kong tanong, is what really is the relationship between the MILF and BIFF? Dahil ang commander ng BIFF doon sa lugar sa Mamasapano used to be the commander ng 105th ng MILF. So ano ngayon ang ibig sabihin noon. That’s one of the first questions we wanted to ask; pangalawa, bakit nung tapos na ang putukan, pinagbabaril pa yung ating mga tropa. Bakit kinuha yung kanilang mga gamit. Wala yata sa usapan yon. Baka nawalan na ng control, baka mainit na yung kanilang mga fighter at hindi na mapagsabihan, We don’t know. But we have to find out. Sana nga the chairman was here to explain to us para malaman naman natin kung ano ang experience/testimony ng MILF side.

Sen. Bongbong: Well, alam mo na. The fact is kahit advise, kung ano man gusto mong tawagin, sinundan nya. Bakit nya sinundan? Dahil ibig sabihin syempre commander nya yun ekahit suspendido, di ba? Pero sino ang nagpasok ngayon kay Gen. Purisima? Who brought him into the loop na suspendido sya. Sya mismo alam nya na kung suspendido sya hindi sya dapat magbigay ng order. Kahit na yung mag conduct ng briefings sa white house dapat hindi sya. The definition of suspension is you cannot undertake your functions in your position. So hindi sya pwede mag –issue ng order, hindi sya dapat kasama sa mga briefings, lahat yun—kailanang nasa bahay lang sya at hindi sya pumapasok ng opisina at hindi nga sya nag-aattend ng meeting. Papano nangyari yun. How did that happen?

Tapos kung talagang time on target lang ang sinasabi ni Gen. Purisima, ipinapaalala nya bakit kailangan nya ipaalala kay Gen. Napenas na wag sabihin sa dalawa. Ito ba standard procedure? Standard procedure ba sa pulis ito na paminsan-minsan hindi sinasabihan ang Acting Chief PNP? Kung ano, bakit anong dahilan kung bakit nila gagawin yun? What is the point? E sinasabi dahil time on target daw ang kanilang prinsipyo. Bakit pa kinakailangang sabihin yun at bakit sya ang magsasabi?
Then the other thing is whatever it is nga—advise , kung ano yun—sinundan e. Bakit nya susundan kung alam nyang suspendido e commander nya yun, commander nya yun kahit papano. E galing nga, nakipag-usap sa Presidente, yan ang inutos. Hindi nya sinabi, pero after consultation, iniwan sila di ba, silang dalawa pumasok sila, hindi nya alam kung anong pinag-usapan nila, pero paglabas yun kaagad ang utos. Kung ikaw man ang nakikinig at nanggaling ang isang tao, nakipag-usap sa Presidente, e anong reaksyon mo, sasabihin mo? Na inimbento lang ni Gen. Purisima yun? O napag-agreehan ba nilang dalawa yun ni President Aquino? Ano ba talagang nangyari sa meeting na yun? Yun ang dapat nating aalamin, that’s what I will try to find out tomorrow?
Q: Me violation sir dun sa sinasabing chain of command?
BBM: Mukhang maliwanag na there’s a violation in the chain of command. Because, although pinipilit ni Gen. Purisima na ito’y advise lamang, e commander mo yun at sinabihan ka at kapapag…besides anong pinag-uusapan nila ni Presidente? Were they talking about an unrelated matter or tungkol nga dito sa mission na ito? Ibig sabihin, recognized—kung it was about the mission—ibig sabihin si President mismo nag recognize na kasama sya sa planning, kasama sya sa chain of command. O violation yun, suspendido e. Hindi sya dapat na maisama. Not by anybody except the Ombudsman who will lift their order kung sakali.
Q: What does this speak of that the Commander in Chief is taking advise or information from a suspended PNP Chief?
BBM: Well, he can…alam mo, even the fact that he is suspended, very natural sa yung junior official, na subordinate na officer, na matagal mo nang commander, me tiwala ka, hindi kataka-taka na tatawag: sir me mission kami, anong tingin ninyo maganda ba ito o hindi? Pwede pa syang magbigay ng advise, there’s nothing wrong with that, at saka very natural yun.
But to be issuing orders, at yun at kailangan sundan, at to be brought into it. E madaling magsabi, sir advise-san nyo naman kami kasi kayo ang me experience dito, alam ninyo yung area, alam mo yung intelligence; ano sa tingin ninyo maganda ba itong aming plano o hindi? That’s perfectly natural and I don’t question that at all.
At the same time the President is perfectly within his power to ask for any briefing, to ask for any information, to read any documents that he wants to. But the question is saan ang lugar ni Gen. Purisima? What exactly is the role that he played and why was he allowed to play it? That’s the question. Bakit? Unang itatanong ko kay Gen. Napenas: bakit ka sumunod? Bakit ka sumunod kung sa palagay mo hindi order? That’s the question that this has arisen. Dahil yung mga senador, kami nga hindi kami masyadong satisfied dun sa mga naging salaysay ni Gen. Purisima so we have to dig deeper.

Q: So are you saying that the President is also at fault?

Sen. Bongbong: No, what I am asking is how is it, because despite the protestation of Gen. Purisima sa dami ng pagtatanggi nya ay maliwanag na talagang in the loop sya, in the loop sya, talagang nasa chain of command sya. Pano ngayon nangyari yun? Pano nangyari yun na ang isang suspendidong opisyal ay napasok sa chain of command?

Q: The President allowed it?

Sen. Bongbong: Well, he was consulting with Gen. Purisima on this, on this…. Sabi ni Gen. Napenas, Gen. Purisima was the one that the President was always asking about this mission. So why is he in the chain of command? That is a confusion also? Number one, why is he in the chain of command. Pangalawa, why is the acting Chief PNP not in the chain of command? What is the reason for removing him from the chain of command? E maliwanag na maliwanag sa chain of command na sya ang Acting, sya ang overall commander ng PNP at the time of the mission.

Q: How will you read the failure of Iqbal, in not attending today’s hearing, in terms of his promise to ascertain the truth behind the clash?

Sen. Bongbong: It’s not helpful. E syempre parang binalewala yung aming request at napaka-importante nitong ginagawa natin. Hindi naman sapat na ang AFP ang PNP lang ang magbibigay ng salaysay—kailangan din nating malaman kung anong nangyari sa MILF side. Marami tayong itatanong sa kanila. Ang paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, what really is the relation between the MILF and the BIFF. Dahil yung commander ng BIFF dun sa lugar, sa Mamasapano, used to be the commander ng 105th ng MILF? So ano ngayon ang ibig sabihin nun? That is the first question that we want to ask. Pangalawa, bakit nung tapos na ang putukan pinagbababaril pa yung ating mga tropa. Bakit kinuha yung kanilang mga gamit? Wala yata sa usapan yun? So these are the kinds of things…anong nangyari, nawalan ng kontrol? Baka mainit na yung kanilang mga fighter at hindi na mapagsabihan? We don’t know. But we have to find out. Sana nga the chairman was here to explain it to us para malaman naman natin kung anong experience, kung anong testimony ng MILF side.

Q: Can the Senate compel the MILF to attend?

Sen. Bongbong: We can subpeona anybody that we want to. But that’s not again helpful. Paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, what is needed now are acts of good faith from the MILF to show that they are sincere, at silay tapat dito sa usapang kapayapaan. Now, not showing up and not being…so we cannot complete our inquiries, that is questionable—hindi ko sasabihing bad faith—but it’s questionable about good faith. Kung talagang gusto nilang malaman dapat lahat ng kanilang leadership ay nandito para ibigay ang kanilang side?

Q: Sir, sa Malacanang or Office of the President, considering there were two meetings with the President, you think dapat ipatawag either the President or someone in Malacanang to shed light on their end how involved they were in this?

Sen. Bongbong: Well, I think, maybe that should not…..there’s executive privilege in that regard. But if everyone we need to talk to is here we can ask the questions, we can figure out already. Already the testimony of Gen. Purisima is already indicative of the kind of dynamic that was going on in the Palace with Gen. Purisima, with Gen. Napenas, in the white house of the PNP, etc. etc.

So again the chain of command has been called into question—we have to find out what happened. Why did the chain of command include a suspended officer? And now they are trying to characterize it na hindi sya nag-iissue ng command. But the fact of the matter is that yung sinabi nya sinunda ni Napenas—so he considered it an order. Now I don’t know why he insist—siguro he has been told to make insist that it is an advise. But he followed it, like he would follow an order.

Q: Who told him sir to insist it was an advise?

Sen. Bongbong: I don’t know, baka yung mga amo nya. I don’t know. Pero, kung advise hindi na kailangang sundan. It is essentially an order that, to say that do not follow the chain of command. Yun ang effective na sinabi: Do not follow the chain of command. Yun ang order na susundan kung ganun.

Q: Konti lang BBL, yung House has suspended its hearings on the BBL. Sa Senate wala pa rin di ba?

Sen. Bongbong: Oo, suspendido kami. Suspendido kami since Monday after the firefight.

Q: Do you doubt now the sincerity of the MILF, given that they did not appear?

Sen. Bongbong: It does not help, but it calls it into question. I’ve spoken to the chairman, Chairman Iqbal, and I think he will show up tomorrow. I sincerely hope so because talagang then, we will impute meaning into his non-apperances.

Q: Sir yung comment nyo na parang me Al-barka tayo, and then this. Parang every peace talk, every peace process parang merong ganyang…parang…how do you solve that kind of thing na it goes into the sincerity of both parties?

Sen. Bongbong: Well, that’s why, that’s what we have to establish, if both sides acted on good faith. So on the side of the government, is the chain of command in the proper way that is understood by both parties? Is the coordination sufficient? On the part of the MILF, again, bakit, how did this happen? You knew already that government forces were in front of you, why did you not withdraw?

And again this, the question of good faith comes into question if we are not clear as to the relationship between the MILF and the BIFF. Because if they are separate, then they do not control the BIFF, then we have to…how can we have peace there’s an armed group there which has no peace agreement with the government? If they are together then it’s bad faith because they are pretending that they are not together pero lumalaban pa rin yung kabilang….yung kanang kamay nila peace pero yung kaliwang kamay gyera.

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