Transcript: Bongbong Marcos questions Gen. Napeñas and Gen. Purisima on the 2nd day of the Senate hearing on Mamasapano incident

bongbong marcos purisima napenas mamasapano probe transcript

Sen. Bongbong: So, General Napeñas in the PNP interim report that was given us by Director Magalong yesterday there are enumerated 10 different PNP operations against Marwan. And from your testimony yesterday you, in some way or another, were involved in all of these operations in different positions in the hierarchy, am I correct?

Gen. Napeñas: Yes your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: In those operations were there coordinations with the MILF, was information sent to the MILF that the PNP SAF were going to conduct this operation against Marwan.

Gen. Napeñas: The coordination with the MILF was done time on target, as just like what we did through the AHJAG your honor, because of the provision of the joint communique between the MILF and the Philippine government in Kuala Lumpur in 2002, which states that except for operations against high priority targets, a list of which shall be provided by the GPH panel to the MILF panel, the AHJAG shall inform the GPH and the MILF CCH at least 24 hours for the condut of AFP-PNP operations in order to allow sufficient time for the evacuation of civilians and to avoid armed confrontation between the GPH and the MILF. There is an exception in this part your Honor, that this is a high value target being pursued by the Special Action Force at this time.

Sen. Bongbong: So this is the interpretation that you applied as well in the latest Oplan Exodus of January 2015?

Gen. Napeñas : Yes, your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: So there has never been a problem…because merong dito sa listahan ng operation, meron dito Operation Pitas, yung Operation Smart Bomb, yung Oplan Cyclops. Lahat ito na-execute. So hindi naman nagkaproblema, kagaya ng nangyari sa Mamasapano, last January.

Gen. Napeñas: Yes, your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: There was no problem then.

Gen. Napeñas : There was no problem during those operations your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: So it was your understanding that the MILF was cognizant of this exemption that is laid out in Section 6 of the Joint Communique Implementing Guidelines of the Joint Communique of 6 May 2002. So this is what you were invoking?

Gen. Napeñas: Yes, your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: So in the view of PNP-SAF there was no need to make that coordination. Not even before, kahit na time on target?

Gen. Napeñas: In the operations plan that we did for Oplan Exodus in Mamasapano it’s time on target to inform the AFP-AJAG for that matter, your honor.

Sen. Bongbong: A o sige. Again from the testimony that you gave yesterday you said that the go ahead for Oplan Exodus of January, you took on your own initiative. Is it within your powers as the Director of SAF to go or green light a mission or do you have to get clearance from higher ups from the Chief PNP for example or even higher?

Gen. Napeñas: Your honor, I’d like to cite the situation that the two occasions that I joined Police Director Gen. Purisima for the mission update with the President, during those two occasions I was never given any guidance that the mission is a no go. In the same manner, that maybe there are some people who would like to hear if there was really a direct order or a direct approval of the President for the mission to go, but there was none that was really the truth. But then yun pong dalawang okasyon na nagpunta ako doon, it could be interpreted on my part that there was an implied or tacit approval for the mission/operation is a go. Considering na wala pong sinabi sa akin yung una, yung pangalawa, walang nakarating sa akin na guidance or anumang order na hindi na ituloy yung operation, your honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Ang tinutukoy mo Gen. Napenas yung dalawang pagkakataong na binigyan mo ng briefing si Pangulong Aquino at saka si Gen. Purisima, both of which occurred at the Malacanang Palace grounds.

Gen. Napeñas: Yun po ang tinutukoy ko your honor.

Sen. Bongbong: So you are saying that at no point during those meetings were you told General medyo Ipaubaya muna natin yan. Let us plan better o hindi maganda yung plano ninyo or anything like that. Let us stop planning or let us defer this operation, walang ganung sinabi?

Gen. Napeñas: Wala po your honor.

Sen. Bongbong: So you interpreted silence on the matter as consent on the part of your commander.

Gen. Napeñas: yun po your honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Let us get back now to the role that was played by Gen. Purisima in this…

Sen. Drilon: May I just take off one question. In other words, Gen. Napenas at no point did the President tell you to proceed?

Gen. Napeñas: Yes your honor there was no direct order from the President telling me to proceed or telling me that the mission is approved on that matter.

Sen. Bongbong: Let me just further clarify that. How long did these meetings last. Ganung katagal, how detailed was the briefing that you gave?

Gen. Napeñas: The mission update at the firing range took only a few minutes, your honor. However at the Bahay Pangarap it took more or less 15 to 20 minutes. Your honor, if I may add, if there was a direct order from the President that the mission is a go that would have been a very good opportunity for me and a situation where I could break the chain of command considering that the order would have come from the President your honor.

Sen. Bongbong: So essentially there was no guidance, one way or the other, from either Gen. Purisima or the President to defer, delay or to continue and to implement the Oplan.

Gen. Napeñas: There was none….

Sen. Bongbong: There was no guidance. Thank you.

Sen. Bongbong: Napag-usapan na rin yung breaking of the chain of command, nung sinabi sa inyo ni Gen. Purisima, ako na ang bahala sa dalawa, a hindi, wag mo munang sabihin sa dalawa, ako na ang bahala kay Gen. Catapang, is that correct? That that was what he told you.

Gen. Napeñas: Yes, your honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Kung alam mo na uspendido si Gen. Purisima, ba’t mo sinundan yung kanyang…ang payo, ang sinasabi nya ngayong payo, but you obeyed it, as it was an order. Why, why did you do that?

Gen. Napeñas: Your honor hindi ko po sinunod yung order ni Gen. Purisima, o yung advise nya. However, I go back yung sa sinabi ko kanina your Honor, that with the two occasions na nagre-render ako ng mission update, I took that one as there was an implied or tacit approval that the mission is a go. And on those two occasions wala pong sinabi sa akin na hold, i-defer, or anumang na pagpigil na maituloy yung mission your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Okay, let me now direct some questions to Gen. Purisima. Gen. Purisima, why did you say this? Why did you give this advice, as you like to characterize it, to Gen. Napenas—na wag mo na munang sabihin sa dalawa, ako na ang bahala kay Gen. Catapang?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: Yes, your honor. The reason why I have said that is stated already yesterday, that it is in the design of their plan to inform everybody time on target, your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Pero yung plano galing sa kanya bakit kailangan mo ipaalala sa kanya yung sinabi nya sa iyong parte ng plano?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: Yes your Honor, because….

Sen. Bongbong: O ganito na lang, this came…you told him this after you met privately with the President. Ito ba ang pinag-usapan ninyo?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: No your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Anong pinag-usapan ninyo?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: It’s something personal your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Okay so this was not the subject of the discussion? This was not cleared with the President?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: No your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: This advice was not cleared with the President?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: No your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Very well.

[Chairman Sen. Poe interjects]

Sen. Bongbong: Gen. Purisima, so yung coordination, bale yung sinabi mo—ako ang bahala kay Gen. Catapang—parang sinabi mo sa SAF commander na ako na ang makikipag-usap at iimpormahan ko ang AFP, dahil ako ang magsasabi kay Gen. Catapang?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: That is for as far as Gen. Catapang is concerned your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Okay, pero hindi mo sinabi kay Gen. Catapang na merong Operation Exodus, hanggat time on target na, hanggat nagpuputukan na, alas-singko nagpuputukan na?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: No your Honor, I did not say it to Gen. Catapang that the Exodus Operation…

Sen. Bongbong: When did you tell Gen. Catapang that there was such operation?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: January 25 your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: January 25 was when they jumped off?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: Yes, your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: So, time on target din si Gen. Catapang?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: Yes, your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: The coordination with the AFP was supposed to have been done by you, and you only did it when the SAF members were already under fire, am I correct?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: Your Honor, prior to that meeting I facilitated also a meeting with the AFP officials in December 19 your Honor, and they were introduced to each other and they were the ones coordinating to each other on what they will do. I did not participate on their coordination already your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Okay, I would like to know the reason behind—and I’m being told that I have to rush—I would like to know the reason why did you feel there was a need to cut out Gen. Espina from the chain of command?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: Your Honor, the operation called for time on target for everybody so I just followed the principle on time on target…

Sen. Bongbong: But this is the Acting Chief of PNP, this is not only a usurpation of authority, this is also breaking the chain of command. Because its very clear, the chain of command is here and you, as a suspended Chief of PNP, was issuing orders to keep the Acting Chief of PNP in the dark on a very critical mission. Why did you feel that that was necessary?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: Your Honor, I did not give any orders, I gave advice to Police….

Sen. Bongbong: Nevertheless, that advice—which, we’ll use for the sake of consistency—that advice was nevertheless followed as an order because the fact of the matter is Gen. Espina was kept out of the loop. Also the Secretary of the DILG was kept out of the loop. Why did you feel the need to give that advice?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: For operational security purposes, your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: So you do not trust the Secretary of the DILG with this information, you do not trust your own second-in-command, Dir. Gen. Espina, the acting Chief PNP—with this information?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: Hindi po ganun your Honor, ang sinasabi po sa plano ng PNP-SAF ay time on target.

Sen. Bongbong: Okay, marami kang pinag-usapan na you were involved in certain—you were a part to the briefing that was conducted January 19; January 19, your suspension was December 4. Am I correct Gen. Purisima?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: That was December 19, your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Ah, I beg your pardon, December 19. But you were part of the meeting or the briefing that Gen. Napenas gave in the Palace January 9. Who..how did you know of this meeting?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: The Director of Special Action Force your Honor would like to place a mission update on the President regarding the operation your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: So Gen. Napenas informed you that he was going to the Palace to give a mission briefing?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: Yes your Honor.

Sen. Bongbong: Who told you to attend?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: I was guiding them your Honor to enter the….

Sen. Bongbong: So you attended on your own initiative, basta sumipot ka na lang. Nalaman mo na magkakaroon ng mission briefing at sumipot ka dahil sa palagay mo kailangan kang nandun
ka?

Dir. Gen. Purisima: No your Honor, I accompanied them to the Palace.

Sen. Bongbong: I havent gotten to the MILF yet, I would just want to ask the MILF some of the sequenc of events, very quickly Madam Chairman, I realise that I may have…but there is a very large time lag…maybe I could direct this question to Mr. Ladiasan, who the chair of AHJAG, when was the first communication…

[Sen. Drilon interjects, request to reserve his questions for the next round.]

[Sen. Poe says she understands everyone is very passionate about the incident.]

Sen. Bongbong: Madam Chair, I’m trying to write a version of the BBL that works so that this kind of occurrence does not happen again…

[Sen. Poe insists that rule on time limit be followed.]

Sen. Bongbong: In that case, in deference to our schedule, may I then make the list of questions, give it to the Chair, and hope for a written answer from our partners in peace, the MILF and the AHJAG of the MILF. So, would that be acceptable Madam Chair?

Sen. Poe: Of course, that would be most acceptable and appreciated…

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