Candid statements were raised to the government by Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) on Sunday as Interior Secretary Mar Roxas held an open forum in Camp Bagong Diwa among the comrades of the 44 SAF commandos slain in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
One of the dismayed SAF troopers banked on the famous line of the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino to question the government’s failure to protect the elite cops sent to pin down Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan.
“This country is not worth dying for sir, kung ang gobyerno natin, sir, hindi kami kayang protektahan,” a grieving commando told Roxas.
Another trooper said he is angry at the government’s failure to send reinforcements to the embattled troopers, who were slain my Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels last week.
Roxas responded by saying that he is clueless too as to the details of the botched counter-terror operation, that left 44 SAF troopers and 17 MILF members dead. A US serviceman was also allegedly killed during the encounter.
“Kasama niyo, nag tatanong rin ako. Hinihintay ko rin po ang sagot ng Board of Inquiry,” Roxas said.
The Interior Secretary also said he was not informed of the operation to hunt Marwan, despite being in charge of the country’s police forces.
“They did not tell me about this… I’m not saying I would have known better but I also can’t help feeling I was not given a chance to ensure there was better coordination,” he said.
Previously, PNP acting chief Leonardo Espina said he was informed of the operation through a text message but only “after the fact,” saying he was not in the loop in the planning stage.
Sacked SAF Chief Supt. Getulio Napeñasmeanwhile said President Aquino had knowledge of the mission against Marwan, and that suspended PNP Director General Alan Purisima called the shots during the operation.
Roxas said despite the casualties the SAF operation in Mamasapano was mission accomplished, with Marwan dead.