SACKED Special Action Force (SAF) chief, Gen. Getulio Napeñas admitted before Monday’s Senate panel inquiry that Director General Alan Purisima called the shots in the Mamasapano siege insofar as the target date of the operation was concerned.
Senate President Franklin Drilon cornered Napeñas to confess such while reviewing the text conversation between the two police officials about the mission.
“Napeñas, you texted Gen. Purisima on Jan. 13, 2015, at 1:07 p.m.: ‘In consideration of the comments of the President during our meeting re number of personnel to be deployed in the operations, recommend we follow the secondary date as the additional personnel to be used are deployed in Tacloban for the Pope’s visit, also the primary date is too tight,’” the administration politiko read from a piece of paper.
Napeñas, who sat a chair away from Drilon during the hearing, confirmed that he sought “consideration and approval” from Purisima to stage the Mamasapano operation during the secondary window of January 23 to 26.
Purisima’s reply to Napeñas read, “OK na, go for the secondary schedule.”
Drilon went on to point the obvious, telling the former SAF commander: “It was very clear that Purisima gave the approval that you go on the secondary date… while he was under suspension.”
“Yes, sir,” Napeñas answered.
The primary window for the covert operation was just before Pope Francis’ state and apostolic visit last January 15 to 19, which itself was a security nightmare. Part of the Pontiff’s itinerary was a quick swing in Tacloban, which had to be secured heavily by the police and military.
The SAF troops swooped down in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-controlled town on January 25 in hopes of capturing two notorious terrorist in Zulkifli Bin Hir alias “Marwan” and Basit Usman. Some 44 of its members ended up dead.
Purisima was suspended late last year by the Office of the Ombudsman. His alleged part in the Mamasapano controversy forced him to resign as chief of the national police force. (Randy K. Ortega)