‘We helped save them’– AFP
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‘We helped save them’– AFP

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THERE’S the Special Action Force (SAF) “Fallen 44”, and then there’s the SAF “Saved 28”.
The latter apparently referred to the SAF police commandos involved in the doomed January 25 Mamasapano, Maguindanao operation that were rescued by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
During nbsp;Monday #39;s Senate Committee on Public Order hearing on the Mamasapano incident, AFP Chief of Staff Pio Catapang Jr. noted how the morale of the soldiers has plunged amid allegations of their failure to aid the outnumbered SAF members during the mission.
“We want to give clarification to what happened in Mamasapano…28 SAF were saved by Philippine army troopers,” Catapang told the panel in Filipino in his opening statement.
“Our morale was affected. That was the feeling of my men when I made the rounds. ‘Why are we being blamed? We helped saved them,'” the army official said.
Attending the hearing along with Catapang were the ground commanders who according to him saved the SAF 28. “They are here to answer your questions. They were the ones who directly helped the PNP SAF,” he said.
Catapang then asked panel chair, Senator Grace Poe to let the ground commanders give their statements regarding Mamasapano during an executive session.
He said the statement to be given by the ground commanders is vital in addressing “possible weaknesses in the capabilities of the AFP.”
Catapang also batted for the formation of an “independent higher body between AFP and PNP” that will investigate what transpired in the Mamasapano mission. Some 44 of the elite cops were slain by Moro rebels during the clash. (Randy K. Ortega)

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