Members of the Philippine National Police carry the body of one of the members of the Special Action Force slain in fighting Mamasapano town, Maguindanao on Monday. More than 30 have been reported killed from the government side following a clash with Muslim rebels. (MNS photo)

Members of the Philippine National Police carry the body of one of the members of the Special Action Force slain in fighting Mamasapano town, Maguindanao on Monday. More than 30 have been reported killed from the government side following a clash with Muslim rebels. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Board of Inquiry will look into reports the grenades of the Special Action Force assault team in Mamasapano, Maguindanao were defective, which could have led to their deaths.

Superintendent Raymund Train, the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) intelligence officer who led the 38-member assault team, had reportedly told investigators that the assault team still had ammunition for their rifles but their grenades did not explode.

“I instructed my men to have fire discipline or shoot only when you see the enemy. However, many of our M203 ammunition were duds,” he said in a sworn statement.

An M203 is an M-16 rifle fitted with a grenade launcher.

Asked why he thought nine of his men died, he said, “There was no immediate reinforcement upon extrication. [The Armed Forces of the Philippines] did not react immediately even after we requested for indirect fire support.”

AFP officials have claimed that they were given little information on the Mamasapano operation and on the location of the embattled SAF forces.

PNP spokesperson Generoso Cerbo said should the Board of Inquiry find the grenades of the SAF team were indeed defective, it will come up with an appropriate recommendation.

He said the PNP’s weapons come from reputable suppliers.

Lahat ng equipment, lahat ng mga baril, lahat ng mga bala na ginagamit ng PNP, dumadaan yan sa matinding testing. Of course di naman natin ipagagamit sa kapulisan natin, including the Special Action Force, kung mayroon ganyang diperensya sa aming mga kagamitan. But just the same, titingnan namin yun veracity or katotohanan sa report na ito and appropriate actions will be done,” he said.

Cerbo also said the PNP has no reason to hide the truth amid persistent speculation the United States was involved in the Mamasapano operation to capture Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin hir, alias Marwan.

An American has reportedly come forward to claim the reward money, saying he was the one who provided information on Marwan.

Marami tayong counterparts na tumutulong naman eh, unang-una sa Philippine National Police in terms of training, equipment and other support. Di namin pinagtatakpan. Ano naman ang use pagtakpan kung tumutulong sila? During the incident in Mamasapano, narining naman natin statement ni General [Getulio] Napenas tungkol dito at wala syang sinasabing actual involvement of other troops other than SAF in the engagement area.”(MNS)