Catapang: Soldiers’ morale affected by Mamasapano

At a media briefing at Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, February 4, AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. shows a map where the January 25 Mamasapano clash that killed over 50 people, most of them PNP-SAF commandos, took place.  (MNS photo)

At a media briefing at Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, February 4, AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. shows a map where the January 25 Mamasapano clash that killed over 50 people, most of them PNP-SAF commandos, took place. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang is seeking an “independent and higher body” to probe the Mamasapano incident.

Speaking before senators on Monday, Catapang noted a panel of AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP)  officials will determine the operational gaps, coordination issues, responsibilities, and liabilities arising from the Mamasapano incident.

He noted that the morale of soldiers has been affected by the Mamasapano incident in the wake of allegations that the Armed Forces dilly-dallied in helping the Special Action Force (SAF) troopers, leading to the death of 44 combatants.

Labis na naaapektuhan ang morale ng ating kasundaluhan. Sa aking pag-iikot sa mga units, ito ang kanilang tinatanong at sinasabi: Bakit tayo nasisisi? Di po ba’t tinulungan natin silang sagipin? Ano ang ginawang aksyon ng SAF na mahigit 300 na di napasabak?” Catapang said.

A board of inquiry, composed of officials from the police, is currently investigating the incident.

Ground, battalion and company commanders were at the gallery to support their chief.

Catapang explained the chain of command and levels of war at the military, with the President giving “strategic guidance” for the troops. He said this guidance included proper coordination between the police and the military in a high risk operation such as running after terrorists.

“Sa malungkot na pangyayari, ang horizontal lines na kumakatawan sa koordinasyon ay wala,” he said.

Catapang sought an executive session with the senators, noting his ground commanders are willing to explain the strategies they incorporated during the operation.

He said his ground commanders will answer the allegations of sacked PNP-SAF chief Getulio Napeñas in an executive session sans revealing the “capabilities, strengths, weaknesses” of the AFP.(MNS)

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