Emotional Espina decries ‘overkill’ of SAF men, seeks clear answers from MILF

Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina airs his sentiments on the bloody Mamasapano clash before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law on Wednesday, February 4. Espina called on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters to surrender the firearms taken from the 44 fallen policemen. (MNS photo)

Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina airs his sentiments on the bloody Mamasapano clash before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law on Wednesday, February 4. Espina called on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters to surrender the firearms taken from the 44 fallen policemen. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Director General Leonardo Espina on Wednesday became emotional over what he described as overkill of the 44 Special Action Force troopers in the January 25 police operations in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Speaking during the hearing at the House of Representatives on the Mamasapano clash, Espina sought “clear answers from the other party of the peace process” on why many of his men who did not suffer lethal wounds during the clash were still finished off and shot at close range.

“As you all know, I’m the OIC of PNP, no doubt we are in the peace process because we are peacekeepers. Walang may gusto ng katahimikan kundi kami. Pero sir, we seek for clearance, sir. We seek for clear answers from the other party of the peace process. Ano ba itong overkill na ito na ginawa niyo sa mga tao ko?” he told lawmakers.

Relieved SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, who himself also became emotional, even approached Espina to calm him.

Espina said he could not sleep Tuesday night after checking the medico-legal report. Citing the report, he said Inspectors Tayrus and Pabalina, two of the slain SAF commandos, did not initially suffer any lethal wounds as they were hit in the foot.

“[Yung isa], binaril niya sa ulo, buhay na buhay pa ang tao. Yung isa hinubaran niyo ng bulletproof, binaril sa katawan niya, yung isa 9-mm sa ulo niya, two fatal shots, hindi pwedeng nag-suicide ang tao. Close range, short firearm yun,” he said.

He added 20 more SAF men died from head shots.

“Terorista yan, criminal yan eh, maraming taong pinasabog yan and now you’re asking if the operation is legal?” he said.

Applause was heard after Espina delivered his statement. (MNS)

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