MANILA (Mabuhay) – Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina on Wednesday denied issuing a gag order against relieved PNP-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commander Director Getulio Napeñas Jr.
In an interview with reporters, Espina likewise denied personally asking Napeñas not to grant interviews to the media.
“Wala po tayong ganoon, wala po tayong pinalalabas na ganoon,” he said. “I never do that.”
Espina said this after Napeñas’ legal counsel, lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre, said the PNP leadership asked his client to keep quiet before the release of the report of the Board Inquiry investigating the Mamasapano clash last Jan. 25.
Forty-four elite policemen died during the Mamasapano clash with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, its splinter group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and some members of other armed groups in Maguindanao.
At the time, the police commandos were on a mission to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifi bin Hir alias Marwan of Jemaah Islamiyah and Filipino bomb-maker and Abu Sayyaf member Basit Usman.
Marwan was killed during the police raid, but Usman was able to escape. (MNS)