MANILA (Mabuhay) – Embattled former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima on Monday said it was advice, not order, he gave to the Special Action Force in connection with the January 25 Mamasapano operation that left 44 elite policemen dead.
“During my preventive suspension, I did not give any order,” he told the Senate committee on public order, which was investigating the incident. “I just [gave] advice, not as a directive or order.”
In a more direct statement, he said: “I have no role in that operation.”
Purisima added that he did not know that the operation In Mamasapano, to be executed by SAF member, proceeded on January 25. “I did not know that the PNP-SAF jumped off already,” he said.
Purisima, who tendered his resignation in the aftermath of the incident, was accused of masterminding the operation despite his suspension as PNP chief in connection with allegations of corruption.
However, former PNP-SAF head P/Dir. Getulio Napeñas Jr. said that he received a text on January 19 from Purisima asking if the operation, designed to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, would proceed.
Napeñas said his response was: “Plan is a go on the timeline January 23 to 26.”
When asked by Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III on who gave him the order to proceed with the operations, Napeñas said: “It’s a continuing operation approved by PNP chief Purisima in Nov 29, 2014.”
Pressed for more information, Napeñas explained that there was no direct order from higher ranking PNP officials to proceed. However, he cited that Purisima’s text message served as confirmation of the plan.
Though the government claimed to have neutralized Marwan, the alleged mastermind in the 2002 Bali bombing in Indonesia, the operation led to a clash between the policemen and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) taking camp in the area.
Aside from the 44 police fatalities, the encounter also resulted in the deaths of 14 MILF fighters and several civilians.
The encounter also cast a shadow on the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the MILF, the largest secessionist organization in the country. (MNS)