Aquino admits knowing SAF operation in Mamasapano
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - January 28, 2015 - 7:41pm

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III admitted on Wednesday that he knew about the covert operation of the Philippine National Police's elite Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, where 44 elite cops were killed.

In his televised address to the nation, Aquino said he repeatedly reminded relieved SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas to have proper coordination before proceeding with the operation.

Napeñas has been relieved and replaced by his deputy pending an investigation by the government.

Aquino, however, was not satisfied with the SAF chief's compliance with his reminder.

"Kung may compliance pong nangyari sa atas kong siguruhing may sapat na koordinasyon, parang sinagad po itong very minimum compliance," Aquino said.

He said the SAF chief informed military units operating in the same area about the operation when the SAF members were already retreating.

The SAF forces in Mamasapano were tasked to capture Malaysian terrorist Zulkipli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino Basit Usman, both bomb experts linked to the Jemaah Islamiya terror group.

The operation, however, led to a deadly "misencounter" with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The retreating SAF men were also engaged by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

While admitting the he is aware of the operation, Aquino clarified that it did not require his go-signal.

"Hindi sa bawat pagkakataon ay hinihiling nila ang pahintulot ko, dahil impraktikal naman kung hintayin pa nila ang clearance mula sa akin," Aquino said.

"Ang tungkulin ko: siguruhing ginagampanan nila ang kanilang responsibilidad. May pagkakataon naman pong inaakyat nila sa atin ang sitwasyon para makapagbigay tayo ng payo, tingnan sa malawak na pananaw ang sitwasyon, o ipaliwanag ang maaaring implikasyon nito," he added.

He also explained that the operation to capture Marwan has been active even before his term.

Acting police chief Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina had said that he or anyone in the command group had knowledge of the SAF operation in Mamasapano.

AQUINO BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL LEONARDO ESPINA DIRECTOR GETULIO NAPE JEMAAH ISLAMIYA MAMASAPANO MARWAN AND FILIPINO BASIT USMAN SAF
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