Napeñas mum on Marwan’s severed finger
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Relieved Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) chief Director Getulio Napeñas refused yesterday to answer questions about the index finger supposedly cut by his men from slain Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

It was Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., House justice committee chairman, who inquired about Marwan’s finger.

“Did you turn it over to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation? When and why to the FBI?” he asked.

Napeñas hesitated to answer the question, asking the hearing committees to be allowed to consult his lawyer, Vitaliano Aguirre, a prosecution lawyer in the Corona Senate impeachment trial who angered Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago when he covered his ears with his hands while she was perorating.

After a huddle with Aguirre, the sacked SAF chief said, “May I ask that I give my answer in an executive session?”

Tupas pressed Napeñas to respond, saying his answers do not involve national security and therefore do not require that they be provided in a closed-door hearing.

Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, supported Tupas’ assertion that the answers to his colleague’s questions would not involve national security.

Biazon warned Napeñas that his continued refusal would force the hearing committees to cite him for contempt.

He cited reports that the Philippine National Police has turned over Marwan’s index finger to the FBI.

Napeñas said such reports did not come from him and the PNP.

He insisted on the need to treat his answers with secrecy, saying some of these might involve revealing the names of SAF personnel.

But committee members said he could just confirm whether the PNP turned over Marwan’s finger to the FBI and when. Still, he stood his ground, which the hearing panels eventually respected.

Tupas said the finger should have been turned over to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination.

A senior security official said the severed finger of Marwan was not turned over to the PNP Crime Laboratory because the police do not have a specimen to match the DNA of the Malaysian terrorist.

“We don’t have Marwan’s DNA sample. Thus the turnover of his DNA sample to the FBI,” the security official said, adding the FBI took custody of the sample in General Santos City.

The turnover was done quickly as the FBI needs fresh DNA samples to cross-match with his brother Rahmat Abdhir, currently detained in California on terrorism charges.

Result of DNA test conducted by the FBI showed the finger submitted by the SAF commandos matched with Rahmat’s DNA.

The official also admitted that US troops arrived in the encounter site just to help in the evacuation of the wounded SAF commandos as requested.

“No US troops were involved in the Mamasapano operation. They were only there because of a request for them to help in the evacuation of the wounded SAF personnel,” he said.

In his Senate testimony on Monday and Tuesday, Napeñas said it was the head of the team that assaulted Marwan’s hideout in Mamasapano, Superintendent Raymond Train, who turned over Marwan’s finger to a representative of the FBI. He did not say when. – With Jaime Laude, Perseus Echeminada

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