Group: PNoy, Purisima must explain meetings on Mamasapano
Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2015 - 11:12am

MANILA, Philippines - Militant group Bayan on Thursday called on President Benigno Aquino III and former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima to explain before the congressional probes the meetings that they held on the Mamasapano operations.

"Executive privilege cannot be used to cover up illegal acts such as the violation of the Ombudsman suspension order on Purisima. What exactly was the President doing with Purisima on Jan. 9, 2015 at Bahay Pangarap? Why did Purisima bring SAF (Special Action Force) Director Getulio Napeñas to the President?," Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said.

"The meeting at Bahay Pangarap was not some harmless afternoon tea with police officials. The president has a lot of questions to answer. Invoking executive privilege only strengthens our fear of a cover up," Reyes said.

During the inquiry at the House of Representatives, Napeñas admitted that he followed Purisima’s order not to inform PNP officer in charge Leonardo Espina and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas because of the closeness between the suspended PNP chief and the president. 

He said that this put the SAF in a "volatile situation."

"It seems that Napeñas was convinced that Purisima was the President’s point person in the operation. As far Napeñas was concerned, Purisima was acting on behalf of the President. The fact that Purisima was able to call several meetings in Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo, despite his suspension, shows that he enjoyed the full backing of the president," Reyes said.

He said that the president and Purisima appear to be the two main actors on top of the entire Mamasapano operations. 

"They are the only ones who seem to know everything. Espina and Roxas were out of the loop. (Armed Forces Chief of Staff Pio) Catapang was informed belatedly. Napeñas was merely following instructions from Purisima," Reyes said.

Reyes meanwhile urged Napeñas to tell the whole truth about Purisima and his dealings with the president.

"Napeñas should stop holding back. He should call a spade a spade. Purisima was running the operations because he was authorized by the President. That is the only relevant statement he should make in relation to the chain of command and issues of coordination. He dishonors his men if he does not tell the whole truth," Reyes said.

During the operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25 to get high profile terrorist Marwan, 44 SAF commandos were killed.

Authorities said Marwan also killed during the operation and considered the mission accomplished. 

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