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Alternative truth: PNP smells AFP, DND hand

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Sources in the Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed yesterday that the Armed Forces of the Philippines fed President Aquino the so-called alternative version of the Mamasapano clash because the military was embarrassed that a top terrorist was found in its jurisdiction.

Other police officials said they believed the so-called “alternative truth” was “cooked up” by some quarters in the AFP and supported by Mohagher Iqbal, chief peace negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Because the AFP was embarrassed that Marwan was in their area and maybe they did not get a reward, is this the reason why they are floating this story? Why only now?” one police official said, referring to Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan.

Despite widespread demoralization in the PNP ranks, Malacañang said yesterday the investigation into the “alternative truth” or version of the Mamasapano carnage will push through.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. reiterated the statement of the President that it is important to know everything about the Mamasapano operation to arrive at the truth that will guide future actions and decisions.

Coloma said this latest development should be treated with more caution as details of the inquiry as to who really killed Marwan in Mamasapano would definitely have a negative impact on the PNP hierarchy.

“Perhaps we should be careful in considering information like this because of the important role of our police force,” Coloma said in Filipino.

Members of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) were sent on a mission to arrest Marwan and his Filipino cohort Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25.

Fighters of the MILF and its alleged splinter group the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters  attacked the SAF raiders, killing 44 of them.

Marwan was also killed in the operation, which happened while the peace talks between the government and MILF were ongoing.

The leadership of the MILF has refuted the claim of SAF troopers that they killed Marwan.

The President said on Monday this “alternative truth” or version of the incident should be looked into to get to the whole truth about the Mamasapano operation.

PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez admitted on Monday that the police force is hurt and demoralized with the alternative truth being floated, considering that 44 policemen died in Mamasapano.

‘Dancing with the enemy’

“We are sad that this was stated by no less than the President, who knew of the operation and gave his approval to launch it. But we fully understand him and his belief in the story of Iqbal, who by the way did not give his true name to the President and OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process),” another police official said.

“Imagine this: you go in just to get the finger of Marwan or to confirm his death and put 44 young men to death? He is our commander-in-chief and yet he  believes more the story of the AFP that Iqbal supports? This just confirms that the AFP and Iqbal are dancing, that was why the operation was not coordinated to the AFP,” the official added.

Former SAF commander Getulio Napeñas also lamented yesterday that the alternative truth being floated is destroying the dignity and honor of the slain SAF members.

“It’s removing our dignity. It is destroying our honor and hurting our feelings. Four agencies investigated and not one said something like that,” Napeñas said in a television interview.

Napeñas maintained that the SAF were the ones who killed Marwan in his hut in Mamasapano.

Like Marquez, Napeñas dared people claiming there is an alternative version of the Mamasapano carnage to produce evidence to prove their claim.

CIDG won’t reinvestigate

Marquez said on Monday he is eyeing a case review on the report submitted by the PNP Board of Inquiry (BOI), which investigated the Mamasapano incident, to check whether there were details overlooked.

But the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) yesterday said it would not reinvestigate the Mamasapano operation because it would be improper since the BOI, which represented the PNP, had concluded its probe.

“It would be improper for the CIDG to conduct another investigation. I believe a re-investigation should be conducted by an independent body,” CIDG director Chief Supt. Victor Deona told reporters.

Deona’s predecessor, Director Benjamin Magalong, headed the BOI probe, which pointed out the lapses of the PNP officials in observing the chain-of-command during the Mamasapano operation.

House rejects calls to reopen probe

The chairman of the House committee on public order that conducted an inquiry into the Mamasapano carnage has also rejected calls to reopen the panel’s investigation.

“I’m confused by this ‘alternative truth’. I’m not sure if there’s really any sufficient basis such as documents, witnesses or other evidence to warrant another investigation,” Negros Occidental Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer told The STAR yesterday.

“We stand by our investigation. It was very exhaustive and we also had the benefit of separate inquiries conducted by the Senate and the BOI,” he added. – With Helen Flores, Rhodina Villanueva, Paolo Romero, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Edu Punay

ACIRC

ALTERNATIVE

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

ATILDE

BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS

IQBAL

MAMASAPANO

MARWAN

PNP

STRONG

TRUTH

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