PNP: P7-M Marwan bounty claimed
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - January 29, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday confirmed that the P7-million bounty for slain Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, has been claimed by an informant.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has released the bounty to the unnamed source who provided information on the whereabouts of Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Mayor declined to give additional details, saying the PNP has guaranteed the tipster’s safety.

Mayor said the informant will only be getting the bounty released by the Philippine government and will not include the bounty promised by the US government.

Marwan was a Malaysian bomb maker with a $5-million bounty from the US government. He was the high value target, along with Basit Usman, of the operation of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano on Jan. 25 last year.

Mayor said the combined reward promised by the US and Philippine governments would add up to an estimated P200 million.

The informant reportedly supplied the intelligence packet for the capture of Marwan under Oplan Exodus.

Forty-four members of the PNP-SAF were killed during the operation to arrest Marwan and Usman in a remote village in Mamasapano.

The raiding team killed Marwan while Usman escaped but was later killed in another encounter.

The slain police commandos figured in firefights with Muslim rebels and armed villagers in the area. A total of 44 policemen, 18 rebels and five civilians were killed.

A year after the incident, the PNP said the grant of reward is still being processed at the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command.

The PNP stressed the lawmen that participated in the raid would not be allowed to receive any portion of the reward.

Lessons learned

Congress, with the Senate and the House of Representatives conducting separate inquiries, has investigated the Mamasapano incident.

The Senate reopened the probe last Wednesday to thresh out some issues raised by Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

The House has yet to come out with its report into the incident.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the chairmen of the two House committees that conducted the joint investigation into the incident have promised to release their report before Congress adjourns on Feb. 5.

Belmonte also said it was possible that the House report would have some differences with that of the Senate and the PNP’s Board of Inquiry.

“We can’t hope for a precision statement, some of them are judgment, the opinions would show different directions, so I think it’s virtually impossible that everybody agrees on everything,” Belmonte said.

The senators, who were heavily criticized for conducting another hearing on the incident when there was nothing new that came out, said police and military officials were still passing blame for the botched operation.

Malacañang, however, gave assurance that lessons have been learned after Mamasapano as senators sought an end to the blame game between the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines over the non-coordination of efforts to capture Marwan.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the reopening of the Senate investigation into the incident turned out to be a good development for the government as the role of former SAF commander Getulio Napeñas was detailed and clarified along with the changes that must be made to avoid a repeat of what happened.

Coloma also said that one of the important lessons learned from the incident was the need for the PNP and the AFP to have proper coordination in the conduct of operations.

Based on current developments, Coloma said he had observed the police and military had strengthened their cooperation so a tragic incident like Mamasapano would not happen again.

Coloma said during the more than seven hours of hearing, the PNP and the AFP had also been forthright in talking about the incident, just like in investigations conducted earlier.

He said President Aquino clearly ordered Napeñas and then PNP chief Alan Purisima to make the necessary coordination before the execution of Oplan Exodus to ensure the safety of SAF operatives.

However, Purisima and Napeñas, Coloma pointed out, did not follow Aquino’s instructions.

Enrile, who sought the new hearing on the incident, said Aquino “compartmented” the operation that led to the carnage and he was not able to do anything to save the SAF operatives when they were being attacked.

Coloma said Aquino had always acted responsibly and faced squarely all matters pertaining to the Mamasapano incident.

He added Enrile’s claims were disproved during the hearing because it was clear that the President was misinformed, as he was not given the right information during the operation.

Coloma said there was no stand down order that supposedly stopped SAF operatives from fighting or the military from providing aid.

During the hearing, police and military officials, including Napeñas himself, said the SAF troopers were asked to hold their positions as Purisima was talking with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerrillas to stop attacking the police commandos. 

“It also came out that General Napeñas acted solo on important portions of their operation, such as the determination of abort option and contingency planning,” he said.

Aside from disobeying Aquino’s order to coordinate with the AFP, Coloma said it was revealed during the Senate hearing that the operation could have been aborted given the conditions on the ground, but this was not done.

PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said the plan was defective from the beginning in the absence of contingency measures.

Military officials also told the Senate hearing that Napeñas did not coordinate with them.  – Paolo Romero, Aurea Calica

ACIRC ALAN PURISIMA AQUINO ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES ATILDE COLOMA INCIDENT MAMASAPANO MARWAN OPLAN EXODUS PNP
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