Palace still hopeful of justice for SAF 44

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star
Palace still hopeful of justice for SAF 44
Jan. 25 is a Day of National Remembrance for the SAF 44.
Roel Pareño

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang called for justice for the 44 members of the police Special Action Force (SAF) who were killed during the standoff between the commandos and Muslim rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015.

“We continue to pray for the eternal repose of the souls of these valorous men in uniform who were recipients posthumously of the PNP Medal of Valor (Medalya ng Kagitingan) and hope that justice will finally come to give closure to these officers and their grieving families,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said yesterday.

Jan. 25 is a Day of National Remembrance for the SAF 44.

Ironically, early this week, a special division of the Sandiganbayan cleared former police chief Alan Purisima and former SAF chief Getulio Napeñas who were charged with graft and usurpation of functions in connection with the Mamasapano incident.  

The SAF commandos were killed while they were implementing Oplan Exodus – an operation to kill terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.  

Marwan was killed during the operation, but the government also suffered casualties blamed on the failure of top government officials’ alleged indecisiveness that led to the delay in the deployment of reinforcement forces.

Usman was killed in a subsequent operation.

“As we recall the tragedy that befell the PNP officers in Mamasapano and pay homage to the bravery and heroism of the 44 members of the Special Action Force, collectively known as the Fallen SAF 44, let us learn and reflect from the mistakes of this botched police operation that it will never happen again,” Panelo said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday commemorated the death of the 44 SAF commandos.

Newly appointed PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa paid tribute to the gallantry and heroism of the 44 commandos.

“Their supreme sacrifice will never be forgotten. Today, we honor their heroism and patriotism with deep pride as our inspiration to protect our people from lawless violence, criminal acts and illegal drugs that destroy the lives and future of our young generation,” he said. 

He expressed sympathy to the family and loved ones of the fallen SAF members, saying that they will always be remembered by the police force.  

“To the families, friends and relatives of SAF 44, we share with you the grief of losing beloved ones but their lives will always be remembered as pillars and heroes of this 205,000-strong and growing PNP family,” Gamboa added.  – With Romina Cabrera


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