42 slain SAF cops get PNP Medal of Valor

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Making good on his promise, President Duterte awarded yesterday the Medalya ng Kagitingan,  the Philippine National Police (PNP) version of the military’s Medal of Valor, to the 42 Special Action Force (SAF) policemen killed in action during a raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.

Duterte, as commander-in-chief, led the awarding ceremony of the PNP Medal of Valor at the Heroes’ Hall in Malacañang.

“You know it comes late, but better late than never. I am not attributing anything to anybody but I am happy that we are able to recognize today the bravery of our police officers,” he said.

He paid tribute to the SAF commandos involves in implementing Oplan Exodus, which neutralized terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Basit Usman.

“Their tragic death in the hands of enemies, who outnumbered them and surrounded them from all sides, may be one of the darkest and saddest parts of our nation’s history,” Duterte said.

The 44 SAF policemen were previously posthumously promoted.

The PNP Medal of Valor is the highest award of the PNP, given to a police officer who executed a deed of personal bravery and self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty.

The families of the slain SAF commandos were also given Magalong Medals, the highest among the medals under the Order of Lapu-Lapu, for extraordinary service or exceptional contributions to the success of an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President.

Out of the 44 slain SAF troopers, then president Benigno Aquino III – who has been charged along with then PNP chief Alan Purisima for the Mamasapano raid – awarded the PNP Medal ng Kagitingan only to Chief Inspector Gednat Tabdi and Police Officer 3 Romeo Cempron.

Among who received the Medalya ng Kagitingan from Duterte were Chief Inspectors Ryan Pabalinas, John Gary Erana, Max Jim Tria and Cyrus Anniban; Senior Inspectors Joey Sacristan Gamutan and Rennie Tayrus; and Senior Police Officer 2 Lover Inocencio.

The others were Senior Police Officers 1 Rodrigo Acob Jr., Virgel Villanueva, Andres Duque Jr.,Vitoriano Acain, Noel Golocan, Junrel Kibete, Jed-In Asjali, Robert Aliaga and John Lloyd Sumbilla.

Police Officers 3 Amman Esmulla, Peterson Carap, Roger Cordero, Nicky Nacino Jr., Glenn Badua, Chum Agabon, Richelle Baluga, Noel Balaca, Joel Dulnuan, Godofredo Cabanlet, Franklin Danao; Walner Danao, Jerry Kayob, Noble Kiangan, Ephraim Mejia, Omar Nacionales, Rodel Ramacula and Romeo Valles Senin II also received the award.

The other recipients are Police Officers 2 Russel Bilog, Angel Kodiamat, Windell Candano, Loreto Capinding, Gringo Ca-
yango, Mark Lory Clemencio, Joseph Sagonoy and Oliebeth Viernes.   

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