A crisis the country cannot afford
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - February 6, 2015 - 12:00am

According to PNP OIC Gen. Leonardo Espina, the PNP as a whole is in crisis, with morale at an all-time low in the aftermath of a botched mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Speaking at the House of Representatives, he said that while the PNP was grieving over the loss of its men, they just cannot stop working as they have a sworn duty to serve and protect. It is unimaginable for the country's police force to just go on mass leave, or any kind of protest for that matter. What happens to the country then? Are criminals just waiting for the right time to strike, now that the PNP is in crisis? But I guess many policemen are asking, who protects them when they need help?

What is not helping as well is the piecemeal revelations the country is receiving with regards to the mission. Recently, Police Director Getulio Napeñas, chief of the SAF, stated that suspended PNP Director Gen. Alan Purisima instructed him not to inform PNP OIC Gen. Leonardo Espina about the mission, until it was fully underway. So Gen. Purisima did have a hand in the mission. DILG Sec. Roxas was likewise not informed as Napeñas could not go directly to him as per the chain of command. So it seems the positions of Sec. Roxas and PNP OIC Gen. Espina are not relevant. So who is the PNP supposed to follow? A suspended general or a general in a caretaker role? 

A supposed rift between the PNP and the AFP is brewing, something the Palace quickly denies. But one cannot ignore the statements from both camps. The PNP claims they were calling for help, while the AFP says they did not know where to find the SAF commandos because of a lack of coordination. Clearly, chaos ensued when the MILF and BIFF fighters attacked the SAF. Clearly, the forty-four men following the orders of Purisima and Napeñas paid with their lives. They did get "Marwan", based on DNA submitted to the FBI for confirmation. But that may be little consolation for the families of the Fallen 44. At least we know they died successful in their mission, albeit paying dearly with their lives.

An investigation in the Senate on the SAF mission will be conducted on Monday. According to Sen. Grace Poe, Gen. Purisima has confirmed his attendance. But as to whether he will tell all is still a mystery. Gen. Purisima has been in the Senate before, and only ended up disappointing the Senators. Many are already fearing a whitewash of the incident, to protect those who knew about the deadly mission. I hope this is not the case, as it disrespects the sacrifice that the forty-four SAF commandos offered the country. The country needs to know why the carnage took place. Why the obviously flawed planning was green-lighted? Why were there key officials, as well as the AFP, left in the dark? For as long as these questions remain unanswered, the crisis will continue, not just within the PNP, but the whole nation.




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