FORMER President Benigno Aquino III knew about the involvement of certain Americans in the planning of the ill-fated Mamasapano encounter in which 44 police commandos were killed two years ago, former Special Action Forces chief Getulio Napeñas said Friday.
In a recent television interview, Napeñas also scored Aquino for shielding his shooting buddy, retired Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, who was suspended at the time but still oversaw the operation.
Responding to Aquino’s own version of events that held Napeñas squarely accountable for the botched encounter, the embattled police official said that Aquino is trying to save someone’s neck by pinning the blame on him.
“As a leader you have to own your decision,” Napeñas said in a TV5 interview, adding that Aquino himself gave the go-signal for the operation to get Malaysian terrorist Marwan—a mission that left Marwan dead but also sacrificed 44 police commandos who did not get reinforcements from the government.
Earlier this week, Aquino said the botched anti-terror mission was not his fault and would not have happened if Napeñas had not lied to him and disobeyed his orders.Napeñas insisted that Aquino would always justify Purisima’s involvement even suspended, saying that the former police chief was the “most familiar with Oplan Exodus.”
But in his three-page statement this week, Aquino never mentioned Purisima.
Napeñas said he regretted ever having obeyed Aquino and Purisima, adding that his parents never raised him to be a liar.
“If I had known that in the end they would leave me and my men just like that, I’d never have followed them,” he said.
Napeñas’ former lawyer, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, dared Aquino to submit his mobile phone for forensic examination.
Meanwhile, the militant youth group League of Filipino Students assailed the former president for whitewashing his responsibility on the Mamasapano incident.
“Even for a joke, Noynoy Aquino’s whitewashing remarks regarding the Mamasapano operation are beyond disgusting and unacceptable. He is a barefaced liar that will do anything to hide his blood-stained hands,” JP Rosos, LFS spokesperson said.
“How can Aquino just callously evade responsibility when he knew all about the Mamasapano operation? How can he deny his involvement when he gave the green light to execute the botched operation? How can Aquino still force the people to believe that he is innocent when after two years, justice remains elusive? Saan kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha ang dating pangulo? [Where does the former get the nerve to do this?],” he added.
The group scored Aquino’s cover-up of the US involvement.
The Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division will handle the cases filed against Purisima and Napeñas by the Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday.
The Ombudsman, in separate charge sheets, said Purisima, even when under preventive suspension, “unlawfully and feloniously” took part in the planning and execution of the so-called Oplan Exodus.
The Ombudsman placed Purisima under six-month preventive suspension by then in connection with the alleged anomalous contract the PNP with a courier service company.
Despite the suspension, Purisima participated in the Oplan Exodus where he constantly asked and received updates from Napeñas, the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman also said Purisima “willfully, unlawfully and criminally” influenced Napeñas to go against the PNP chain of command, Purisima’s preventive suspension order, and officer-in-charge PNP chief Leonardo Espina order for Purisima and other suspended police officers from performing their tasks.
Also on Friday, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Senator Richard Gordon said they hoped an independent commission to be put up by the President would give closure to the Mamasapano victims and their families.
“There is no peace in the grave of these brave men if we don’t establish the truth, and if the ends of justice not served. The families of the victims rightly feel that justice was not served by the last administration,” said Pimentel. With Macon Ramos-Araneta
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