MANILA - A survivor of the January 25 operation that saw 44 police commandos killed by armed groups said they could have provided coordinates of the enemy and civilian locations in Mamasapano but no one asked for the information.
The survivor, a member of the 84th Special Action Company, has launched an online petition, appealing to the public and government officials to refrain from calling for an all-out war as a response to the Mamasapano carnage.
More than a thousand people have signed the online petition.
In an interview, the SAF commando said elements of the 84th Special Action Company were still alive until about 3 p.m. of January 25 after they were attacked by Moro fighters in Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
The survivor said the SAF commandos were constantly running and securing their position for almost an entire day, waiting for rescue or reinforcement.
Contrary to what has been disclosed in the Senate hearings, the commando said they never lost touch with their tactical command post and would constantly send their coordinates via text message since the signal was strong.
The commando said they had the capability to provide the necessary information for fire support including enemy and civilian locations had they been asked, but no one requested for any information additional to their own grid coordinates.
He said that during their last stand, he was personally able to see at least 30 enemy fighters die - higher than the 18 Moro fighters allegedly killed in the encounter.
He said he was not able to see how many of his companions were able to shoot as they were assigned different sections. However, he is certain his comrades were able to kill many of the enemy combatants.
The commando said justice should be for everyone concerned, including the Moros of Mindanao and not just the fallen SAF commandos.
Having grown up in the middle of the Mindanao conflict, he said it is a life he does not wish on any Filipino.
The commando appealed to the Filipino people to shed their negative biases and prejudice against Muslims because all Filipinos are the same.
Justice for the Moros, he said, can only be achieved with peace.
Justice for the SAF, he said, is not an all-out war but a disclosure of who committed the lapses that led to their deaths.
He said he wants the investigations to continue and let the chips fall where they may, whether it be on the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the national government or even the commanders of the SAF themselves.
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