Napenas to PNoy: Believe your own men

Dharel Placido,

Posted at Sep 16 2015 11:34 AM | Updated as of Sep 16 2015 11:26 PM

MANILA – Former Special Action Force (SAF) chief Getulio Napeñas appealed to President Benigno Aquino III to believe his own men after Aquino hinted that he is looking into an ''alternative version'' of events surrounding the Mamsapano incident.

''Sana paniwalaan nila ang mga tauhan nila. Tauhan kami na nag-seserbisyo sa gobyerno,'' Napeñas said in an interview on ANC.

''I cannot comprehend what is the meaning of alternative version. There is only one single truth. If there is an alternative version, they should just come up with the pieces of evidence."

Napeñas has been blamed by the President for the aftermath of the Mamasapano mission last January 25, which saw 44 SAF troopers killed in action.

The President has said Napenas did not follow orders to coordinate with the military before launching the mission to neutralize Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

Aquino earlier said he is looking at an ''alternative version'' of the events, triggering talk that he is entertaining the claim of the Moro Islamic Libertion Front (MILF) that it was actually Marwan's aides who killed him.

''Sana yung katotohanan - nandyan at na prove na ng mga investigating bodies na ang SAF ang naka-take out. To say these things na nadidiscredit ang SAF it is simply discrediting ang PNP,'' Napeñas said.

An MILF report on the Mamasapano clash earlier said the SAF troopers could not have killed Marwan, citing the bullet holes in the terrorist's hut.

The group said Marwan may have already been dead when the SAF troopers strafed at his hut.

A picture published by the Inquirer, which the President said has raised some questions surrounding Marwan's death, shows the Malaysian terrorist with a bullet on his chest and his head lying in a pool of blood. The MILF said this suggests that the terrorist was shot while lying down.


Inquirer sources from the military and the MILF, meanwhile, said the two aides were a certain Datucan Singgagao and Candao Langalan.

Napeñas said if the two aides indeed killed Marwan, they should have been able to get the terrorist's remains. He said it is well known that it was SAF troopers who were able to get Marwan's thumb, which was later flown to the United States for a DNA test.
The DNA test was able to prove that the slain man was indeed Marwan.

''The aide could have taken an evidence na siya ang pumatay. They could have easily claimed it, even the reward,'' Napeñas said.

The former SAF chief admitted Marwan had guards prior to the SAF attack. He said no one was found inside the hut aside from the Malaysian terrorist when the SAF arrived.

''Ang meron doon definitely yung security niya at based sa pictures sa hut, merong sleeping hammock na nakalagay doon sa lugar. Meron kasing parang receiving area ang hut na iyon bago ka papasok sa kwarto ni Marwan,'' he said.

Amid allegations that US troops were involved in the actual firefight, Napeñas again insisted that the police operation was purely Filipino. He said the only involvement of the Americans was to give intelligence information and guidance.

''Fortunately the US government denied na may US servicemen.
Dinedeny ko rin, even nung inquiry ng nauna, (sinabi ko na) walang foreigner or Americans na combat troops na sumama on the ground,'' he said.

A report earlier said that a video surfaced showing a supposed Caucasian looking man who died during the Mamasapano clash.
The justice department said the authenticity of the video still has to be verified.


Napeñas castigated the MILF for coming up with findings based on conjecture and not by a thorough investigation.

''They cannot prove na ganoon ang nangyari. May ebidensya ba? May witness ba?" he said.

''Before you could say anything, you need to have yung proper knowledge and training."

He also lamented that the hut of Marwan was burned right before the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry could conduct an investigation.

He said the burning of the hut was another manifestation, apart from the brutal killing of his 44 men, that the MILF was not sincere in the peace process.

''Hindi nakarating ang BOI dahil sinunog. Sino ba ang nandyan? Lugar ng MILF 'yon. Sana pinreserve iyon. Nasa peace process sila, kung maayos sila sana sila na ang nag-secure noon,'' he said.

Napeñas said the MILF was only muddling the issue in order to increase the chances of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) being passed and exonerate its men responsible for the January 25 bloodbath.

''Knowing na maaari na ilabas ng DOJ (Department of Justice) ang mga kaso, with this development, maaring madedelay na naman ang kaso ng (SAF) 44,'' he said.

''Gusto nilang pabanguhin ang MILF para ma-approve ang BBL. Nagkakamali sila dyan, lalo lang sumasama."

The Aquino government remains hopeful that Congress will approve the Bangsamoro bill, even as lawmakers appear to drag their feet on the matter.

Public support for the BBL also suffered in the wake of the Mamasapano clash, making the proposed measure a sensitive matter for lawmakers.