PNoy blames Napenas for Mamasapano carnage

Posted at Mar 09 2015 07:10 PM | Updated as of Mar 10 2015 03:10 AM

Watch more on iWantTFC

MANILA - President Aquino on Monday condemned relieved Special Action Force commander Getulio Napenas Jr for pushing through with the January 25 operation despite deviating from the original plan and disobeying his order to coordinate the mission with the Philippine military.

In his most detailed explanation yet on the Mamasapano carnage, Aquino said he was "given the wrong information by the people who knew most what was happening", leading to the deaths of 44 SAF commandos.

"Maraming wishful thinking si Napenas as opposed to reality. Maliwanag sa akin: binola niya ako," he said.

"Sinolo ni Napenas. Siya ang nag desisyon at may times na yung desisyon niya palpak. Pag alis niya sa akin nung January 9, lumalabas ngayon na wala siyang intensyon na tuparin yung utos ko sa kanyang mag-coordinate."

The President said Napenas disobeyed his order to properly coordinate the operation with the Armed Forces several days before its launch.

He said that during the January 9 briefing in Bahay Pangarap, he already told Napenas that the SAF cannot deploy just 160 SAF troopers in Mamasapano to take out Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Basit Usman when there were 3,000-4,000 potential hostiles in the area.

"He told me: 'Sir, mag co-coordinate kami on jump-off.' Sabi ko: 'Hindi pwede yung pagkilos dapat iposisyon yung kanyon. Kailangan iposisyon yung tangke. Kailangan iposisyon yung plano, yung tao, yung gasolina at yung bala ng kanyon, yung bomba ng eroplano." Hindi mo magagawa yan ng 30 minutes," he recounted.

When Napenas protested because of operational security, the President told the SAF commander to talk to the highest official of the AFP so that he could instruct his subordinates to ready their troops for the operation.

Instead of following his orders, the President said Napenas pushed through with the plan without informing either Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang or the Philippine National Police officer in charge Leonardo Espina.

Napenas earlier said this was due to the "advice" of suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima, who was present during the January 9 briefing.

The President said that during the actual execution of the operation, Napenas had two instances when he could have aborted the mission.

These include the late arrival of the first SAF seaborne unit resulting in only 13 commandos crossing the river to the target area; and the late arrival of the reinforcing units for the extraction.

Aquino said the late arrival of the SAF troops was already a deviation of Oplan: Exodus, which pushed for a late night deployment and then extraction by 1-2 a.m. to take full advantage of the darkness of night.

He said the target dates of January 23 to 26 were specifically chosen because the SAF could use their night vision goggles effectively when there was no moon.

Instead of arriving late at night, the SAF troops reached Marwan's hut at around 4 a.m. when Muslims were already waking up for morning prayer.

This led to the initial SAF team encountering heavy fire after raiding Marwan's hideout and going to the extraction point.

ANC, March 9, 2015