Benigno S. Aquino III has been, as usual, very glib (but obviously very evasive) in trying hard to explain the mystery of where the command and responsibility were for the operations of the Special Action Force (SAF) contingent that terribly failed and suffered a big number of its casualties (44 SAF forces killed) in its Mamasapano, Maguindanao operations last January 25. Twelve more SAF forces were wounded in action.
Aside from the SAF casualties, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) also suffered eight casualties and its breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) also suffered six casualties. There were also civilian casualties in the Tukanalipao barrio (village) of Mamasapano that was attacked by the SAF forces.
The unusually large, 392-man SAF operations contingent was sent, admittedly with clearance from Malacañang, to arrest the two elements in the US list of “most wanted terrorist” operating in the Philippines, and supposedly reported to have been spotted in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
That the operation was actually a directly US-commanded one is seen from the fact that it was coursed by the US through Malacañang, and spuriously skipped all other lines from the top down to the local level — including the Department of Interior and Local Government that supposedly has supervision over the Philippine National Police (PNP) and its SAF, current PNP leadership, and the local police/military commands (including the Western Mindanao Command and 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army), all of whom had no knowledge at all of what was going on.
Suspected Malaysian “terrorist” Zulkipli bin Hir (also known as “Marwan”) with a $5-million bounty for his head, and a Filipino “terrorist” Basit Usman, with a $2-million bounty for his head, were supposed to be the targets of the 392-man, big-scale police-military operation of the SAF forces that were gathered from various units of the SAF, including from its national headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, Metro Manila, for this simple operation.
There is no verification yet of the SAF’s boast that their operation succeeded in neutralizing “Marwan”, who was supposedly killed in the operation.
What actually happened was that the SAF forces not only utterly failed in their operations, but committed a very big mistake and major violation in entering an area where the MILF forces and their families reside, such that most of the fighting that took place — and that decimated large numbers from the SAF — was actually with the local MILF forces in the area, and also inflicted casualties not only among the MILF forces but also among their civilian families. This, as the area unilaterally intruded into by the SAF attacking forces is part of the territory covered by the MILF’s 105th Base Command.
The MILF forces only rightfully acted in their self-defense and the defense of their loved ones and community.
As there were also, in the area, forces of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway group of the MILF, there was also some fighting between forces of the SAF and the BIFF.
There is now so much flak over who really have been in command at the top level of the SAF’s Mamasapano attack — “admittedly” Malacañang, and according to Malacañang, suspended PNP Chief, Police General Alan Purisima. This, even if Purisima’s “authority” is questionable because he had for some time already been suspended and replaced for charges of large-scale corruption against him. Purisima’s replacement, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, has denied any knowledge of the plan and of the actual attack.
Worse, the SAF’s Mamasapano attack grossly violated a standing peace talks and ceasefire agreement between the present Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF. The GPH, including the PNP and the SAF, should first have communicated and coordinated with the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities and, through this, with the MILF, as required by the already-made peace agreement awaiting legislative approval and the still-continuing peace process between the GPH and the MILF.
As Malacañang has main full local reponsibility for the SAF’s failed January 25 operations in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, and for the casualties such operations inflicted not only on the SAF forces, but also on MILF forces, on the local civilians and others, Malacañang should be made to principally answer for the failed operations, the casualties and the violations of the peace accords and process, and other related negative effects of the SAF operations.
Benigno S. Aquino III has also to answer for the dire and bloody results of his utter puppetry to the US, including its negative effects on the GPH-MILF peace process.
A related serious question that needs to be asked of him and his regime is if he and his regime is really interested in the peace process — not only with the MILF, but also with others including the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
It is the US, however, that has been on top of it all and should be made to principally answer and be made to pay for all the violations, intrusions, casualties and other damages.
NDFP Peace Consultants detained in Camp Bagong Diwa,
Taguig City, Metro Manila:
- ALAN JAZMINES
- EMETERIO ANTALAN
- LEOPOLDO CALOZA
- TIRSO ALCANTARA
- LOIDA MAGPATOC
30 January 2015
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