PNoy accepts Purisima’s resignation

By ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA  – President Benigno Aquino III on Friday addressed the nation to announce the resignation of suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and also to issue a stern warning against Muslim rebels in connection with the government’s hunt for terror suspect Basit Usman.

In his televised national address, Aquino recounted his long relationship with Purisima, who is believed to have been involved in the bloody mission to neutralize terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25.

Forty-four members of the PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) were killed in the operation after being cornered by combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Aquino said Purisima played a major role in the hunt for Marwan and Usman.

“Naging malaking bahagi din po ng layunin nating tugisin sina Marwan at Usman ang papel ni General Alan Purisima. Marami siyang iniambag sa mahabang proseso at maraming operasyon na pinlano para dito,” he said.

He, however, did not say if Purisima was in command when the SAF launched its Mamasapano operation.

Aquino recalled it was Purisima who helped design a new security plan for VIPs after the 1987 coup attempt on the administration of then President Corazon Aquino.

“Mula noon, hanggang ngayon, marami kaming pinagdaanan… Hindi po ako iniwan ni Alan. Kaya nga po siguro naman ay maiintindihan ninyo kung bakit masakit para sa akin na aalis siya sa serbisyo sa ilalim ng ganitong pagkakataon. Tinatanggap ko po, effective immediately, ang resignation ni Gen. Purisima. At nagpapasalamat ako sa mahabang panahon ng kanyang paglilingkod bago mangyari ang trahedyang ito,” Aquino said.

RESPONSIBLE FOR FALLEN 44

He said as the country’s leader, he also assumes responsibility for the 44 elite police commandos. He said he will help find justice for the fallen 44 and ensure the well-being of the slain cops’ families.

“Ako ang ama ng bayan at apatnapu’t apat sa aking mga anak ang nasawi. Hindi na sila maibabalik. Nangyari ang trahedya sa ilalim ng aking panunungkulan. Dadalhin ko po hanggang sa huling mga araw ko ang pangyayaring ito. Responsibilidad ko po sila,” he said.

The President also gave a warning that no one should stand in the way of government operations to capture Usman.

Marwan was killed in the Mamasapano operation while Usman was able to escape. Both terror suspects were allegedly in the territory of Muslim rebels.

“Ukol kay Usman, nais kong ipahayag: Kung nasa loob siya ng inyong teritoryo o nasa ilalim siya ng pangangalaga ng sinuman sa inyo, inaasahan kong isusuko ninyo siya sa mga awtoridad. Kung hindi ay gawin ang lahat upang tumulong sa pagdakip sa kanya. At kung hindi pa rin maaari ito, ay huwag makialam sa aming pag-uusig kay Usman,” Aquino said.

“Magsilbi sana itong babala at paalala: Huhulihin namin si Usman, anuman ang maging desisyon ninyo, sino man ang kumukupkop sa kanya, at saan man siya nagtatago. Walang dapat magduda: Magkatuwang ang adhikain natin para sa kapayapaan at katarungan. Sa mga naliligaw naman ng landas, na magtatangka pang humadlang sa pagtugis namin kay Usman, tandaan na ninyo: Estado ang kalaban ninyo, at sasagasaan namin kayo,” he added.

Unlike his national address last week, Aquino did not take questions from the press.

SAF COMMANDER’S FAULT

Aquino, in his speech, placed the blame on sacked SAF commander Getulio Napeñas for the death of the 44 police officers.

“Nagsagawa ako ng sariling pagsisiyasat at panayam sa mga kasama sa operasyong ito. Malinaw pong lumalabas: Malayo na ang sitwasyong dinatnan ng mga tropa, sa inasahan sa plano,” he said.

“Mulat po dapat dito ang commander ng operasyon, lalo pa’t matagal siyang nakadestino sa Mindanao. Inaasahan sa kanya ang tinatawag na situational awareness. Bilang commander, siya ang nakakaalam ng kabuuang plano, at sa mga panganib na dala nito; siya ang unang nakakaalam kung naipapatupad ito nang tama. Alam niya dapat ang nangyayari sa bawat sandali,” he added.

“May di-bababa sa tatlong pagkakataon kung kailan maaaring in-abort o pinagpaliban ang operasyon, o di kaya’y binago nang husto ang plano. Tumindi pa ang pangangailangang gawin iyon, dahil alam niyang walang koordinasyon sa inaasahang ayuda, at manipis, kung mayroon man, ang maitutulong ng Sandatahang Lakas dahil walang sapat na panahon na makapaghanda,” Aquino said, citing the lack of coordination between the SAF and the military.

“Bakit nangyaring walang koordinasyon? Bakit itinuloy ang misyon gayong napakalihis na nito sa orihinal na plano, at napakalaking peligro na ang kinakaharap ng ating mga tropa? Iyan po, at marami pang iba, ang mga tanong na bumabagabag sa aking isip. Magkakaroon po ng pagkakataon ang dating SAF commander na ipaliwanag ang mga ito sa kanyang pagharap sa kinauukulan,” he added.

Aquino said the MILF, whose fighters were involved in the death of the 44 SAF troopers, must help in the search for justice for the slain police officers.

He said the MILF can start by reining in the breakway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which was also involved in the Mamasapano clash.

‘UNACCEPTABLE INSULT’

Two left-wing lawmakers were unhappy with Aquino’s speech.

“President Aquino refused to admit responsibility but instead blamed the SAF and its SAF commander for not aborting the operations when he and Gen. Purisima had command of the whole operations,” said Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares. “He accepted the resignation of Purisima without explaining his role in the operations and why he was eased out. Because he was under suspension, Gen. Purisima can only command the operation upon the order of President Aquino. He is therefore more guilty than his friend and subordinate Gen. Purisima and should be the one to resign.”

“Clearly, President Aquino is merely interested in avoiding accountability by blaming others. His blaming of the SAF is unacceptable and is an insult to the SAF and their grieving families,” Colmenares said.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon echoed Colmenares’ statement.

“Tonight, President Aquino gave up his trump card – PNP Chief Alan Purisima – in a last-ditch effort to save his neck. Yet his second evening speech confirms what has already been reported by the media – that Aquino not only greenlighted the operation but was also responsible for its failure and the massive deaths,” Ridon said.

“The president did not even confirm nor deny the involvement of US forces in the botched operation. His speech tonight is nothing but an empty piece,” he said. “Instead of warning about more aggression like what he did tonight, Aquino should follow Purisima’s example and resign pronto.” – with reports from Jojo Malig and Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBNnews.com; RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Generoso Magaoay
    6 February 2015 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Should the mission went well in Mamasapano, you could bet for sure (like in itaga mo sa bato) that President Aquino would talking so loud in the media claiming his success, what an outstanding job he has done for the country. Since the result ended up into such a great loss of unbelievably 44 death from the nation’s PNPSAF, the typical COWARDLY

  • Generoso Magaoay
    6 February 2015 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Should the mission went well in Mamasapano, you could bet for sure (like in itaga mo sa bato) that President Aquino would talking so loud in the media claiming his success, what an outstanding job he has done for the country. Since the result ended up into such a great loss of unbelievably 44 death from the nation’s PNPSAF, the typical COWARDLY politician goes into special tactics using vague speeches not addressing the real issue of what happened in Mamasapano. Aquino did a good job in taking advantage of the situation and leveraging an opportunity for the rebirth of the failed “hindi ka nag-iisa” phrase.

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