MANILA (Mabuhay) – Former Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) Director Gen. Getulio Napenas did not break the chain of command, his lawyer claimed.
Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre said the chain of responsibility in a civilian organization like the PNP is different from that of the military.
“Dito rin sa BOI report na ito, dinistinguish ng BOI na ang chain of command, strictly speaking, it only applies to the military. Pero meron ding some sort of chain of command sa civilian organizations like the PNP. Sa chain of command sa civilian organization like the PNP, it was the president who inserted General Purisima to head the operation exodus,” Aguirre said.
“Kaya when he told, when Gen. Purisima told Gen. Napeñas, ‘huwag mo munang sabihan ‘yung dalawa,’ referring to Gen. Espina and Sec. Roxas, ‘ako ang bahala kay Gen. Catapang.’ He took it to mean, palagay ko he is justified in saying, or in thinking, that it was the order of the president,” he added.
According to Aguirre, Napeñas had no choice but to follow Purisima’s orders, since he was ‘inserted’ into the plan by President Aquino.
“Once the chief executive officer, once na siya ang nagsalita, na ganito ang gagawin natin, I’m going to insert a suspended chief PNP, wala kang magagawa doon…it is the prerogative of the president i-name kung sino man ang gusto niyang gamitin,” he added.
Since Napeñas was told that Purisima will coordinate with the military, he did as he was told and did not inform either Espina or Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
“Yung Oplan Exodus presupposes that there will be a reinforcement coming from the military. Matter of fact, sinabi nga daw ni Gen. Purisima that ‘I will flood Mamasapano with soldiers.’ Ibig sabihin talagang poprotektahan ang SAF ng military. Kaya nga siya na ang bahala kay Gen. Catapang eh. Pero anong nangyari, because of this lack of coordination, hindi napakilos ang military ng dalawang nakakataas sa kanya. Hindi napakilos ni General Purisima, hindi napakilos ng ating Presidente, sapagkat ang dahilan ay natatakot sila na kung magbibigay ng air support at artillery support, ay masisira ang peace negotiation. Iyan ang dahilan kung bakit nagkaroon ng malaking casualty,” Aguirre claimed.
The President on Monday lashed out at Napena for pushing through with the January 25 operation despite allegedly deviating from the original plan and disobeying his order to coordinate the mission with the Philippine military.
Aquino added that he was “given the wrong information by the people who knew most what was happening,” leading to the deaths of 44 SAF commandos.
The PNP Board of Inquiry report on the Mamasapano incident, meanwhile, said Aquino, Purisima and Napenas violated the chain of command when they “kept information” on the anti-terror operation in Mamasapano on January 25 “to themselves.” (MNS)