(Eagle News) — Senate Minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile questioned the former head of the Philippine National Police, Dir. General Alan Purisima with his exhange of text messages to President Aquino regarding the Mamasapano operations on January 25 last year where 44 troopers of the Special Action Forces (SAF) were killed.
Napenas admitted texting the President early in the morning of January 25, including the time when the high-value target Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli “Marwan” bin Hir in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Enrile at one time asked Purisima if the President had even asked about the situation of the troops in Mamasapano.
Purisima did not directly answer the question, but merely answered, “The text message speaks for itself’.”
The President’s text then to Purisima was more about what happened to Marwan, and to the other high-value targets.
At 7:59 a.m. on January 25, 2015, President Aquino sent a text message to Purisima questioning why the SAF troopers were not able to contain or overwhelm the rebels whom he thought only numbered from 15 to 20, Enrile said.
Aquino texted Purisima saying he had the understanding that the SAF troopers were to be assisted by other units from the police and the military.
But during the Senate reinvestigation of the Mamasapano clash, it was revealed that the military was belatedly informed about the Mamasapano operations codenamed “Oplan Exodus” by Purisima.
The probe also revealed that all information that the President was initially receiving about the Mamasapano operations only came from the text messages of Purisima.
Purisima said that he texted the President at around 5:45 a.m. on January 25 last year, saying that the body of Marwan was left behind. He admitted that what he texted to the President was that only one SAF trooper was killed at the time.
He claimed he also sent the text message to the PNP-officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina.
Enrile also cited a text message sent by Purisima to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang.
Catapang admitted that he only received the text message from Purisima at 5:51 a.m. about the neutralization of the high value target.
Enrile then asked Purisima if this text message sent to AFP chief Catapang was in compliance to his previous promise during his talk with President Aquino in Bahay Pangarap, the official residence of the President in Malacanang.
During the January 9, 2015 briefing at Bahay Pangarap, Purisima was supposed to have said that he would be the one to inform Gen. Catapang (“Ako na ang bahala kay Gen. Catapang) about the Mamasapano operation codenamed “Oplan Exodus”.
The final briefing at Bahay Pangarap only involved the President, Purisima, Napenas and Intelligence Group Director Senior Superintendent Fernando Mendez.
During the Senate hearing Wednesday, Catapang said he only received information through text from Purisima about the neutralization of a high value target, and that he did not know that it was Marwan.
Catapang said, “That was not coordination, it was only information, it was only a text message.”.
PNP-OIC Deputy Director General Espina said he also got a text message from Purisima “five minutes before 6 p.m” that Marwan was neutralized.
“General Purisima informed me that SAF was operating,” Espina said. He said that he immediately read the text messages, then he read a text message sent to him earlier at 4:30 am.
“Apparently parang napapa-enkwentro sila. That’s why my first instinct was to contact my classmate, (Western Mindanao Commander) Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero. I called him up immediately to inform him na may nag-ooperate na SAF sa area,” Espina told the Senate inquiry.
To his call, Espina said Guerrero’s shocked reply was: “Ano yan? Hindi ko alam yan. Di na naman nag-coordinate.”
Purisima said, “Ako rin. Di ko alam yan. Pero ang importante ay maalalayan. Saka na lang magsisihan.”
Guerrero said that the call from Espina was at 6:04 am and he was in Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City at his headquarters at the time. (Eagle News Service)