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 SAF Mamasapano clash

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PostSubject: SAF Mamasapano clash   September 20th 2015, 7:36 am

Napeñas camp: Time to disclose who gave stand-down order in Mamasapano

September 19, 2015 5:47 PM
MANILA - Saturday that "its high time to know" who gave the stand down order to the security troops being dispatched to support beleaguered police commandos pinned down by rebel fire during the botched mission to arrest an international terrorist early this year in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The law enforcement mission gone awry resulted in the death of 44 SAF commandos in the blood bath on January 25.

Lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre, legal counsel of Napeñas, said the investigation should be pursued to its conclusion "despite the closure manifestation" of President Aquino after he gave due recognition to SAF as being responsible for killing Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, (nom de guerre Marwan) in the fierce fight with rebels composed of fighters from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other factions.

"There should be an investigation as to who gave the stand down order that forced the military to hold back in responding to the plight of the SAF commandos, who were pleading for military reinforcement," Aguirre said.

Aguirre said that his client cannot be satisfied with the acknowledgement and assertion of Malacañang that it was, indeed, SAF operatives who were responsible for killing Marwan. The lawyer insisted that the case should not yet be considered closed.

Aguirre said the pronouncement of former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang, at a forum held at the University of the Philippines (UP), that artillery support could not be provided at that time because it would compromise the peace process protocols, should not be disregarded.

President Aquino, along with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Catapang and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin were in Zamboanga City that morning, and were monitoring the ongoing clash between SAF and the rebel forces.

Lt Gen. Rustico Guerrero, Commander of Western Command confirmed during a Senate probe of the Mamasapano incident that, indeed, President Aquino was in Zamboanga City at the time of the incident, and was discussing the possible rescue scenario for the 84th [Seaborne] SAF company in dire situation.

The town of Mamasapano town was near a company-size military detachment based in Pikit, but no military support could be mobilized allegedly because of the stand down order.
Lawyer Aguirre argued that the Mamasapano massacre could not be considered "case closed" unless the architect of the "stand down order" is unraveled. He reiterated that, at the very least, the medal of valor must be awarded the commandos who took part in that mission.

The grant of the Medal of Valor for the SAF personnel was twice stalled by Malacañang, sparking criticism from the families and relatives of the 44 police commandos who lost their lives, and from the SAF organization itself.

"The giving of medal of valor due them is one way to ease the emotions of the families and relatives of the fallen gallant heroes," said Aguirre.
The lawyer added that, aside from the medal of valor, the pursuit of justice for the fallen heroes should be the government's primordial task.

The Department of Justice is set file criminal charges against at least 90 individuals, including MILF followers and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), suspected to have figured in the massacre of 44 SAF men and the wounding of 15 others.

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