Palace, PNP recall heroism, sacrifice of SAF 44
Malacañang and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday remembered the heroism and bravery of 44 fallen Special Action Force commanders in the 2015 Mamasapano clash.
"As we recall the tragedy that befell the PNP officers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao and pay homage to the bravery and heroism of the 44 members of the Special Action Force, collectively known as the Fallen SAF 44, let us learn and reflect from the mistakes of this botched police operation that it will never happen again," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
Panelo hopes that justice and closure will be achieved by the bereaved and greiving of the slain SAF members.
PNP also commemorated the nation's "modern-day heroes" .
"Their supreme sacrifice will never be forgotten. Today, we honor their heroism and patriotism with deep pride as our inspiration to continue on our sworn duty to protect our people from lawless violence, criminal acts and illegal drugs that destroys the lives and future of our younger generation," PNP said in a statement.
"To the families, friends, and relatives of SAF 44, we share with you the grief of losing beloved ones but their lives will always be remembered as pillars and heroes of this 205,000-strong and growing PNP family," the statement further read.
The 44 SAF troopers were a part of "Oplan Exodus" - a secret operation against Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan.
Marwan was slain by the cops during the operation but an encounter with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and some armed men occured moments after.
The firefight resulted to the death of 60 individuals including the SAF 44. Since then, former President Benigno Aquino III - who was serving his term when the incident happened, former PNP chief Alan Purisima, and ex PNP SAF chief Getulio Napeña faced charges.
However, in September 3 last year, the Supreme Court withdrew the graft and usurpation charges against Aquino. The denied petition included 44 cases of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
On Thursday, the Sandiganbayan in an 18-page resolution acquitted Purisima and Napeña of the same charges due to lack of evidence.
“There is insufficient evidence on record to proceed with the trial against accused Napeñas for usurpation of official functions. Consequently, the Court cannot proceed with issuing a warrant of arrest and further trying him for this charge,” said the Sandiganbayan decision. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS