January 27, 2015

SAF commander sacked - Philippine Star


Uniforms and boots of slain SAF officers Senior Inspectors Gednat Tabde and Ryan Pabalinas and Inspector Joey Gamutan are seen hanging near the mortuary of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao yesterday. John Unson



MANILA, Philippines - After losing dozens of his men in an encounter with Muslim guerrillas in Maguindanao last Sunday, the chief of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) has been ordered relieved and investigated for possible administrative and criminal liability for the tragedy.


Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II announced yesterday the removal of SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, whose failure to clear with higher-ups an operation to arrest two terror suspects was said to have caused the biggest single-day combat loss of government forces against insurgents in recent memory.


Napeñas’ deputy, Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño, took over as officer-in-charge.


Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina claimed to have no prior knowledge of the SAF operation to arrest Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli bin Abdul Hir, alias Marwan, and Filipino Basit Usman. The two belong to the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which is linked to al-Qaeda’s global terror network.


“No, it did not reach the command group,” said Roxas, shaking his head, when asked by The STAR if he or Espina had prior information on the SAF operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.


Roxas said the commandos may have killed one of their terror targets, but also became entangled in separate firefights with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is engaged in peace talks with the government. MILF chief peace negotiator Mohaquer Iqbal insisted Sunday’s incident was a “misencounter.”


Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1


Roxas called the commandos “fallen heroes” who sacrificed their lives to try to capture two terrorists.


He said Marwan may have been killed and efforts are underway to confirm whether such reports are true. Usman managed to escape, Roxas said.


“Administrative as well as criminal liability, and of course this is to include external liability of those who killed our policemen,” Roxas said, referring to what awaits Napeñas and others directly involved in the death of the policemen.


“It’s important to determine operational lapses so we can avoid committing the same lapses,” he said. Based on latest reports, 44 police commandos were killed and 12 wounded in the pre-dawn battle with rebels.


Roxas said a board of inquiry would try to establish the facts that led to the carnage as well as the culpability of the officers involved.


Comprising the board are Director Edgardo Ingking, head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations; Director Benjamin Magalong, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG); Chief Superintendent Catalino Rodriguez of the Directorate for Research and Doctrine Development and a secretariat.


Roxas said Napeñas was in Maguindanao Monday helping in the retrieval of the remains of his fallen men when recalled.


Espina said all the SAF men in the Mamasapano battle have been accounted for, including seven police officials and the remaining non commissioned officers with ranks from SPO1 to PO1.


Demoralization


At the House of Representatives, lawmakers warned of demoralization in the Armed Forces and the PNP if President Aquino fails to make a “strong response” to the slaughter of 44 SAF commandos.


Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, a former military officer and member of the House ad hoc panel finalizing the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), noted that many policemen and soldiers have died fighting the MILF in the past years and justice has remained elusive for them.


“I support the peace process of this government. However, the government must have a strong stand on this. Because as a former soldier, it is very important that we see our leader standing behind the troops,” Alejano told a news conference.


“If the troops feel they are not being supported by their government, there will be demoralization,” he said. “If we want peace, there must be justice.”


He called on Aquino to demand, through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, that the MILF return all the firearms, ammunition and other equipment its guerillas seized from the fallen SAF members.


He also said the government should continue its pursuit of the terror suspects and demand that the MILF turn them over to the authorities.


“The government’s hands to defend and protect our troops must not be tied by the peace process. It is sad to hear that our government could not respond to our troops fighting the whole day because we are tied up to this peace agreement,” Alejano said.


He lamented that when the MILF violates provisions of the peace agreement, the government files protest before ceasefire and coordinating bodies but when troops simply failed to “coordinate” their operations, they are mercilessly mowed down.


“My question now is, what is the government going to do now when many have been killed? Will we just file a protest just like that? What about those who died and their families?” Alejano said.


ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao, one of the first officers of the PNP-SAF, said the terror suspects were also wanted in foreign countries.


Alejano, Pagdilao and Reps. Ashley Acedillo of Magdalo party-list, Leopoldo Bataoil of Pangasinan and Sherwin Gatchalian also asked Malacañang to declare a day of mourning for the slain policemen.


Tales of brutality


In Mamasapano, more villagers came forward with stories of brutality, like how some of the wounded policemen were mercilessly gunned down as they struggled to escape the rebels.


They said the rebels killed the wounded with gunshots to the head and collected their weapons and other equipment.


Another villager, who asked to be identified only as Hamim, said some rebels even stomped on the heads of the slain policemen before firing shots at them. Some of the locals said the SAF men battled some 300 MILF fighters.


The remains of the SAF members were brought to the mortuary of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.


Police forensic experts said many of the slain policemen had powder burns in the bullet entry points, indicating they had been shot at close range.


Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, who was at the 6th ID’s morgue yesterday, condoled with the families of the slain policemen and appealed for sobriety.


“I’m also appealing to people in other parts of the country to help us pray for a peaceful resolution of this incident. We don’t want this to affect the ongoing peace efforts of the Aquino administration and the MILF. The peace process must continue,” Mangudadatu said.


Mangudadatu said he has directed his chief budget staff, Lynette Estandarte, to extend assistance and food provisions to relatives of the slain policemen who are now at Camp Siongco, waiting for the release of their loved ones’ remains.


Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the 6th ID, said the incident – while tragic – should provide more “pressing reasons” for the government and the MILF to pursue peace.


Pangilinan said tension in Mamasapano has eased and Army units in the area are now helping government agencies in relief activities.


In a statement, Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) also said the carnage should not derail the peace initiatives by the government and the MILF.


“As always, it’s the civilians that suffer most from the brunt of armed conflicts,” said Hataman.


The MILF leadership yesterday stood pat on its assertion that the “misencounter” was triggered by the failure of the PNP to coordinate the activities of the SAF in the area with the joint ceasefire committee.


The committee is composed of representatives from the MILF, the PNP and the Armed Forces.


Abu Misry Mama, spokesman for the BIFF, said their guerrillas engaged the police commandos when the latter ventured into the rebel enclave in Barangay Mangapang in Mamasapano.


Indignant local police officials said the MILF has done nothing to pluck Marwan and Usman out of Mamasapano and turn them over to the government for prosecution.


The MILF, under its July 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities with the government, is committed to help turn over criminals and terrorists to authorities. – Paolo Romero, John Unson, AP





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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 by Ridgid Sparrow · 0

Alapag named Fiba players' panel member - Inquirer.net



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JIMMY Alapag just took on a new role for Philippine basketball.


The recently retired former PBA Most Valuable Player, arguably one of the best point guards in Asia, was appointed by the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) to its Players’ Commission under Vlade Divac.


“I am very honored to represent my country in the Fiba Players’ Commission,” Alapag said after he became the fourth Filipino to hold a position in the sport’s governing body following Manny V. Pangilinan, Dr. Raul Canlas and lawyer Edgar Francisco.


Pangilinan is a member of the 25-man Central Board, while Canlas and Francisco have positions in the medical and legal councils.


Patrick Baumann, Fiba’s powerful secretary general, appointed Alapag.


Part of the Players’ Commission’s thrust is “to study issues relating to players of all age groups and propose to the Central Board measures deemed necessary to improve the conditions of players.”


Divac, the former NBA stalwart, is also president of the Serbian Olympic Committee and a member of the Fiba Central Board.



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Source: Top Stories - Google News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 by Ridgid Sparrow · 0

Index marks historic high - Inquirer.net



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THE PHILIPPINE Stock Exchange index (PSEi) yesterday breached the 7,600 mark for the first time in history on upbeat economic and corporate earnings prospects this 2015.


The main-share PSEi advanced by 43.9 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at a new record of 7,630.57. The index also set a new intraday peak of 7,631.85.


“Investor interest continues to be fueled by expectations of good 2014 economic data and revenue growth. We are also pleased to


note that fund managers remain upbeat about the market’s prospects,” said PSE president Hans Sicat.


Elsewhere in the region, markets were mostly higher on rising optimism on Europe, which recently unveiled a massive monetary stimulus.


The day’s upswing was led by the financial and industrial counters. The services and mining/oil counters declined.


Value turnover amounted to P11.66 billion. Market breadth was positive, with 104 advancers outnumbering 91 decliners, while 38 stocks were unchanged.


The PSEi was led higher by AP (+5.14 percent), while Metrobank, FGEN and BDO all rose by over 3 percent. Meralco advanced by 2.96 percent.



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Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.



Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.


To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.


Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:


c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94





Source: Top Stories - Google News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 by Ridgid Sparrow · 0