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Mamasapano Case Study

MANILA, Philippines — The findings of the Philippine National Police’s Board of Inquiry (PNP-BOI) on the January 25 Mamasapano incident was made available online on Friday after it was submitted to Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. is re-posting the full report here:

Conclusions of the BOI report:

1. The President gave the go-signal and allowed the execution of Oplan Exodus after the concept of operations (CONOPS) was presented to him by Director of Special Action Force (SAF) Police Director Getulio Napeñas.

2. The President allowed the participation of the suspended Chief Philippine National Police (CPNP) Police Director General Alan Purisima in the planning and execution of the Oplan Exodus despite the suspension order of the Ombudsman.

3. The President exercised his prerogative to deal directly with Napeñas instead of Officer-in-Charge of the PNP (OIC-PNP) Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina. While the President has the prerogative to deal directly with any of his subordinates, the act of dealing with Napeñas instead of OIC-PNP Espina bypassed the established PNP Chain of Command. Under the Manual for PNP Fundamental Doctrine, the Chain of Command runs upward and downward. Such Manual requires the commander to discharge his responsibilities through a Chain of Command.

4. The suspended CPNP Purisima violated the preventive suspension order issued by the Ombudsman when he participated in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus. He also violated the Special Order No. 9851 dated December 16, 2014 issued by OIC-PNP Espina, directing him and other suspended PNP officers to “cease and desist from performing the duties and functions of their respective offices during the pendency of the case until its termination.”

5. In the same meeting where the President instructed Napeñas and suspended CPNP Purisima to coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), PDG Purisima thereafter said to Napeñas: “Ako na ang bahala kay Catapang.” The PNP Ethical Doctrine Manual cites, “Word of Honor – PNP members’ word is their bond. They stand by and commit to it.” The statement of Purisima may be construed as an assurance of providing the coordination instructed by the President.

6. Suspended CPNP Purisima provided inaccurate information to the President about the actual situation on the ground when he sent text messages to the President stating that SAF Commandos were pulling out, and that they were supported by mechanized and artillery support.

7. Despite his knowledge of the suspension order issued by the Ombudsman, Napeñas followed the instructions of suspended CPNP Purisima not to inform OIC-PNP and the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government (SILG) Mar Roxas about Oplan Exodus. This violated the PNP Chain of Command.

8. Napeñas failed to effectively supervise, control and direct personnel, which resulted in heavy casualties of the SAF Commandos. Under the Manual on Fundamental Doctrines, Command Responsibility means that a commander is responsible for effectively supervising, controlling, and directing his personnel. Under the same doctrine, a commander is responsible for what his unit does or fails to do.

9. Napeñas followed his Time-on-Target (TOT) coordination concept despite the directive of the President to coordinate with the AFP prior to the operation.

10. The TOT coordination concept adopted by the SAF does not conform with the established and acceptable operational concepts and protocols of the PNP.

11. The protocols of the established peace process mechanisms, through the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), were not observed during the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus.

12. The mission planning of Oplan Exodus was defective due to: (1) poor analysis of the area of operation; (2) unrealistic assumptions; (3) poor intelligence estimate; (4) absence of abort criteria; (5) lack of flexibility in its CONOPS; (6) inappropriate application of TOT; and (7) absence of prior coordination with the AFP and AHJAG.

13. The following factors affected the execution of CONOPS: (1) mismanaged movement plan from staging area to Vehicle-Drop-Off Point (VDOP); (2) failure to occupy the designated way points; (3) ineffective communication system among the operating troops; (4) unfamiliarity with the terrain in the area of operation; (5) non-adherence to operational/tactical Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs); (6) lack of situational awareness among commanders; and (6) breakdown in the command and control.

14. Artillery support from 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (6ID-PA) was not delivered when needed most because Major General Edmundo Pangilinan, Division Commander of 6ID, considered the on-going peace process and protocols in the use of artillery.

15. The lack of situational awareness, limited cover and concealment, ineffective communication, and sustained enemy fire prevented the 1st Special Action Battalion (1SAB) and 4SAB containment forces from reinforcing the beleaguered 55th Special Action Company (SAC) troops.

16. CCCH and AHJAG undertook all efforts to reinstate the ceasefire. “Pintakasi” and the loose command and control of the MILF leaders over their field forces contributed to the difficulty in reinstating the ceasefire.

17. Some of the radios of the SAF Commandos were unreliable because these were not designed for military-type tactical operations. The batteries had poor power-retention capability due to wear-and-tear. Furthermore, SAF radios were not compatible with AFP radios for interoperability.

18. There was a breakdown of command and control at all levels due to ineffective and unreliable communication among and between the operating units.

19. There are indications that 55th SAC was not able to secure its perimeter, conduct reconnaissance, occupy vantage positions and establish observation posts.

20. Several rounds of ammunition of M203 grenade launchers were defective.

21. The United States involvement was limited to intelligence sharing and medical evacuation. Only SAF Commandos were involved in the actual combat operation of Oplan Exodus.

22. Autopsy reports indicate that four (4) SAF Commandos were shot at close-range while they were still alive. Records also indicate the possibility that some SAF Commandos were stripped-off their protective vests prior to being shot at close-range.

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TAGS: board of inquiry, BOI, Government, Mamasapano report, PNP, Police

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Families of SAF 44 cry for justice two years after Mamasapano


by Jun Ramirez and Chito A. Chavez

Relatives of Mamasapano massacre victims and three cause-oriented groups picketed in front of the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City yesterday to demand the immediate filing of criminal charges against former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for his role in the slaying of 44 troopers of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) by Muslim rebels two years ago.

The Ombudsman did not include Aquino when it filed the other day multiple homicide through reckless imprudence and usurpation of authority cases before the Sandiganbayan against former PNP chief Alan Purisima and former SAF head Getulio Napeñas for allegedly masterminding the bungled operations to capture Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli  Bin Hir alias Marwan, despite the fact that the former police head was under suspension for his alleged involvement in a separate graft case.

The rallyists said the Ombudsman should now amend its complaint to include the former President who lost his immunity from suit when he stepped down from Malacañang last July, 2016.

TRIBUTE TO THE FALLEN – In Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, troops of the Special Action Force present arms during a tribute to 44 of their comrades who were killed in a clash with Muslim militants in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, exactly two years ago yesterday. (Ali Vicoy | Manila Bulletin)


Former President Aquino said he is now studying allegations implicating him in the tragic Mamasapano incident.

“We just want to make sure of our reply na we’d double check all of our facts so I’ve been [checking] this morning, checking all the facts,” Aquino said.

“It took us a while to get the transcript. I’m meeting with my legal counsel this (Wednesday) afternoon and we’re crafting a statement. In the meantime, we are checking all of the facts,” he added.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the criminal complaints filed against former President Aquino are still pending preliminary investigation as the former president sought extension of the deadline to file his counter affidavits.

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), and the Citizens Crime Watch (CCW) joined the demonstration to show their support for the families of SAF 44.

VACC Chairman Dante Jimenez threatened to file impeachment proceedings against Ombudsman Morales if she continues to delay the filing of multiple homicide charges against the former President who appointed her to the post.

Jimenez noted that VACC submitted a string of criminal complaints against Aquino shortly after leaving Malacañang in July last year, “but up to now we do not know the status of the case.”


Morales has ordered the Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to explain why it took seven months for the Mamasapano case to reach the Sandiganbayan.

Morales said the charges against Purisima and Napenas were due for filing in June last year, but the case reached the anti-graft court only the other day.

She said they are still looking at the records whether the delayed filing was an isolated case.

She admitted that the delayed filing was discovered when ABS-CBN reporter Carolyn Bonquin inquired about the case on its second anniversary.


The families and relatives of the Mamasapano massacre victims held a press conference yesterday calling for the inclusion of former President Aquino in the charges.

An emotional Telly Sumbilla, mother of PO3 John Lloyd Sumbilla, pointed to Aquino’s accountability being the commander-in-chief then and the one who gave the order to conduct the operation.

After two years, Sumbilla wailed with grief stating that justice has yet to be served with no one among the guilty parties, including the former president, being made answerable for the death of the 44 police officers who were virtually put into the lion’s den.

“Humihingi kami ng hustisya sa pagkamatay ng aming anak na hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay wala pang hustisya (We are seeking for justice for the death of our children),’’ Sumbilla said.

Ferdinand Topacio, counsel for nine SAF members, blamed former Department of Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima in directing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a parallel investigation for coming out with a report “na puro burado (with erasures).”

“Literally, just a cover up,” Topacio said, showing the De Lima report full of erasures.


Senator Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday assured the families of the 44 SAF members that justice would be served under the Duterte administration, something they failed to achieve during the previous government.

Sen. Nancy Binay also backed the formation of an independent commission that would get to the bottom of the Mamasapano issue.

“The search for truth and justice continues. We should persist in uncovering the answers to some of the questions left hanging, and let those responsible for the deaths of the 44 face the courts,” Binay said.


Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles wants the real truth to come out behind the bloody encounter in Mamasapano  for the peace of the souls of those who died in the incident.

The prelate said he is in favor of reopening the investigation on the Mamasapano encounter . (With reports from Martin A. Sadongdong, Hannah L. Torregoza, and Leslie Ann G. Aquino)

Tags: 44 troopers, Alan Purisima, Families of SAF 44 cry for justice two years after Mamasapano, Getulio Napeñas, Mamasapano massacre, Manila Bulletin,, News today, Office of the Ombudsman, Philippine National Police, Philippine news, President Aquino, President Duterte, Special Action Force