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SAF Chief Sacked

Police Director Getulio Napeñas, chief of the elite Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), has been relieved of his post following the bloody 12-hour firefight between government troops and elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25.

At a press briefing in Camp Crame on Tuesday, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas II announced that Napeñas was recalled to Manila pending the outcome of the investigation on the fatal clash that claimed the lives of 44 SAF members and injured 12 others.

“Napeñas was given a chance to help recover the bodies of his men from the battlefield but he has been recalled to Manila pending the outcome of the investigation,” Roxas said.

According to Roxas, 392 SAF men were involved in the operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao to capture “high-value targets” Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias ”Marwan” and Jemaah Islamiyah bomb-making expert Basit Usman.

PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said the remaining 336 SAF men who participated in the operation are alive and have been accounted for.

Meanwhile, the PNP has formed a board of inquiry that will investigate possible operational lapses that led to bloody encounter.

The investigation will look into the culpability and liability of officers who directed the SAF operation as well as the external liability of the attackers.

Comprising the board of inquiry are Director Edgardo Ingking of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, Director Benjamin Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and Chief Supt. Catalino Rodrigo of the Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development.