We Filipinos also clamored for truth and transparency in government. now that the we finally get a so admirable an account as the Philippine National Police board of inquiry’s Mamasapano Report, we must show that we know what to do with the truth.
The BOI (board of inquiry) report is now out and ready for download from every media outlet. The crisply written 112 pages are easy to read in one sitting. Here, the minute details of the operation are clearly discussed. The questions bugging every Juan dela Cruz mind can now be answered. The truth is all there. It is up for the reader - to know what to do with the truth.
Here are some damaging truth about the report that readers should ponder on:
1. The executive summary’s first sentence is telling: “Sixty-seven (67) Filipinos died in Mamasapano, Maguindanao as a result of an encounter triggered by Operation Plan (Oplan) Exodus.” Sixty-seven because one must add the civilian and Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other rebel casualties to the 44 PNP Special Action Force casualties.
2. The operation was a poorly planned, poorly coordinated one that resulted in needless deaths. Many flaws are painfully detailed. With the President’s approval, suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima assumed a seeming command role. Purisima misinformed the President and gave him the impression that the SAF was withdrawing under artillery support when one company was in fact being decimated in a cornfield without reinforcement. SAF commander Getulio Napeñas failed to coordinate with the army yet assured his men of artillery support.
3. The report’s most damning line reads: “There was a breakdown of command and control at all levels due to ineffective and unreliable communication among and between the operating units.” Purisima and Napeñas sent text messages instead of urgently calling the President and generals. SAF troops used nonmilitary-grade radios that broke down. Units had to determine each other’s location by firing distinctive gunshots. The report even cites a GPS breakdown, dud grenades and the failure of the 55th Company (which had only one survivor) to spot a defensible row of coconut trees 100 meters behind it."
4. the BOI report concludes that President Benigno Aquino III violated the chain of command when he allowed suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima to have a role in a bungled counterterrorism mission that cost the lives of 44 police commandos on Jan. 25.
5. The unmistakable conclusion is that the SAF 44 were killed as much by overconfident, reckless planning as they were by actual bullets.
A lot of our questions have now been answered. But the next question is: “What do we do with the Mamasapano Report’s difficult truth?
My say: One must accept the truth and handle it wisely.