Senators commend bravery of SAF troopers

February 8, 2015

MANILA, Philippines – The 392 members of the Special Action Force (SAF), including the 44 slain commandos, deployed to Maguindanao to arrest top terrorists Zulkilfi bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Basit Usman deserve commendations, four senators said yesterday.

Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda and JV Ejercito lauded the police commandos for their bravery in risking their lives to capture Marwan, who listed as one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, with a $5-million bounty on his head.

They have filed resolutions commending the SAF battalion’s accomplishment.

Sens. Vicente Sotto III, Ferdinand Marcos, Teofisto Guingona, Grace Poe and Gregorio Honasan also praised the gallantry of the police commandos during plenary sessions early this week.

But they pointed out the need for the Senate to conduct an inquiry into the lapses of the covert operation, including reports that resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima was in command of the Jan. 25 Mamasapano raid.

“Despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered and out-positioned, the SAF men gallantly fought to their last bullet, upholding their mandate as PNP officers,” Legarda’s resolution read.

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“The Mamasapano encounter casts serious doubts among lawmakers and the public on the real intent and sincerity in pursuing the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” it added.

Lapid’s resolution sought to recognize the heroism of the police commandos for putting “an end to terrorism brought by the most wanted man in Southeast Asia at the cost of the 44 courageous comrades who were killed in the line of duty.”

The SAF officers were “mutilated,” which was clear violation of human rights and the rules of war, the senator said.

In his resolution, Revilla said “the Senate is pleased to have the opportunity to honor the fallen SAF members and to extend its highest recognition of their courage in the performance of their duty.”

Source: Philstar