Today the findings of the Philippine National Police’s Board of Inquiry in regards to the Mamasapano disaster, known as Oplan Exodus, were made public. Not surprisingly, DILG Secretary Mar Roxas absolved President Aquino of any involvement. But hey. We all know that was just a political stunt to secure himself as the Liberal Party’s standard bearer in the 2016 presidential elections.
After reading the report. You can judge for yourself who’s really at fault 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.