Honor the Fallen 44, Napeñas

THE second national address of BSA3 was essentially done to accept publicly, the resignation of suspended Chief PNP Alan Purisima. A sacrificial lamb to an arena shouting kill. It would have been more than just that had Purisima and his PR handlers given BSA3 his time under the klieg lights until the next news cycle. But alas, none of that. In the vernacular, “nagsaluhan” publicly.

THE second national address of BSA3 was essentially done to accept publicly, the resignation of suspended Chief PNP Alan Purisima. A sacrificial lamb to an arena shouting kill. It would have been more than just that had Purisima and his PR handlers given BSA3 his time under the klieg lights until the next news cycle. But alas, none of that. In the vernacular, “nagsaluhan” publicly.

It is a no no in presidential communication to undercut the President whenever one addresses the nation. A national address is a major policy pronouncement. When a president has the stage, you give him time until the next news cycle. Whoever did PR for Purisima, just ignited another fire with these opening lines: “Isa pong kasinungalingan. Hindi po ako nagmamando.” That statement pulled the rug under BSA3 and made the relieved SAF Director Getulio Napeñas the only accountable person in this sordid mess.

BSA3 in his first national address on Mapapasano talked about “actionable intelligence” while in the second, “situational awareness.” What is actionable intelligence? It is a “product developed for commanders and soldiers to provide shared situational understanding allowing commanders and soldiers to operate with the speed, accuracy, and timeliness necessary to conduct successful operations.”

“Actionable intelligence” is having all the proper “supporting information, analysis and resources to act. Meaning that you have the full puzzle picture, and are fully prepared to act based on the collection and analysis of the pieces of that puzzle. A strategic example would be “one would have information on the enemy’s location, abilities/capabilities and support resources. One would have clear analysis on the projected enemy reaction to any actions taken and you would have analysis of the level of force necessary to act (ground, sea and air forces). One would have all the resources readily deployable to the theater of operation and one would have a primary strategy as well as contingency strategies ready and available.” It would be like walking into Malacañang with “war plans drawn and ready, everything is set, resources are in place, the information is as good as it’s going to get and all you are waiting on is the green light.” So, who gave the go signal to Napeñas? Of course, the logical answer is someone higher than him in the chain of command.

Operationally, one would have “good information on the enemy’s location, abilities/capabilities and support resources”. One would have a good plan of attack and you have the tactical assets available in the operational area. One would have coordinated with all supporting units and are fully ready to act. Tactically, soldiers are “boots on ground and get solid information on the enemy, one has support in route or standing by and has the ability to act.”

Purisima said in his public appearance after 12 days of silence that he only gave intelligence packs. If so, he was involved in the planning and on what BSA3 termed as “actionable intelligence.” The fact that he was suspended and he was involved in the get go, Purisima practically made himself and BSA3 liable for violating the order of the Ombudsman.

“Situational analysis” states that it is “the perception of elements in the environment within the volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the project of their status in the near future.” The situational awareness model requires that a person or a group of people, assess and become aware of relevant factors in their current environment, consider any implications of these factors and foresee future consequences.”

And these lines from the second national address are very revealing: “Sa ating pag-aaral sa talagang nangyari, dahil nga malaki na ang ipinagbago ng sitwasyong dinatnan sa inaasahan na plano, may di-bababa sa tatlong pagkakataon kung kailan maaaring in-abort o pinagpaliban ang operasyon, o di kaya’y binago nang husto ang plano. Tumindi pa ang pangangailangang gawin iyon, dahil alam niyang walang koordinasyon sa inaasahang ayuda, at manipis, kung mayroon man, ang maitutulong ng Sandatahang Lakas dahil walang sapat na panahon na makapaghanda.” So, who gave the go?

BSA3 further asked: “Bakit nangyaring walang koordinasyon? Bakit itinuloy ang misyon gayong napakalihis na nito sa orihinal na plano, at napakalaking peligro na ang kinakaharap ng ating mga tropa? Iyan po, at marami pang iba, ang mga tanong na bumabagabag sa aking isip. Magkakaroon po ng pagkakataon ang dating SAF commander na ipaliwanag ang mga ito sa kanyang pagharap sa kinauukulan.” So, who gave the go?

From Luneta to Mamasapano, BSA3 has been blaming others. Yes, he owed up to being the father and being responsible for the failed operation but that is not enough. He never admitted any responsibility at the decision making and operational levels. So what exactly do you know as commander-in-chief? Why were you in Zamboanga? Were the Americans involved? Or would this be the subjects of a third national address?

What really happened between 2100H on Saturday, 24 January and 0400H on Sunday, 25 January? What were the orders? What were the assessments? Was BSA3 aware/informed or involved at the levels of decision making and execution? Was he monitoring? Was Purisima monitoring? Why would Purisima instruct Napenas to inform only Espina once they had carried out the mission? Espina said he got a text message from Napeñas at about 0530H when the troopers were already engaged. Who caused the break in the chain of command?

Chief Supt. Getulio Napeñas is a member of PMA Class 1982. He is not new to Mindanao. He had stints in “Sultan Kudarat province and in Parang, Maguindanao while still a young police lieutenant. He was the provincial police director of South Cotabato in 2005 and served the area for at least two years. Prior to that, Napenas served as commander of the Philippine police contingent to the United Nations peace keeping force in Kosovo. Before he was assigned as PNP-SAF director in December 2013, Napeñas was also the PNP regional director for Caraga or Region 13.

Napenas is said to have “the respect of his men and one who, in terms of academics and experience, has exceptional record.”

Director Napenas once said, “mine honor is my life; both grow in one; take honor from me, and my life is done.” Honor us with the whole truth. Honor your men who died because of your command.

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About the Author
Malou Tiqiua is the Founder/General Manager of PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. A noted political management expert in the Philippines and Asia, she brings over 20 years of professional experience in public, private and the academe combined. Author of the comprehensive book on electoral campaigns in the Philippines, "Campaign Politics", Malou is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a Political Science degree and a Master of Public Administration. She completed her second master's degree (MA in Political Management) from the Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University.
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