PROGUN honors the fallen SAF 44

The deaths of the 44 PNP SAF troopers in a raid in Maguindanao last 26 January 2015 has left an entire nation in grief and mourning as well as a lot of questions unanswered. The apparent mission of the operation was for the SAF troopers to go into Barangay Mamasapano Maguindanao, the lair of the Islamic secessionist groups MILF and BIFF, and kill terrorists Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman who were hiding there. This, the largest number of casualties in a single PNP operation, has brought forth many questions the answers of which are sorely demanded by the familes of the victims and the public in general. At this point the technicalities or the "how" of the operation is not so important as the "why": why were there highly trained troops sent in to the heart of enemy territory without back up or reinforcements and no coordination with other higher officials such as DILG Sec. Mar Roxas and PNP OIC Leonardo Espina, or the Army? Why was the operation entrusted to suspended Chief PNP Alan Purisima? Why were there US personnel involved and present during the operation? Was it the reward money involved?

In any other country in the world such as Jordan, Egypt, and Israel, terrorist acts of this nature would have been met with punishing military retaliatory strikes on the terrorists. Our government instead chose to sue for peace with the terrorists and praise them for their "restraint". While different governments may have differing styles, the public has seen this as a weak reaction to a colossal tragedy that has beset our PNP and our nation as a whole. Relatives demanding "justice" clearly want something to be done.

What is more disturbing is that it has been nearly a month since the encounter at Maguindanao and no clear answers have been provided. As a result numerous theories ranging from the reward money for Gen. Purisima to the Nobel Peace prize for President Aquino have been advanced, none of which have been substantiated. As always, matters which are left unclear or unaswered give rise to speculation. In the military and PNP, combat deaths of this magnitude which are unexplained give rise to unrest and demands for accountability. In any case, the Flipino people likewise demand answers if justice is to be served for the fallen 44. Investigations and inquiries can only serve their purpose if concrete answers are given.