Napeñas admits Purisima gave go-ahead

Relieved SAF chief Director Getulio Napenas

MANILA — Relieved police Special Action Force (SAF) head Director Getulio Napeñas admitted during a Senate hearing on Monday that it was then-suspended PNP Chief Director Alan Purisima who gave him the go signal to launch the Mamasapano operation.

During the past hearings, Napeñas repeatedly denied that he was getting orders from Purisima, who was suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman over an allegedly anomalous courier contract. Purisima resigned the post after the Mamasapano incident where 44 SAF members were killed.

But at the resumption of the hearing of the Senate this Monday, Senate President Franklin Drilon brought up an exchange of text messages between Napeñas and Purisima on January 13, 2015, or almost two weeks before the Mamasapano operation.

Drilon noted that at 1:07 p.m. of January 13, Napeñas sent a text message to Purisima and recommended “to follow the secondary date as the additional personnel to be used are deployed in Tacloban for the Pope visit. More so, the primary date is too tight while we have a longer window on the secondary.”

The senator then asked Napeñas what he meant by his text.

Napeñas explained that since the visit of Pope Francis early January this year was a priority, he recommended that the Mamasapano operation be done instead on a later date — January 25 to 26.

“That’s secondary date?” asked Drilon to which Napeñas answered “Yes.”

“And in that same text, you said ‘for your consideration and approval’ addressed to Purisima?”” the senator asked again.

“Yes,” Napeñas said.

“That’s on January 13, 2015 at 1:07 p.m. Thats correct?” Drilon asked and Napeñas answered “Yes.”

“And Purisima said at 1:47 pm and I quote: ‘Ok na go, for the secondary schedule.’ Do you confirm that?” the senator asked, to which the sacked SAF head said “Yes.”

“In other words, Purisima gave the approval that you go on the secondary date? Very clear?” asked Drilon.

Napeñas said: “Yes, your honor.”

“While he was under suspension?” the senator asked again. Napeñas said, “Yes, your honor.”

“And in fact, he (Purisima) also told you not to tell Secretary Roxas and Volt Gazmin of this operation while he was on suspension?” said Drilon, referring to Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

Napeñas answered: “Yes, your honor” to Drilon’s last question.