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WATCH | Duterte wants PNP's Dela Rosa to get to the bottom of Mamasapano 24-Jan-17, 5:35 PM | Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon | Maricel Halili, News5

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National

Mamasapano BOI report done, PNP chief Espina wants to be briefed first - Magalong

Members of the Mamasapano Board of Inquiry sign the report Thursday (from left): Police Director Catalino Rodriguez, BOI Chairman and CIDG chief Benjamin Magalong, and C/Supt. John Sosito. PHOTO by Krisken Jones, InterAksyon.com

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - UPDATE 3:56 p.m.- The police Board of Inquiry report on the Mamasapano incident has been printed, and the board's chairman, Director Benjamin Magalong, said Thursday he is awaiting turnover of the copies so they can submit these to the acting PNP chief by 4 p.m.

In an ambush interview with Camp Crame reporters, Magalong declined to reveal the highlights, saying he was leaving it up to the National Police leadership to do so.

According to Magalong, Officer-in-Charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina and the PNP top brass first want to be briefed on the results of the BOI's work before submitting the 120-page document to higher officials.

“We will be submitting at 4 p.m. the BOI result to our PNP OIC General Espina. We’ve here five sets of the BOI result. But first the PNP OIC and other members of the top brass want to know the result and so we will present the result to them,” Magalong, director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), told reporters.

Copies of the BOI report will also go to the offices of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. A copy will be given as well to each of the families of the slain 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF).

In declining to give media even a general outline of the report findings, Magalong explained they had an agreement that the BOI will first submit this to Espina, who in turn will bring the report to Roxas.

The death of 44 members of the police Special Action Force (SAF) in the hands of an overwhelming number of heavily armed members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro islamic Freedom Fighters has dealt President Benigno Aquino III his worst crisis.  

Fears the BOI report might be whitewashed were fanned Monday when the President gave his own narrative of the day's events, pinning the blame on the sacked SAF chief for the operational gaps that exacted such a big casualty count despite the neutralization of Malaysian terrorist Marwan. 

The 12-hour firefight had also killed 18  rebels, according to the MILF, and five civilians.Magalong assured the public the repeated delays in the submission were not due to any attempt to tweak the report in order to suit the "narrative" provided last Monday by President Aquino.

Magalong, however, brushed aside fears that Malacanang Palace played a role in the delays in the BOI report. He cited printing glitches, instead, as the culprit for the latest delays in the submission.

The board was created right after the Mamasapano mission that saw 44 police commandos killed by Moro rebels as they tried to apprehend two terrorists in Maguindanao last January 25.

Magalong flatly denied that Malacañang had anything to do with the delays.

He said the board did not give consideration to the account given by the President at a prayer meeting in the Palace, and "we just stayed focused on our work." He insisted it had "no effect" on the board's work.

Magalong stressed that he was so confident they did a credible report that "I'm sure we can sleep soundly".

'Good reference' for BBL deliberations

Nonetheless, he admitted even they “were surprised [by Aquino’s speech]" at the prayer meeting last Monday, but assured the public that "the report [of BOI] will be truthful and will be a good reference material in the future.”

Asked if the BOI report will have an impact on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) being deliberated on in Congress - some lawmakers called for suspending the deliberations until the truth about Mamasapano is determined - Magalong replied the report will be a good future reference.

“Let us just wait for the [BOI] report is published,” Magalong told reporters at Crame.

The BOI was created in January to conduct a fact-finding investigation on why an anti-terror operation by the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) in Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano town, dubbed “Oplan Exodus,” ended in disaster: one of the two terrorist targets was killed but 44 police commandos died, in a 10-hour battle with Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

The inquiry was sought after initial investigation showed, not just contradictory claims between the SAF and the military which was tapped to provide them mechanized support, but also an apparent disruption in the chain of command - with commander-in-chief Aquino dealing with suspended PNP chief Allan Purisima instead of Espina.

Purisima was forced to resign altogether amid the furor created by revelations he was presenting the Oplan; and reporting on operational details as the mission unfolded, to Aquino. With a report by Thom Andrade, InterAksyon.com

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