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29 of Fallen 44 shot in head execution style

  • Written by Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 3500

EVEN as the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces are trying to verify an information that slain Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan’s Filipino associate Abdulbasit Usman was shot and seriously wounded during the infamous January 25 secret police mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25, there have been reports claiming 29 of the 44 fallen Special Action Force commandos were shot in the head by their attackers.
Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge Deputy Director General Leonardo A. Espina neither confirmed nor denied reports that an autopsy conducted on the Fallen 44 showed that 29 of them suffered gunshot wounds in the head, face and neck, an indication that they were shot at close range. However, Espina this week told lawmakers that two of the slain SAF officers were killed in a treacherous manner with a video even showing another SAF commando identified as Police Officer 2 Joseph Sagonoy being shot in the head twice as he pled for his life.
The manner of the killings also indicated three of the ill-fated troopers were shot after their bullet-proof vests were removed before they were fatally shot.
However, Espina called on the public to wait for the result of the investigation being conducted by the PNP Board of Inquiry chaired by Director Benjamin B. Magalong of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group before making any conclusion. He also said that the BoI will see to it that the truth and nothing but the truth will be established by their investigation.

Reports said that the SAF commandos were stripped of their bullet-proof vests by gunmen from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters before being shot while still alive. An autopsy conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory showed that Inspector Rennie Tayrus was shot in the head, back and lower body while Senior Inspector Ryan Pabalinas, the officer who made the last radio call to his superior before being killed was shot at least 14 times, mostly in the head, neck and body.
Another officer, Senior Inspector Gednat Tabdi, the commando who cut off Marwan’s  index finger for DNA sampling, was shot in the head once while the “last man standing,” Senior Inspector Max Jim Tria suffered a gunshot wound in the left arm and left thigh. Tria was found clutching two hand grenades.

Usman wounded
PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso R. Cerbo Jr. said it will be up to the BoI to release their findings on the Mamasapano operation. However he added that the PNP is validating Maguindanao Governor Esmael ‘Toto’ Mangudadatu’s claim that he has credible sources who have confirmed that Usman was wounded during the gunbattle with the SAF commandos and is having difficulty moving around in the province.
The governor said sources told him that Usman was shot in the shoulder and is already having difficulty moving around due to a mild stroke. He added that some armed companions of Usman were also wounded in the SAF operation.
Gen. Espina said security forces are pressing their hunt for Usman although he did not give further details.                
Usman escaped an assault by the PNP-SAF last January 25 but the commandos managed to kill Marwan during an exchange of fire.  The US Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that Marwan died during the SAF operation as proven by his DNA samples which matched that of his brother Rahmat Abdhir who has been held in a California facility since 2007 on terrorism charges.
Espina added that the BoI is looking into reports that Marwan and Usman have trained a number of Filipino bomb-makers in Mindanao prior to the Maguindanao raid.
He said that criminal charges will be filed against members of the MILF and the BIFF s who killed the Fallen 44 as soon as the BoI finishes its investigation. “I’d like this to be a very very truthful inquiry and after the investigation is over, we will file the criminal charges,” he said.
He also ordered PNP-SAF officer-in-charge Chief Superintendent Nol Taliño to prepare an inventory report on the weapons and other armaments stolen by the MILF and the BIFF gunmen from the SAF commandos. Gen. Espina called on the MILF to return the SAF weapons and other armaments and warned others who may purchase the commando guns they will face the full might of the law and will be arrested and charged for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013.
A total of 392 SAF officers and men were involved in the Mamasapano operation which was not cleared by the SAF leadership with Espina and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.
Director Getulio Napeñas, the PNP-SAF commander who was relieved of his post in the aftermath of the Mamasapano massacre, on Wednesday said that suspended PNP chief, Director General Alan LM Purisima ordered him to inform Espina only after the operation had started to get Marwan who is wanted in several countries.
President Aquino said he has ordered a manhunt for Usman as he vowed to get justice for the deaths of the Fallen 44.
Espina said he is angry since his colleagues became victims of “overkill.” He said there were indications that some of the fallen officers were given the coup de grace while they were already pleading for their lives. Some of the slain policemen could hardly be recognized since their heads and faces were shattered after being shot at point-blank.