The head of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has called for a “full and satisfactory accounting” of the police operation that lead to the killing of 44 Philippine National Police.
On January 25th, three platoons of the police’s Special Action Force (SAF) conducted a raid on the guerilla enclave of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
While the country has rallied in support of the fallen policemen and their families, questions remain as to how and why the operation came to be ordered without proper consultation with those in command in the region.
Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, President of the CBCP, was among the many who voiced concerns on how the raid unfolded.
“Why, for one, were the highest-ranking official of the Philippine National Police [PNP] and his civilian superior, the Secretary of Interior and Local Government [DILG], left out of the loop of information, consultation and command?”
He also commented on reports that Allan Purisima, a suspended police officer, was present and allegedly took control of the operation.
“Why should he have been giving orders? And if he was in fact issuing orders and commands, should it not be clear that his authority to do so, precisely because he was laboring under a legitimate order of suspension, emanated from higher levels?” Archbishop Villegas asked.
Concluding his statement, the CBCP president said that concealing the truth, even to spare a superior’s embarrassment was morally wrong and reminded those in authority of their duty to speak the truth.
“We therefore urge all witnesses and all those in possession of information material to the resolution of facts in issue to speak the truth at all times,” he stated.