“Stop fooling us, sir!”—Army commander reportedly told Napeñas during op to save SAF men

Photo Credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Major General Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao, was reportedly so incensed by sacked Special Action Force commander Getulio Napeñas’ failure to completely divulge the locations of the pinned Special Action Force commandos that he banged his fists on the table and gave the PNP official an earful.

The incident happened at a command post set up by the army as they raced against time to save the doomed policemen, shared a source who declined to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter.

According to the source, it was around late afternoon when the army was concentrating its efforts to save the men from the 55th Special Action Force when Napeñas belatedly told Pangilinan that another team, the 84th Seaborne, was also pinned down somewhere.

Photo Credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer
Photo Credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer

This late disclosure apparently angered Pangilinan that he reportedly told Napeñas: “Stop fooling us, sir!” You’re asking for help but you don’t know the location of your troops? Then you want artillery fire?”

In reply, Napeñas could only request his PMA underclassman to fire the artillery, the source said.

Unfair for the Army

The same source said Pangilinan had actually considered using artillery earlier but Brigadier General Charlie Galvez of the ceasefire monitor pleaded with him not to as they were also trying their best to contact the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the SAF men.

He said Pangilinan and the 6th Infantry Division were hurting over Napeñas’ allegations that they didn’t do enough to save the doomed policemen.

The officials of the 6th ID said it was unfair for everyone to blame them and Pangilinan given that they were informed too late about the SAF operation.

According to them, Pangilinan was an able commander who was instrumental in the rescue of evangelist Wilde Almeda and a dozen pastors of the Jesus Miracle Crusade from the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu back in October 2000.