MANILA, Philippines – Questions on whether resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisiman had misled President Benigno Aquino III on operational details of the January 25 clash in Mamasapano surfaced at the resumption of the Senate probe into the incident on Monday, February 23.
During the hearing, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the President may have been satisfied with Purisima's reports via text messages that the military has already deployed its assets to help the Special Action Force troopers on the morning of January 25. (READ: SAF asked the military for fire support)
Several senators, including Senate committee on public order chairman Grace Poe shared, shared the sentiment.
The text messages were first divulged in an executive session. Poe said the committee decided to release them, noting that it will be good for Aquino.
During the hearing, Purisima himself admitted to senators that he was the one who informed the President of what was happening on the ground, despite his suspension at the time over graft charges.
In a series of text messages between Purisima and Aquino, which was presented to the Senate, it became clear that Purisima was the link between the President and the Special Action Force (SAF) command in the early hours of the clash on January 25.
While Purisima had an exchange of text messages with Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero on the morning of the clash, the latter lamented that there was no prior coordination with the military.
“Kung nasabihan kami (If we had been told) earlier, I could have deployed air assets a day before. No coordination was made with us,” said Guerrero.
Below is a transcript of the February 23 hearing:
Below are stories from the February 23 Senate hearing on the Mamasapano clash: