Aquino accepts Purisima resignation, Mar on Purisima, TransAsia hero | The wRap

Today on Rappler.

Two senior government sources tell Rappler President Aquino announced to about a dozen key Cabinet members he accepts the resignation of suspended police chief Alan Purisima. Purisima’s lawyer says, as far as he knows, Purisima has not resigned. Purisima is under preventive suspension for corruption allegations. Despite his suspension, Purisima still headed a terrorist manhunt that ended in the death of 44 elite cops in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25. The resignation comes as Interior Secretary Mar Roxas denies charges he demanded the President fire Purisima and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa last Tuesday. The bloodbath pushes the rivalry and animosity between the Philippine military and the police to the forefront as chiefs from both sides trade charges. In a presscon Thursday, acting police chief Leonardo Espina lashes out at the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF for what he called an “overkill” in Mamasapano. The Special Forces, surrounded and overpowered, came under rebel fire for 12 hours.

LEONARDO ESPINA, ACTING CHIEF, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE: Pinatay nila tao ko. idedemanda namin silang lahat. who are culpable, who are liable idedemanda natin sila lahat. (They killed my men. We will file charges against all of them, all who are culpable and liable, we will file charges.)

Espina on Thursday says the looting adds insult to injury.

LEONARDO ESPINA, ACTING CHIEF, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE: Hindi inyo yun. May usapin tayong peace process. Kung sinuman po dito ang ayaw ng giyera, kami po yun. We are always for peace. Overkill ito. Fininish pa ninyo ang mga tao ko kaya yung mga gamit namin isoli ninyo. We demand that you return it to us. (Those are not yours. We agreed on a peace process. If there’s anyone who doesn’t want a war, it’s us. This is overkill. You finished my men. Return our items.)

The Philippine government and the MILF are in backchannel talks for the return of the weapons. The MILF is under intense pressure to prove its sincerity after the deadly clash, which occurred in one of its strongholds.

A Rappler exclusive: Top terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan evaded arrest for more than a decade by marrying into at least 3 Filipino families. Ren-Ren Dongon is the brother of one of Marwan’s Filipina wives, the widow of former Abu Sayyaf leader, Khadaffy Janjalani. In February 2012, Dongon and Marwan survived a US smart bomb dropped by the Philippine Air Force in Parang, Sulu. By June 2012 the brothers in law relocated to Central Mindanao where Dongon learned to build bombs. Later, Marwan asked Dongon to build two explosives that targeted the Cagayan de Oro office of media company GMA-7 for showing the film that angered the muslim world, the Innocence of Islam. The 2nd bomb failed to detonate because Dongon’s companion forgot to turn on the power source. For the full details read: EXCLUSIVE: Marwan’s ties that bind: Ren-Ren Dongon.

*Editor's note: *The video names Aminah, Abu Solaiman's widow, as the wife of Marwan based on Ren-Ren Dongon's May 27, 2013 interrogation report. The text has been corrected and annotated on video to reflect subsequent intelligence reports, including from a western agency, that clarify Marwan married Zainab, Janjalani's widow. 

The Philippines files two protests against China in the disputed Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea. The Department of Foreign Affairs or DFA says the incident damaged the vessels and endangered the lives of Filipino fishermen on Panatag shoal. It adds, China was also collecting giant clams in disputed waters.

Taiwanese aviation experts call the pilot of the TransAsia plane a hero for steering the plane away from populated areas and high-rise buildings. The aircraft had 53 passengers and five crew on board when it crashed February 4. Taiwanese rescuers are scouring the river for 12 people still missing. 15 survived the crash, including a toddler. Reports say the father was able to pull his wife to safety and then resuscitate his son after spotting him in the water, blue and unresponsive. The family was originally seated on the heavily damaged side of the plane, but had asked to switch seats on a hunch. This video shows another family with a toddler being rescued. The child was pulled alive from the wreckage and lifted into an inflatable boat. Authorities say the death toll is at least 31 with more bodies located including those of the pilot and co-pilot.

US news anchor Brian Williams admits that a story he has often repeated on air about coming under fire in Iraq was not true. Williams, who anchors "NBC Nightly News," says he was not in the aircraft that was fired on but “was instead in a following aircraft." Williams last repeated the story January 30 in a tribute to a retired soldier involved in protecting the chopper. Crew members of the Chinook helicopter and Williams' aircraft exposed the lie in interviews with media. Willians explains, the story was “a bungled attempt” to thank veterans “those who have served while I did not."

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Production Staff