PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday was formally asked by National Police Commission to posthumously confer the Medal of Valor (Medalya ng Kagitingan) to 42 other members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force who were massacred in an ambush by Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters in Mamasapano town two years ago.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary and concurrent NAPOLCOM Chairman Ismael D. Sueno endorsed to the Office of the President Resolution No. 2017-077 dated January 31, 2017, recommending the conferment of the PNP’s highest award on the 42 SAF heroes.
NAPOLCOM Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer Atty. Rogelio T. Casurao explained that only 42 of the 44 slain PNP-SAF troopers were recommended to receive the PNP’s highest honor since two of them, P/Chief Insp. Gednat G. Tabdi and PO2 Romeo C. Cempron, were already bestowed with the said honor during the time of Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III. He also said the 44 elite policemen were awarded with the PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal-Posthumous (Medalya ng Kabayanihan) on November 25, 2015.
“While the NAPOLCOM is committed to cleanse the PNP of rogue cops, it also continues to recognize commendable acts, self-sacrifice and bravery of our police officers. We will never forget the SAF 44 heroes. It is only right and just to award all of them with the highest recognition, the Medal of Valor or Medalya ng Kagitingan,” Casurao said.
Under Republic Act No. 9049 (An Act Granting Monthly Gratuity and Privileges to an Awardee of Medal of Valor), Medal of Valor awardees are entitled to a lifetime monthly pension of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) with several incentives and special privileges. Among the benefits already received by the 44 SAF troopers from the NAPOLCOM were one-rank posthumous promotion, gratuity and pension for their families, and NAPOLCOM scholarship grant for their children.
Records showed that the specially trained policemen have just slain a most wanted Malaysian terrorist, Zulkifli Bin Hir otherwise known as Marwan and Basit Usman, when they were waylaid in the town of Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Their commander, Director Getulio Napeñas, was quickly blamed by then Pres. Aquino for the debacle.
Nevertheless, Aquino remains silent as to the alleged participation of then suspended PNP Chief, Director General Alan Purisima on the Mamasapano operation. Napeñas and Purisima are now both facing charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the massacre of the 44 PNP-SAF operatives.
Meanwhile, NAPOLCOM sources said the commission’s recent recommendation was an attempt to rectify the failure of the PNP Board during the preceding Aquino administration to recommend the awarding of the Medal of Valor to all PNP-SAF operatives who were massacred.