"Bakit niyo fininish ‘yung mga tao ko? Kwarenta’y-kwatro ‘yan.”
This is what Philippine National Police Officer-in-charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina had to say as he broke down during a House committee probe on the deadly Mamasapano operation.
Espina, speaking before congressmen, a representative of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and members of the government peace panel, lamented how his men died in the hands of the rebels.
Raw video: Espina turns emotional
“We seek for very clear answers from the other party. Ano ba tong overkill na ito na ginawa niyo sa mga tao ko?,” an enraged, emotional Espina said.
Espina noted that he was not able to sleep after reviewing the medico-legal report, which claimed that some of the Special Action Force men didn’t get fatal shots during the encounter but died after being shot at close range. Forty-four men perished in the operation that targeted terrorist Marwan.
"Inspector Pabalina didn’t suffer any lethal shots. Tinamaan sila sa paa lang, paano namatay 'yan? 'Yung isa binaril niyo sa ulo, buhay na buhay pa yung tao e. 'Yung isa hinubaran niyo ng bullet proof, binaril niyo sa katawan,” Espina added.
Espina maintained that the operation was legal and should not be questioned.
"I seek answers for my people so that when my time comes that I have to face death at least I can say something. Sana nga ho kasama ako ‘dun e nang personal so I can lie down and salute them...it was mission accomplished,” he said.
Espina also lamented that the rebels, supposed members of the MILF, should not have killed his men.
"Ito lang po ang gusto kong itanong e. Nakita niyo na, SAF yan e…kahit na po sinabi nating walang coordination, kahit na sabihin po natin kung sino ang unang nagpaputok, kausap ‘yan e sa usaping pangkatahimikan,” he said.
Police officers at the hearing were also seen crying while sacked SAF Chief Getulio Napeñas hugged and approached Espina after the emotional statement. MILF representative, Rashid Ladiasan, was seen quietly seating opposite Espina.