by Major General Romeo Poquiz (Ret)
For 2 years, I kept my outrage on the Mamasapano incident to myself. With nobody punished on its 2nd year anniversary today, however, I cannot anymore contain my outrage I have to publicly speak up.
As a former Air Force helicopter pilot deployed in the field, my crew and I were always on the alert. When calls for air support from engaged Army, Marines or Police ground forces were received, we were up in the air in no time at all and delivered the required assistance – be it aerial fire support or close air support, medical or casualty evacuation, food or ammo resupply, transport of reinforcement troops, etc.
We did these to the ground troops despite them coming from different branches of service.
We did these even if we sometimes have to violate Air Force regulations such as flying at night, during inclement weather, flying without a buddy aircraft, extremely dangerous combat situations, etc.
We did these even when there were no prior coordination to us by the ground troops on their operation, and we had to improvise in order to locate them to support them.
We did these even when there were no orders yet from air force commanders for us to fly and conduct the missions.
We did these again and again even if our helicopters were riddled with bullet holes after every mission.
These are the reasons why I cannot anymore contain my outrage on the Mamasapano incident where 44 precious lives of soldiers /policemen comrades were lost.
There were PAF helicopters and close air support aircraft in Zamboanga and Davao on that day, yet not a single aircraft flew to support the SAF. Not even for persuasion flights.
Why? The Air Force commanders said there was no order for them to dispatch the aircrafts.
I would have hanged myself if I was the Air Force commander.
A US helicopter picked up the dead and wounded instead of a Philippine Air Force helicopter. Son of a gun!
The request for support by the SAF was not an ordinary request for assistance. It was an S.O.S. It was for a rescue. The troops were sitting ducks and were being slaughtered, some with their heads decapitated – the massacres were even being witnessed live via US drone monitor by a president at the 3rd Air Division headquarters in Zamboanga City.
Why was there no artillery support given despite the pleas of the police commanders?
Because there was no prior coordination on the operation and you were not given the exact grid coordinates.
For 12 hours?
You should have at least fired blank artillery rounds, or fired white phosphorus on the long and wide Mamasapano River, so that the dying troops may have heard the cannon fires and at least thought that they were supported before they finally breathed their last.
You did not rescue the SAF troops, despite their dying pleas, because you did not want to displease a president, who probably was on his lucid intervals, and who salivated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Putangina pa rin!
And you call yourselves commanders and commander-in-chief?
And you sleep soundly at night?
Source: Major General Romeo Poquiz (Ret)