The Skirmish

Command  Responsibility

 Part 2  The Skirmish



  1. The one thing going for Generals Purisima and Napenas in the planning stages of this operation is that they know exactly where the target is. And this knowledge virtually gave them 80% assurance that they will get their man. They had an informant who may have formed the habit of toying with his cell phone which was equipped with video capture. I presume that he is either a double agent, or he worked for both sides to favor the one side which had the advantage. And while he confirmed where Marwan was before the assault, I presume that he was also the one who sounded the alarm after he detached himself from the assault force. He may be also seen as the one with the MILF ambush group, and shooting over the heads of the SAF to keep up with appearances. He probably received his reward via “diplomatic” procedures.


  1. This man may be the source of the all-true narrative of the skirmish. This narrative of his regarding the skirmish all but debunks the results of the BOI and the MILFl investigations. His is a first-hand account of the skirmish, not only because he was a first-hand witness but he also participated in it.


  1. After Marwan was slain, all hell broke loose. The assault force decided to shoot it out with the band which they believed to be small and not the group that comprised the whole armed coalition of the Bangsamoro—-MILF, BIFF, kidnappers, terrorists, and what have you. The SAF now realizes the need for more protective cover than corn stalks, the need for mechanized extrication plans, the need for grenade launchers and inflatable rafts. The only way out could have been back through the river, but the SAF probably do not want to get wet or worse, they can’t swim. But where is the support? The mission has been kept secret even from those army units that could mount an effective relief.


  1. On the other hand, and this is a bigger hand than that which was laid down, with 44 people in the assault force, they don’t really need a support force had they brought heavier firepower. Four grenade launchers could have turned the tide. So with SAW’s and M-60’s. But the PNP clearly is not provided with weapons that are regular issues to soldiers. Who then decides what weapons are to be issued the SAF?


  1. Let me say again, the SAF that went in was meant to fend for itself. But then again this was a mistake because they do not have heavier firepower to fight a pitch battle against more than their number. Even the “blocking force” did not have any firepower that could spell the difference in the skirmish. And then again, if the force has to fend for itself, they could have done it differently.


  1. Were I to plan the operation, I would have augmented stealth with secrecy. In this case, I would have needed only a squad of 7 t0 10 really special force members and use the 34 to join the “blocking force”. If the distance from Marwan’s hut to the river is greater and offered no considerable cover, OK I would use more men. But let’s say that I am required to use 44 men this would be too large a force and would make more noise in advancing. I would then have 10 men cover the left flank and another 10 men to cover the right flank. The other 24 men would be enough to riddle Marwan’s hut. How do I get across the river? SWIM, or use siege ropes and wooden logs. The bridge is not to be used as it would silhouette the men against the sky. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t allow that informant to leave.


  1. If the skirmish is forced upon the men, I would start an orderly retreat. Form a rear guard while the others move back towards the river. Waiting for the “blocking force” is useless as they would have to cross the bridge which would have been under enemy control. If there still was no support coming, I would have the men fire flares. At the same time I would have raised hell to ask the other army units for help. Because it is now clear that the 44 men have to fend for themselves. They are as good as lost.


(next: The Can of Worms)