ZAMBOANGA CITY — Inside the quarters which PO2 Jose Buncag once shared with the troopers who died in the ill-fated Mamasapano operation, he could sometimes smell his comrades.

A year has passed since the bloody clash but the members of 55th and 84th Special Action Companies (SAC) are very much alive in the memories of their brothers in uniform, with some claiming to sense their presence.

“Minsan naamoy namin sila sa kwarto. Tatlo silang namatay sa kwarto namin. Naririnig namin… parang nagpaparamdam, may biglang nahuhulog na gamit,” Buncag told in an interview at the 55th SAC camp in Mercedes, Zamboanga City.

But the thought of seeing his late comrades doesn’t scare Buncag. “Kapag nagpakita sila, sasabihin ko ang hindi ko nasabi sa kanila. Handa akong harapin sila.”


Special report

SAF: Rising from the fields of Mamasapano

Julliane Love De Jesus January 25, 2016

Special report

What it takes to be an elite SAF trooper

Jaymee T. Gamil January 31, 2016

Special report

Cempron, Tabdi: SAF 44’s men of valor

Julliane Love De Jesus January 25, 2016


Justice still elusive for SAF 44

January 26th, 2021

BAGUIO CITY—Six years after 44 police commandos were killed in a botched mission to capture a Malaysian bomber in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao province, Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong and their families are still upset that no one has been prosecuted for their deaths. “I served as witness for the families in the last case [filed with […]

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Sandiganbayan acquits Ex-PNP chief Purisima of perjury charges

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - February 28th, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima has been acquitted of perjury charges in connection with his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN). The eight counts of perjury that the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division decided on Friday was connected to his alleged failure to disclose various possessions in his SALNs filed […]

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5 years after Mamasapano, son of fallen SAF 44 trooper remembers his ‘idol’

By: Katrina Hallare - January 25th, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — When Rodrigo Acob III was still young, he said he saw little of his father, Master Sgt. Rodrigo Jr., because of his job. “Sometimes, we wonder kung bakit mas marami siyang oras at araw sa work niya kaysa sa amin. During important events sa buhay namin as a family, lagi siyang wala,” […]

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PNP commemorates heroism of fallen SAF 44

By: Consuelo Marquez - January 25th, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday commemorated the heroism of the 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who died in a botched police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao five years ago. “The Philippine National Police commemorates the gallantry and heroism of our young and brave 44 fallen Special Action Force commandos […]

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Mamasapano acquittal ‘a travesty’—Gordon

By: Marlon Ramos - January 23rd, 2020

Sen. Richard Gordon on Wednesday chided the Office of the Ombudsman after the Sandiganbayan acquitted two former senior officials of the Philippine National Police for their role in the massacre of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, almost five years ago. ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ Gordon, chair of the Senate justice committee, said he might reopen the […]

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Gordon wants Mamasapano probe reopened after Sandigan clears Purisima, Napeñas

By: Christia Marie Ramos - January 22nd, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A “totally devastated” Senator Richard Gordon is eyeing the reopening of the Mamasapano incident investigation following the dismissal of charges against two former police officials for their roles in the botched operation. Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Gordon said he was “severely disappointed” and “totally devastated” by the dismissal of usurpation of […]

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