How could good men with good intentions go so horribly wrong? You’ve seen my summary of what actually went wrong. This is my attempt to figure out WHY it did. Keep in mind that just because the October 18 operation in Basilan was inept (and led to the deaths of 19 soldiers in Al-Barka) doesn’t mean the individual soldiers are inept.
Two officers have been relieved: Lt. Col. Leo Pena, 4th Special Forces Battalion Commander, and Col. Alexander Macario, head of the Special Operations Team-Basilan (SOTF-B). Speaking with high-ranking officers familiar with the case, one more officer, they say, should have been questioned – if not relieved – as well: Col. Alminkadra Undug, Army Special Forces Regiment Commander based in Zamboanga. He is Pena’s immediate superior in the Special Forces chain of command and the man whom sources say gave Pena the target intelligence package for the operation. Col. Undug handled MIG9 (the Military Intelligence Group) in Zamboanga and was implicated in the Hello, Garci scandal.