Mincing no words, Armed Forces chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang on Friday said that defending an outpost for seven hours, outnumbered and heavily-outgunned at that, is no sign of cowardice.
Catapang was referring to the valiant act of Filipino peacekeepers in Position 68 in the
Aside from holding their ground, the Filipinos also sustained no casualty in the seven-hour fighting.
The cowardice accusations came from United Nations Disengagement Force (UNDOF) commander Lt. Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha.
The latter claimed that the 40 Filipino peacekeepers were guilty of this when they broke out of their encircled outpost early Sunday morning (Syrian time).
The UNDOF commander also alleged that the Filipinos decision to break out jeopardized the ceasefire he negotiated with the Syrian rebels and the lives of the 44 hostaged Fijians.
Singha also denied claims that he ordered the surrender of Filipino peacekeepers and their weapons, an allegation Catapang said that the AFP has solid basis.
He added that Filipino troops would not be reporting this to higher headquarters if it were not true.
The AFP chief said that there is no need for the Philippine military to be involved in a "blame-game problem".
He added that the AFP will just let the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reply to all queries regarding the matter.
"We (AFP) decided that we should just keep our silence on further discussion about the incident. We have ask the DFA to reply to all queries about this unfortunate incident," Catapang stressed.
"We will just submit all the reports as directed by the President. After saving our troops from being massacred, the last thing we want to do is be involved in a 'blame-game' problem," the AFP chief stressed.