Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - By Leila B. Salaverria @LeilasINQ

It’s been a long time com­ing, but Pres­i­dent Duterte said on Tues­day that he was happy to award the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice’s Medalya ng Kag­itin­gan to 42 out of 44 Spe­cial Ac­tion Force (SAF) mem­bers who were killed in the oper­a­tion to get in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Mar­wan,” in Ma­mas­apano town, Maguin­danao.

Two of the SAF mem­bers had been given the same award, the PNP’s high­est, posthu­mously.

Mr. Duterte led the award­ing to the rest of the SAF 44 mem­bers in Mala­cañang on Tues­day with the of­fi­cers’ fam­i­lies on hand to re­ceive the honor.

He had ap­proved the award in Fe­bru­ary last year upon the re­quest of the fam­i­lies.

‘Bet­ter late than never’

In his speech on Tues­day, he said he was happy to rec­og­nize the hero­ism of the SAF op­er­a­tives but that the award should have been given ear­lier.

He also vowed to bring them jus­tice, “no mat­ter how long it takes.”

“You know, it comes late, but bet­ter late than never,” he said.

“I am not at­tribut­ing any­thing to any­body ex­cept that I am happy that we are able to rec­og­nize to­day the brav­ery of our po­lice of­fi­cers,” he said.

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