Sunday, February 25, 2018

Latest revelations highlight need for Aquino to answer 20 questions

aquino purisimaPress Statement

April 9, 2015

Recent revelations at the House of Representatives all point to the need for President Benigno Aquino III to answer the 20 questions posed wp the Makabayan bloc in relation to the Mamasapano incident. He need not wait for the actual transmittal of the questions before answering.

The recent hearings revealed several crucial points:

  1. Aquino knew of updates from the ongoing Mamasapano encounter yet did not take any decisive action. He was told that there had been 26 SAF casualties wp 3:50pm but no immediate action was taken wp the President.
  2. It was revealed that Aquino ordered AFP Chief of Staff Pio Catapang to meet with suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima on December 18 to coordinate an operation for a high value target. It was Purisima who, despite his suspension, called for the meeting with the AFP and the PNP SAF at Camp Aguinaldo.
  3. Aquino was informed wp his National Security Adviser that PNP OIC Leonardo Espina was out of the loop in the Marwan operation. Aquino said he would remind his officials.

From the aforementioned, Aquino still has a lot to answer for. He still needs to explain his deliberate empowerment of a suspended police official as well as his actions while he was in Zamboanga.

Palace defenders are dead wrong when they say that Aquino has no liability for Mamasapano. It is clear that Aquino allowed the involvement of the suspended Purisima in the operation, thus setting the stage for the breakdown in coordination among key government agencies.

Why did Aquino not take immediate and decisive action in Zamboanga even as he was informed that 26 SAF had died from the encounter? Only Aquino can explain.

What steps did Aquino take to ensure that Espina would be included in the Oplan Exodus planning and that the PNPs chain of command would not be violated wp the involvement of a suspended official? Only Aquino can answer.

From the limited information that came out during the two-day hearing, it is becoming clearer why Aquino should be held principally liable for the botched Mamasapano operation.


US role further exposed

Several things stood out during the Mamasapano hearing in relation to the US participation in Mamasapano.

General Napenas confirms that the US participants at the SAF tactical command post were elements from the US Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines based in Mindanao. US soldiers were thus participating and most likely directing a local operation. It was earlier confirmed that a US soldier ordered a Filipino general to fire artillery.

Napenas revealed that one US counterpart came with him from General Santos City. Incidentally, the final SAF meeting for the Mamasapano operation was held in the same city. It is very likely that the US operative was part of that meeting.

Secretary Leila de Lima’s legal opinion on the limits of US troop activities in the Philippines runs counter to national sovereignty. She makes the dangerous proposition that it is ok for US troops to participate in combat operations as long as the Philippines has absolute control. This scenario paves the way for increased US intervention in domestic affairs.

There is no situation where the US would allow itself to be placed under the absolute control of another government, though the US may give theĀ illusion that the other government is in control. And how can the Philippines have absolute control in an operation when it is the US that controls real-time information and the high-tech tactical equipment?

De Lima should stop appearing as a spokesman of the US embassy in Manila. If we were to reverse the situation, would the US allow Filipino troops to be present at an American tactical command post during a sensitive operation? Will the US allow de Lima such access even if the US has absolute control?

The Aquino government is offering all sorts of legal distortions to justify the patently illegal involvement of US troops in Mamasapano. ###


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