Despite the stonewalling of the AFP and PNP officials every time the issue of US involvement in Mamasapano was raised at the Senate hearing, we now have more information to show that the US was indeed a part of the operation to get Marwan.
The involvement of the US is important since they were providing training and funding, dangling a $7 million reward, and most likely, dictating the terms for the operations. That a foreign government can set the terms for a domestic operation that involves sacrificing the lives of Filipinos is definitely a problematic situation. Mamasapano also demolishes the long-propagated myth that US forces are not involved in combat operations in the Philippines.
Based on the Senate hearings and recent news reports, here are 5 indicators of US involvement in Mamasapano.
- Napenas admits that the tissue sample of Marwan was immediately brought by the SAF to FBI agents waiting in General Santos City. This indicates that the US had prior knowledge of the operation and were already present in Mindanao to receive the tissue sample for DNA testing. The SAF did not even bother to inform the PNP Headquarters or any other agency, and instead went straight to the FBI. Why was the FBI already in General Santos City? Napenas testimony before the Senate may shed light on this. In his statement, he says that on the eve of the operation, “the three Police Commissioned Officers moved to General Santos City for the final mission planning and coordination together with all the unit commanders and key personnel involved in the operation.” The final mission planning in General Santos could explain the presence of the FBI in that city.
- One news article quotes a SAF trooper who joined the assault on Marwan saying that a drone was overhead at the time of the Mamasapano operation. He reportedly takes a video of the drone.
- During the Senate hearing, the Mayor of Mamasapano said he saw a white object hovering above during the operations. He believes this was a drone.
- SAF Director Leo Napenas testified that he was able to directly ask help from US forces based in Zamboanga indicating that there was already prior coordination between the SAF and US forces in that province. This level of coordination is important after another article pointed out that the SAF and US forces were training in a secret facility in a resort in Zamboanga and that the US was funding the operations to get Marwan.
- Every time US involvement is being asked, the PNP and AFP would invoke national security and ask for an executive session. It is the clearest sign that something is going on that they don’t want people to know.
More information from this article.
Does the end justify the means? Is US involvement made acceptable because the SAF got Marwan? The question is no different from the one asking if the death of Marwan was worth the lives of the 44 SAF. These questions can best be answered by examining the bigger context of US involvement and the Aquino government’s subservience.
The US is carrying out its war on terror without regard for the lives of Filipinos, whether combatants of civilians. It carries out its war on terror without regard for the national sovereignty of the countries were the alleged terrorists are supposedly hiding. In other countries, the US employs drones to target so-called terrorists, often ending up killing civilians. Here they send Filipino foot soldiers right into a death trap.
It is important for the US and the Philippine governments to emphasize Marwan’s record of terror so that even the violation of national sovereignty and the loss of lives of 44 SAF troopers as well as 5 civilians who ended up collateral damage, would somehow be acceptable.
In one news article, a police source explained that “because of the Americans’ obsession to get Marwan, many SAF men died.” He pointed out that the Americans were more interested in getting the location of the SAF team that had Marwan’s finger than in helping the SAF blocking force trapped in the corn field. All but one of the 36 member blocking force died. The SAF assault team proved to be more important for the US because of what they had, the source laments. ###