Both the Board of Inquiry and the Senate Committee reports on Mamasapano point out US involvement in the botched operation to get Marwan and Usman, both wanted men by the US government.
The reports are official admissions by Philippine authorities that the US did play a role in the fiasco in Mamasapano. The reports refute earlier pronouncements by the US embassy that there was no US involvement in the operation. The Senate report in particular refutes the statements of the Department of Foreign Affairs that the operation was 100% Filipino.
The two reports however stopped short of truly uncovering the US role. They have given us more questions than answers. There should be another venue to probe the actual extent of US involvement in the police operation that claimed at least 67 Filipino lives.
Here are some questions that need to be answered so that a full accounting of the responsibilities of the principal actors in the operation can be made.
- Was Aquino, as commander-in-chief and chief architect of foreign policy, at any time aware of the involvement of the US in the plans to get Marwan? Did he allow US participation all the way to the Tactical Command Post which was the nerve center of the entire operation?
- Who exactly were the six Americans at the Tactical Command Post? Were they mere private contractors and if so, which US agency hired them? Were they from the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines? Or the CIA or FBI? Napenas called the Americans his “counterparts”, implying that they were acting in some official capacity on behalf of the US government. Who was Allan Katz or Allan Konz? What is his designation?
- Did the US extend funding for this operation? This question is relevant because the BOI says the P100,000 budget claimed by SAF Director Napenas was unrealistic. If the operation did not go through regular chain of command, Napenas must have gotten funding from somewhere else. Was it the US who was funding the operation? How will this be audited, if at all?
- What exactly were the six Americans doing at the Tactical Command Post? Were they simply watching from monitors or giving orders to their Filipino counterparts? Why would one American have the audacity to order a Filipino general to fire artillery? Was this the type of relationship he had with the SAF? Under what existing military agreement are these Americans able to participate in a combat operation by being at the Tactical Command Post?
- If indeed the US was able to provide real-time information on the location of the Filipino troops and other armed groups, why was there a problem with providing grid-coordinates so that the Philippine military could rescue the surrounded SAF troopers, particularly the 55th SAF? Is it true that the sole focus of the US forces were the 84th Seaborne because they had the evidence of Marwan’s death?