Exact accountability from US forces involved in Oplan Exodus, solon calls
The Senate report on the Mamasapano clash provides more compelling reason for President Benigno Aquino III to resign from office immediately, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said on Tuesday afternoon.
“The Senate report essentially reaffirms what the Board of Inquiry has earlier pointed out: that Aquino is ultimately responsible for the Mamasapano clash. Aquino and his spokespersons should stop beating around the bush and issuing silly justifications. The only reasonable response for the result of these two separate investigations is for the president to accept responsibility and resign with all humility,” Ridon said.
In the report released on Tuesday afternoon, the Senate said that the “President must bear responsibility for giving assent to and failing to prevent the unlawful exercise of official functions by PDG Purisima in connection with Oplan Exodus.”
“The Mamasapano incident raises serious questions about whether the President, as well as some other high-ranking officials of the government, could have done more to minimize the number of deaths which resulted from the incident,” the report added.
“If Aquino does not resign despite all these findings, it only goes to show that he has no sense of decency left. Mr. President, enough with the lies and the blame game. Take responsibility on the Mamasapano clash and resign,” Ridon said.
US forces should be held accountable too
The youth solon also stressed that the Senate report reveals more details on the United States’ involvement in the Mamasapano operation.
“There are indications that the planning and the execution of the Oplan Exodus were not 100% Filipino planned and implemented,” the executive summary of the Senate report stated.
The Senate report mentioned particular instances wherein US intervention is evident:
- Napeñas brought three Americans into the Army Brigade headquarters (HQ). A helicopter arrived and three more Americans came into the HQ and joined Napeñas at his work table.
- One of the Americans, identified by Napeñas as Mr. Al Katz, supposedly handled the training of the Seaborne.
- One of the Americans ordered Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan to fire the artillery. However, Pangilinan refused and told him, “Do not dictate to me what to do. I am the commander here!”
- The Americans provided surveillance in the area through their Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR). TV monitors were brought in by the Americans to the HQ.
Ridon reiterated that these findings raise more questions on the real extent of US intervention in police and military operations in the country, particularly on Operation Exodus.
“The Senate report clearly shows that the US not only intervened but primarily directed Oplan Exodus. Their very presence in the tactical command post shows that the Americans were actually heading the whole operation, with American forces literally calling the shots in the operation through their computer monitors – safety tucked in the tactical command post – while they let the SAF to march through Mamasapano equipped with faulty radio equipment,” Ridon said.
“If this is the case, then the argument that the US used the PNP SAF as cannon fodder for their counterterrorism activities clearly holds water,” he added.
Ridon also noted that if Americans were indeed providing real-time intelligence, then they should have been the first to know that the 55th SAC were already engaging in firefight with members of the MILF and the BIFF.
“The Americans should have been the first ones to know that the 55th SAC were already cornered, yet they apparently did nothing to help. Instead, all their attention was with the 84th Seaborne as they were only interested in getting Marwan. Simply put, the Americans let the Filipino SAF troopers perish because all they wanted was to get Marwan’s finger,” Ridon explained.
“The US is equally liable for the Mamasapano deaths. And the story should not end with this finding – heads must roll, accountability must be exacted,” the legislator said.