Police officer accused of partying with military breaks silence | Inquirer News
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Police officer accused of partying with military breaks silence

/ 02:13 PM March 25, 2015

MANILA, Philippines–The police official Senator Antonio Trillanes IV accused of deliberately taking to a “drinking spree” military commanders on the eve of the Mamasapano operation broke his silence on Wednesday to dismiss the Senator’s claims.

READ: Trillanes draws rebuke from SAF over ‘drinking spree’ tale

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Senior Superintendent Manolo Ozaeta, head of Special Project for Mindanao, admitted to inviting his military counterparts hours before the “Operation Exodus” was carried out by the Special Action Force on January 25.

The unit Ozaeta heads is under the Office of the Chief of the Philippine National Police.

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In a press briefing Wednesday, Philippine National Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said Ozaeta submitted himself to the PNP leadership after “being alluded to as the intelligence officer who allegedly ‘wined and dined’ with Philippine Army commanders.”

In a radio interview over the weekend, Trillanes revealed that a military official confirmed that PNP members got their army counterparts drunk to ensure that they would not interfere with the SAF-led operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province.

But Ozaeta, through Cerbo, stressed that the party “has no link whatsoever with the Mamasapano operation” since the attendees from both parties were not aware of the “Operation Exodus.”

He said the dinner was not intended” to divert (their) counterpart’s attention in reinforcements” as it was “purely coincidental” that the party happened hours before the ill-fated operation that led to the killing of 66 people–including 44 SAF commandos.

“In his manifestation, Ozaeta clarified that the dinner was held with pure gold intention upon his invitation as a gesture of gratitude and goodwill to officers of the 601st brigade in recognition of the previous successful joint operations launched by PNP and AFP units in Central Mindanao,” Cerbo read.

Ozaeta confirmed hosting a “traditional boodlefight” dinner in Del Rio Splash Resort in Koronadal City, South Cotabato from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

He said the party, which was originally scheduled between November and December last year, was moved on January 24 “upon the suggestion of (their) AFP counterparts.”

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Ozaeta said the Army men decided to move it on a weekend “to ensure the availability of all guests.”

The party was attended by “Soccsksargen-based police, key officers of the Army’s 601st brigade, including battalion commanders.”

Ozaeta, however, did not name the military officials present in the dinner.

Pointing out that party wasn’t intended to get the AFP men drunk, he said alcoholic drinks “normally come with parties.”

“Mali ang pagkakainterpret ng magandang samahan at relasyon natin sa AFP troops (Our relationship with the AFP troops has been erroneously interpreted),” he lamented.

Ozaeta added that he has been in close coordination with AFP units based in Central Mindanao in operation against threat groups. ID

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TAGS: "Operation Exodus, Antonio Trillanes, dinner, drinking spree, Generoso Cerbo, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, Manolo Ozaeta, Special Action Force
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