Video of ‘dead American’ prompts call for new Mamasapano probe
Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Tuesday called on the Senate to re-investigate the Mamasapano operation following the release of a video showing a Caucasian man among the fatalities.
“The Senate should reopen its probe on the Mamasapano incident and uncover the real role of the United States in the botched operation,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said in a statement.
“Recent videos showing what appears to be a dead Caucasian, believed to be an American soldier or operative, lends credence to earlier assertions that the US was directing the entire operation to get Marwan,” he said.
In March, the Senate committee on public order released its report on its independent probe on the issue. The committee said President Benigno Aquino III was responsible for the operation which resulted in the deaths of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers, 17 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters and three civilians.
But before that, rumors circulated that American soldiers were among those killed in the encounter. At that time, however, there was no proof.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer on Tuesday revealed that there was video footage of the aftermath of the encounter showing a Caucasian man among the SAF fatalities. It added that another casualty was an African American. INQUIRER.net later released a censored excerpt of the said video.
Reyes said an independent fact finding mission of the group Suara Bangsamoro quoted witnesses claiming that a US soldier joined the operation dubbed Oplan Exodus.
“That a US soldier was among the dead indicates that the US was deeply involved in actual combat operations and may have been directing movements on the ground,” Reyes said. “The dead US soldier was embedded in a unit of a SAF. This combat role for the US violates anew the Philippine Constitution.”
He added that the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry had earlier acknowledged the presence of six US servicemen at the tactical command post of the SAF in Maguindanao.
“This is an indication that the US was directing the entire operation as it had exclusive control of real-time information on the movements of the SAF and other armed groups in the area. The BOI also reported that one American even ordered a Filipino general to fire artillery at the suspected MILF forces that had surrounded the SAF,” Reyes said.
Reyes said the involvement of the US government was “crucial in establishing accountability in the Mamasapano operation.”
“There can be no closure and justice if the US is not held liable for the deaths of so many,” he said.
He added that Aquino should be held accountable for allegedly allowing a foreign government to interfere in Philippine military operations. Kristine Angeli Sabillo
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.