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Senate may invite DFA execs to explain extent of US role in military, police ops

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 05:27 PM February 17, 2015

MANILA, Philippines — There is now a recommendation in the Senate to  summon officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs  (DFA) amid talks of the reported involvement  of the United States in the Mamasapano operation last January 25, 2015, Senator Grace Poe said on Tuesday.

While there was no motion yet to call the US Embassy in Manila to appear before the Senate probe on the incident, Poe said a suggestion was raised during an executive hearing to instead summon the officials of the DFA.

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“Sa ngayon wala pa namang nagmo-motion na ipatawag sila at meron ng suhestyon na ipatawag ang DFA para ma eksplika ang mga kasunduan ng ating bansa  sa mga ganitong klaseng pagtutulungan,”  she told reporters  on  Tuesday.

(Right now, there are no motions yet to summon them, but there have been suggestions to summon DFA (officials) for them to explain the country’s agreements when it comes to collaborations like this.)

“Tatapatin ko kayo (I am going to tell you the truth). We have to be very careful for it involves also diplomatic relations. We want peaceful ties with countries, we want their cooperation to be able to help us secure ourselves as well. We’re not trying to make more enemies in this thing but we also have to be accountable.”

“So when it comes to that, it is not because we are trying to hide the information from you, we are just being careful. But we are with you in wanting to know the extent of foreign involvement because if there’s nothing to hide, if there’s nothing wrong, then there’s no reason why we should hide the information. We’re just being careful on when we’re going to release (the information) and to what extent,” she pointed out.

Poe issued the statements  when sought to react to the reported sightings of eight Americans  during the Mamasapano  operation that left 44 elite policemen  dead.

Asked to react on the report, the senator said: “That’s an ongoing question that we need to verify also.  Nobody is preventing anyone from asking that question in open hearing but in the meantime, with regard to a discussion on that in the executive session,   I will not confirm  or deny  the discussion on that particular topic.”

Since Friday last week, the senators have been holding closed-door meetings with certain personalities and police and military officials.

Poe assured  that  at the proper time,  the Senate  would release  in public some information from the executive sessions except those that concern national security.

“At sa tingin ko kung meron man kaming hindi ibibigay sa inyo, ito ‘yung discussion namin ngayon sa intel officer,” said the senator, who requested the media not to identify the military officer for security reasons.

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(I think that if there is something that we have to withhold from you, it is the discussion we are having with an intel officer.)

Poe said disclosing the testimony of the said officer might lead to another information that is supposed to be classified.

But the senator repeatedly explained that the decision to hold closed-door meetings was not  meant to cover up  particular individuals or entities.

“Wala naman tayong nakikitang cover-up. Alam ko ‘yun ang concern ninyo that we’re trying to cover-up for a particular personality or entity. Dito sa pinagusapan ngayon, wala kaming nakikitang ganon. Seguridad lang talaga,” Poe further said.

(We don’t see any cover-up. I know your concern is that we’re trying to cover up for a particular personality or entity. But in our talks now, we don’t see anything like that. We’re only concerned about (national) security.)

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TAGS: Department of Foreign Affairs, Grace Poe, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, national security, United States, US
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