Enrile tells Goldberg: Explain US role in the Mamasapano clash
MANILA — United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg still has things to explain about his country’s role in the Mamasapano clash, according to Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.
Enrile also challenged Goldberg’s reported statement questioning the Senate’s public discussion of sensitive matters about the Special Action Force-led counterterrorism mission in Mamasapano, dubbed Oplan Exodus.
“What is sensitive about a police operation, I ask the great ambassador, the proconsul of America here,” Enrile said at a Senate forum on Thursday.
“Why should he talk as if this is the United States?” Enrile added, reminding Goldberg that the Philippines is the host country to the US Embassy.
Goldberg should instead explain why the US offered a $5-million reward for the capture of Malaysian terror suspect Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, and why it did not send its own forces to nab him, he said.
“Why did they not use their elite troops to capture him instead of training police officers to become pawns and to be dead meats, to capture dead or alive a quarry of the United States? I hope the good ambassador will answer those questions,” he said.
Under the constitution, foreign troops are barred from engaging in combat in the country.
Former SAF Director Getulio Napeñas earlier said the US provided training and real-time intelligence to the police commandos involved in the capture of Marwan, and also provided medical evacuation. It also conducted the DNA test on Marwan’s finger to confirm his identity.
During the Senate’s reinvestigation of the Mamasapano clash, Enrile said the Philippine government allowed the US to be involved in a police matter.
Senate President Franklin Drilon earlier said the US violated no treaty when it provided assistance to the police in the Mamasapano operations.
The US role was part of the cooperation among countries fighting terrorism, he said.
Meanwhile, Enrile also defended Napeñas, saying he was a “good officer and a very capable commander.”
Those criticizing him were just envious of what he had accomplished, he said.
He said the mission went well; it was only during the withdrawal of troops that the situation deteriorated.
The military had blamed Napeñas for the bloody end to the Mamasapano clash, when 44 SAF commandoes died after figuring in a firefight with Moro rebels and bandits.
It said Napeñas deliberately kept the military in the dark about Oplan Exodus because he thought it could not be trusted. When SAF troopers figured in the encounter, the SAF asked for help from the Army, but was unable to immediately provide the necessary information for the rescue. SFM
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