July 15, 2017
Bayan welcomes the filing of criminal charges against former President Benigno Aquino III in relation to the botched, US-led counter-terror operation in Mamasapano in Mindanao, which caused the deaths of 44 government troopers, several civilians as well as MILF fighters.
Operation Exodus was the last in a series of US-, directed counter-terror operations aimed at neutralizing alleged Indonesian terrorist Marwan who had a $5 million bounty on his head.
The Filipino people demand accountability from the former President. He is liable for the Mamasapano incident due to the following reasons:
1. Aquino violated the suspension order of the Ombudsman by placing a suspended Gen. Alan Purisima in-charge of the operation. Purisima’s leading role in the operation in well-established as he was present during meetings, gave instructions to the SAF Director, received reports from the SAF Director and gave reports directly to the President.
2. In allowing Purisima’s participation in the operation, Aquino undermined the PNP’s own chain of command. Aquino in effect created two chains of command within the PNP. The OIC Chief PNP was initially unaware that an operation was taking place.
3. Because he was relying on a suspended Purisima, Aquino also did not inform his other security officials, including the DND, AFP and the DILG, that an operation was being conducted, thereby denying his own troops support from other agencies.
4. Aquino did not inform his peace panel that an operation was being conducted which may have a serious effect on the ceasefire with the MILF and on the peace process as a whole. The operation was viewed by the MILF as a ceasefire violation.
5. Aquino allowed the participation of a foreign government in the operation. It was the US that provided the target, intelligence information, funding, training, and tactical direction for the operation. US Special Forces were present at the tactical command post during the operation. The US also provided a $5 million reward for the target of the operation. Proof of Marwan’s death was brought immediately to the US FBI and not to Philippine authorities as should have been the case.
The public is called on to carefully monitor developments in the case and ensure that those involved will be made accountable. ###