DAVAO CITY – Non-government groups that conducted a joint fact-finding mission in Maguindanao were told that spy drones made sorties in the area for seven days prior to the deadly battle that killed 44 police commandos.
The group said that the report from several witnesses, all of them residents, would indicate a deeper involvement by American troops in the Mamasapano incident.
“Several residents from Tukanalipao, Pidsandawan, Lusay and Tuka submitted sworn affidavits that they saw drones fly above their communities for at least seven days before the bloody encounters on January 25,” the group said.
The residents said to the group that the “airplanes twinkled at nighttime.”
The fact-finding group is composed of about 100 individuals and organized the Moro group, Suara Bangsamoro, Kalinaw Mindanao and the Moro human rights group Kawagib, Legislators from the Makabayan bloc in Congress joined the mission.
The group said they were able to interview witnesses who claim they saw one dead “white skinned, long, blue-eyed and had narrow, long noses” with the killed SAF troopers.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the disclosure from residents would indicate that the US government and President Benigno Aquino III were the ones behind the operation to get or neutralize Zulkifli Bin Hir Marwan, a prized target of the US government.
“Mindanao is the second front of the US war on terror and the US is the only one with such bombs and drones,” Zarate said.
Zarate said that the Armed Forces admitted to using US-provided “smart bombs” which were used in an operation against Marwan in 2012 but which he escaped unharmed.
“Aquino is knowledgeable of the previous Oplans (operation plans) against Marwan including the said Oplan Wolverine because it was planned and funded by the US,” he said.
Zarate said “it is the reason why Aquino should talk on the incident but his allies in the House of Representatives shot down even our very respectful invitation to him to appear in the hearings.”
“It seems that there is an Oplan Save the King and the police and military is doing that by playing with words like advice, coordination and command responsibility to save Aquino,” he said.
“Because of this,” Zarate said, “the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is easily the punching bag in this incident.”
Zarate said he suspects that Aquino wants to sabotage the Bangsamoro Basic Law, a peace agreement between the MILF and the Philippine government now in Congress.
“The BBL is now is now in the emergency room which is approaching death or be watered down,” said Zarate.
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said “the US funded the operation.”
“Marwan is on the target list of the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, the reward money is even in US dollars,” she said.
Bai Ali Indayla, spokesperson of Moro human rights group Kawagib said that Mamasapano is “the nearest entry point to the Liguasan Marsh.”
Indayla said that the marsh “contains still untouched millions of cubic of natural gas which Moro communities are defending with their lives.”
“That is why even if the BBL is signed into the law, but with US still meddling in our affairs because of its interest in the Liguasan Marsh, there will still be attack on Moro communities,” she said. (davaotoday.com)