PNP gave FBI the finger!
- Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2015 - 12:00am

They didn’t have a choice. Giving the FBI Marwan’s dirty finger is apparently part of the deal. In any case, we didn’t have the means to determine if the chopped finger belongs to Marwan. The US, on the other hand, has DNA sample from the imprisoned brother of Marwan as well as the facilities to perform the tests.

Indeed, the task of trying to finger where exactly Marwan was hiding in the Mamasapano marshland was likely done by the Americans too. The intelligence packet was apparently provided by the Americans using informers working for the $5-million bounty US taxpayers will shell out.

In a sense, Oplan Exodus was largely inspired and financed by the Americans. Our role was to provide the cannon fodder needed to accomplish the goal. Reports have it that the Americans closely monitored field conditions using a drone through a control center in Zamboanga.

With the Americans deep into the operation, why didn’t our officials just let them provide all the technical and logistical essentials for the dangerous mission? Indeed, getting American advice would be more useful than the advice of a suspended PNP Chief whose knowledge of Marwan’s whereabouts is second hand information from the Americans anyway.

Palace officials would not talk about the role of the Americans but Inquirer quoted an unnamed official, possibly military, explaining what the Americans did.

In short, there was allegedly no physical presence at ground zero. Apart from technical support, “the US also gave us the location of the target,” the Inquirer source said.

“They were present in the planning, but to be fair, they were not present in the ground operation, no physical presence on the ground,” he said.

The officer also told the Inquirer US agents provided the SAF with intelligence on the target’s location through a “tracer.” “A tracer is the person closest to the target, because that person is easier to access,” he said.

I can’t help wondering if those SAF44 would still be alive today if we asked the Americans to use the drones not just to monitor the ground situation but to bomb the house where Marwan was sleeping. Those drones have proven to be so precise and lethal in fighting the Taliban in the Pakistan mountains and the ISIS in Iraq.

 Of course, if they used drones to kill Marwan or the person they believe to be Marwan, we would never know if they got the real Marwan. There would have been no finger to chop for DNA testing. So we sent in the best of our SAF not only to get Marwan but more importantly, his finger.

The use of a drone in monitoring the movements of the 84th SAC was essential. “This is why even if the 84th SAC men were located deeper in the area, only a few were killed. But the 55th SAC lost all but one of its men because the Americans were not concerned about them.”

The Americans were obsessed to get Marwan or a tissue sample from him. That explains why the Americans focused on securing the 84th SAC “because they had Marwan’s tissue sample.” They were not as concerned, if at all, for the 55th SAC.

There are those who suspect the troopers in the SAF blocking force were sacrificed because intervening in the “mis-encounter” could have exposed the direct involvement of the Americans in the operation. I don’t understand why keeping that secrecy is more important than the lives of our men. The secrecy is useless anyway because there are very few secrets in this country.

To give the reader an idea of how the use of drones in today’s warfare is so awesome, view this example I found in one of my e-groups. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/eBEU-OiEvII

As the one who posted the link observed, “the drone has changed the entire concept of war that most of us have not fully realized.  This is at night – in the dark. Note how clear the bad guys are seen – great advantage in this type of war.

“And the guy behind the camera and guns is not even flying! This is a Centcom attack on ISIS fighters. What level of sophistication without collateral damage! Even the mules & donkeys are spared.”

My question is… why didn’t they use a drone to neutralize Marwan instead of risking and eventually losing the lives of our SAF troopers? Why was securing Marwan’s finger more important than the lives of our SAF troopers? It is probably because confirmation is needed to pay out the $5-million bounty now likely to go to some MILF informants.

One can only guess but it had been said that the US and the MILF had been cozy with each other for some years now. The gossip out there is that MILF promised a military base for the Americans within a Bangsamoro homeland.

It is also no secret that American advisers have been active in the ARMM areas for years, notably in Sulu. They even share base facilities in Zamboanga with the Philippine military.

I see no problem in admitting the Americans are helping out in our troubled areas in Mindanao and Sulu because we obviously need help. But I am trying to understand why our government is trying to hide this American presence as if the noisy opinion of the extreme leftist groups really matter. Besides, didn’t our Secretary of Foreign Affairs shamelessly point out that the Americans will provide our military shield against China? What’s the difference?

Given the pitiful condition of our military facilities, there is no denying we need American help. I am told the Americans had been a big help in the training of our forces in the use of sophisticated equipment in fighting terrorism and insurgency. They had also been donating some equipment but not nearly as much as the AFP would need.

I hope P-Noy will come clean on the role of the Americans in Mamasapano. I get the feeling that keeping that role secret may have contributed to the tragedy that befell our SAF44. In any case, American military involvement in Mindanao had long been an open secret. Why not just come out in the open?

I suppose the Palace is worried about a possible violation of the Constitution, supposedly an impeachable offense, if they admit American participation in the anti terrorism fight in Mindanao. But that’s a legal issue that could take time to resolve. Besides, impeachment is a political question in the hands of Congress, both houses of which are in P-Noy’s camp.

Of course the extreme left can make a lot of noise to put pressure to impeach P-Noy for playing footsies with the Americans but I doubt this will get traction with the general public. I am sure a survey would reveal widespread support for working with the Americans to protect us against terrorism and for external defense. And the politicians in Congress are always mindful of public opinion. With just about 16 months to go, impeachment moves will falter as we all focus on the 2016 election.

Secrecy, on the other hand, may have limited our options which resulted in sacrificing 44 lives. Using our SAF troopers to secure that dirty finger for the FBI instead of just using a drone to annihilate Marwan has proven to be rather costly in terms of Filipino lives lost. 

Launching Oplan Exodus as designed was a bad call on the part of our officials because there was a safer alternative in the arsenal of the Americans if only we were not too shy about admitting they are helping us. P-Noy should have been more concerned about having blood on his hands than the danger of an impeachment move. He could have been a hero rather than the heel he now seems to be.

Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco

 

AMERICANS BOO CHANCO BUT I FINGER LAUNCHING OPLAN EXODUS MAMASAPANO MARWAN MINDANAO MINDANAO AND SULU P-NOY
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