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Wikileaks shows US funded Mamasapano operation - solon

Louis Bacani - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Secret embassy cables leaked by WikiLeaks in 2010 reveal the United States' heavy involvement in the Philippines' counter-terrorism efforts including the botched police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, a party-list congressman claimed on Wednesday.

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said the cables, which were from 2005 to early 2010, show how the US government planned to operate covertly within the ranks of Philippine forces.

"A careful perusal of these cables reveal how deep US involvement in the covert counterterrorism efforts in Mindanao run. From funding to intelligence gathering and actual operations, we can trace Washington’s shadow movements in the ranks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) through these cables," Ridon said in a statement.

Ridon said one cable also revealed the details of US government funding for counterterrorism operations in the Philippines.

The lawmaker said that in secret cable "09MANILA2271," the US embassy in Manila endorsed for approval a $34.1 million-budget from the US government for various equipment to be used in counter-terrorism efforts in 2010.

"This cable clearly shows that the US government is financing all counter-terrorism efforts, especially against JI (Jemaah Islamiyah), in Mindanao. Remember that this cable only reveals the budget for 2010. We believe that funding has continued in the subsequent years," Ridon said.

Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan, a Malaysian bomber linked to the JI, was the subject of the botched January 25 operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that killed 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF).

Ridon said the budget proposal from the US embassy revealed by the leaked cables confirmed that there were drones and other advanced equipment that were supposedly used in the Mamasapano operation.

The congressman said the leaked cables are "compelling evidence" that the US is behind the operation and is responsible for the deaths of the SAF troopers.

"These cables confirm what has long been suspected – that counterterrorism efforts, especially in Mindanao, are directed and spearheaded by the US. It comes as no surprise then that the Mamasapano operation was also directed by US forces," Ridon claimed.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda shrugged off the allegations made by Ridon.

"Congressman Ridon is coming from the Makabayan bloc, which obviously has a rhetoric that is very polarized," Lacierda told Palace reporters.

He said Ridon's allegations will have to be answered in the various government probes on the Mamasapano incident.

"Until such time that those questions are answered, he is just merely giving his personal opinion or personal conclusion of which so far none has been elicited from the various inquiries," Lacierda said.

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

CABLES

CONGRESSMAN RIDON

JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH

KABATAAN PARTY

LACIERDA

MAGUINDANAO

MAMASAPANO

MINDANAO

RIDON

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