By Perfecto T. Raymundo
MANILA, 8Oct2015 — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday confirmed the participation of American troops in “Oplan Exodus” that ended the terroristic activities of Malaysian bomb expert Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan,” which claimed the lives of 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) during the Mamasapano encounter last Jan. 25.
According to DOJ Secretary Leila M. De Lima, there were troops of the United States at the Tactical Post of the PNP-SAF on Jan. 25, 2015.
De Lima added that US surveillance aircraft were also used, but in the National Prosecution Service-National Bureau of Investigation (NPS-NBI) report, it was stressed that these were used only for monitoring purposes and not for combat operations.
De Lima also clarified that the participation of US troops was only up to the extent of intelligence, monitoring and medical assistance only and not one of them participated in the combat operations.
De Lima pointed out that the DOJ did not see any violation of the 1987 Constitution in the participation made by the American troops in “Oplan Exodus” because the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) is already existing.
Meanwhile, the DOJ Chief identified the so-called “Caucasians-looking”, who were among those killed in the encounter.
De Lima said that the slain Senior Inspector Gednat Tabdi, PO3 Noel Golocan and PO1 Romeo Cempron were mistaken as Caucasians, while the casualty with blue eyes shown in the video was identified as PO1 OlieBeth Viernes, which was also confirmed by his wife, who said that it was his husband who was on the viral video. (PNA)