DFA: ‘Oplan Exodus’ was 100% Filipino planned, implemented PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 11:40

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) clarified on Monday that the United States had no involvement in the carrying out of the “Oplan Exodus” by the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to capture two high-profile terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25.

”In our own discussion with the US authorities, we have ascertained that the plan and the execution of the operation was 100 percent Filipinos,” Evan Garcia, DFA undersecretary for policy, told the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano encounter on Monday.

Garcia said the Philippines has been working with the US in intelligence gathering and operation as well as evacuation and humanitarian assistance.

Acting Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III asked Garcia if the US is violating the Philippine Constitution if the two countries will exchange information for intelligence purposes on high value terrorists.

”There is nothing wrong with that, Sir, if it is under the ambit of our bilateral agreements and therefore, it does not violate our Constitution,” Garcia said.

”So why do we keep it secret if there is nothing wrong? Why are some sectors making some issues out of it? What do you think?,” Sotto asked Garcia.

”Sir, I would not be able to speculate,” Garcia answered.

”The fight against terrorism, as such, must be cooperative efforts among all responsible nations. We are therefore engaging other nations and addressing these threats to the security of our people,” Garcia explained.

Garcia said the Philippines is a supporter of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions No. 1269, 1368, 1373 “which call on the states to cooperate through bilateral and multilateral arrangements to prevent and suppress terrorist acts, protect our nationals against terrorist attacks and bring to justice the perpetrators of such acts.”

Garcia said the Philippines engaged with the US to strengthen the domestic anti-terror capabilities in 2002.

In 2003, Garcia said the US also designated the Philippines as major non-NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) ally.

”This designation opened the doors for increased US assistance in our fights against terrorism,” Garcia said.

Some sectors had suspected that the US had participated in the execution of the “Oplan Exodus” due to the alleged presence of drones near the area of operation.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said the operation was successful because the PNP-SAF team was able to neutralize international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

The operation, however, proved costly for the PNP after 44 of its SAF commandos had been killed in an almost 12-hour firefight with combined Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) combatants.