“This casts a shadow of doubt on the real circumstances of their death and also fuel allegations that they might have indeed participated in actual combat operations.”
By DEE AYROSO
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon today filed a resolution at the House of Representatives calling for a probe on the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P), including the deaths of its 17 US Special Forces in the past 13 years.
House Resolution No. 1954 asks the House Committee on National Defense, to “conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the performance and activities of the JSOTF-P, a special forces program of the United States which ran from 2002 until 2015, that allowed US troops to participate in combat operations, build structures, preposition equipment, despite clear prohibitions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.”
The resolution said “the presence and participation in actual combat operations of US troops has already been established with recent reports of their involvement in Operation Exodus” in Mamasapano Maguindanao on Jan. 25. He quoted the report of the People’s Fact-finding mission which interviewed witnesses who saw “one Caucasian, with ‘white skin, blue eyes and narrow and long nose” as among the casualties.
On the other slain US troops who belonged to JSOTF-P, Ridon, said that “no sufficient information” was given to the public. He enumerated the following reports of the troops killed:
“This casts a shadow of doubt on the real circumstances of their death and also fuels allegations that they might have indeed participated in actual combat operations,” the house resolution said.
The JSOTF-P, composed of up to 600 special forces from the Army Special Operations Forces, Navy Seals, Air Force, has been based in Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City. On Feb. 24, the JSOTF-P announced that it is shutting its operations in the country.
Ridon said the timing of the shutdown was suspicious. “The US announced that they are pulling out the special forces as early as last year, without confirming a date. However, when the Mamasapano clash took place, here they are, immediately packing their bags.”