From GMA News (Feb 17): Body of male Caucasian recovered in Mamasapano after clash –Gabriela
A body of a male Caucasian was among those recovered from the site of the bloody encounter between elite policemen and Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25, according to party-list group Gabriela, citing information reaching them.
A report on “24 Oras” on Tuesday said Gabriela got the information from residents in the area who helped carry the bodies of the PNP-Special Action Force commandos killed in the clash with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
Gabriela said this bolstered reports on the alleged participation of the US in the police operation dubbed Oplan Exodus, designed to capture Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino bomb-maker Basit Usman.
Marwan, who was killed in the operation, was on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's list of most wanted terrorists. He was the main suspect in the 2002 Bali bombing in Indonesia.
“There should be further investigation into the role of the US government in the Mamasapano incident based on the reports coming from the residents,” said Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan in the report.
Police officials have earlier said the role of the US troops in the Mamasapano operation was limited to providing medical evacuation of the wounded SAF members.
The “24 Oras” report also mentioned the four US drones found in different parts of the country before the Mamasapano clash. US authorities said they were target drones used in military exercises and not spy drones.
It was not the first time that actual US involvement in a security operation in the Philippines was suspected, according to the report.
Back in 2002, the US allegedly had a role in the military offensive that killed Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Abu Sabaya in Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte. US officials had denied taking part in the operation.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a former Navy official and chairman of the Senate defense committee, said there is nothing wrong with US sharing its intelligence with the Philippines, especially in the fight against terrorism.
“As far as intelligence information, intelligence sharing is concerned, that should be expected. 'Yan ang value nila sa atin. I don't see anything wrong with that, per se,” he said.
Philippine laws bar the participation of foreign troops in actual combat operations in the country.